The Friday after Thanksgiving has come to be called “Black Friday” because of the deals and lines and crowds. You’ve undoubtedly seen the advertisements for super cheap this, deeply discounted that, and free whatevers and whathaveyous.
Judging by the lines, and the parking lots, those tactics work, too. Really well.
In fact, it’s reminiscent of an email another dental marketer sent out earlier this year. He told recipients that they could increase their patient base by simply adding the words “It’s Free” next to a consultation offer. He said it would even work if the offer already said, “Come get your complimentary consultation,” or something to that effect.
Just as we see on Black Friday, if you discount prices and give free offers, you will bring in more patients.
And that’s where you go wrong.
Because people who respond to discounts and free offers ARE NOT good long-term prospects. Who responds to discounts and free offers?
- People who are money-conscious.
- People who don’t have much disposable income.
- People whose first question when you suggest a treatment is going to be, “How much will this cost?”
- People whose next question is, “Can you give me a better price on that?”
Is this your target patient? Are these the kinds of patients you want filling your schedule?
Because that is who you are going to get since you have already proven you are flexible on price. Whether you’re a drill and fill practice or looking for the big cases, the ironclad rule is to market to the kind of patients you want. If you are marketing discounts and freebies, you are going to get patients who want discounts and freebies.
So when you recommend a denture, crown or implant, they are going shop for the cheapest provider.
And finally, is that what you want to be: the cheapest dentist in town? Do you want to work 10 hours a day six days a week to make any money?
Remember: Retailers generally have enough margin to discount their prices and still make a healthy profit based on sales volume during Black Friday’s madness. They’re operating the same store, whether brick-and-mortar or virtual, and only have the added expense of some extra employees for a few days.
Do you have that kind of margin with your services and products? Do you have the extra help? If not, how much, and for how long, can you discount and still expect to remain healthy – physically and financially?
Basically, when you routinely offer discounts, you’re slashing your profit margin and have to make it up in volume. That means more and more hours of work for you, but not necessarily any more money.
If you’re engaged in a “race to the bottom” with your competitors, and you’re good with that, this isn’t the blog for you. This blog is for dentists who want more patients, more profits and more freedom.
If you think that offering discounts and freebies is the only way to put butts in chairs, I’d respectfully suggest that you haven’t read enough of this blog.