Two key principles that determine how and why people make buying decisions.
Principle #1: Perceptions Dictate Actions
All the choices we make are determined by our perceptions. When you look at both the quantity and the quality of your patient base, it is always a direct result of the perceptions you create. I have seen many examples of practices in the same community where one practice is struggling to attract patients while another is overflowing with new patients. Or one practice has an average per patient value of $325 and their neighbor has an average per patient value of $750. The most important question to ask as you look at your patient base is: “Why are my patients choosing my practice?” Most practices get too focused on “if” patients are choosing and don’t consider the “why.”
Would you rather have someone choose you because you are on the insurance list or because your customer service is excellent? Would you rather have someone choose you because you’re running a special or because of your dedication to excellence? Which type of decision is more likely to lead to a long-term relationship? Many dentists today believe that patients only care about insurance and price. It is short-sighted to believe that there aren’t a high number of patients that select their dentist based on a perceived relationship.
Principle #2: Repeated Exposure Builds Trust
To understand this principle, imagine receiving two postcards in the mail for a service that you are considering. Let’s say it’s for some plumbing services (although it could be for any service-related company). The first postcard is for a plumber you’ve never heard of. The second postcard is for a plumber that you have seen around town for a few years. They sponsor your kids’ soccer team, run an ad at the local movie theater, and have had a consistent marketing presence. Which one do you think you would likely call? The one you’ve never heard of or the one you feel familiar with? People tend to have a higher level of trust in products or services they feel more familiar with.
The rule of thumb in dental marketing is that it generally takes 5 to7 touches before a potential patient takes action. The more frequently we market and the broader the reach of our marketing efforts, the more likely it is you’ll see results.
Most practices get too focused on ‘if’ patients are choosing my practice and don’t consider the ‘why.’
Brand Consistency is the key.
If you agree with the two principles above, then it becomes easy to see why a consistent brand is critical. Keep in mind that your brand is literally how you are perceived. Every point of interaction you have with your patient base and potential patient base will determine how you are perceived and, therefore, your brand. This applies to all of your advertising, your website, your online marketing, and everything internally as well. If you aren’t consistent in how you tell your story, your patients and potential patients won’t connect the dots. Additionally, if you don’t tell a powerful and differentiating story, then “why” they choose you may be for the wrong reasons. As you consistently tell a compelling story that helps people immediately see why you are different and the better choice, you build a brand within your community. A well-branded practice will yield better results in their marketing, generate higher quality patients, and ultimately have control over their growth and confidence in their future.
You can access Dental Branding Services through Forward by Henry Schein.
About the Author: Douglas Sligting is the founder and CEO of Dental Branding. Doug’s singular vision is to help dentists thrive in today’s evolving dental industry by focusing on long-term, strategic practice marketing. His company, Dental Branding, is the antidote to status quo dental marketing, which has failed the dental industry. He believes in creating and controlling perceptions to attract a better quantity and quality of patient. He believes in correctly executing efficient and effective marketing systems to ensure the maximum return on investment in a way that is sustainable and predictable. In short, his method is different than how you’re currently marketing your practice and that’s a good thing.