I’m often asked how it’s possible for a small or even mid-sized, independent practice to compete with larger, often corporate owned and well-funded practices that I refer to as CORPORADONTICS?
First, let me dispel a myth. There is NOT a patient shortage. There are more than enough patients for every practice. What there is, is a supply-chain issue, fueled by poor messaging.
Potential patients and even many of your current ones don’t appreciate the need and/or value of being YOUR patient.
The answer to most competition is NOT to compete on the same playing field. Change the rules to suit your own goals by not doing the same things they do. You cannot compete on price. You might not be able to compete on convenience, especially as it related to hours of operation.
Go where they can’t compete with YOU…the patient experience, niche, targeted therapies and relationships.
You have to establish your service, practice, patient experience, expertise, authority, in the eyes of your target audience as the only viable solution, the most trusted advisor for life, the only source they could possibly go to or choose.
In order to deliver on that, you must be willing to give them comfort, advice, services and experiences that are different and more relevant to their individual desires and needs. You must be able to understand and then express, verbalize and articulate what that audience really wants more of, less of, and the reason they are trying to get what you are offering (product or service). You need to communicate why your service is different or better in as precise, clear and more impactful way than anyone else.
Your mindset should be one of having a professional and moral responsibility, an obligation and a privilege to try to help everyone in that audience and that you can do it better than your competition. Not because you want to be successful or for the money but because you want to be the most impactful and create the most value through the most lasting results and better outcomes for your audience.
Recently, I discussed this with a client who practices in a small town in the Midwest. A CORPORADONTIC chain had just bought the biggest practice in town. They immediately started advertising for Invisalign and Implants, the same treatments that made up nearly 30% of my client practice’s revenue and 40% of its profit!
After analyzing the client’s existing patients base and defining the practice’s AVATAR, we decide to run a campaign of our own. We focused on what made that practice and the patient experience unique, something we call the Unique Selling or Value Proposition (USP or UVP).
The USP and AVATAR should be in synch with the practice’s market.
Back to the Midwest practice. How could they compete with their new corporate neighbor?
Their AVATARs were ‘people who are interested in promoting health and are willing to pay for it and participate in the process’. They were:
We focused our efforts on communicating with existing patients because with a refined message to this AVATAR, we know that they will refer like-minded people. Clinically, we initiated an oral-systemic, whole body program focusing on reducing inflammation, enhancing breathing and a variety of other preventive strategies. This Whole Body approach was aimed directly at a clearly defined patient AVATAR.
Our communications focused on how important it is for a dentist to really get to know the patient. How having a new dentist or hygienist every visit is disadvantageous to knowing the patient as a WHOLE. In other words, we focused on the Patient Experience and Relationship.
Did you know that there’s a free magazine given out at most Whole Foods? An ad in the Natural Awakenings magazine won’t break the bank. And, with the right message and offer, it can stimulate a flow of there avatars. I personally built an entire second practice from scratch using this strategy alone.
By analyzing your existing patient base, service, referral sources and market, you can craft an AVATAR that will allow for refined and targeted messaging. We call such a laser-focused approach, “Dog-Whistle” marketing and it is more effective and LESS EXPENSIVE than trying to compete with CORPORADONTIC practices.
Give the Corpo’s what they deserve, shoppers and mid-level treatment seekers. You can’t nor should you compete there. It’s a killing zone for private practice.
Start the process by defining your patient AVATAR. Get our FREE WORKBOOK and begin the process of being INDEPENDENT and Corpo-bulletproof now.
To your clarity and success,