In this week’s podcast, we discuss just how important it is for your dental practice to create great relationships with the other dental practices in your area. All too often we look at any other dentist as our competitor, which in some sense they are, but you will be surprised to find that not only does working with the other dental practices in your area benefit you, but it benefits the industry as a whole. This week we look at other professionals, specifically golf, and how they have turned competition into an advantage, not only for them, but for the profession in general.
It’s a great podcast/videocast this week, scroll down even further for a transcription of this week’s show with Jared Young and Your Dental Marketing Department, enjoy!
——– Transcript Of Today’s Show ——–
Hi, I’m Jared with Your Dental Marketing Department, bringing this week’s podcast to iTunes, the website, and to youtube via our videocast. This is your dental marketing podcast for everything involving tips, strategies, techniques, ideas, product reviews and just about anything else. We try to keep interest level up and come up with good, valuable content in about a 20 minute podcast that you can listen to on your way to the office in the morning. If you haven’t seen the videocast version of this, you can find it on youtube or you can find it on our website, yourdentalmarketingdepartment.com or bigdiastema.com. Of course you may already be listening to it on iTunes, but you can just search for dental marketing department in the iTunes store, and you’ll find our podcast. Please give us an honest review and pass it along if you find the content in any of these podcasts valuable.
This week we’re going to be talking a little bit about golf and some correlations to an experience I had in the past week and how that can tie in to your dental practice. Before we get to that, I’m going to talk a little bit about Cool New Stuff.
This week’s Cool New Stuff is AdRoll. You can find it online, adroll.com. AdRoill is an ad re-targeting software. It follows your target from one website to another. It trails them around, showing ads with the same content or theme. You place an ad and that same person will see your ad on various websites that they visit. It’s an interesting concept. There are some privacy issues involved with this. Some people don’t like the fact that your ads could be following them around, but you also get your ad in front of your target market repetitively which you normally can’t do on the internet. If you’re just doing GoogleAds and you’re placing an ad, you don’t know if that same person is going to see that ad five times, one time, or no times. They may only see it during Google searches, if you’re not using their display network. If you are marketing on their display network, then it should show on other websites that are hooked up to Google as well, but it’s not really following their actions and following them around to different places on the internet. That’s what AdRoll does. You can check it out; I believe they have a free trial online. You can see if it’s something for you, something that you want to try doing. Try to get your ad in front of the same people over and over again. That’s adroll.com.
Last week I was fortunate enough to caddy at a PGA event here in Oregon. We had the PGA professional national champions event. These are PGA professionals. They are guys who might be the golf pro at your local golf shop, or they might be the instructor down at the golf course. They might have various other jobs. They could be teaching at a University. There was about 312 people in the field; it’s one of the largest tournaments. This is their national championship. The total purse, I believe, was a little over half a million dollars. 77 or 78 people ended up making the cut, so a very small percentage of people made the cut. I got hooked up with it because the club that I am a member of was hosting the event. They needed some caddies, and I said, “Sure, I’ll take a few days off and go do this. It should be fun.”
Not only did I get to caddie in the event, I got to caddie for one of the top tour pros in the tournament. We were tied for first place going in to the last day, and the gentleman I caddied for is a wonderful man. He’s the head teaching professional at Merion Golf Course, where they just had the U.S. Open. His name is Mark Sheftic. Amazing individual, genuinely kind-hearted person, amazing teacher and also an amazing player. I was fortunate enough to carry his bag through the unusual rain here in Central Oregon in June and some warm temperatures as well. It was a lot of umbrella up/umbrella down, wipe the clubs off with the pants, put the rain pants on/take the rain pants off, rain jacket on/rain jacket off, umbrella back up/umbrella back down, change hats, that one’s too wet, get new gloves out. There were a lot of weather challenges during our four day event. I learned that caddies work extremely hard. It was a six day event for me because there were two practice rounds, and he made the cut, so there were four rounds total in competition. I carried the bag on average for about six hour rounds for six days and then also out on the range. I tended to be out on the golf course for about ten hours a day for six straight days. It was a lot of hard work and it was an eye opening experience. I know that I’ll probably never be a PGA caddy, and I’m OK with that. I’ll probably also never be a PGA player, and I’m OK with that as well.
I did learn some things. I learned things that I think can be transferred and applied to our dental practices and how we market and grow our business in dentistry. A big one for me is that these guys have an amazing comradery. They work together even though they’re competing against each other. They band together with their competitors in order to enjoy themselves a little bit more but also in order to help each other out. There’s a lot of encouragement. In the practice rounds there is a lot of advice, there’s a lot of help. In the tournament rounds you’re limited in some of the advice and help you can provide, but they’re definitely supportive and encouraging of one another.
We all have dentists that are right down the street from us. We all have people who are technically competing with us. A lot of times we might shake their hand and smile at them in public, but behind closed doors we’re not real excited to have that competitor right next door. We’re going for the same patients. We’re going for the same money, and we’re trying to survive, support family, support staff, keep the office going, and also to provide great services and care to our patients. In golf they’re trying to do the same thing. They’re all trying to get a good payday to be able to provide for their family. They’re trying to support their family. They’re trying to stay in business. They’re trying to play a good game. They’re also trying to be supportive of one another, and there’s a lot of genuine support there. I think that’s what makes some of these top guys extremely successful. They provide each other with a lot of support, and in doing so I think they also benefit themselves. When they start providing support, they’re watching someone else’s game. They’re watching what someone else is doing, studying it, and then providing tips and advice to one another on how to get better. If we did a little bit more of that in dentistry, we’d all be a little bit stronger.
I know that it seems counter intuitive. If you make your competitor stronger, then you are going to weaken your own position by default. That’s typically not the way things actually work. There is a vast quantity of patients available in your area. Even if you’re competing with the guy next door, there are probably more than enough patients for the two of you to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you had to. The reality is that you’re not going for that.
These guys all have different strengths in their game. The player that I carried for, Mark, had an amazing drive. I don’t know if he missed a fairway with his driver during the entire tournament. He was straight as an arrow, right down the middle, right where he wanted it to go every single time, a model of consistency. He’s also a very strong putter. He had distances down pat. He knew exactly how to get the ball to within a few inches of the hole on almost any putt, over any hill, at any distance. He knew those strengths, and he would try to play to those strengths.
In dentistry, we need to be better at playing to our strengths and stop spending so much time on building up our weaknesses. I think a lot of times we try to be all things for all people. We try to provide the care that somebody might want. Let’s say they want veneers, but you’re not the most experienced person with veneers. You don’t want to turn that patient away. You’re going to go ahead and try those veneers. What’s going to happen? You’re either going to get real lucky and they’re going to be perfect. That’s one option. You’re not going to get real lucky; you’re going to do an OK job, but the patient is not going to notice. Hopefully nobody else will notice, they’ll last a long time, and by default you’ve succeeded. Or, you’re not going to do a real good job, the patient’s not going to be real happy, and the patient’s going to complain.
On the flip side, if veneers is your bread and butter, if you love doing veneers, and that’s your favorite thing to do, your odds of being in that successful category are very high. Mark, when he was playing off the tee, his odds of being successful with that drive were very high. If it was a hole that called for a three wood, a lot of times he would play his driver and do a little bit lower of a swing, maybe an 80% swing with his driver. He was playing the odds. He knew he was more likely to be successful hitting that driver than he was with his three wood off the tee. You should be playing the odds. You should be playing to your successes and building on your strengths in your practice, and really playing to your specialty. I know ‘specialty’ is really not a word you can use in most states; I’m using it as an internal word. If you have something that you feel you are special at (you have a special talent for doing veneers, a special talent in crown and bridge, or a special talent for extractions), play to those. Market those strengths. Don’t worry about strengthening your weaknesses, work more on your strengths. Become the absolute expert in your field at that strength.
If you try to be above average at everything, you’re liable to be below average at everything. If you try to be amazing at a few things you have a great chance at succeeding. Not only that, you also have a great chance of getting referrals from other doctors to do that. Let’s say you’re the veneer doctor, that’s your bread and butter, you’re amazing at veneers, and other doctors aren’t, but you don’t do some other things. You’re just cosmetic and want to do veneers. The dentist down the street who loves doing extractions and is amazing at extractions might do an extraction on a back tooth and then send that patient over to you to do the veneers, because he knows that you’re not going to be doing the extraction that he wants to do. That can work both ways. You have to be careful with the way you refer patients, obviously. Most states have referral laws.
You want the best care for your patient. If the patient can get better care with one particular item, you should not shy away from sending your patient to that doctor. If you’ve built a rapport, have a strong relationship and a good friendship with that doctor down the street, then you can trust that other doctor. If you send that extraction patient over, that doctor’s going to do that extraction and send that patient back.
In dentistry we’re so focused on our own little world, being the best at everything we can, getting all the patients we can, doing everything that we can, and maximizing everything. It’s a very, very difficult thing to achieve. That’s why so many practices are mired in mediocrity. Not just mediocrity in the quality of work, but mediocrity in the number of patients, the amount of production, the amount of collections, and the reputation of the practice. Go on to Yelp sometime and just look up dentists in your area. There’ll be a few dentists that have amazing reviews, but by and large most dentists end up being three or four stars, and they’re mired in mediocrity. They’re mired in that sense that they need to be great at everything, and therefore are great at nothing.
Spend more time developing relationships with doctors around you. Spend more time focusing on your strengths, like these PGA players do. You’re going to be more successful with it. The most successful players in this tournament were the ones who had very strong relationships, were genuinely good people, were trustworthy and encouraged one another. They were the ones who knew their strengths and weaknesses and played to their strengths. I think it’s a great tip that we can take not only in dentistry. I can take that to the marketing side, or my home life. You can take that to almost anything you do in life.
Build strong, valuable relationships. Be honest with one another and encourage those around you. Play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Don’t focus on your weaknesses; don’t try to build your weaknesses. Try to build on your strengths. You’ll be a much more successful individual and a much more successful dentist. Your practice will benefit as well.
This week, if you have a chance, go to your local networking meeting and develop some real relationships. Don’t be afraid to shake the hand of the dentist who is in the same building as you. Find out what he finds to be his strengths. You’ll probably find that it’s not the same as yours. You’ll probably find that maybe he’s catering to extremely wealthy patients and you’re catering to working class, or vice versa. Maybe he has a full Spanish speaking staff and he caters to the Latino crowd and you have a full German speaking staff who caters to the German crowd. You might find out that you can really compliment one another rather than compete with one another. That’s my Awesome Tip This Week.
Little bit shorter podcast this week, but I had a great time. I’m just getting back in to the swing of things after six days out walking the golf course, and I’m enjoying our hot weather here. If your part of the country is hot today, please be safe. Make sure your pets stay safe and everybody stays cool and hydrated. We’re trying to do our best here. I appreciate the time that you spend listening to our podcasts. If you enjoyed this podcast, I hope you refer it to others as well. This is Jared with Your Dental Marketing Department. You can find us on iTunes; dental marketing department is the keyword. You can find us at yourdentalmarketingdepartment.com, bigdiastema.com, or you can find the videocast of this on youtube. Thank you very much; we’ll catch you next week.