Cialdini’s Principle of Reciprocity for Dental Practices

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Patient Attraction Episode 1109

Dr. Robert Cialdini is the well-known author of the classic book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It hit the New York Times Best Seller List and it’s listed as one of Fortune’s 75 Smartest Business Books. Since its release in 1984, Cialdini’s book has sold over 3 million copies. I’m a great admirer of Cialdini’s work, and it’s partly responsible for how I think about the business of marketing. Over the next 6 podcasts, I’m going to show you how dentists can apply Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence to get more patients and sell more of your case solutions. Stay tuned.

– Thanks for watching the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I’m Colin Receveur.

– When it comes right down to it, marketing is the process of influencing people to take a certain course of action.

– In the case of dentists, the end goal of all your marketing is to influence people to book an appointment.

– Basically, it’s to get more butts in your chairs – because that’s how you make money.

– Robert Cialdini has done groundbreaking research into how influence works.

– He discovered 6 Principles of Influence, and he’s become famous around the world lecturing and teaching how to use these principles in business.

– Those principles are Reciprocity, Scarcity, Authority, Consistency, Liking, and Consensus.

– I’ll be talking about each of these, and how dentists can use them, over the next 6 podcasts.

– Today, let’s start with the principle of Reciprocity.

– Reciprocity is another way of saying “implied obligation.”

– Basically, if someone does something nice for us, we feel obliged to do something nice for them.

– You can see that principle in its simplest form when it comes to opening doors.

– Somebody holds the door for us, and we feel obliged to hold one for them.

– Or, someone picks up the check, and we feel obliged to reciprocate.

– We get a gift from a co-worker, and we feel like we should give them a gift at some point.

– Reciprocity is pretty much universal, although the details may vary by culture.

– And some people are self-centered or selfish enough to feel as if they don’t need to reciprocate.

– But you can pretty well count on the principle applying to almost every new patient you want to attract.

– The exchange doesn’t have to be identical.

– Patients generally reciprocate through loyalty to your practice, positive reviews, or word-of-mouth referrals.

– That difference in the type of reciprocity is something you can use in your marketing.

– Your state regulations may not allow you to offer something of financial value.

– But the right information to the right patient is always valuable.

– You can offer a free white paper, a research article that a layperson can understand, or a free e-book written by you, for instance.

– In exchange, you get their email addresses and an agreement to receive future communications from your practice.

– That’s the quid pro quo.

– And that allows you to send them additional information until they’re ready to choose you.

– However, that’s not the only way you can use the principle of Reciprocity.

– Small gifts to your patients once they’re in your practice are acceptable almost everywhere.

– Dental floss, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and related items in a nice gift bag are always appropriate.

– If you have print copies of your book, you can gift those.

– Of course, you won’t expect your patients to give you presents, and ethics guidelines would probably keep you from accepting them.

– In this case, reciprocity means a greater degree of loyalty to your practice.

– And the lifetime value of a patient is more than enough repayment.

– And sometimes, reciprocity brings higher case value to your practice.

– That’s what happened for Dr. Mitchel Friedman of Lincroft, New Jersey.

– He told us,  “Our case size was $2500 per new patient.

– “Since SmartBox, it has quickly grown to now $3100.” 

– Obviously, Dr. Friedman is very happy with what SmartBox has done and continues to do for his practice.

– Our industry-leading Patient Attraction System™ helps more than 550 dentists on 3 continents get more and better patients.

– If you’re serious about your success, I have a suggestion.

Visit and reserve your free Practice Discovery Session™.

– We reserve these free phone calls for serious dentists who want to see a Patient Attraction System™ that can double or even triple their practices.

– Like Dr. Friedman, you can get more and better patients.

– Join me for our next podcast.

– Until then, keep moving forward.