Anyone who has seen an around-the-block line-up outside an Apple store in anticipation of a new product release has to admit that this is a company that has done a phenomenal job of creating value.
How do you compete with a company like that for consumer mindshare? And make no mistake - you are competing against them. When you are trying to get a patient to see the value behind a comprehensive restorative treatment plan, your competition is not the dentist down the block; it’s the new iPhone on the patient's wish-list (among other things).
You Can Change Your Patient's Life
So as a competition for mindshare, it may seem like a colossal mismatch. After all, Apple has the appealing products and unlimited resources to create a cultural movement on a huge scale. But you have an advantage too: the ability to create meaningful change in people’s lives on an individual human scale.
This is a considerable competitive advantage, and it’s one that a competitor like Apple can only try to replicate in surface-level ways. As much as they work on tracking purchases and preferences to get to know their customers, they will never have the powerful mindshare-building advantage you have: the ability to build one-on-one personal relationships over time.
You and your team members get to see each patient face to face in an intimate setting for prolonged periods. You get to hear about their lives - their family, their jobs, their fears and aspirations. If you are paying attention, you can get a real sense of what drives their choices, and if you are smart about addressing those motivators, you can develop a relationship of trust and get them to a place to where they are ready to choose the best care.
So it is not a question of whether you are collecting intelligence on your patients - you are, just by virtue of talking and listening to these people who come through your doors. The question then becomes, how effectively are you using that intelligence to help you get the patient to a better place in their appreciation for great dentistry?
This is why I recommend this exercise: take one patient a day and go deep. Huddle with your team and select someone from the day’s schedule who has untreated possibilities and strategize together based on what you all know about this person. What motivates this patient? Does this patient have roadblocks? What have we tried with this patient before? What haven’t we tried? How should we approach the conversation with them based on what we know? Who should be leading that conversation with this patient?
This is how you get full value from your most important competitive advantage. You’re never going to have the resources or capacity to dominate a marketplace, but you do have the intelligence at your disposal to really connect with the patient in front of you. That’s your not-so-secret weapon in the battle for mindshare.
(Click this link to learn more about dental practice management from Imtiaz Manji.)