“I don’t do marketing because I don’t like that hard sell!”
This is a genuine quote that was given to me recently when someone I know was talking to a dentist about what I do, I explaining that I was involved with dental marketing the dentist replied that they don’t do any because they don’t like the hard sell.
For anyone that knows me they will know that my belief is that hard selling, at any level, has no place in dentistry and all we need to do is to help patients with their dental problems.
In dentistry we are looking for a relationship with the patient which lasts for an extended period of time, over which we can help them achieve good oral health and then work with that patient to keep them in that condition.
Using that sales approach is what is used on the high Street in order to generate a transaction. Transactional marketing is exactly that, it seeks to engage a buyer to transact with the seller on a single purchase. I agree with the person that gave me this quote, this is not what want in dentistry.
So what is the solution?
My belief is that a relationship approach to marketing in dentistry is what is required. This involves increasing trust and reducing risk for your prospective patients, we do this by handing out useful free and relevant advice and not asking for anything in return!
It is marketing flipped on its head,YOU are the one that gives NOT the buyer!
When you do this you show that you genuinely care, you show that you genuinely want to help that person in their best interest – you show that you are not in the hard sell and only want a single transaction. In fact you show that you are genuinely caring dentist!
On a practical level we can use online marketing to help this relationship. We can use e-mail with automatic responses that seek to hand out useful, free and relevant advice will stop
We can use a Facebook page or twitter account to do exactly the same thing… We simply give, give, give.
When we engage in this giving we invoke what is known as the norms of reciprocity (such a great term isn’t it?). This means that the person you have been giving to will fill the desire to reciprocate your altruistic giving, so that when you do indeed ask for them to request an appointment or visit the practice for an open evening there is a psychological obligation for them to do so.
Marketing is simply the elegant process of communicating what you do and how could you do it to people with a problem. Now isn’t that something you want to engage in?