What is behaviour change and why is it so important for you to know about it?

How many dentists do you know who pay very close attention to how they make their patients’ feel?

Many dentists say …my job is to fix their dental problems, not do an analysis of how I make them feel before, during and after the process.

This approach might make you a decent practitioner, but I can tell you one thing for sure- it doesn’t make for a successful dental practice. In order to achieve the latter, you must know and learn about your prospective patients’ behaviour and how you can have an impact on it.

Below are some clear strategies on making behaviour work in your favour.

Have a Clear Vision about Who your patient is.

So before you can know more about your patients’ likes and dislikes or even influence them, you need to know where you want to take your business and who your patient is.

People Don’t Want to Change

Change may be the only constant, but people are not very excited about it. How would you feel if someone asked you to use a different style of equipment than you are used to? Or drink your coffee at a different time of the day? Your patients are no different. So if you will be asking them to floss at a different time, or eat from the other side of their mouth more often, they will not jump up and down with joy, they will be reluctant to change. Same is the case with your prospective clients; they wouldn’t want to change their current dental practitioner until you give them a really good reason to do so. And this is where behavior change comes in. You need to understand your patients and assess their behaviors and apply tactics that will make them more accepting towards the ‘change’ that you want them to adapt to.

What’s in it For Me?

One major factor that will make people accepting of change is if they are convinced that there are greater benefits and incentives attached to that change. When exposed to new ideas, products and/or services, consumers’ first reaction generally is ‘what’s in it for me?’ so to sell a service or concept to an existing or new patient just answer this question for them.

Emotions Vs. Data

Now this is where consumer behavior really gets interesting. If I know that having an apple a day is much healthier than munching on a good old apple pie daily, why do I still select the latter almost every time? It’s not because I don’t know any better (data) but because apple pie is my little sweet reward after a tiring day (emotions). And this is one aspect of business that not many business owners acknowledge or work on. So when selling focus on emotions and not data!

Why Do People Pay More for Luxury Services?

Most businesses make major decisions based on data; not to say that isn’t important, but that’s not what your patients are really interested in or responding to. They want to come to you not because of statistics and facts but because they want to feel better about themselves.

And this ‘feel good’ emotion is the reason why consumers are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a plain white t-shirt with a designer tag than one bought for a few bucks from K Mart. You could swear similar materials are used for both the products, but for some consumers the ‘feel good – exclusivity emotion’ of wearing a designer label attached to the expensive shirt is not attached to a bargain retail product.

And if we see the same example in a dental practice setting, then it is the reason why patients choose one practitioner over the other for exactly the same procedure.

The feeling of security that since I’d be paying more, I’d be made to feel more comfortable. Whether it be on more luxurious sofas in a better equipped waiting area, fancier surgical chairs or the overall boutique experience.

Be Consistent with the Market You Are Serving

Now you may not want to provide a boutique experience, and that is totally fine. If every dental practice started offering boutique experiences, then who would cater to patients looking for basic dental services on a budget?

The idea is to decide what market you would like to cater to and then be consistent with your message. For instance, if your message is that you cater to all your patients personally, then you can’t have your assistant do a follow up call; because that’s not what you promised. Similarly, if you are offering a message of having the best prices, then you can’t go ahead and start charging extra just because you installed a new coffee machine or better televisions in the waiting area. You have to remain consistently loyal to your promises.

Research, Research, Research

Invest some time and effort in knowing what motivates your patients, current and potential. Research your competition and what trends exist in the dental marketplace.

We all know the four P’s of marketing- price, promotion, place and product; and you will need to create a mix that speaks to your target group

The Frequency Distribution Curve

The frequency distribution curve is the bell shaped curve of anybody in a target audience. It could be your customer or patient, or groups of teams or people who work for you. If you think about that frequency distribution curve, we know that generally in any market that is between zero and 15% for your evangelists or lovers. And for your haters, the numbers are again between zero and 15%. So who are the rest of the 70% or more? They are the people who have other things to do and aren’t really paying much attention to you. This is the are you need to channel your focus. It is this 70%, who are the ones who are open to change and influence. They will provide unbiased feedback, whether they are your patients or your employees.

The Three Rules of Marketing

The first rule of marketing is to understand what you are famous for? Why do your patients prefer you over your competition? What is it that you are offering functionally and emotionally that gives you an edge. Do you make your patients feel pampered, confident, clever, protected?

The second law is to make sure that whatever it is that you are famous for, make sure you offer it consistently.

The third rule of marketing is leveraging. So you know what makes you stand out and you are offering the same quality of service consistently. The next step is to leverage it to expand your practice.

Final words…

Now let’s go away and consider firstly… what emotion is my patient feeling… and how can I make them feel better about themselves. Then – get out there and sell that to them!

1. P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:

Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”
The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here

2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too

It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here

3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event

Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here