In preparation for an upcoming presentation that we are giving to a dental study club next week, I have put in a lot of time and effort into creating a good presentation (this blog post is part of that preparation) that will truly provide value to dental offices.

Three weeks ago I spoke with a dentist about this presentation, and he told me that he thinks all dentists are analytical people, and they like raw data and numbers. He recommended that I present information to them on statistics, and conversion rates and all of that technical stuff.

Immediately, I did a google search to compose a list of dentists and their contact info so that we could reach out to them and gather real data through a short survey. The idea being that their answers could be used to create some statistics that would help us better understand dentists, and help dentists better understand their market.

After about 10 hours of calling dentists on the phone and getting turned down by a lot of them (probably because they thought we were telemarketers), we finally got about 15 responses. Now, if I remember anything from my statistics class — I controversially got a B in it, but that is a story for another time 😉 — in college, 15 responses does not provide you with a very good confidence interval. Regardless, it did provide some interesting indicators:

64% of dentists that responded said that their largest source for new clients is referrals.

64% of dentists also said that they do no have a marketing budget.

If you are getting most of your customers from referrals that means two things:

  1. you run a good, honest clinic, and you treat your customers justly.
  2. It also probably means that you do not have a marketing plan. Which is exactly what the results from the poll that we took show.

Now if we were to compare your practice to managing a professional basketball team…

When you are building a sports franchise there are lots of pieces to the puzzle. First of all, you can do pretty well in any business if you rely solely on referrals, IF you have the other aspects in place. In order to continue to grow your fan base, you can’t stop practicing and switch all of you your attention to advertising. You can’t spend all the money in the budget on billboards and signage and not save any money to buy uniforms or pay the electricity bill.

They fact of the matter is that there are lots of aspects to growing a franchise (or in the dentists case a practice). You need to have a solid coaching staff, you need to run good practices and have great game plans. But, it is important that you realize that there are ways to market and promote yourself without being annoying to potential fans or buy breaking the bank.

As I am writing this sports team analogy I am starting to like it more and more. I think it is really fun to think about things using analogies. The only difficulty is that we have to always make sure that we don’t get too carried away with analogies and remember that we always have to come back to reality and check-in to make sure we are still in the same universe. That being said, I think that I really like the idea of dentist offices operating their practice as if they were the GM of a sports team.

As a business it is important to realize that EVERY single interaction a client has with you is an opportunity to build trust and credibility with a potential customer.

There is another aspect of marketing that is important to consider. Marketing is not only about telling new patients about your office, it is also about providing value to your current clients. What are you doing for your current patients? What are you doing for your staff? More on these questions later.