Here’s a formula to go out of business.
We had a great hamburger restaurant in the neighborhood for years — mouthwatering burgers, an enormously diversified salad bar, cold beer on tap, and all at reasonable prices. They thrived.
Then the owners of the franchise decided to buy out the franchiser.
The first time we went for dinner under the “new ownership,” we hardly noticed anything different…until… the prices were increased by 20% without a change in the quality… and we now had to pay for the same salad bar that we used to get for free.
I told my wife that I was never coming back and would be surprised if they lasted 6 months.
They lasted three…there’s a For Sale sign up now.
What’s the lesson?
There are actually a few lessons. And I know you have similar stories to tell…I see it all the time.
I’m an average Joe…I just walked out without saying anything, never to return. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in your practice…but patients and customers rarely tell us when they are unhappy.
They just leave.
But the big lesson is one of Marketing’s Big Principles — Everything is Marketing.
Do you market your practice?
Of course you do, depending how you define marketing. For me it’s the creation and maintaining of the relationships with your patients…it’s a process by which we make impressions and create perceptions.
Marketing is every communication, every message, every image.
Anything that sends a message has a consequence…positive or negative in the minds of our patients.
Here’s a short list:
- how you look
- how you operate
- how you price
- how you answer the phone
- your website
- your clean operatory, and bathrooms
- your uniforms
- your signage
- your photography
- your language (scripting)
- your mindset (yes…you can’t hide it).
Dentists are being taught to sell.
Selling is transaction based. It is a mindset that is hurting the profession. The marketing mindset is one that understands that we want to create patients for life. Selling dentistry has its place and like advertising it is just a small piece of the larger marketing puzzle. By making continual positive impressions on our patients, we become “their dentist.”
For those of you who are familiar withL.D. Pankey’s Ladder of Competency, he described the dental community as 54% apathetic or indifferent. Indifference really shows up in every communication.
Someone once said, “You cannot not communicate.” Similarly, you cannot not market.
That’s the lesson…everything is marketing.
And the hamburger joint that went out of business? What message did they send to me?
I would like to hear your comments…dig deep, because the answer will reveal just how serious these communications really are.
Look for more Marketing 101 Principles.