Marketing is more than just communication and uk dental marketing is no different. It is about the products and services you offer your patients, how they are organised, how they are priced, and how they are consumed. Your marketing activities will generate interest but you need solid processes in place to convert that interest into a sale. How good are your staff at asking why patients are moving practice, or interested in tooth whitening? Getting staff to consistently follow effective processes is key to converting enquiries into sales.
If you hate selling, as most dentists do, then the trick is attracting motivated buyers; patients who are interested in switching to your dental practice or moving from NHS to private treatment. When you do this the conversation changes from promoting your services to helping people to buy. But why would people want to switch dental practices? Why would they be willing to spend more on non-essential treatments like tooth whitening? Without some kind of motivation, people generally tend to continue with the status quo. Your marketing effort should be to find a group of people who are not currently satisfied with their existing dentist and show them you can provide them what they are currently seeking.
For example, some people may be changing practice to save money. They are currently with a private practice and looking to switch to NHS. This may seem unattractive but it could just be a temporary thing to save money and they could be interested in some additional services over time. They could be looking for things that they are prepared to pay more for such as more convenient appointments, to be able to make appointments at short notice, a better quality of service, or perhaps even more comfortable surroundings. It is better to pick one or two buying motivations and focus your local marketing communication on those areas so you will gain the attention and attract the interest of patients who dissatisfied with their existing dentist and open to changing.
Understanding buying motivation not only makes your marketing messages more compelling but it also makes it easier to convert enquiries into appointments. You need to ask why they made the enquiry to discover their buying motivation and then focus your conversation around their buying motivation. For example, a patient who wants more convenient booking times may not be interested in how plush your waiting room is. Another patient looking to upgrade may be interested in all advanced equipment you have. Selling is as simple as finding out what people want and, if you are able to satisfy those wants, show them how they can get it.
We always encourage dental practices to take a step back from their business before investing in sales and marketing initiatives. There could be some things that need fixing first, such as getting a sales and marketing strategy together, or working on an anti-sales culture within a dental practice. Both important aspects of change and both things we can help ambitious dental practices with.
By Richard White, GetWise Marketing