Processing the products or the journey?

A stimulating conversation yesterday with my industrial contract cleaners -applying what I have learned from my dental clients and where my thinking is at present.
We are discussing Dan Sullivan’s Commodity Trap and the development of the Unique Ability® Process (UAP’s) – you can learn more at
What we have done in Breathe Business is to create UAP’s around our basic products and services:

  1. Commodity = a one-day practice visit. UAP = Breathe Analysis
  2. Commodity = a team training day on financial management. UAP = Focus on Money
  3. Commodity = a 2-day workshop on leadership.UAP = The Authentic Leader
  4. Commodity = a mastermind group for principals. UAP = The Breathe Business Club
  5. Commodity = one of the business club days on increasing sales. UAP = The Sales Accelerator
  6. Commodity = 1:1 coaching by Simon, Chris and Alun. UAP = Breathe Bespoke

So by creating a UAP we build credibility, we positively differentiate ourselves in the market – and when we trademark the UAP we create an increased sense of value for clients in purchasing the knowledge.
It’s a fantastic process and worth the fees we have paid Strategic Coach just to understand that.
I’ve been working with some of my dental clients on the application of this to their practices – and struggling a bit.

  1. Commodity = a Procera crown. UAP?
  2. Commodity = wall to wall veneers. UAP?
  3. Commodity = implants. UAP?

I suspect you will guess the answers (there are two of them) – but it really became clear when I addressed the needs of the cleaners.

  1. Commodity = we clean your office. UAP?

After some struggles we realised the two possibilities.

  1. UAP the outcome or
  2. UAP the process, the customer/patient journey.


  1. Outcome = a nicer smile. Commodity = tooth whitening. UAP = The Whiter Smile Makeover
  2. Outcome = no more dentures. Commodity = dental implants. UAP = The Permanent Solution
  3. Outcome = straighter teeth. Commodity = Invisalign. UAP = The 10-years younger plan.

Get it?

  1. Outcome = a cleaner office. Commodity = 10 cleaners with mops and buckets. UAP = The Total Office Solution
  2. Outcome = a cleaner workplace and carbon credits. Commodity = our environmentally friendly office cleaning package. UAP = Go Green (an actual product).

I’m starting to understand this now.
More to follow on how to UAP the process.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.