Practice Promotion Defined

Most private dental practices are independently owned and operated. Every single business decision has to be made by the owner, usually the doctor.

 

Just for a second, let’s think about what that means. The doctor not only has to work IN his/her business (by seeing patients), he/she also has to spend time working ON his/her business (to stay in business). That’s pretty much like having TWO full time jobs. Take a look.

WORKING IN YOUR BUSINESS

Treating patients

Performing dentistry

Writing treatment notes

Overseeing team members

Returning/making patient calls

Speaking with specialists

Completing continuing education

Repairing equipment

Dealing with sales meetings

Communicating with labs

Meeting with the team

Reviewing reports

WORKING ON YOUR BUSINESS

Dealing with accounting/banking

Implementing marketing strategies

Arranging for various insurances

Negotiating with landlord

Paying bills

Networking with other professionals

Learning about new developments

Participating in dental associations

Reviewing reports

Creating efficient systems

As you can see, there are many things to take care of in a dental practice. Truthfully, there are probably 100 more things to add to each list. But let’s move on.

 

Let’s now put this into context.

 

Now, most dental offices aren’t like the store, Target. Target has corporate offices that handle things like marketing. The employees who work at your local Target store don’t have to worry about creating Target ads or commercials. They don’t have to even THINK about promoting their business. They have a department that takes care of all of that. Most dental offices don’t have a corporate office (unless of course, they ARE a corporate dental office) that takes care of advertising and promotion.

Most dental offices have to promote themselves for business. With all that the doctor/owner already has on his/her plate, practice promotion becomes the responsibility of EVERY team member.

Add Element

Before we go any further, I want to put this section into context for you.

 

I visited a local bakery once. The shop was clean and smelled like all kinds of deliciousness.

 

I scanned the menu quickly and then got in line. There was one undecided customer in front of me and a bored looking female behind the counter. The custom- er was talking with his friend about his choices, but was clearly having a hard time making up his mind.

After a minute or two, he gave the employee his order.

 

She took a cookie out of the case, boxed it up, and finished the transaction with very few words. I placed my order, shoved my cupcake in my mouth before I even got to my car, and started thinking about the service the female employee had just demonstrated. It didn’t sit well with me and, in fact, I thought about it for many days afterwards. That sweet bakery had left a sour taste in my mouth.

 

Here’s the thing. That counter employee did NOT realize what she REALLY should be doing for that business. Yes, she should have smiled more. Yes, she could have been friendlier. But there’s more. Her job REALLY should be MUCH more than just handing over orders and collecting the payments. So much

more. She missed out on SO much opportunity for that bakery. In other words, when the customer was not sure of what to order, she should have been making suggestions or offering samples. She could have mentioned specialty items or best selling items. She could have ended the transaction by mentioning that the bakery also bakes special order items for parties and events. She should have been a true advocate for that business-promoting the brand, the product, and the amazing baker.

 

Speaking of the baker. Let’s talk about her for a min- ute. The baker of this particular bakery was also the owner of that bakery. Where was the baker during that transaction with the undecided customer? She was in the kitchen of course, baking additional goods! It is not

practical for the baker/owner to be baking all day AND promoting the products to the customers out front. Do you see how it would be impossible to be in two places at once all day long?

 

Have you read the book, The E-Myth? This real life experience reminded me of that book. The E-Myth discusses working on verses in a business.

 

That bakery closed about six months after I visited.

It made me kind of sad because they had quality products, and it was a nice little shop. But those things aren’t enough. I can’t help but wonder if they would still be open if they had a team full of people who were promoting their products to every customer who walked in.

 

So what does this mean for dentistry? A dentist/own- er is often in the back making cookies doing crowns and it is impossible for the doctor to be in two places at once. A dental practice cannot survive unless the whole team is supporting the business by expressing value to patients and promoting services.

 

All this talk of baking is making me hungry for cake. Will you make a recommendation for me?