Time for a little homespun wisdom: If you hear a train coming, get off the tracks!
Heartland Dental is the train, and whether you know it or not, your dental practice is squarely on the tracks.
According to a September 4th news release from Heartland, the company supports more than 850 dental offices and 1300 dentists in 35 states. It’s added 47 new offices between January and August of this year.
If you’re committed to running your own practice and calling your own shots, the math is not on your side. Extrapolating from the numbers given, Heartland may add as many as 60 new offices this year. And maybe more next year, and the next.
A Gathering Of Giants
Heartland Dental is just one of the many dental service organizations (DSO) in operation. More and more practices are signing up for the convenience and economies of scale that come with DSO membership. It’s tough to compete with dental practices that can out-advertise you and undercut you on price and availability.
You can probably stay in business, but it won’t be easy or pretty. The odds are that you’ll work far too hard for far too long for not enough money.
That’s the train that’s coming down the tracks that your practice is sitting on.
Here’s some advice: get off the tracks!
A Train Can’t Hit You If You’re Not In The Way
You don’t have to compete with DSOs or corporate dentistry. As Dr. Michael Abernathy, the founder of Summit Practice Solutions, wrote, “If you know what you’re doing, the corporate dentistry marketing machine has an enormous weakness it can never overcome.”
There’s a large segment of virtually every market that’s composed of people who don’t want what they’re selling – low price. The chains have to sell on low price because they’re short on a couple of other vital things – trust, and relationship.
People who have money to pay for better, or even the best, aren’t looking to save a few bucks. They can afford to be picky about who they work with. They’re looking for providers who they feel good about, who they like and trust.
You need to be that dentist. Here’s how you go about that.
Get The Word Out, And Keep It There
You can position yourself as the dentist of choice for the prospects in your market who wouldn’t be caught dead in a chain dental practice. It’s a big lift to accomplish that, but if you have the skills and the time, it’s doable.
Here’s what it takes: you need to revamp almost every aspect of your marketing. Your website has to be about your prospects and the solutions to their dental problems. It has to communicate that you understand their fears, their embarrassment, and their hopes. It has to convey why you are the only logical choice to solve their dental issues.
And then you have to revamp the rest of your marketing to convey and support that same message.
Once you’ve done that, you’ve got to keep doing it. The internet may be “forever,” but marketing has a “sell-by” date. Nobody cares what you were like four years ago; they want to know what you’re like now.
If you can pull it off, here’s what you can expect: over time, you’ll get steadily increasing numbers of patients with the ability and willingness to pay more for your services. With those higher-value patients, you’ll be able to work less, earn more, and enjoy life again.
And you can practice the dentistry you want on your terms.
Let SmartBox Do It For You
It’s possible, but incredibly difficult, for a busy dental practice to accomplish the process described above. If you’d rather focus on actually doing the dentistry, reserve your complimentary, no-obligation Roadmap call. It’s an investment of your time, about equal to what it takes you to place a single crown or dental implant.
Let’s explore what’s possible for your practice. Following the call, we’ll send you your customized Roadmap. It’s a guide to your practice’s success that you’re free to use however you want.
Let the corporate train go by. You won’t be on the tracks, so you’ll have nothing to worry about.