Hiring A Sleep Appliance?

August 10, 2020
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McDonalds did some market research so they could sell more milkshakes.

You might think that most milkshakes were bought by younger people at lunch or dinner along with burgers and fries. You might even think that they were bought by weed-toking, local college kids in the evening to satiate a craving. If you assumed either of those scenarios, you would be incorrect.

They found out that half of their milkshakes were sold before 8:30 AM! And, that they were bought mostly by single men, driving to work.

It turns out that these people were hiring a milkshake to do a specific job.

The job was to occupy their time during a long, boring drive to work and fill themselves up with something that satiated their hunger for a few hours in a convenient way.

The fact that the milkshake was really thick and had to be consumed slowly, sucked through a straw, that it didn’t make a mess and could be held with one hand to facilitate driving, were key components of the job requirement that the milkshake nearly perfectly filled.

Some milkshake owners had tried bagels, bananas, candy bars and donuts but they didn’t fulfill all the requirements of the job as well as the milkshake did. They were messier, were consumed too quickly or weren’t was filling enough.

So, as Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School explains, the milkshake was being hired to do a job. And, it does so really well. Unless, of course, you’re a diabetic, lactose intolerant or care about your diet.

“People purchase products and services in order to make them part of their lives and to move forward.”

So, the question that he recommends asking about any product or service is; why would someone hire it and to do what job?

In actuality, it’s just another way of asking WHY?

Why does someone come to a Dentist for a Sleep Apnea remedy?

What JOB do they need filled?

Could it be to not be nasty and be in a better mood in the morning?

What about to have more energy for the grandkids?

How about living a longer, more productive life?

Or, my wife kicked me out of the bedroom?

There could be any number of jobs a person would hire a Sleep appliance for and hating the CPAP, is NOT one of them.

If they had previously hired a CPAP to do a job and it didn’t work out, then there’s a job opening you must define.

The interesting thing about the typical McDonald’s milkshake buyer was that they weren’t fat, overweight slobs. Most were upper to mid-level, well dressed executives who had just come from the gym!

These people knew that the milkshake wasn’t a nutritiously ideal food. Yet, because it fulfilled the JOB so well, they were willing to sacrifice the calories and sugar to accomplish the mission.

In essence, they were saying that they would make this sacrifice and perhaps “make it up elsewhere.”

Had the milkshake server said: which flavor would you prefer for your 1500 calorie Milkshake, it might have resulted in a realignment of priorities resulting in fewer milkshake sales.

That’s what happens in dental practices when there’s a failure to first understand WHAT THE JOB THE SLEEP APPLIANCE IS MEANT TO FILL.

The JOB your patient is hiring the appliance for is NOT to treat their oxygen saturation or their snoring. Its not to advance their mandible and its NOT even to treat their sleep apnea, though that’s what they might think it is.

It’s to fix another problem (job) they have.

Unless you find out about the real JOB and connect the dots for the patient, they will be less likely to hire you, less compliant if they do and less appreciative of the true value of the treatment process, which includes titration and regular follow up.

That’s the reason that price should NEVER be discussed until the real JOB has been defined. It’s like giving the milkshake’s calorie count up at the order counter. You’ll never make it to the cash register.

This analogy is applicable to all areas of dentistry, not just Sleep. How you implement finding the real JOB and Hiring goals of your patient within your practice will vary according to your particular marketing and patient intake process. It might vary a coring to the service rendered. And, it might vary depending on the strengths of specific team members.

Want to learn how this strategy could fit into YOUR process?

Schedule a free strategy session at:


To your excellent clarity and success,
Michael, Laurie and the PPS team

Practice Success Insights

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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