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If you’re a growth-minded dentist, whether in a single location or looking to open other practices, these are “the best of times, the worst of times.”
It’s a great time to grow because the demand for dental services currently exceeds the supply in many markets. It’s the worst of times because that demand is fueled by full employment in the U.S., with workers using their dental insurance to receive routine dental care and some restorative work.
But one thing history teaches is that every period of economic growth is followed by a contraction. Hiring new staff, or even acquiring or building new facilities, to meet current becomes a liability when demand drops – and that will happen to many other businesses and dental practices alike. Your current prospect pool will inevitably shrink as workers are laid off… which means that you may need to downsize your staff as well.
No small business owner likes the idea of having to lay off or terminate loyal employees.
So if you want to grow, but also want to minimize the risks, how do you do that? The answer is to focus your marketing on the more constant segment of your patient base.
Your Better Patients Are Always There
There’s a significant segment of your market – some 30 percent or more of prospects in many areas – that has the ability and willingness to pay for elective procedures like cosmetic dentistry, implants, and full-mouth reconstruction. These big-ticket cases always out there in your market, even though you might not often see them in your practice.
There’s a good reason why you’re not getting those better patients, and it’s almost certainly your marketing. People who are able to pay for elective procedures can afford to be very selective about the dentist who will actually do the work, and they’ll take their time coming to a decision
The traditional dental marketing approach is largely price-driven, which isn’t much of a concern for better patients. They’re interested in less tangible things which are difficult to convey in a newspaper ad, radio spot, or direct mail piece.
Attract, Don’t Chase
Your marketing needs to help better patients convince themselves that you are the approachable, relatable, and trustworthy dental expert for them. To accomplish that, you have to stand out from the great mass of dentists in ways other than low price.
Every aspect of your marketing has to focus on providing the solutions to prospects’ dental problems and the benefits to them of choosing you. Too many dentists make their marketing about themselves and their practices – what’s referred to as a “we-we” problem. We’re great at this, we offer this, and so on.
You might have the best hands in the business, but your prospects don’t care about that any more than they care about your postdoc training or publications. They want to know that your efforts will improve their lives by allowing them to be free of pain, to smile confidently, or to eat the foods they love again. And they’ll rely on social proof – the written and video patient testimonials that every dentist must have these days – to help them convince themselves.
There’s a great deal more that goes into attracting the better patients who will fuel your growth and safeguard your livelihood in the event of an economic downturn. Frankly, the combination of skills, effort, and time required is beyond the capabilities of almost all busy dental practices.
However, SmartBox is the company that pioneered the process of attracting dental patients, and we continue to lead the industry. You can see what our Patient Attraction System® can do for your practice when you reserve your complimentary Patient Attraction Roadmap™ to use however you like.
If you’re serious about growth, you need to get serious about attracting the right patients. SmartBox will handle that for you.