3 Simple Ways to Free Up Capital to Fund Marketing

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Top dentists reinvest at least 5% of total production back into marketing to maintain thriving practices. That could mean an annual marketing investment of $30,000 to $60,000.

Where does the capital come from for the initial investment?

Here are three simple ways to free up funds to invest in better marketing:

  1. Cancel current marketing tactics. (Especially those that aren’t working well.) List everything the practice is currently doing for marketing. Next to each, write down the cost. This is the Investment. Next to that, write down the total number of patients that came to the practice from that tactic in a particular time period no shorter than 3 months. (Nix from the list anything that’s been running for shorter than 3 months since that’s too early to draw metrics.) Multiply the number of patients by the average value of a patient to calculate your Return. If the Return is not greater than the Investment, cancel the marketing tactic. If you are in a long-term contract, see if you can renegotiate. In many cases, the same budget you are currently spending can be optimized into a worthwhile marketing investment. Simply canceling a directory listing can open up $15,000 annually.
  2. Sign up for discounts. Join a buyer’s club to get discounts on supplies, lab fees and implant systems. There is no better way to create instant savings. There’s no need to sacrifice quality in order to capitalize on discounts. Web-based buyer’s group Dentistry Unchained seeks out high-integrity providers that are willing to offer services and products at better rates. Practices that utilize these group discounts save up to $25,000 annually.
  3. Pause your practice consultant. An excellent practice consultant always has the practice’s best interest at heart. If the practice is in dire need of a sudden marketing injection, consider asking your practice consultant to put your contract with them on temporary hold. A 3-month break probably won’t be detrimental to the practice (but check with your consultant first), and that will free up $2,000 per month.

Most practices are already spending what is needed to fund a robust, comprehensive marketing plan. But that’s just it – they are spending it.

Marketing should never be an expense. It should always be an investment that produces healthy returns.

A 75-Year History of Dental Marketing in 5 Quick Parts (And What It Means for Your Practice)

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As with medicine, marketing has changed drastically in the last 75 years. This is an examination of the history of dental marketing, broken into five parts.

BBB1Part One: Information and Innovation

During the Industrial Revolution, marketing was strictly informational, not visual. An ad for a new medicine ran in 1938 with the bold headline, “Texan Universal Pills.” What follows is an article-length description of the medication, what ailments it treats, and how best to take it. The only image is of a single star under the word “Texan” in the headline. The rest is text, and tiny text at that.

Like most ads of its time, it speaks to a specific knowledge of innovation: “The effects of these Pills (sic) upon the system, is thoroughly to cleanse the stomach and bowels…”

As was also common in that era, the ad features the voice of the medical expert: “…the object is first to clear the system, and afterwards, to strengthen and invigorate it…” We do not hear any patient viewpoint.

This was the first iteration of push advertising, communications targeted at what the reader needs according to someone else’s expertise. It conveys not what the reader wants or feels, but what is needed from the expert’s perspective.

During the Industrial Revolution, society was based on the provision of information, innovation, finance, and services. Hence the expert tells the reader what he or she needs, and then sells that service to the buyer. It was often value-based advertising, including pricing for the expertise, service or product offered. In those decades, advertising was price-driven, not lifestyle driven, which would emerge much later. (Source: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/medicine-ads)

BBB2Part Two: Lifestyle Advertising

The focus didn’t shift to the individual until the mid- to late-20th Century, particularly during the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation movements. It’s no accident that lifestyle advertising emerged at the same time that America became obsessed with individuals’ freedom.

A 1963 ad for Anacin shows a woman’s furrowed brow, wrinkled by her painful headache. “In 22 seconds after entering the bloodstream, Anacin is speeding relief to your nervous tense headache.” We see less about the doctor’s expertise, more about the patient’s relief.

This is still push advertising, just a new flavor. This second generation of push advertising tells the reader what fits them. The voice of the ad seems to know something about the reader, and speaks directly to that pain point. But it’s still the voice of the expert teaching the reader. (Source: http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/medicine-ads-1960s)

Part Three: New Media

The Information Age came about with the adoption of the personal computer in the late 1970s, and evolved with the Internet in the 1990s and the emergence of e-mail around 2000. Push advertising took on a third form called new media.

Thousands of internet-based companies led to the dramatic rise (Dot-Com Boom) and fall (Dot Bomb) of the stock market. Even brick-and-mortar businesses erected websites to peddle their wares and services. It was popular to cram as much information as possible onto the website, sometimes onto a single, long-scrolling webpage. This became information overload. It was still push advertising, but preaching online what fits the reader. No true engagement quite yet.

Part Four: Empowerment

Enter the Age of Empowerment in advertising and marketing. Seemingly overnight (but really during 2002-07), the Internet was overtaken by the voice of the consumer, and the voice of the expert faded into the background.

It wasn’t just happening on the web – all forms of media were affected. This was startling, disruptive and destructive to businesses in almost every industry, including dentistry. Newspapers and magazines began seeing rapid declines in their readership. Marketers struggled to figure out this “new way” to promote services and products. Dentists in private practice panicked that patients now had the power to say anything about them online.

Suddenly every professional was tasked – on top of everything else they were doing –with posting relevant information on their website and using online marketing tools to attract the right clientele.

Besides a good website, everyone needed search engine optimization (SEO), a social media footprint on Facebook and LinkedIn, and a blog (what on earth was that?). It seemed everyone was in a tailspin over how much time and money it was all going to take. Perhaps the worst fear was that consumers were now the voice of our brands!

This is pull marketing, in which patients choose to join your circle because they feel strongly that they belong there.

Part Five: Pull Marketing, and What’s In It for You

Pull marketing invites patients who have the most in common with the practice to become part of the circle as an exclusive club. It conveys that patients are part of a conversation with the dentist. It is an exclusive invitation that attracts only the ideal patients.

Since much of pull marketing happens online, it is more measurable than traditional marketing that happens on radio, television, and in print.

Pull marketing is more cost-effective. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time rather than papering the world with a canned message that came off the shelf. Higher efficiencies add up to lower costs.

Pull marketing is a more natural social interaction, like hosting an open house online. It’s one of the best ways to attract like-minded patients, those who accept treatment and pay on time.

Pull marketing yields better results because it’s about attraction rather than coercion.

Pull marketing features the voice of the consumer, and that makes some dentists nervous. Worry not. Remember that the voice of the patient of the high-integrity practice is most often a voice of praise.

Embrace pull marketing, and your practice will thrive for generations to come.

11 Ways to Improve Practice Marketing Now

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  1. Ask. Survey the 10 best patients, asking what the practice does best in their eyes and what media they pay attention to most. This will allow the practice to put to market a message that resonates with patients and their peers. It will also allow the practice to reach potential patients across the media that matters most to them.
  1. Plan. Based upon data from the surveys, establish a marketing plan. Hone in on 5 tactics for the practice to deliver over the next 12 months. Avoid the temptation to implement only the marketing tactics that the dentist or team likes. Invest in the marketing that patients said they prefer.
  1. Prioritize. Think in terms of lowest-hanging fruit. It can be very cost-effective to train staff to properly and regularly ask current patients for referrals, and those referrals typically make great patients. Next, it can be in the practice’s best interest to implement at least one direct marketing effort like direct mail or online advertising. Finally, awareness marketing efforts like social media and sponsorship of charitable events can keep the practice top-of-mind in the community.
  1. Review. Have a look at your current website. Visitors will make snap judgments about the dentist and the practice in the first 30 seconds on the site. Make sure the home page shows that the dentist is Affable, Able and Available. Affability can be shown on the home page with warm, inviting photos of the doctor. Ability can be demonstrated with patient testimonials, board certifications, and awards. Finally, make the practice Available by providing multiple ways to get in touch: phone, email, social media, etc. And yes, all of this needs to be right on the home page.
  1. Empathize. Vastly improve your website by using full-face photos. Laypeople do not interact with the mouth like you do, and are not accustomed to seeing teeth-only photos or radiographs, which can be frightening to them. When it comes to before-and-after shots, always use full-face photos to tell the practice’s story. The transformation in the smile shows as much in the eyes as it does in the teeth.
  1. Join. Social media is nothing more than a practice open house. Even better, it’s happening 24/7. Join the party. General dentists typically see the best results with Facebook while specialists enjoy networking with potential referrers on LinkedIn. Apply the same social rules online as you would offline.
  1. Go Viral. Increase your social media “virality” on Facebook with photos of the staff, photos of babies and puppies, funny and relevant cartoons or jokes, simple voting contests, and celebrations of birthdays and holidays. Boost “virality” on LinkedIn with regular lead mining: connecting with potential referring doctors, then messaging them to ask for a meeting to explore how best to help each other.
  1. Behave. Adhere to HIPAA guidelines by posting on social media about general conditions, never actual cases. Train your staff on social media posting decorum and perimeters. Have patients sign a simple waiver allowing the practice to use their image, likeness and testimonial on marketing materials.
  1. Blog. Make the dentist a thought-leader in the community by downloading his or her thoughts into writing and sharing it online. This article is a good example of a blog post: roughly 500 words, helpful insights for the reader, never promotional.
  1. Be Prompt. Meet any negative online reviews head on and with the same professionalism you would use with an unhappy patient in your waiting room.
  1. Have fun. Marketing is like a science experiment. Set a hypothesis, test theories and create reactions.

9 Problems with Page One

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“Can you get me ranked on page one of Google for the keyword ‘Dallas dentist’ by next week?”

There are 9 inherent problems with this question:

  1. SEO is more than that. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long-term strategy for improving a website so that it is more visible in the un-paid or organic search results. SEO is to marketing as oral and maxillofacial surgery is to dentistry. There is so much that goes into it: image and video optimization, internal and external link building, content development, removal of indexing barriers… Sound Greek to you? It should. SEO is a complex process best left to true experts.
  2. You are more than that. Your practice has a much bigger, more interesting brand story to tell than your city and your specialty (i.e., “Dallas dentist”). A good firm begins SEO by researching the most searched keywords that your target audience is typing into Google. It matters less what search terms you think people are using to find you, and more what search terms they are actually
  3. SEO is not enough. SEO alone is not going to cause a major uptick in new patients. It is one of several marketing tactics that should be executed in tandem for optimum results in meeting your goals. Be sure about what tactics are best for your practice by surveying your patients first.
  4. New patients aren’t searching for you online. Okay, this is unlikely, but it does happen. When you survey your patients, ask if they would search online for a practice like yours before you invest time and money in SEO, social media, online advertising or any other types of online marketing. There are a lot of options available for promoting your practice online, and you want to focus only on the ones that will really work for you. (And they are likely not the ones that work for your competitors or peers!)
  5. It’s unethical. If the SEO company you are considering is promising page one in days, they are probably doing unethical things to falsely enhance your ranking. For example, they may be stuffing the term in question into your website text in as many instances as possible. This is called keyword stuffing. Google frowns upon this approach and will seek you out and penalize you if you do it. The short-term effect is great, but once they find out, you never saw your ranking plummet so quickly. And once Google blacklists your website, it can be extremely hard to get back into good standing with them.
  6. It’s not true. If your SEO company says they don’t use keyword stuffing or any other unethical practices, but they can still get you on page one tomorrow, then they are lying about their service offering. Any web-savvy 12-year-old can have you appear on Google Maps with a Google + page. But that’s not SEO, it’s just an online phone book listing.
  7. The timeline is unreasonable. Don’t expect to go from zero ranking on Google to page 1 in three months, let alone one week. Especially for extremely general keywords like the one in question.
  8. The budget is too low. Anything is possible if you throw the right amount of money at it. If you paid a team of extremely talented content developers working around the clock for you, your website might get on page one for a specific search term within a short period of time. But, of course, that would be a ridiculous waste of resources.
  9. It negates the goal. The goal is not to be on page one. The goal is to increase new patient numbers. One way to do that is to attract more traffic to the website with SEO. When any reputable firm is conducting SEO, they should be optimizing your website for hundreds of frequently searched terms, not just one. The right combination of well-rounded SEO with other strategic marketing tactics is what will get you to your goal.

Definitely Not Different

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A lot of dentists say they already know what differentiates them, or sets them apart from competing dentists. They mention their experience, expertise, technology, or that they take the time to listen to their patients and provide them with a multitude of services.

Trouble is that it’s the same story from almost every dentist. And it’s definitely not different from what every other doctor is saying.

How will the dentist know what really makes the practice different?

The first step is to ask the happiest patients the right questions to understand how they think about the practice and how they consume marketing. An emailed survey looks simple to the patient, yet it provides immense insight into the practice.

Why survey?

When you survey patients, you get timely, relevant and actionable feedback. You learn precisely what they love most about the practice, and it’s typically not the things that come to mind first. It’s not technology. It’s not philosophy. It’s not even credentials.

The thing that patients love best is that you made life better.

When surveyed correctly, patients light up and share animated stories. Only the patients have the passion behind the story, and that shines through when they start talking about you. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried.

Here’s how my dentist, Dr. Brett Kessler, talks about what he does best: “I am a dentist specializing in comprehensive dental care for patients with a focus on TMJ disorder treatment, and I have been in practice for more than 20 years.”

By contrast, here is how I, as one of his happy patients, talk about what he does best: “When I came to see Dr. Kessler, I was getting migraine headaches and missing work left and right. Life was all about managing pain. In a matter of a few visits, Dr. Kessler totally restored me back to my happy self. I’m more productive at work than ever before. And I am even able to go running again, which I haven’t been able to do in months.”

Dentists tend to talk about features rather than benefits. Happy patients, on the other hand, delve straight into what’s in it for them. Happy patients talk about how you changed their lives. This simply delights their friends and family, who then become potential patients.

The survey extracts these stories so you can bottle them and put them to market. Nothing sells the practice like these stories.

The surveys also reveal what media patients use to “shop” for a new dentist. This is important to know so that you invest time and money only on the marketing tactics that will help the practice now.

If, for example, you discover that your favorite patients and the people they know aren’t following Facebook, then don’t invest there. But if every family reads the neighborhood newspaper cover-to-cover, run a print ad there. If 70% of patients pay attention to direct mail, then advertise there.

You get the picture.

And with survey-based marketing, your potential patients will, too.

-Adapted excerpt from KABOOM!: The Method Used by Top Dentists for Explosive Marketing Results.



Why Corporate Marketing is Bad for Independent Dentistry

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There is a general feeling that corporate dentistry is bad for independent dentistry.

But what about corporate marketing? 

Let’s start with the negative impacts of corporate dentistry.

First, there are financial implications. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that an independent dentist will make $193,640 on average versus $146,040 as an associate in a corporate practice. (Source: http://bit.ly/1sGR2ci)

Second, there is a sense that corporate dentistry is infiltrating the industry. The ADA goes on to say, “Of the approximate 190,000 practicing dentists in the United States, 92 percent are in private practice; more than 80 percent of active private practitioner dentists in the United States are practice owners. In the coming years, the solo practice will become less dominant as more cost-efficient, larger practices predominate.” (Source: http://bit.ly/1IQS8EB)

Third, there is a general feeling of malaise about corporate dentistry among many independent practitioners. The blogosphere is lit up with strong opinions about corporate dentistry. Here are just three recent posts from an online forum of independent dentists

“Corporate dentistry does nothing for the future of the profession. Corporate dentistry offering mentoring? I don’t think so, unless you mean they’ll have the money to pay for your CE courses.”

“Don’t follow the money — provide the same quality of care for your patients that you would put in your own familys’ [sic] mouths and the money will come.”

“screw corporate dentistry. lets make it our explicit goal to bring em down!!!” [sic]

(Source: http://bit.ly/1CwE2WW)

Corporate versus independent dentistry is a true story of the survival of the fittest. As corporate dentistry grows, only the best of the best independent dentists will survive.

As Marc B. Cooper, DDS, MSD put it in a recent blog post, “Twenty percent of solo private practices will survive and even succeed in this new future. But these practices have very special practice owners. Dentist-owners in this 20% are obsessive in their commitment to practice success. They are continually engaged in advanced training, usually teaching and/or speaking at national and regional conferences. They are always marketing—and I mean always.” (Source: http://bit.ly/1AYYSi3)

And they are not just marketing – they are marketing like no other practice does.

The independent dentistry practice that will survive and thrive will have a very specific message for potential patients. It will be sure of its mission, vision and values. It will have a staff and patient base that believe in what it stands for, and that regularly sings its praises. It will stand out in a sea of sameness with true originality. It will market only a specific set of services that it delivers best. It will deploy only the marketing tactics that matter most to its target audience. It will be good as gold to current patients, which will regularly attract referrals. It will follow through with new patients in an unprecedented way, delivering on its marketing promise over and over again to create lifetime patients.

Corporate marketing can’t do those things. Any company that commoditizes marketing is a corporate marketing company.

Here are just a few examples of corporate marketing companies:

Yodle: All-in-One Local Internet Marketing & Advertising. Get a Free Quote!

Dentist Marketing 360®: Tour the #1 Dental website designs for generating more Patients!

ProSites: Free, no-obligation trial. Innovative web design, mobile sites, SEO, and social media services for dentists.

They offer cookie-cutter solutions that the average dentist figures are good enough.

But you are not average, and good enough is not good enough for you and your practice!

An independent marketing agency is much better able to offer the customized art and science of marketing that independent dentistry needs now.

Besides Big Buzz, here are just a few examples of independent marketing agencies that specialize in dentistry:

Gilleard Dental Marketing


Practice Cafe

You know it’s an independent marketing agency when you can see who works there and the specific custom solutions they offer. If you can’t see those two things, steer clear for fear of ending up with the same old marketing solution as the practice down the street.

You’re simply better than that!




5 Steps to Creating Wealth with Marketing

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One of my favorite books, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley  and William D. Danko shows that those making high salaries, including doctors and dentists, are not the wealthy.

Wealth is defined as the money that comes in each month. Wealth is what’s in the bank.

In his book Tied to the chair, Michael Schuster, DDS writes, “Doctors are notorious for making a lot of money (gross income) and living high lifestyles, but creating little or no wealth.”

He goes on to explain:

“A major fallacy in thinking on the part of most professionals I have counseled the past 30-plus years is equating high gross income with actual wealth. I would say that 95 percent of professionals believe that increasing their income means increasing their wealth. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Recent national research shows that 90 percent of all general dentists in the United States have a net taxable income of $135,000, plus or minus $42,000 a year. Stated clearly, this means that 90 percent of dentists make a maximum of $177,000 a year or less, no matter what their gross income.”

And you are worth so much more than $177,000.

From a marketing perspective, there are 5 things you can do today to create wealth: 

  1. Document your goals, backward. All marketing begins with goal setting. Begin at the end. What do you want to have in the bank by year’s end? Subtract total expenses and cost of goods sold from last year, adjusting accordingly if you foresee these figures to be higher this year. Now you have a solid projection for total income needed to meet your goal. Document all revenue streams from last year: dentist production, associate production, hygienist production, etc. Then add potential new sources for income, brainstorming all possible streams until you see a way to get to your total income goal. Read on for some examples of possible income streams. Once you have all income streams defined, document the specific marketing tactics needed to attract that income.
  2. Publish your book. You already wrote it, even if you don’t realize it. Perhaps you have contributed articles to your local dental society’s magazine. Maybe you have written a blog. No doubt you have rattled off a few long emails to colleagues about insights or challenges in dentistry. Compile your works, and you might be surprised how much meaningful content is there. Consider having a freelance writer ghostwrite your book based upon the content you already have. Publishing is easy and fast through CreateSpace. Royalties from book sales can be a terrific added income stream to build wealth. Once the book is published, specific marketing strategies for this income stream may include promoting the book on your practice website and your social media pages, sending out free copies to close contacts to spread the word, selling copies at dental events, and initiating an email campaign to a database of potential readers.
  3. Sell videos of your lectures. If you have ever spoken in front of a group of dentists, you have a double-whammy income stream. The content from the presentation is yet more fodder for your book, and you can sell videos of your lectures online. Over time, even a $19.95 one-time fee for access to all your videos can add up and really contribute to your wealth. Specific marketing strategies for this income stream look a bit similar to those for a book: online promotion and email campaigns will work best.
  4. Rent out an operatory. If you have more space than you need, consider renting out an operatory to a fellow dentist. Several of our clients do this with great success, particularly with a well-trained front office, distinctive brands and unique patient bases for each of the two practices. This passive income further builds your wealth. Marketing for this income stream may be as simple as posting an ad on Craigslist to advertise availability. Remember to promote what’s in it for them (“start your practice with far less overhead cost” or “effortlessly expand the four walls of your practice”) in addition to compelling features (“state-of-the-art dental equipment included”).
  5. Inspire your team. Work with a practice consultant to refine the way that you, your associate and your hygienist deliver care. Most practices can see a higher volume of patients without sacrificing high-integrity care just by fine-tuning systems and processes. More efficient patient flow through the practice can add up to even more wealth over time. Internal marketing – that a virtuous circle where happy employees cultivate happy patients, and happy patients bring more patients – is your best bet here. And your practice consultant can guide you through how to implement an internal marketing plan that will drive bottom-line results. 

And bottom-line results add up to true wealth. 








OPEN POSITION: Full-Time Account Lead

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Full-Time Account Lead

About the Agency | Top dentists know Big Buzz as one of the nation’s best dental marketing companies. After more than seven years serving the dental community, Big Buzz has consulted individually with more than a hundred different dental practices from across the country. Big Buzz has collected marketing data from hundreds of patients and dentists of private dental practices. Simply put, no one knows dental marketing like Big Buzz. The professional and passionate team knows what it takes to produce high quality, long-lasting marketing strategies specifically for dental practices. From the initial consultation to project completion, Big Buzz expertly guides dentists through their marketing strategy.

Agency Culture | Our workspace is extremely open, allowing for our team to collaborate and communicate with one another throughout the day. At Big Buzz, we work hard, play hard and rest hard. Optional 20-minute “recess” is built into every workday. Weekends and nights are meant for friends and family, and we are respectful of that time. Ours is a coaching culture, allowing us to grow as individuals and as part of an agency. Each member of the Big Buzz team truly loves what they do.

Position Summary | Find qualified leads. Guide prospects along the decision-making process until they provide permission to sell. Overcome objections and lead prospect to closing. Close deals.

Ideal Candidate | A seasoned salesperson with 5-10 years proven success. An influencer. Friendly with a focus on people and building relationships. Outgoing, persuasive, communicative, democratic. Organizes all of the facts to help others come to logical conclusions. Thorough and focused on following through. Excellent at tracking and reporting sales metrics (number of leads contacted, number of discovery sessions set, number of deals closed). Welcomes systems and structures. Marketing agency experience a must.

Key Measures for Success

  1. Attracts and/or funnels leads to conduct 6+ new discovery sessions and/or performance reviews monthly.
  2. Converts proposals from discovery sessions to 3+ new clients and/or renewals monthly.
  3. Meets or exceeds sales goal of $350,000 annually in the first year and $500,000 annually in the second year.

Expected Hours | 40 hours per week, generally between the hours of 8:00 and 5:00 M-F.

Compensation | Base salary of $35,000 plus 5% commission on all sales plus year-end bonuses when the agency reaches its collective revenue goal.

Primary Duties/Responsibilities

1. Find:

  • Build new network and lead.
    • Connect with dentists and those serving dentists on LinkedIn each week. Communicate those new contacts to teammate managing the agency database. Screen qualified lead. Send qualified leads warm LinkedIn message or email message to schedule discovery session.
    • Send quality InMail messages on LinkedIn each week. As relationships build and connections are made, add those new contacts to the database and ask to schedule discovery session, which you will lead.
    • Follow up on any inquiries from direct mailers sent by the agency each month. As relationships build and connections are made, add those new contacts to the database and ask to schedule discovery session, which you will lead.
    • Follow up on any inquiries from email content marketing sent by the agency each week to a database of 2,500+ dentists and dental industry professionals. As relationships build and connections are made, add those new contacts to the database and ask to schedule discovery session, which you will lead.
    • Each week, identify qualified new practices to receive the agency president’s book and invitation to become a client. Agency will provide criteria for qualifications.
    • Follow up on practices that have already received the agency president’s book and invitation each month. As relationships build and connections are made, add those new contacts to the database and ask to schedule discovery session, which you will lead.
  • Nurture and expand network.
    • Each week, connect in person or by phone with 2+ of the company’s long-time, Colorado-based referrers. Introductions to referrers and budget will be provided for occasional lunch, coffee, networking event, etc.
    • Each week, take measures to expand network on the national level. Develop ideas and avenues to do so, and execute on the plan.
  • Schedule 6+ new discovery sessions and/or performance reviews each month.
    • From leads formed with efforts outline above.
    • From leads coming into the agency.
  • Deliver 6+ discovery sessions each month.
    • Using the robust agency website as presentation tool.

2. Assist in closing 3+ new clients and/or renewals each month.

  • Order proposals using agency system.
  • Schedule proposal presentation call.
  • Lead call to present the proposal and close the sale. President of the agency will be present on closing calls.


Next Steps |Please email cover letter and resume to wendy@bigbuzzinc.com. Absolutely no calls at this stage in the game. We will call you if we feel we might be a good match.





The Wrong Keynote Speaker

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I am at the ADA annual session, which has just begun, music blaring, energizing the crowd.

The meeting director hands me a microphone. “You’re up,” she says. I glance at her roster. It says Dr. Wendy D. Phillips.

“That’s not me,” I tell her.

Yet she insists, “You’re up.”

I take the microphone and head towards the stage. No keynote prepared, yet suddenly I am the opening act in front of thousands of dentists.

I take my spot behind the podium. The requisite feedback sounds in all of our ears.

“I’m not your keynote speaker.” I glance down at my feet, then quickly back up again.

“This woman right back here,” I hold out an open hand, “mistakenly put me on the stage. It was an error. I am not supposed to be here. I am not Dr. Wendy D. Phillips…

“I am Wendy O’Donovan Phillips, ideapreneur. And I know dentists who are just like me.

“There are the dentists who excel at the clinical side of the profession. There are a many who are excellent at the business side.

“And there are a select few who are ideapreneurs. The ones who are aggravated by how the world of dentistry is now, and are determined to do something to change it. The ones who seem to invest too much time or money into grand plans – until the extraordinary fruits of their labor appear. The ones who wake up at three in the morning and dictate their dreams and hopes into their phones, to later share as blogs or articles with their peers. The dentists who are changing the industry.

“And maybe this is not you. Maybe not quite yet. But you have it in you. There is some area of your profession that causes you so much angst it keeps you up at night. What if you were the one who solves that problem? Solves that problem for your practice… And for the industry on the whole.

“This profession needs more dentists who have the courage to be ideapreneurs. Mark Twain wrote, ‘Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of fear.’

“Ideapreneurship is not always the obvious choice. I am 39 years old and I have started four businesses. Two of them serve the dental industry. I am not clear on why my higher power wants me to improve dentistry, but there is no doubt that that is what I am supposed to be doing. I have dedicated my life to dentists. Most of the ideas that I have had in the last 10 years center around dentists. Every middle-of-the-night waking moment has me thinking about dentists.

“Ideapreneurship is not a bed of roses. For the past two years, I have been focused on the bottom line at my firm. I have invested tens of thousands of dollars asking various consultants the same question: How does my agency serve dentists and still be profitable?” I laugh.

“Ideapreneurship is not a cash cow right out of the gate. My firm has, for the last eight months, run in the red. That irksome slow leak that some of you may have experienced from time to time. But it’s not about the money.

“Here’s the thing… when I’m focused on what ideapreneurship is not, I am dancing while looking at my feet,” I say, looking again down at my toes.

“In fact,” I say, drawing a finger to the bottom of my chin and slowly tilting my head up, “I can lift up and look around the ballroom and dance.” I open my arms as though beginning a waltz…

“I can see that we work with some of the best dentists in the world. I see that I have an amazing team and a beautiful place to work. I see that I have an incredible passion for ideas that will impact the dental industry for years to come.

“I see that the dance is worth it.

“There are many ways to value a good idea. And it’s not all about immediate gratification or return. The most important thing is that we let ideas flow. And that we act upon them. That we get messy, that we make mistakes, let the revolutionary happen by accident.

“So get up, take the microphone, and let your voice be heard. Get out there and start your idea. Be the wrong keynote speaker. Get vulnerable so that other people can learn from you.

“You are an ideapreneur. And you are the future of dentistry.”

Two doors down, my young daughter coughs. And coughs again.

I open my eyes, and I realize that I’ve been dreaming. I’ve been dreaming, and now I must get it down on paper. And so, after a full hour of lying there thinking how much I don’t want to get out of my warm bed, how much I just want to go back to sleep, here I am at 3:30 in the morning in the car in the garage where my sleeping family cannot hear me dictating my idea into my phone.

Because I am a dreamer. Because I am an idea maker. Because I am an ideapreneur.

And you are too. Won’t you join me?





Would You Rather?

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Which would you rather attract each month?

  1. 20 new patients for cleaning and exam
  2. 3 new Invisalign® cases
  3. 1 new cosmetic case

The first thing to that may come to mind is the production that each option might yield:

  1. $250 (after submitted to insurance) x 20 cleanings and exams = $5,000
  2. $4,500 x 3 Invisalign® cases = $13,500
  3. $30,000 x 1 new cosmetic case = $30,000

Of course, the answer is not that simple.

In order to attract 20 cleanings and exams every month, the practice marketing must reach 100 potential patients and convert 20% to actual patients. The cost to reach so many people can be quite high, since it requires awareness marketing: providing public awareness that the practice even exists. Too, the cost to integrate so many new patients every month can add up quickly.

Plus, the practice will be marketing among all of the other general dentists in the surrounding area. There are very few ways to stand out when it comes to cleanings and exams, and many practices compete on price – which is certainly not a game that the high-integrity practice wants to play. And it can be difficult to attract high-quality patients out of such a large pool.

At the same time, cleaning and exam patients provide the foundational income for the practice.

On the other hand, to attract 3 new Invisalign® cases, the practice marketing must reach 10 potential patients and convert 30% to actual patients. The pool is much smaller because Invisalign® patients require very little awareness marketing – they already have the intention of resolving a particular issue that exists. These people are actively looking for a provider who can fix misaligned teeth. They typically need far less education to accept treatment. Fewer potential patients mean that the cost to integrate specialized cases is lower as well.

As an Invisalign® provider, the practice stands out among competitors who don’t offer this care or who only offer traditional orthodontia.

Patients understand that it is electoral care before they even enter the practice doors, and they are prepared to pay out-of-pocket and usually up-front for treatment.

Still, the practice cannot make 100% of its production from Invisalign® cases.

Finally, to attract 1 new cosmetic case, the practice must invest considerable time and money educating 10 potential patients to convert 1% to a new patient. The pool is the same size as the Invisalign® bunch, but each of the 10 require far more education. $30,000 is a big investment for an individual to make, and is directly correlated to the level of investment that the practice will need to make to get them into the chair.

Like the Invisalign® cases, these patients intend to resolve an issue that already exists. They are likely “shopping” for a provider as we speak.

And $30,000 is a healthy sum to add to the overall production. Indeed, that would be a big win each month.

Clearly a combination of all three would be ideal. That said, it’s always best to focus marketing efforts in one area. To become the practice best known for fill-in-the-blank.

To say it differently, here’s what to avoid… This list came from an actual dental practice website:

Services Listing:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Dental Restoration
  • Dental Implants
  • Dentures
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Invisalign®
  • Dentures, Bridges and Implants
  • Mature Adult Dentistry
  • No Fear Sleep Dentistry
  • Laser Gum Treatment
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Snoring Solution
  • Cleanings & Exams
  • Emergencies
  • Root Canals
  • Tooth-colored Fillings
  • Dental Bonding
  • High Tech Dentistry
  • Dental Spa Amenities

The potential patient is so overwhelmed with the possibilities that it is paralyzing. Instead of calling for an appointment, the website visitor leaves for a little online shoe shopping instead.

Rather than offering a laundry list of services, focus on just one Invisalign®-level offering: a mid-priced service that patients are intentional about seeking out. Examples include crowns in a day, sleep apnea treatment and TMJ disorder remedies. Lead all marketing efforts with promotions for this service. Feature cleanings and exams as well as other services less prominently. The folks who are looking for those services will find them.

Position the practice to be best at one thing, and everything else will follow.

Wendy O’Donovan Phillips has provided marketing and business consulting to hundreds of independent dentists for over 10 years. She has launched, grown and merged four businesses of her own. She has spoken to chapters of the Seattle Study Club as well as the Colorado Dental Association, the Los Angeles Dental Society and several other dental groups. The Business Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association have awarded her for excellence in her field.