Alphabet Soup Doesn’t Attract New Patients

If you’re one of those dentists who feels the need to put a string of letters after his name giving your credentials, you may be hurting your practice by doing so. As hard as this may be to read, potential patients just don’t care about your bona fides.

That’s right. They’re not attracted to “alphabet soup.”

Congratulations if you have achieved continuing education certifications. It takes a lot of hard work and time, and you should be proud of yourself.

But do yourself a favor and stop putting initials from each of those organizations or recognitions after your name when reaching out to potential patients. You know the only initials that matter to potential patients: D and R.

That’s right, doctor.

The average person has no idea of the difference even between DDS and DMD. What makes you think any assortment of letters after your name increases your credibility?

This is a perfect example of dentists marketing for other dentists. Unless you are trying to reach all the dentists in your community to do their dental work, putting a string of letters behind your name is falling on blind eyes.

So what, you might ask, is the problem with putting them there?

The problem is that it by putting them there, you THINK you are establishing credibility with patients and don’t do the things that really establish credibility. So instead of advertising that you recently completed a rigorous process that includes continuing education for the rest of your professional life, you simple put “AACD” after you name.

As if patients know what AACD is or will bother to look it up!

A string of letters just isn’t a substitute for focusing on your potential patients’ wants and needs.

Now let’s be clear: no one is saying you should not attend CE or seek advanced certifications. Quite the contrary: the more credentials you have, the more marketable you are.

But stop relying letters after your name to tell the story of your qualifications. It’s not that easy. You have to tell the BENEFITS of those letters to prospective patients.How can you serve them BETTER than someone without that training? HOW are you better qualified to address THEIR needs?  

That’s what you have to answer. Otherwise those prospective patients could choose a less-qualified dentist and not even realize it. And once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Here is one final thought: some dentists seem to think that because they have LVI or any other combination of letters after their name that they are entitled to more patients than the kid who just graduated dental school down the street.

To be blunt: You may be more qualified, but you aren’t entitled to any more patients. You’ll get as many patients as you earn.

And if that kid down the street is out promoting himself and explaining to potential patients how his credentials benefit them, while you count on a row of letters after your name to do it for you, your qualifications won’t do you one bit of good.