Is Your Dental Practice a Toyota or Mercedes?

What can you do now to make your dental practice more profitable now, and more valuable in the future? In our next series, we will explore the Core Value framework of value drivers — a set of factors that impact the value of an enterprise. All of these value drivers also make your dental practice more profitable now. This week we’ll examine Brand.

Why do people pay more for a Mercedes than for a Toyota? Both fulfill the same basic function — transportation. Both Mercedes and Toyota brands carry with them certain implications: status, reputation, quality, craftsmanship. Customers who choose one are making a statement about what’s important to them.

Branding isn’t just the name, logo and appearance of your office. A practice with a powerful brand communicates what makes them different from other dental practices in your area. This difference is the total experience present in every interaction a patient has with your practice — from the initial phone call to schedule an appointment to the service you provide.

Why you need a strong brand:

  1. A practice with a powerful brand justifies higher fees, much as a Mercedes costs more than a Toyota.

  2. Your name will be more memorable which helps you generate more referrals. Some referrals may come from people who aren’t your patients, but who are aware of your name and reputation from your branding.

  3. Powerful branding resonates with your patients. It establishes an emotional bond that makes them willing to return year after year and to follow your recommendations.

  4. A powerful brand enhances your reputation. Your reputation in the marketplace reassures prospective patients that they’ll have a positive experience.

  5. You’ll have a competitive advantage in the marketplace over the practices that have a generic, plain vanilla brand.

  6. Practices with a consistent brand are more valuable. A successor will pay more for a practice with a positive reputation and with proven systems to run everything.

How do you create a brand?

The first step in creating your brand is to brainstorm what sets you apart from all the other dentists in town. From your perspective as a dentist, your education, experience and the high-tech equipment in your office ought to be reason enough to choose you. But your patients have a different point of view.

Patients visit a dentist because they need your services. Beneath the tangible benefit of healthier teeth and gums, there’s always an intangible benefit to them: they feel better when their smile is beautiful. Their self-esteem improves. Or the worries they have from ignoring their teeth are alleviated. Maybe it’s how your office staff and you treat them in a consistent, warm and gentle manner.

Once you find the unique selling proposition for your practice, this difference must become embedded in everything you and your staff do. It must ring true to patients and be consistent with their interactions with your practice.

Set up systems for everything in your practice — from how the phone is answered to how they are greeted to how billing works. Consistent experiences are the reason people pay more for Starbucks coffee than for the no-name convenience store coffee.

Let’s create a branding strategy for you

Call our office today and we’ll have an in-depth discussion of your practice’s differentiating features, and we’ll help you find the right tone for your new branding!

--Melissa Ackerman, Analyst