“THAT’S NOT MY PROBLEM.”  

October 25, 2020
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“THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME!”

I’ve heard that before.  I’m sure you have too.   And most of the time, that’s a dangerous attitude to have.  Even the “Big Boys”, like JC Penny, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Century 21, Brooks Brothers, Hertz, GNC, J Crew and even one of my favorite entrepreneurs, Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic have succumbed during the 2020 Covidemic-Con.  Dentists are not immune but are actually caught directly in the cross-hairs.

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED

When USA TODAY wrote an article last week titled; “Dentists could raise fees, exit family practices as pandemic keeps patients away,” One might say to one’s self; “well, that doesn’t apply to me!”  Or, “Look, I’m busy and my schedule is even nearly full”.  Or, “I can’t work faster or harder”.

Those signs and feelings might be deceiving.

If you think that article doesn’t apply you, YOU WOULD BE INCORRECT.

Here’s why this article applies directly to YOU and to ANYONE who practices dentistry.

Articles like this, with a wide reach (I actually read it via a social media post) have a HUGE impact on the marketplace, even yours!

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES AND THE PROBLEM WITH “THE MEDIA”

We’ve all heard about the phenomenon of ‘Self-Fulfilling Prophecies”, the most common example of which is the PLACEBO effect.  A patient expects a result and hence gets it.  Yes, the phenomenon is real.

How many have heard about another, less known version of this called the PYGMALION EFFECT?

This is a type of, not self-fulfillment but OTHER-IMPOSED PROPHESY, that results in a person acting in a way that someone else predicts will happen.

In this case, we should be concerned that people will succumb to the Pygmalion Effect and begin to act in manners that this USA article and other media suggest.

When the media “report” that “millions” are staying away from Dental Offices, the Pygmalion Effect may result in millions more staying away.

Let’s take a closer look at this article and then discuss possible actions one can take to mitigate the potential damage.

Here are the main points the article makes.

1. Millions of Americans are delaying their dental appointments.
2. Dentists are being squeezed and hence are looking to increase fees.
3. Predicts that dental workers will see job cuts.
4. Small practices will be closing.
5. Do It Yourself (DIY) solutions might work

The article is quite well written and composed.  Mr. Bomey expounds on each of these items in detailed, depressing terms and effectively engages the reader with images and stories.

OKAY; YOU CAN BE DEPRESSED… OR YOU CAN ACT

I would suggest that you can and SHOULD use this same USA TODAY information, which your patients have now seen, to your advantage.

Communicate with your patients and your employees (they’ve probably seen it too).

Your employees are patients too and they’re also being warned that their jobs might be on the line.   Don’t ignore this.  When faced with a lack of evidence to the contrary, whom are they more likely to believe, USA Today or YOU?

Don’t gamble.

PROMOTE THE ARTICLE?

Exactly!  Ignore it at your own peril.  Tell people about it.  Assume that they’ll see it.  USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.  BE PROACTIVE.  Tell them what’s WRONG with the article as it relates to them as individuals and to YOUR practice in particular.

Yes, millions of Americans are delaying treatment.  And, many of them are (as the article does state) going to suffer because of it.  Cavities will get deeper, teeth will shift, gums will become more diseased, etc..  The bottom line, delaying will HURT.

What about your fees?  If you ARE going to raise fees, you now have justification, as the article mentions the increased costs and the risk of going our of business or being bought by some “Private Equity Company”, which wouldn’t be in their best interest.

Don’t ignore the MONEY issue.  Yet, offering flexible payment plans or even an in-house membership programs might help mitigate a patient’s concern.

Make YOUR practice look more appealing than a BIG, IMPERSONAL, CORPORATE office.  Tell WHY people are better off being cared for in your style practice than in another.

Use Stories and Images in your communications.  Follow the example of this USA TODAY article.  It’s a great example of how to use both images and stories to maintain the reader’s attention and convey emotion.

And, EMOTION is the key.

Writing with emotion, to get a desired response, is most readily accomplished via stories and images.

DON’T DESPAIR…IN CRISIS THERE IS OPPORTUNITY

Even within this depressing article are the seeds of positive action and opportunity.  In it, I learned about the “ZOOM EFFECT”.  It’s what happens when someone is constantly on some ZOOM-like videoconference, sees himself or herself on the screen and notices that their teeth are crooked or dark.

Here’s an opportunity to promote whitening and aligners (or plastic surgery).

And, though the article does promote Smile Direct Club and Candid, you can pretty easily educate (via story) about the risks involved with such poorly supervised DIY systems.  YouTube is replete with stories of how such treatments can go awry.

SCARY STORIES WORK

Fear is a powerful motivator and the best way to scare someone is by telling them about bad things that have happened to others.  It’s a survival mechanism employed by the news media.  And, IT WORKS!

In short, please don’t ignore the impact that such an article WILL have on your practice.  NO ONE is immune to this.  It’s best to be proactive but in this case, being reactive to such an article is the least you should do.

BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW!

The problem is that dentists are not trained writers or marketers!

So, rather than act, they tend to DO NOTHING!

NOTHING, right now, might be the WORST thing to do.

FEAR NOT…

BETTER, EASIER AND FASTER ARE JUST A CLICK AWAY

If you’re interested in learning the easiest, quickest and most effective way to communicate with your patients, attend the upcoming webinar where I will be speaking with Marketing Authority Wizard, Adam Witty about a NEW system designed to help dentists transform their practices.

Learn about how successful practices have avoided the pitfalls befalling most of our colleagues.  Learn how YOU can benefit from the expertise of experts in the field with proven track records of creating UBER-SUCCESSFUL campaigns, to help YOU persuade and educate YOUR patients in a new and more effective way.

YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOOSE AND A WHOLE LOT OF PEACE OF MIND TO GAIN.

Never again will you worry about looking at your schedule and seeing gaping holes.  With the information Adam and I will share, you will be able, with a click of your mouse to create nearly instantaneous results.

Register for the WEBINAR NOW:

https://advantage.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Fd_kguH4TgqmEqkGo6HtRg

To your excellent success,

Michael, Laurie, Merideth 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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