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.
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.