Every year, during the first Saturday in May, The Kentucky Derby trots into town and turns Louisville into a crazy town for a few days. If you’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby, I have to tell you, it’s quite an experience. It’s something everyone should do… once. It’s pretty much a full day event, and it’s really a great time.
But as the years go by, I’m realizing that during that weekend, I shouldn’t be within hundreds of miles of that place. Over the years, I’ve realized that the smartest thing to do when the Kentucky Derby comes to town is to … get out of town!
And in this post, I’m going to tell you the story of one of those years. And I’m going to explain why what I learned on that trip is so important when it comes to attracting patients online.
So let’s turn back the clock and get the story started…
On this particular year, I really was thankful that I managed to get out in time. Because the airport was so full with incoming (private) jets, the runway looked like some highway in rush hour traffic in the middle of Los Angeles.
As I sat there looking at all of the people coming into town while I was trying to get out of town, it occurred to me that this is a lot like what dentists do all over the country when they go out and try to attract patients online. Let me explain what I mean, because if you really get this, this one shift in thinking alone could do a lot for the future success of your practice.
Let’s say, for example, I invite 500 dentists from all over the country to an event full of people with serious dental issues. The people are sitting down on floor level and the dentists are all lined up on a platform on the stage. All of us are in the room to play a rousing round of “pick the right dentist for you.”
The attendees are invited to look at the huge group of dentists and pick out the right one for their needs.
The rules are simple: no dentist can utter a word, no attendee can ask a question. All the attendee has to go on is the appearance of the dentist. Oh, and the final rule is that whichever dentist each prospect chooses as the “right” one for them is the one that will do the work to resolve their dental issues.
Sitting back in the audience, it wouldn’t take long for the poor prospects to realize that this game wasn’t going to be so easy. After all, everyone basically looks the same. Everyone is wearing a suit. Everyone is smiling. Everyone “looks” like a normal dentist. The patient’s decision is not without risk. The worst part is, if a prospect chooses wrong, they might get some dentist who really doesn’t know what he is doing. Or maybe he’s got an attitude.
Now you might think all of that is a bit silly. And sure, it is silly… but it’s basically true. Because this is exactly what your prospective patients see online when they start searching for a dentist to help them.
They jump into the pool and almost drown in a sea of sameness. Everyone looks alike, everyone speaks the same, everyone appears to be a normal dentist.
But you and I both know, not all dentists are created equal.
What I saw that night leaving town before the Kentucky Derby was a long, long line of private jets coming into town. Apart from very slight variations, they pretty much all looked the same.
You know what would have stuck out on that runway? Sure, you could have painted one of those jets another color, or put some fancy markings on it or something. But the thing that would have immediately stuck out was if one of those planes was going the opposite way.
You Can’t Just Say You’re Different Because No One Believes You!
The secret isn’t in what you say, the real secret to standing out is in what you do. It’s in the behavior you exhibit and what you do to attract patients. If you do what every other dentist in your area is doing, it’s going to be a mad dash to the bottom as the only way to get attention is to yell louder than anyone else is yelling.
The only way to break through the noise is to do things that others aren’t doing on a very consistent basis. Over time, this “difference” gets noticed. It gets you the attention you need to have a chance at attracting a qualified patient.
The secret is to develop a system that demonstrates you are different over time. Demonstration is very different than simply saying something. Demonstration “says” something without those words ever having to come out of your mouth!
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m all about dentists having a patient attraction system that works. That idea isn’t what the vast majority of dentists are doing, and for good reason: it takes commitment to long-term gains, rather than the gratification of one good month.
If you want to get what other dentists are getting, then do what they do. If you want more and better patients, more freedom to do what you love, then you need to stand out from the crowd by going the other way.