Cialdini’s Principle of Scarcity for Dental Practices

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Patient Attraction Episode 1110

Welcome to day 2 of how dentists can use Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion to attract more new patients and keep the ones they have. In this podcast and the 4 podcasts to follow, I’ll be looking at one of the principles each time. If you’re not familiar with Cialdini’s work, I highly recommend it. Everything he’s written about so extensively directly applies to your marketing efforts. I’ll be back after the break to tell you about his principle of Scarcity.

– I’m Colin Receveur, CEO of SmartBox.

– Thanks for watching the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I’ve been an admirer of Cialdini’s work for a long time, particularly his Principles of Persuasion.

– The principles themselves are universal, although there are some wrinkles in exactly how they play out in different cultures.

– Today, I’m talking about his principle of Scarcity.

– Scarcity is pretty straightforward.

– If there are only a few of something, or if something’s available for a limited time only, people are more likely to want it.

– They don’t want to miss out on savings, or acquiring something.

– You see this all the time in advertising.

– “Limited time only!” “Sales ends Wednesday!” “This weekend only!”

– Or, “Only 25 left in stock! Don’t miss your chance to SAVE!”

– Or, “Available to the first 50 customers only!”

– And even though this advertising scarcity is almost always artificial, people are still persuaded by it.

– Not everyone, but advertisers don’t need everyone.

– They need enough people to respond, and generally enough people do.

– There are 2 limiting factors when it comes to using Scarcity.

– The first is that you can’t use it for too long a time or too often.

– People catch on to the fact that savings aren’t time-limited.

– Or that there really are a lot more than 25 left in stock.

– Unless they’re seeing the ad or offer for the first time, they’ll no longer respond.

– So time- or quantity-limited Scarcity is something to use carefully and with a planned timetable.

– The second limiting factor is that it has to be something people will want.

– Here’s a silly example just to make the point.

– You can try pushing a limited time offer on used motor oil, but you’re not going to get many takers, if any.

– There’s nothing desirable about used motor oil.

– Now, you’re probably wondering how this principle applies to dentists.

– After all, you’re not selling bouncy castles or hand vacuums.

– Let’s start with time-limited offers.

– What you are selling is dental treatment.

– Think about what treatment in a general practice usually focuses on: cleanings, exams, X-rays, whitening, minor restorations, and minor cosmetic dentistry treatments.

– If your state regulations allow, you could discount some or all of those things.

– Maybe you already do … and so do your competitors.

– That’s a price war that you’ll need really deep pockets to win.

– But there’s another way to use Scarcity, and that’s to offer an enhanced service for a limited time.

– If your exams don’t usually include oral cancer screening, add that as a free feature.

– But add it only for the next 20 or 30 new patients who make an appointment.

– Again, if you’re allowed to, offer one time-limited, in-house whitening session.

– Or a free trial of a take-home whitening program.

– Or a free computer simulation of the end result of cosmetic dental work.

– Maybe schedule an extra half day once or twice a month and advertise limited availability.

– But don’t try offering a root canal special.

– That’s something people need but wish they didn’t.

– It’s not something people want.

– Using Cialdini’s principle of Scarcity in marketing your practice is limited by your state regulations, by the services you offer, and by your imagination.

– But you must understand what your prospects will value, and focus on providing those things … for a limited time, or to the next however many new patients.

– There is one other way to use Scarcity.

– You can establish yourself as the best and only logical choice to solve your prospects’ dental problems.

– You can position yourself as the trusted, relatable dental expert.

– There’s only one of you, so that’s automatic scarcity.

– And the time-limiting factor is appointment availability.

– In essence, that’s what SmartBox’s industry-leading Patient Attraction System™ accomplishes for more than 550 dentists on 3 continents.

– SmartBox dentists get more and better new patients.

– If you’d like to see a Patient Attraction System™ that can double or even triple your practice, here’s what you should do.

– Visit and reserve your free Practice Discovery Session™.

– It’s a small investment of your time that can pay big dividends.

– You can get more patients, more profits, and more freedom.

– Join me for our next podcast, when I’ll discuss the principle of Authority for dentists.

– Until then, keep moving forward.