My business partner and I have a saying: Unless your dental office is like Cheers – where everybody knows your patients’ names, that yours is, “just another dental office” and no different than Big Chain Dentistry. It’s just another place to pay big money and experience pain – or at least that’s what the public might well believe. As simplistic as it may seem, your guests’ names are the first part of forming and maintaining a long-term, solid relationship.

I’d plus this point with another – unless you have a sound, easily communicated USP, or Unique Selling Proposition – you’re easily pigeonholed and likely put in that particular place where the public has identified you belong whether you want to be or deserve that positioning or not.

The public forms an opinion of your practice – from the way it looks, where it’s located, who works there and what patients say when they leave – whether you want them to or not. And, whether it’s what you want them to think or not.

If the public’s perception of your practice isn’t what you want or hoped it would be, then only you can change it. Only you have the power to “fix” an incorrect, inconsistent or unwanted perception. And, it start with something as simple as forming real relationships with those writing you checks.

Back to USPs. Ask yourself:

“What makes my dental office unique and TRULY DIFFERENT? What makes what we do so much better than any other dental office? What do I offer that others can’t or won’t or don’t?”

To help you make some headway: The most common and infamous USP recited by marketing geeks and entrepreneurs like me is Domino’s from the 1980s which put the pizza chain on the map and made it the largest pizza business in the world, and one of its owners, Tom Monaghan, one rich dude. It was: Fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or it’s free.

That USP makes a big, bold audacious promise: it frames a reference of an exact time and has an exacting benefit if Domino’s didn’t get it to you when promised.

How many dental practices do you know that even promote or have a USP? I can’t think of more than a handful. How many have an easily identifiable guarantee in their USP?

Here’s mine for Wellness Springs Dental of Salem: Gentle Dentistry for Moms, Dads and Kids, in a warm, caring environment…We’re confident you’ll be thrilled with your new patient visit or it’s on us!

(Please don’t use mine; it’s unique to my dental office and my dental office franchise and could invite legal problems.)

We developed this knowing whom we want to attract: Parents and Kids. Why? If you can get the kids in, you can attract the parents. They have the money. This is nearly the entire marketing plan for McDonald’s restaurants outside of owning prime real estate at intersections.

It’s not a USP that took minutes to develop either. The best ones are not easy to come up with and often take hours, even days of refinement to get it just right based on feedback from patients and testing in advertising. Your USP should remove risk and doubt from your prospect’s mind and make a grand promise you can live up to/deliver.