“On Oscar Wilde, football and dental businesses.” The current Ezine

Professional Reflections
If I had been challenged to connect football and Oscar Wilde in an ezine I think I might have struggled but in writing notes for this piece they somehow fell together.

Television is trying desperately to get me to watch the Football World Cup; sorry, but the harder you try folks the less likely I am to tune in. In a similar way it seems that every day I receive another unsought email, advertising a service that will take care of all my “missing patient” problems.

It’s the words that these marketing gurus and their systems use that amuse me. Why would you refer to patients being “recaptured” as if they were animals that have escaped from a sanctuary? But then how many of these systems promising to maximise your *ROI have been devised, trialled and worked in a properly run dental practice in the first place?

*Would you ever please explain your acronyms to me before use, ROI is the Republic of Ireland first and “return on investment” second.

So where do Wilde and football come in to this?

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness” wrote Oscar in The Importance of Being Earnest.

The one time England manager, Kevin Keegan, in addition to his most infamous quote, “If I had a blank piece of paper there’d be five names on it” also said, “My tactics for winning a football game are very simple, just score more goals than the opposition.”

So here’s the thing, needing to keep replacing patients is unfortunate, to have practice systems so poor that you have to constantly and dramatically increase the numbers of new patients is careless or even business negligence. Why spend your hard earned money to pay a third party to acquire or, worse  still, re-acquire your old patients?

Why have a system that celebrates the necessity to keep scoring goals at one end yet is ignoring the fact that they are leaking in at the other. In football it’s great entertainment, in business life it’s a way to commit suicide.

So whats going on?

Here are some of the things that I see happening when what I call desperation marketing is being considered:

  • Face to face contact isn’t working.
  • Eye contact doesn’t exist.
  • The words that every team member uses are not thought through and rehearsed.
  • Patients are not treasured, are not loved they are merely ‘mouths on legs’ providing a short term income for the dental business.
  • The patients are made to fit whatever treatment modality is “hot” this quarter, they are not fully assessed with a plan for their long-term dental health needs and wants devised and regularly revisited.
  • There aren’t leaders in every part of the practice.
  • The owners haven’t communicated and shared their core values, their dreams or their long-term plans.
  • The team isn’t agile, adaptable and above all capable of both scoring and defending.

Now please don’t get me wrong. Marketing is one of the 7 Pillars of Successful Dental Practice Management. Whatever CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system you use and please be in no doubt you must use one. Not only must you use one, you must also understand the way it works, the benefits to your business and the weaknesses of it. Please don’t be tempted to over complicate your systems just because the nice man is selling something shiny and new. If you use a rolodex and it works then I would suggest that Infusionsoft (other systems are available) may not be the answer to all your prayers.

Success is built on continuity not panic, on evolution not revolution.

Spending money on a bigger trawler for more seagulls to follow when all you needed to do was to repair your nets is unlikely to bring about decent ROI, either in the UK or indeed the RoI.

For a no-obligation chat about the needs of your dental business give me a call.


Personal Reflections
The departure date for Tanzania to trek to the top of Kilimanjaro draws ever closer.

The training is going well, thanks for asking.

Many thanks to all those who have sponsored me, in case you need to know more about the cause here’s a link.

To pledge your support go to my JustGiving page here.

Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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