Random Thoughts of the Day

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  This will be a quick and dirty blog article.  No pictures.  No fancy editing.  Just what happened this week and what I’m thinking.  GO!

Thought #1:

It all started with a seminar…

Last week, I attended a local 3-hour presentation by my friends from New Patients Inc (Howie Horrocks and Mark Dilatush).  I’ve known these guys for around 15 years, or so.  I’ve also used New Patients Inc (NPI) for various marketing projects.  They are my “go to” guys for marketing expertise.

At the presentation (to a small group), Mark and Howie remarked that I had heard their material before.  I said, “Yeah… but, I’m stubborn, and sometimes you have to beat me over the head to get through.  So repetition is good for me!”  And, yeah… I HAD heard it all before.  But, I still get something from it, and I invariably walk away with an idea to implement.

Just one “pearl” is all I need.

One of the things they talked about was website marketing – one of MY areas of “expertise.”  A hallmark trait of NPI is that they have DATA to back up their assertions.  They studied which factors or things interest consumers when it comes to choosing a dental office.  I won’t go through the list here, but one of the highest ranking factors was “technology.”  Consumers like to know about the use of technology in a dental office.

One of the most common “technologies” that are featured by dental offices is digital x-rays.  I do not use digital x-rays in my office (for a number of reasons).  So, it did not really occur to me (until my epiphany at the NPI presentation) that there is more to “technology” than digital x-rays.  So, I went home and immediately went to work on crafting a new page for my website just about the technology I do use.  I came up with the list and then expounded on each technology in terms of PATIENT BENEFITS.  Patients don’t care about why WE like technology.  They only want to know “what’s in it for me?”  That’s a VERY important point!  Remember who the audience is.

They don’t care which technology you have… just that you have SOME technology.  And, we ALL do!  So, make your list and begin writing about how it BENEFITS patients.

Along came an 87 year old…

On Monday, I had a new patient come in for a debonded crown.  He needed a root canal and a new crown, as it turns out.  He found me with a web search.  He’s EIGHTY-SEVEN years old!  He told me he really enjoyed my website, and… get this… That he was impressed with my “use of technology.”  He said, “I saw that you use lasers and those magnifier glasses.”  That web page was only a week old!  Booya!  It took me all of about 20 minutes to write the copy and publish that page to my website.

Dentists are from Uranus.  Patients are from Earth.

WHAT do patients want?  WHY do they want it?  HOW do they want it?  Consider those questions when creating your website.  For example… after the home page, the most frequently visited page on a dental website is the “Meet the Doctor” page.  This isn’t conjecture.  It’s a fact.  NPI has the data, and my own website’s Google Analytics back it up.  So, where should the navigation button for “Meet the Doctor” be?  Near or at the top!

Know what consumers / patients want.  Think how they think.  Arrange your website to fit.  That means easy and intuitive navigation.  Don’t bury important pages under multiple layers of cascading menus.  Make it easy!  Don’t make them “drill down” for it…. because they likely WON’T!  Instead, they’ll hit the “back” button and go somewhere else.  Provide information in bite-sized pieces.  Short paragraphs.  Good images.  Bullet points.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  In fact, it may be better if it’s NOT fancy.  Make it easy, and give them what they want!

And, remember that while most people like sausage, they don’t want to see how it’s made!  Patients want to know:  Will it look good?  Feel good?  Last a long time?

Thought #2:

Just say “YES!”

Today, another new patient came in for a Six Month Smiles consultation.  This new patient is 65 years old, and he decided he wants his teeth to be straight.  He found me with a web search.  He had already seen an orthodontist and scheduled treatment!  I took a look and determined that he was an ideal candidate for short term orthodontics to correct his anterior crowding.

He asked me what the fee was.  And, I told him without hesitation.  He remarked, “That’s about the same as the fee for the FULL orthodontics.”  I looked him straight in the eye and said, “That’s entirely possible.”  I didn’t offer any further explanation or justification.  It has taken me YEARS to learn when to SHUT UP.  There is a natural human tendency to want to fill moments of silence.  And, I’m REALLY good at that!  But, it has held me back in my business.  I’m still learning!

By the way… I don’t always present fees myself.  It depends on the patient.  Often I defer to my office manager, especially when it’s multiple procedures or a long treatment plan.  But, in this case, the patient was a business man who wants answers… straight answers.  And, this was for a single service.  So, I looked him in the eye and told him.  And, then I “STFU.”

This patient is a busy building contractor and asked if he could get started TODAY.  The schedule was a bit tight for that, but we found a way to accommodate him!  I juggled the concurrent restorative appointment and made it happen.  Just saying, “yes” can turn a good day into a great day!

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4 Responses to Random Thoughts of the Day

  1. Jordan says:

    What are the main reasons you do not use digital X-Rays?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      First… I find the diagnostic quality of film to be tremendously better.

      Secondly, the cost of converting from film to digital is tremendously unjustified. ROI isn’t there.

      But, I WOULD like the convenience factor. But, not enough to spend mid-5-figures.

  2. ellebelle says:

    I don’t use digital either. Some days I think about adding it because it seems like people almost expect it. But bottom line: even Gordon Christiansen says that you cannot diagnose class 2’s as well on digital. I had a new patient this week that had digital x-rays within a few years. You could see a faint something on the printout. Bottom line, the tooth is now unrestorable without endo, crown lengthening, and a crown. The patient is choosing to extract it. I am not going to sit in an ivory tower and say that I don’t ever miss something on film, I am only human, but I do feel like I can see more on film. If I did strickly endo then I would definitely have digital, just so I could see more quickly how close I am to the radiographic apex. As a side note, I had digital in GPR and am very familiar with it. Although it makes me nervous appearing low tech…I still feel I can diagnose more properly and with thyroid collars I do not worry about the slight increase in radiation (especially with F speed film). There are comparisons that quote the difference between digital and D or E speed film. I also don’t take FMX every three years, etc… and am very conservative but do only what is necessary for proper diagnosis….and yes they are necessary.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Ellebelle! Thanks for your comments. I’m in the same place as you. I do struggle with the notion that I may be perceived as not “up to date.”

      I spent an entire YEAR working in the office next door to mine. The dentist was hit by a car while riding his bike. I worked my office and his, every day… for a year. Our doors are 30 feet apart. He was digital. Film for me.

      HANDS DOWN, film is better when it comes to diagnostic clarity. It’s not even close. Many who go digital convert completely from film to digital and “get used to digital.” But, I was in a unique situation, being able to work with BOTH every single day, side-by-side. I’ve had the opportunity to compare them directly in my daily routine… for a YEAR. As it turns out, there are studies that back up my experience and position.

      I am amused when my “digital” friends say, “well you have to ENHANCE the digital image, then you can see stuff.” Uh-huh. I don’t have to “enhance” film images. And, I am very familiar with digital imaging (in photography). You can’t add higher resolution by “enhancing” or modifying the original image. You just magnify the crappy native resolution.

      The difference is especially noticeable with proximal carious lesions and periapical pathology. Film beats digital easily.

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