Many of you know I am a fan of the family-friendly Plants vs. Zombies app and game and play it regularly on my iPad. I was happy to learn the ADA and Pop Cap Games (developer of Plants vs. Zombies) have created a partnership and a program called Stop Zombie Mouth. To celebrate Halloween with your patients, or as a giveaway at your practice or home, member dentists can order Zombie trading cards featuring the the characters in the game Plants vs. Zombies. Instead of sugary treats, patients can get cool trading cards with download codes, and a great healthcare message. These trading cards can be ordered from the ADA catalog of products for free plus a nominal shipping charge. Game coupons can also be downloaded for free at the website www.stopzombiemouth.com. Check out the website, it has tips, fun facts, freebies to download like coloring pages, an Halloween party invite and several others. What a fun way to differentiate your practice this Halloween!!
When networking you want others to feel good about themselves, and, to feel good about being in a conversation with us. We want to ask questions that make others feel good about us as people, even though we have just met and they hardly know us.
Here are our top 10 questions that are not sales oriented in any way. They are friendly and fun to answer and they will tell you something about the way a person thinks. In one conversation you will not use all these questions. We recommend knowing them well enough to ask the ones you feel are appropriate for the conversation and the time frame available at your networking function.
Here are the 10 questions:
1. How did you get your start in your business?
- People like to share their story
2. What do you enjoy the most about your profession?
- The people you want to associate with will love to answer this question
3. What separates you and your company from your competition?
- Gives them permission to brag
4. What advice would you give someone just starting in your business?
- Mentor question
5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?
- What are your dreams question
6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?
- Mature business owner question
7. What do you see as coming trends in your business?
- Be a speculator question
8. Describe the funniest (or strangest) thing you’ve experienced in your business?
- War Stories question
9. What have you found to be the most effective ways to promote your business?
- All small businesses market in some way
10. What one sentence would you like people to use when describing how you do business?
- Customer service question
These are questions people will enjoy answering. You are not being nosy. Again, don’t plan to ask all 10 questions in one meeting. This is not an interrogation, these questions are meant to establish initial rapport. When someone answers a question use genuine curiosity, try saying “tell me more”. Learn as much as you can about your fellow business owners in your community, there may be opportunities to cross promote your business or create a small business breakfast group. The more people you know, the more people who know you, the larger your practice will become.
What is one networking event you could attend in your community?
Chamber of commerce, or other business functions, and social events, are excellent sources of networking if used correctly.
Follow these 10 tips for successful networking:
1. Adjust your attitude. Realize that the purpose of attending this function is to work and build your network.
2. Work the crowd. Be pleasant and approachable.
3. Prepare a quick 30 second introductory “elevator” speech to help others understand what you do for patients and how your services benefit others.
4. Introduce yourself to someone new. If possible have that person be a center-of-influence person or someone who is in a complementary profession. Look for cross-promotion opportunities.
5. After the introduction, invest 99.9% of your time asking the other person about their business. Refrain from talking about you or your business.
6. Ask for their business card. (Never attend a function without your business cards)
7. Introduce this person to other people you know at the function.
8. Follow up with a “nice to meet you email”
9. Follow-up regularly with articles or information relevant to their business or your shared business concerns.
10. Give referrals to others.
Keep in mind networking is first about what you can do for someone else, not what they can do for you. If you help others, you will receive help in return, it may not be an immediate payback but it will come with time.
Always remember people find it irresistible when you recognize them and know their name (not just their teeth or dental challenges). This quote says it all:
We are all so vain that we love to have our names remembered by those who have met us but once. We exaggerate the talents and virtues of those who can do this, and we are ready to repay their powers with lifelong devotion. The ability to associate in the mind names and faces is a tremendous asset to a politician, and it will prolong the pastorate of any clergyman. William Lyons Phelps
Linda and I had a wonderful time at Dr. Nick’s annual Chocolate Party for his referring specialists. What a beautiful event and a nice way to celebrate with those that refer to his practice.
Let us know what you are doing! Have a great day! Jody
As the new year has begun many of our clients are questioning their normal annual fee increase. It is important to look at how price ties to the value and satisfaction you are giving your patients. We have long felt strongly about sharply discounting fees to close a patient on necessary or elective treatment. A practice must focus on both their productivity and the expenses or cost of delivering treatment, to know if they can reduce a fee for a patient. Continue reading “Adding Value for Your Patients”
It is more important now than ever before to have the ability to stay connected to your patients. More and more patients rely on their computers and smart phone technology to plan their days and communicate with others. In order to take advantage of these technology advances, it is important for the dental practice to upgrade to practice software that will contact patients on these devices. If you have not already purchased an external practice management system to run your recall system, email and text your patient’s, reactivate patients and do marketing for you, now is the time to seriously consider this type of software. Assign someone on your team (not the dentist) to research the ins and outs of what these software programs can do for you. Set preferences properly and create a plan to take advantage of the inexpensive web and direct mail marketing available with many systems.
One of the best ways to attract new patients, and to remind patients of your practice (especially those who might not have been in for awhile), is for the Doctor to be included in and submit articles to local newspapers, magazines, local or cable TV and radio stations. These opportunities to increase visibility highlight the practice’s expertise and makes the practice more credible in the eyes of the public. To tap into the media, make your Doctor a familiar, reliable and available “expert” resource to your local writers and editors. Continue reading “Work Together to get Free Publicity”
Here are 10 FREE local business directories that you should submit your website to in order to increase your online visibility and encourage new patients to try your practice. Continue reading “Is your website listed with these local directories?”
Do you know what your patients are saying about your dental practice online? How about ex-employees or your competitors? Who is singing your praises or who is running your name through the mud? Either way, you want to be aware of it. Continue reading “Online Reputation Management”
Rule One: You must be committed. You aren’t networking if you’re out for instant gratification. An effective network is built upon a solid foundation of relationships that are built over time. A number of years ago I taught a women’s entrepreneurial training course at a community college. As part of the course we discussed networking and their homework assignment was to attend one or two events. When we returned to the subject, a student reported she’d thought networking events were a waste of time. When I asked why she felt that way, she explained that she’d paid to go to several events in her community and she passed out tons of business cards, but she hadn’t gotten any business. Rule number one – don’t expect immediate gratification. Continue reading “Networking the Old Fashioned Way”