The problem with chasing is that someone has to be trying to get away. Is that really what you want to spend your time, energy and money doing: chasing after prospects who are not trying to be caught?
If you are not marketing to a target audience, this is exactly what you are doing. What you want to do is be in position to catch the prospects who want to be caught.
Here are three ways to start attracting the dental patients YOU want instead of chasing them:
- Ask yourself what are the two or three key things that make you stand out?
Start with what I wrote about in the previous blog: differentiation.Then look at what you can do better or differently than anyone else in your marketplace.
- Find what you can offer that is valuable to the prospects you want BEFORE they make an appointment with you.
This goes back to the Robert Cialdini idea of reciprocation we talked about earlier this year. When you give someone something of value, they feel indebted to you.
At SmartBox, we encourage our clients to offer reports and books about solutions to people’s dental needs. This not only gives prospective patients something of value, but establishes the dentist as an expert (another Cialdini principle, authority).
- Decide where you want to go. What is your endgame? What kind of practice are you looking for, and what does it take to get there?
This will determine the patients you are trying to attract (the focus of a future blog). How can you make a plan to GET the practice you want if you don’t first know the kind of practice you want?
As with most things, the devil is in the details. Once you decide these three points, then you have to implement the best strategies to start attracting the patients YOU want.
Dominating Your Niche
Here is a very specific method for doing so: Many dentists have successfully emphasized a skill, training, piece of equipment or technique so potential patients feel that they clearly are the expert in that area.
Here are three ways to accomplish it:
First, it helps if you really are better trained, more accomplished, better accredited, or the first to do a procedure or own the only piece of equipment in an area. These are obvious selling points that will attract patients.
Short of those advantages, being first to emphasize a niche will you establish your credibility on a procedure or technique. If you are the first dentist in your town to advertise and market a sleep apnea appliance, every competitor that follows is forced into a “me too” position.
Even if you aren’t first to market or advertise a procedure, you can still position yourself as the expert in a niche.
Here are techniques that we encourage all of our clients to use: write a book, reports or blogs on that niche; be interviewed by local media as a leader in that niche; give free seminars and speak to community groups on that niche.
In short, if you outwork your competition to link your name with that niche, potential patients will see you as the expert in that niche.
So you put in the work, but what do you get out of it? Here are three benefits of dominating a niche:
- You can command higher fees than your competitors.
- You can eliminate competitors, which will further increase your niche domination.
- You satisfy customers who appreciate you, the expert, being their dentist.
Be prepared, however, for the pushback you may get for dominating your niche.
There was a dentist who spent a lot of time, effort and money getting accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
That is no small feat as it takes a lot of time and many who try do not pass the accreditation process.
But this dentist had passed and was advertising himself as the first dentist in his state to do so. His state board of dentistry told him he had to stop advertising his accreditation because it made it look like he had more training than other dentists.
The thing is, HE DID HAVE MORE TRAINING THAN OTHER DENTISTS!!!!!
So he refused to stop using the statement and consulted his attorney. His attorney told him the board could not enforce such an unconstitutional (in his state) mandate and would never take him to court.
And it never did.
Of course, this is not a legal blog and this is not legal advice. But some of you live in states with these kinds of outlandish restrictions. So if you are going to try to dominate a niche with your expertise, know what your state regulations are and know how far you are willing to test them.
Should you want to go this route, consult your own legal adviser to find out exactly what you can and can’t do.