I hope you’re enjoying the series of blogs about Dr. Robert Cialdini’s six key principles of persuasion, and I hope the one today won’t turn you off…
Because I’m about to be very blunt: patients don’t have to come to you.
Let me change that up a little bit: patients don’t have to come to YOU. They don’t have to go to any individual dentist, really. Or a doctor, grocery store, car dealer or any other service provider, for that matter.
People have choices, and you
should must give them reasons to choose you over your competitors.
That is why we are looking at the topic of persuasion. Just for your review, here are the six principles again:
- Reciprocation: People feel obligated to give to those who give to them.
- Liking: People prefer to say yes when they know and like someone.
- Consensus: People decide what to do based on what other people like themselves do.
- Authority: People want to follow the advice of experts.
- Consistency: People want to follow through on their written and verbal commitments.
- Scarcity: People want what they perceive to be in short supply.
Authority is the one I find to be most applicable to dentists.
As Dr. Cialdini said in his recent webinar and his book, people want to follow the advice of experts, not just people in charge.
Think of it this way: if you were renovating a house and the wanted to take out a wall, but the builder told you it was load-bearing and not a good idea, would you do it anyway? Some people would, but most would take the advice of an expert.
In fact, most would seek out the advice of an expert.
That is what your patients do.
Research shows us that every year the number of potential patients who choose a dentist by searching online increases exponentially. As you think about how you market yourself, are you telling patients they should choose you because you are AN authority (therefore the most logical choice), or because you are IN authority (so they should use you because you are in practice)?
Are you the only choice available?
Unless you are in a very small market (probably not), acting like you are in authority is leaving you out in the cold with some potential patients. But you can still look like the obvious choice if you change your perspective.
We encourage our clients to produce “advertising lures” that show their expertise: electronic and paper books, reports, DVDs and videos, and webinars and seminars.
When your name comes up in a web search related for the niches you want to focus on, you have literally written the book on the subject. Especially when you compare that to your competitors who at best have a cookie-cutter website.
The best business practice is to let your results and knowledge speak for themselves (by putting them out there for your potential patients to see).
Feel free to give feedback with your perspective about being an authority vs. in authority.
Next time we will look at the fifth principle of persuasion: consistency.