Have you ever considered what’s best: Promoting your company (as in name and what it does), or, you?
I have some pretty strict ideas and thoughts about this subject. For me, it’s cut and dry. Let me explain:
If you promote your company name, then you are promoting and positioning the wrong thing.
People buy from PEOPLE. Not companies. So why invest time promoting a “company?”
Example: Xerox is a big company. They have a decent reputation. But, I didn’t buy Xerox when I invested in a whiz-bang copy machine a few years back. I bought the service and sales guys. They were good. And, they insisted their decision to be distributors for Xerox was because of the people at Xerox. They knew they had their backs, being on the front line – in the field, the trenches.
The people that back up the name are what make the company. Not the name. A name is just that. A company then, is only as good as the people that back it up. Or, don’t back it up.
[As small business owners, we don’t have the luxury of millions of dollars to invest in branding or just doing something to “get our name out there.” That’s not effective use of a dollar. What’s more, we don’t have time to waste. We have to use tactics, strategies and methods that provide a solid 2:1, 3:1 or better ROI – preferably, an immediate ROI (30 days or less).]
People, in this case, your patients, buy based on a number of factors like: what your staff says when they answer the phone; how the x-rays go (do you gouge anyone?); how their kids are talked to when they show up; if they are scolded or lectured about health instead of “informed and educated;” how clean the restroom is; your chairside manner to others (your staff) and the pts themselves; and, how the treatment plan is presented (hopefully not in any detail by you) at the end of the appointment.
All that determines whether 9 out of 10 schedule a next appointment or 2 out of 10. (BTW, have you measured your closing rate – the number of new and existing patients that scheduled a NEXT appointment? The next level to that is, asking and getting a quantifiable number on how many KEEP that appointment.)
All this to set up the question: Why would you promote your company in your ads and not yourself? Or, your staff? Or, how others have commented about you (testimonials)?
EXPERIMENT: Want to conduct an interesting experiment with ads in your local paper? Try this: get 3 or 4 ads done (Not to plug us, but that’s something we do for a lot of our Members – just email me or one of the staff here).
Each ad should feature a different staff member and what they do that is so interesting and important to the office. Front office. DA. Hygiene. Sterile Tech. Each one can make a different salient (I love that word) point to the prospective patient in an ad. Each of those points is an important one for patients to consider before choosing a dentist.
I’d write one ad from the FOP’s perspective,
“We Get You Seen By Dr. Smith ASAP. Many times, the same day you call. No waiting at SofTouch Dental!”
One from the DA’s perspective,
“Dr. Smith is the most gentle, kind, caring and compassionate dentist I’ve ever worked with – It’s why I come to work every day after 21 years and love every minute of my job.”
One from the Sterile Tech’s perspective,
“SAFETY FIRST! My job at Dr. Smith’s office is key – I’m responsible for ensuring the safety of every patient. I oversee the sterilization department and also manage Dr. Smith’s high-tech equipment. If there’s a problem, I’m first to know about it, and first to address it with solutions to ensure our patients’ comfort and safety, our staff, and Dr. Smith.”
Are these the exact ads I’d run? No. These are done on the fly as exhibit only. But, you get the idea, right? I’d also include photos of the person in their primary area of responsibility.
Your patients will buy from you based on their reaction to how you and your staff treat ‘em. They will base such a tiny percentage of their decision on your logo, your company/office/practice name that to give those things more credit than they deserve will only water down your real core message. And, it will distract you from what you need to focus on: results.
Companies are only as good as the people that work in and on them. And since your patients, people, buy based on their experience with your staff, you have to have nothing but top-flight staff in every position – even the janitorial staff!
In your marketing, your PR attempts (one of the most underused opportunities in dentistry), talk about what makes your office unique – the people, how they treat others.