Why telling people about your capabilities is pointless and what to do instead

There is little point in advertising a list of your capabilities to the public.

Most of them don’t care:

  • how experienced your clinicians are
  • how many different types of dentistry that you deliver
  • how fancy your digital equipment is
  • how many post-graduate qualifications you have
  • how many awards you won

If you are looking for strangers, there are two tribes who will find you appealing:

  • the lowest price tribe – they don’t care who you are and what you say about your capabilities – they just want the lowest price – CHEAP is your message
  • the best experience tribe – they don’t care who you are and what you say about your capabilities – they want to know that you have made a difference to people like them – THE PLACE FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU is your message

But here’s where the magic happens.

If YOU say WE ARE THE PLACE FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU they may not believe you – after all, you would say that, wouldn’t you?

But if your existing patients say PEOPLE LIKE US GO TO PLACES LIKE THIS then the best experience tribe will heave a sigh of relief and pick up their smartphone to contact you.

You are either as good as your price or you are as good as your testimonials.

So what exactly is a testimonial?

Things have changed – here is a list of actions that qualify as a testimonial:

  • a check in on Facebook
  • a review on Facebook, Google or a proprietorial site such as WhatClinic
  • a selfie
  • a 60-second Instagram video
  • a 90-second Facebook video
  • a 3-minute formally produced video
  • an email
  • a letter
  • a conversation between family, friends or colleagues

All that we used to have was the last two of this list.

It used to be just “word of mouth” but now we live in a world of digital referrals and Dunbar’s number.

That means that a testimonial can reach strangers very quickly and some of them might just be in the right place and at the right time.

If not, by offering a free download on your home page in return for an email address and consent to a newsletter subscription, you can nurture those strangers until they are ready.

Collecting patient testimonials in the varied formats listed above could be described as the single most important marketing task for you and your team.

That’s why the most important function of a morning huddle is to identify potential testimonial candidates.

Stop talking about your capabilities.

Ask your patients to talk about the difference you have made for them.

(p.s. if you are running a specialist referral practice, ask your existing referring dentists to tell stories about the difference you have made for them)


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.