Everything Dental Blog – March 2017

The Abrams Report
March, 2017

Is your reality real?
Who are you listening to?

Over the last few years society has undergone a transformation of sorts. These changes are subtle and in most cases, perpetrated by us. Our access to data and our exposure to various perspectives has eroded. Due to FCC deregulation we have less media outlets (newspapers and media companies) while our choices have grown (more channels, more radio stations and the internet). The reason for the concern is that our vast telecommunication offering are controlled by just a handful of people. The popularity of social media has also affected our perspective. Our newsfeed does not reflect true reality. It is under continuous development and is created by our Facebook likes, Instagram images, our interests and dubious search engine marketing (SEM).

So here is the dilemma. Who do you believe and who can you trust? If you only get information that is in aligned with your likes and interests, can you have an effective vetting process? Intelligence gathering is vital to decision making which is reliant on accurate data. If the media outlets you subscribe to are owned by the same person or organization and your social media is designed to align with your predispositions, than can you be certain that you are making good decisions?

In my travels I have uncovered a serious problem in the dental community. It is the isolationism of convenience. Isolation is the enemy of innovation and improvement and many dentists are limiting their exposure by attending seminars that do not enhance their skill, business acumen or marketing efforts. They attend events that are local and convenient and provide CE credit. But these convenient events are selected to attract the largest amount of attendees as they profit the organizer. They rarely provide the information dentists and small business owners need. Since birds of a feather flock together, many dentists will share a similar perspective. I believe the lack of diverse opinion and contrasting viewpoints quietly impacts perception and decision making. For the last two days, while I was drafting this blog, I attended the Big Apple Dental in Mahwah, New Jersey. I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with several dozen dentists and the meeting organizers. There was a common thread that was shared by organizer and attendee – CE events must evolve and include courses that result in greater revenue for the dental practice. As a member of SCN (Speaker Consulting Network) and ADMC (Academy of Dental Management Consultants) I am keenly aware of the need for practice management and business operation instruction. Only a handful of the dentists I spoke to know what SEM (Search Engine Marketing) means and only a few knew what the phrase digital workflow means. Almost all the dentists I spoke to have not moved to a paper-less work environment and did not know about the new CDT codes that could impact their earnings.

We are in the era of the consumer and that should guide us all in our business operations, customer service and marketing efforts. This holds true for doctors, lawyers, grocers and retailers. The consumer has greater access and a plethora of choices because of the internet and mobile search. This consumer driven market is challenging the status quo. Your brand and reputation is dependent on positive internet reviews, patient referrals and the consumer’s experience with your brand.

Ask yourself these simple questions.
Why should patients come to my office for their dental needs?
Is my office easy to work with?
Are we likeable, flexible and competitively priced?
Do we actually put the customer first?

Everyday people form impressions about products and service providers because they are bombarded with touch points from advertisements, news reports, conversations with friends and personal experiences. However, unless consumers are actively shopping, much of your advertising investment and their exposure to your brand is not going to trigger a response. On the flip side, when the consumer is ready (in pain or they need something you sell or provide) and they have the impulse to buy your product or service will be up for consideration. This is when all of those accumulated impressions come to life for the well informed consumer. If you are a known entity with a brand they have come to know and trust, you will attract new business.

The take-away:
1. We are operating during a technological revolution where the customer is king!
2. Social media and your web reputation is your reputation
3. Take courses that enhance your clinical and operational prowess.
4. Get out of your comfort zone and take courses that enhance your skill and business!