Practices need to shout more about their unique selling points, Les Jones says.
Whilst presenting on the Practice Plan Workshop Tour at various locations across the UK, I’ve asked each audience to list three ways in which their practice is distinctly different from their competitors – in other words, what are their unique selling points (USPs).
Most struggle to come up with one, let alone three, and I can understand why. Dentistry is a sector that is full of similarity – similar practices, offering similar treatments in similar environments for similar prices. It’s a market where it’s difficult to truly stand out above the crowd.
However, it is possible, if you’re prepared to put your thinking caps on and get a little creative.
What makes you unique?
The first thing to take on board is prospective patients are unlikely to make their decision as to which practice to choose based on the core service you provide…dentistry. The dentistry is taken for granted and they will make their decision based on a combination of surrounding factors such as location, image, whether your website ‘feels’ right when they land on your home page…and many others.
As such, you should take a stand back from your practice and analyse what attributes you have within your practice that are working in your favour and then think about how you can elevate those things into the consciousness of your audience and evidence the benefits they provide.
So, for instance, take the issue of parking. For many prospective patients, the ability to park next to your practice without charge might be an important factor in their decision-making process. Yet many practices that have on-site parking don’t shout about it half as much as they should. But it’s a clear differentiator to those practices without parking facilities. If you have it…big it up!
There are many other things that could easily be overlooked in your communications, but if looked upon differently, would represent a USP in the eyes of your patients. Do you have a unique building with an interesting history, or has your practice been custom designed and built? Do you have your own lab on-site – if so, what are the benefits to you patients? Are you open at different times to your competitors? Do you have additional services such as chiropody, a beauty spa or complementary medicines?
How you do it
Finally, turn your attention not to ‘what’ you do, but ‘how’ you do it. Take a look at every step of your patient journey and see if you can come up with different ways of delivering those steps in a more creative and memorable way. Customers will talk about your practice if you provide them with stories to tell. Your ideas don’t have to be mind-blowing or expensive, just different.
A hotel I recently checked into gave me a warm, homemade chocolate cookie in a branded paper bag at the end of the check-in process – it was simple and low-cost, but it was also memorable and I’ve told lots of people about it. That’s never happened at any other hotel. How about taking that idea and finding a dental-related gift that you could give to each patient when they arrive in reception?
If you put your mind to it, you can come up with ideas that elevate the mundane points into ‘wow’ moments that they want to share with their friends and relatives.
The leaders in any sphere are those who are prepared to challenge the status quo and come up with different and better ideas. And the fact remains…you can’t be the same and stand out! The choice is yours…
…Vive le difference!
Practice Plan is a specialist provider of practice-branded dental plans. It has a wealth of business and plan support services, including expert marketing support, and a proven reputation for supporting practices to develop and maintain a profitable and sustainable business. So, whether you’re considering your options out of the NHS, looking to introduce a plan into an established practice or considering switching from another plan provider, Practice Plan has the ability to offer you expert advice. Call 01691 684165 or visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/dental-plans.