“I feel your pain.”
I have spent my entire career working on the sales and marketing side of the dental industry. Specifically I was Vice President of Marketing for a large private practice marketing firm in the United States.
Our company annually sold to hundreds of thousands of dentists throughout the U.S. and Canada. We sold a variety of products including paid newsletter subscriptions, workshop registrations, on-site consultations and ad agency services. No one else even came close to our size.
We routinely outsold our competition because we had the best data. We knew who to contact and how to get in the door.
It turns out that marketing and selling to dentists can be fun and easy, when you overcome the obstacles which frustrate everyone else.
Here are some of the secrets I have learned over the years and continue to use today.
You’ve got to create ongoing, effective lead generation systems
Dentists are notoriously hard to reach. They are unbelievably busy, some avoid using technology, and often are protected by the most aggressive receptionists on the planet.
“No one talks to my boss without my permission!”
To be successful, you’ll need to follow time-tested direct response principles: test new ideas, track results, roll out winners and continuously improve and refine your efforts.
Plan to test a variety of media to generate your leads, including direct mail, trade publications, direct phone calls, paid search, search engine optimization, e-newsletters, email, publicity, telemarketing, trade shows, and schmoozing.
As you get results, you’ll need to evaluate the cost /benefit of each medium based upon its respective return on investment (ROI).
The offer is always key
The most important thing always comes down to your offer.
The best way to get dentists to pay attention to you is to provide them with a very compelling value proposition, prove why they should choose you, and then give them an incentive to act now.
Try offering some kind of discount, free white paper, free e-newsletter subscription, free seminar, or some kind of gift a dentist or staff can use personally. Develop strong offers – your success depends upon it.
Have a unique dental selling proposition
Develop a unique selling proposition and be unique. It is surprising how few firms really have one. Right now dental software is a hot category, yet when I look at the hundreds of competitors fighting for market share in that field, most say exactly the same things. “It’s paperless, fast, easy, etc.”
Dentists are skeptical, and they have heard it all before. If you cannot clearly deliver a unique benefit in 60 seconds, and then prove your claim, beware.
Have a specific message rather than a general one. Always offer specific solutions to specific problems.
Get your Dentists’ attention immediately
Whether you are utilizing marketing or direct sales, it is absolutely imperative that you capture the Dentist’s attention – and establish credibility.
Add value to their day-to-day Business
Dentists are smart and love learning, yet they can feel overwhelmed. It is nearly impossible for dentists to keep current on everything relevant to their patients, let alone the myriad of other issues that come up every day.
Providing relevant information is the best way to not only get their attention, but also to earn credibility. As a rule, dentists love to deal with smart people who have unrivaled expertise within their respective fields.
Whether you are reaching them through marketing or selling to them face-to-face, you need to communicate with them like a real person. And while it varies by circumstance, it often helps to make things fun for them.