Competing with “the Corporates”

April 2, 2021 Paul Henny DDS

In Seth Godin’s blog, he writes:

“In all markets, the market leader gets an unfair advantage. That’s because casual and unsophisticated customers choose the leader because it feels easier and safer. The strategy then, is not to wish and dream of becoming a big fish. The strategy is to pick a small enough pond. By engaging with the smallest viable audience, you gain the reputation and trust you need to move to ever bigger audiences.”

As dentists in private practice, attempting to be everything to everyone dilutes our value while it simultaneously puts us in direct competition with large DSOs and every other iteration of a business model that has deep pockets, the ability to survive big mistakes, and time on its side.

Instead, we need to know our strengths, make certain they match up well with our target audience, and then relentlessly become better and better at serving our target audience well. That is what L.D. Pankey, Bob Barkley, Peter Dawson, Frank Spear, John Kois, and many other dental leaders did.

None of these people pursued a business model which aspired towards a practice full of undiscriminating patients. Instead, they targeted a small market segment. That segment is composed of those who value improved health, appearance, and function. Avrom King called those folks the “values elite. They helped their market segment on a very high level, and by doing so, they created their future.

Many of us are successfully doing this still. That is how you compete against “the corporates”—you don’t.

Related Course

Utilizing Clear Aligner Therapy in a Digital Workflow

DATE: September 26 2024 @ 6:00 pm - September 28 2024 @ 2:00 pm

Location: The Pankey Institute

CE HOURS: 0

Dentist Tuition: $ 1695

Single Occupancy with Ensuite Private Bath (per night): $ 290

Enhance Restorative Outcomes This one-and-a-half-day course is designed for Invisalign providers who want to improve restorative outcomes with clear aligner therapy. The course focuses on the digital workflow for comprehensive…

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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Do You Have a Marketing Problem?

July 31, 2020 Paul Henny DDS

Seth Godin recently asked, “What are the symptoms of a marketing problem?” and continued… 

We have a ‘marketing problem’ when: 

  • There are people who would benefit from your work who aren’t engaging with you. 
  • There’s a change you seek to make in the culture, but it’s not happening. 
  • You’re having difficulty persuading other people of your point of view. 
  • The service or product you make isn’t resonating with those you seek to serve. 
  • You’re fighting in a race to the bottom, and it’s wearing you out. 

If you have a marketing problem, how much time are you spending working on a marketing solution? …You can’t solve your marketing problem tomorrow by simply repeating what you did yesterday. 

At the Root of Your Problem

Broaden your thinking and consider what is at the root of why you aren’t doing more of the dentistry you want to do and building a larger base of patients you enjoy. There are two primary reasons why dentists fail at meeting their desired practice goals: 

  1. They’re not very good at delivering on the promise, and therefore aren’t getting very many internal referrals and excellent digital reviews. (Marketing doesn’t solve this. Other things do. This isn’t really a marketing problem, is it?) 
  2. They are not well known in their community for being the genuinely caring and “honest” type of dentist that patients crave most. And they are not well known for being the perfect fit to compassionately and predictably solve complex oral health problems to significantly improve quality of life.  (Marketing can help solve this, but how?) 

Resolving Your Problem

Most dentists naturally focus on developing their skills and then struggle in the shadows with an amazing skill set that few people seem to appreciate. How do you best approach resolving issue #2? That depends on what it is that you’re trying to achieve. What is your purpose? And what are the principles and philosophy that stands behind that purpose? Because it’s your principles and philosophy that you need to be promoting and projecting out into the public sphere, not just the flash…not just the “how to”…and certainly not the doctor dancing around the office and bragging about how great he or she is.  

Patients need to be genuinely impressed and more than satisfied so they spread high praise in your community. You and your entire care team need to give them things to talk aboutwhat it is different about your approach….the relationship they have with you…the experience they have in your office…how well they are informed…the excellent results they enjoy…  

Clearly speak about your principles and philosophy in mindful, emotionally intelligent conversations with patients. Clearly write about your principles and philosophy of practice on your website. Listen and read “well” what patients say about you. What do they love? This is significant content for your website, blog and other external marketing.  

It comes down to: What is it that you can do that is deeply significant to your target audience, and how can you best convey that information and feeling to them on a consistent enough basis that they want your care?  

The foundational, solid relationship you build with them using highly attuned emotional skills will support treatment acceptance congruent with what they value and congruent with what you explain is in their best interest to meet their oral health and smile objectives. 

That’s what marketing is about, and it is both an internal and external process that must be constantly fine-tuned and consistently evolving within yourself, within your interactions, and within your messaging inside and outside of your practice walls. 

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DATE: February 20 2025 @ 7:00 am - February 22 2025 @ 8:00 pm

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Transform your experience of practicing dentistry, increase predictability, profitability and fulfillment. The Essentials Series is the Key, and Aesthetic and Functional Treatment Planning is where your journey begins.  Following a system of…

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About Author

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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