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Why Do Patients Choose You?

Issue: Spring 2011

People have many choices when it comes to dental health care. Why does someone choose one dentist over another? How can you help them choose your practice?

To understand this, let’s examine how we make choices in the first place. Our perceptions dictate our actions. This means that how a potential patient perceives your practice will dictate any actions they take in accordance with your practice. If they perceive you as a better alternative then the competition, they will choose you; if they don’t, they will choose someone else. It is therefore critical to convey the right information about your practice to create the correct perceptions. So how can we do this?

If they perceive you as a better alternative then the competition, they will choose you; if they don’t, they will choose someone else.

Let’s look at how the average patient perceives dental practices in the first place. Currently, to most patients, dentists are all perceived to be the same. It doesn’t matter if they choose one dentist over the next because they feel they will basically get the same results. From a clinical standpoint, it is very difficult for the average patient to tell the difference between you and the next dentist. They really do not know if the filling in their mouth is of the highest quality or something less. From an experiential standpoint however, every dentist is, and will be perceived differently. This is true because every practice has different personalities, priorities, values, and aesthetics. This is why most patients determine their loyalty to a practice based on the experience they have while in the practice.

This means that when conveying a message to potential patients, you should focus on the unique experience you provide in your practice, which should also reflect your strengths. Creating a message based on the experiences and strengths unique to your practice allows potential patients to more quickly relate to you; understand why your different; and decide if you are the right type of practice for them.

There are other important benefits to advertising the unique strengths of your practice. Great messaging acts as a filter to bring in the ideal patient for your practice. Great messaging means that you are most likely attracting those patients who want your unique experience and, as a practice, you are able to better meet the expectations of your patients because they are based on your strengths. Keep in mind that your marketing sets expectations and how well you meet those expectations will determine the level of happiness of your patients. Only happy patients will give referrals. You can see that the way you set expectations and tell your story with your initial marketing efforts will ultimately determine the effectiveness of your referral program.

Let’s summarize:

  1. Define who you are. Understand your true strengths and build a messaging strategy around them.
  2. Deliver an external message that reflects your core strengths and sets correct expectations.
  3. Ensure that internally you are constantly striving to exceed the expectations you set with your external marketing efforts.

For more information, or to build an effective strategy for your practice, contact Dental Branding at 866-375-5511 or at www.dentalbranding.com.

Douglas Sligting is the president of Dental Branding. He and his company work with dentists throughout the country, delivering smart, strategic marketing solutions that help them attract ideal patients and reach their growth goals.