Motivate the Patients, not the Dentist
By: Fernando Diaz-Lundstedt
In general, most consultants have a tendency to put the pressure on you -- the dentist. They try to make growing the business your responsibility when it really belongs to the marketing function inside the business.
The hard truth is that even the fanciest piece of equipment won't earn you a dime unless you have a steady flow of patients to use it on. And while it certainly pays to know more about the fundamentals of running a business, in and of themselves those fundamentals won't cause new patients to walk through your door.
The single most important element in building a strong dental practice is having an adequate supply of motivated new patients. And that results from an ongoing marketing effort that communicates the value of your dental services to your target market, not from a new piece of equipment or an educational program.
Attracting the Right Patients
In the dental industry, the real profits are made in the high-margin elective procedures. Depending on the procedure, as much as 70% of the fee goes directly to your bottom line. Cleaning and restorative work may pay the bills, but elective procedures bring in the money that goes into your pocket.
Therefore, the secret to growing a successful dental practices lies in attracting a steady flow of "motivated" patients who:
- Are willing to listen to a professional case presentation
- Have more disposable income than the average patient
- Might be interested in some elective services
The Ultimate Goal
An important goal for any business is achieving what marketers call "top of mind awareness" with their customers and prospects. Top of mind means that when people think of your service category, they think of you first.
Top of mind awareness is especially critical for professional service firms because the buying cycle often takes a long time. Many people postpone or delay even the most basic of dental services, and we've already noted that elective patients like to conduct research before deciding to buy.
Presenting your marketing message in a consistent manner gradually builds awareness in the minds of your target market. When they decide the time has come to purchase dental services, chances are they will think of you first and give you a call.
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