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The Dreaded Question. Here’s Your Answer.

It’s a phrase you should have at the ready – an answer to a frequently asked question that many of us dread –

“What do you do?”

I’m a dental assistant.
I’m a dentist.
I’m a dental hygienist.
I’m a dental practice administrator.

Accurate – yes. Will it turn the asker into a new patient? Not likely.

So let’s do a simple exercise.

What is the name of your practice? (Don’t worry – the questions will get tougher.)

Dr. Leonard Cohen’s office.
Majestic Hills Dentistry.
The Smile Shack.
Drs. Johnston and Simmons.

Now (a little tougher) what is a one or two word phrase that describes your practice? Here are some examples:

High-tech.
Family oriented.
Cosmetically advanced.
Center-city.
Friendly.
Modern.
Large group.

Next come up with a slightly longer phrase that tells the story of your practice philosophy.

Treating patients comfortably is our number one goal.
We believe in high-tech dentistry in a patient-friendly environment.
We make high quality dentistry affordable.

Take a few minutes to come up with one – it’s not easy!

Okay – you’re almost ready. Next time someone asks you “what do you do?” – fill in the blanks like this…

I’m a answer one at answer two. We’re an answer three practice and answer four!

Using some of the above examples, here is how it would sound.

Dreaded question: “What do you do?”

Your amazing response:

“I’m a dental practice administrator at Majestic Hills Dentistry. We are a cosmetically advanced practice and we make high quality dentistry affordable!”

If it fits the situation, add your location as well.

“I’m a dental assistant at Dr. Leonard Cohen’s office in Montreal. We’re a center-city practice and treating patients comfortably is our number one goal!”

So what’s your answer to the dreaded question? Take a few minutes now or at a team meeting and develop a great one. Feel free to send us your response.

Dentistry Is An Up And Down Business!

Something familiar to many in the business world is the “Elevator Speech.” Experts say that you should be able to give an enticing and accurate description of your business in the time it takes an elevator to get from top to bottom (or vice versa), thus maximizing your time with a captive audience. The reason is that many times we have opportunities to tell someone about what we do but only have a few seconds to do it. In this instance, you absolutely have to be prepared. So when you meet someone and they ask what you do for a living, just saying “I’m a dentist” or “I’m a dental assistant” will most likely not get them to run towards your office. But if you have a ten second or less elevator speech prepared and memorized, you may just pick up a few new patients along the way.
The elevator speech is similar to branding – it is essential to point out what is unique and exciting about your practice – and what makes you better than the competition. And of course even though it is memorized it should sound off the cuff. So please take a few minutes and think about your elevator speech. Be sure to include information that sets your practice apart from the pack and will pique someone’s interest. Then memorize it and repeat it until it sounds natural. Now imagine this scenario.
You are at the bank setting up a checking account with the bank vice president. When they ask you what you do for a living, instead of just saying “I’m a dentist,” you can now say: “I’m a dentist in Oak Brook – we’ve been there for fifteen years! We’re really careful about making sure our patients are extremely comfortable during their treatment. We do veneers, whitening and keep up to date on all types of cosmetic treatment – and we see regular families as well.” Or how about if you are in line at the grocery store and start chatting with the person behind you. When they ask what you do, instead of saying “I’m a dental assistant,” you can say: “I’m a dental assistant with Smiles On Main Street in Kansas City. It’s a great place – we use all of the latest technology like digital x-rays and lasers, but still have an old fashioned atmosphere that makes our patients comfortable.” Which will lead more towards a chance to hand out your card and turn a stranger into a new patient? And while these elevator speeches may seem a bit stiff in print, with a little practice yours will sound totally natural. Even though dentistry has its ups and downs, this is one simple thing you can do to take your practice to the top!

Does Your Branding Still Reflect Your Practice?

Does your branding reflect your practice?

The New Year is often a time for out with the old and in with the new – a time for change. What about your practice brand? Does it still reflect your practice as a whole?

Times change. If your brand does not reflect who you are and what your practice represents, you may be sabotaging any marketing efforts you attempt. For example, if you don’t like to treat children why would you have a smiling dinosaur with a giant toothbrush as your brand? Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the message you want to get across to potential new patients. What is your vision? Are you getting that across when you market your practice?

Big mistake.

Many dentists don’t think about their brand in all aspects of the practice. We hire a web designer to design our website, an interior designer to decorate our office, and someone completely different to print our marketing materials. Did you have any of them working around your brand or consulting with one another? Usually these things are done at different times and then you end up with inconsistencies which can be confusing to the patient. If they found you on your website and was attracted to what they saw, but the office interior gave a completely different vibe, that patient may become disappointed, disillusioned and perhaps not return for future appointments. You must have consistency.

Think.

We recommend you spend some time reflecting on how you want your practice to be perceived as a whole, then write everything down. This could be the big difference you have been envisioning but not achieving. When done correctly, marketing your brand can help bring your practice to the next level!

Consistent branding is the key to successful marketing in your dental practice. Perhaps 2012 is the time to make an overall change in your branding. Are you ready for big results? It’s time that you are the dentist in your area that everyone is talking about!

Call us today and “we can help you” go in the right direction! 1-888-88-MADOW

Lululemon Your Dental Office! (part two)

In part one we discussed how a brand new niche store called Lululemon is creating a tremendous buzz all across North America. We love buzzes and perhaps this is one that you should pay attention to. As a matter of fact, some of you wrote back to tell us that you purchased some Lululemon (LULU) stock after reading part one! Although we are not financial advisors and we do not give stock tips, you should definitely check the one-year graph of LULU to see what kind of a company this is!
 
Here are some ways you can turn YOUR dental office into a “Lululemon” office:

1. Create a niche! Lululemon is a niche store. They sell yoga apparel. What percent of the population do you think actually practices yoga? Pretty small, right? Walk into a Lululemon store and you would think that the entire world practices yoga! They have made it a fun place to hang out (just like our good friends at The Apple Store).
 
What could your niche be? There are tons of possibilities. How about ortho, sedation, implants, or cosmetics just to name a few? The point is to be known for something cool and be perceived as the best in your area! Your niche could actually be that you offer free wi-fi and you have a comfortable reception area with a place to use and charge computers for professionals! Be creative!

2. Don’t be so damn fee sensitive.  As we said in part one, Lululemon sells $64 t-shirts and they can’t keep them on the shelves. We love them and probably have at least ten of them between the two of us. They are not only comfortable, but they look cool and work equally well in yoga class as they do at the gym. They are actually quite good for travel as well!
 
If you have a great product, your patients will want it and will not quibble over a few dollars if they believe in you. Those of you that are overdue for a fee increase; can you think of a better time than now? What are you waiting for? This article just paid for itself (oh wait… it was free)!

3. Learn your patient’s names and use them often. As we have said for quite some time, there is no word that is more important to your patient’s ears than the sound of their own name.
 
Go into a Lululemon store and ask to try something on. Watch what happens! The attendant that is working the fitting rooms (yes they have people that ONLY work the dressing rooms) will learn your name and use it often. This creates an immediate bond and makes it more likely that you will buy something.

4. Have the best people in the most critical positions. As we said, Lululemon has some real dynamos working in the fitting room area. They are able to bond and to close a sale. Who in your office is talking to the patients about scheduling for treatment? Who is answering the phones making sure every caller has a great chance of becoming a patient? Do you have the best? Think about it.
 
If you live in an area that has a Lululemon store, your homework is to go there and study how they do things! Look around. Talk to the employees. Try something on (we are not to be held responsible if you buy a lot of stuff). This will be the best education you can get!
 
Look out for “Lululemon Your Dental Office” (part three) really soon!

More, More, MORE!

Some patients are short-sighted, greedy and selfish.

Extend yourself a little and they’ll want a lot.

Offer a free whitening case one week and they’re angry that it’s not available the next.

“The coffee in the reception area was not piping hot!”

The challenge of winning more than your fair share of the market is that the best available strategy–providing remarkable service and an honest human connection–will be abused by a few people you work with.

You have three choices: put up with the whiners, write off everyone, or, deliberately exclude the ungrateful curs.

Firing the patients you can’t possibly please gives you the bandwidth and resources to coddle the ones that truly deserve your attention and repay you with referrals, applause and loyalty.

Talk to you soon.

(Thanks to our friend Seth Godin.)

The Least You Can Do!

One way to think about running the most profitable dental practice is to figure out what the least you can do is, and just do that. That’s actually what many of the so-called “consultants” out there are teaching.

Spend more quality time with a patient? Heck no, get them out quickly in order to get to the next one. Send more staff to that great CE course? That’s a crazy idea! Way too expensive. Hot towels after an appointment? Come on now, that increases overhead. So does soft toilet paper in the restroom. Use the stuff that feels like sandpaper. Answering the phone in fewer rings… what’s the point? No sense being kind, looking people in the eye, being open or welcoming or grateful. That takes positive energy. Doing the least acceptable amount is the way to maximize short-term profit.

Of course, there’s a different strategy, a crazy alternative that seems to work: do the most you can do instead of the least.

Radically over-deliver.

Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique.

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Thanks to our friend Seth Godin!