What I love about my team is their enthusiasm to see the practice succeed. Last year, I threw it open to them to help me shape the practice’s marketing plan for 2014. One of the ideas that my front desk team decided we must do was to go and deliver a week of awareness in our local shopping centre.
Commitment from the whole team is essential when delivering this kind of promotion, as it needs everyone’s passion to achieve it. The planning started with agreement upon the dates that we could do, which meant a decision of no holidays to ensure we had two people manning the stand each day for the full six days, whilst maintaining business as usual in the practice. In a team of 22, this is not easy but we were all in agreement that we needed to achieve a week of awareness to lift and support the practice.
I have always used Practice Plan for my marketing as I have built a long-term relationship with them. They created both a schematic drawing to show the shopping centre how the stand would look, and the pop-up banners that I wanted. The really useful part of using them is that they source the best printers, which means that I can be confident that the quality of the finished product will meet my requirements and be fit for purpose.
Manning a stand requires confidence to communicate and a real desire to start a conversation by asking open-ended questions. Once the stand team had been chosen, we held a meeting to decide how we were going to communicate with people in the centre. Here are our top tips:
- Create a conversation – use daily pleasantries and a friendly smile
- Work on building a relationship – when you receive an enquiry, don’t just sell treatments as a primary response but work on building up trust
- No hard selling – ask the right questions to find out what a person needs, share information and offer free consultations
- Be on brand at all times – remember the values of your practice and make sure your team are exhibiting these at all times
- No frivolous handing out of leaflets – leaflets are best given as part of a conversation
- Samples to be given with advice on use – use any samples you have to give away as an opportunity to provide advice and get the conversation flowing
- Position yourself behind the stand – reduce discomfort in passers-by so as not to be intimidating
- Photograph the stand – create daily consistency of the set-up
- Appointment booking – book appointments via phone to the practice to ensure there are no mix-ups or encourage online booking
- Engage with existing patients too – communicate to existing patients that you are creating awareness of the practice, providing dental advice and reaching out to people who may not know of the services you provide
- Word-of-mouth recommendations – ask existing patients to recommend you and let them know you are taking on new patients
- Monitor daily enquiries – keep an eye on whether the enquiries you have led to an increase in new patient bookings.
About Michael Bentley
Michael is Practice Manager at JM Dentalcare. He also works as a consultant for Practice Plan, providing guidance on how you can be the ‘ultimate’ practice manager and how to develop and grow your team. Michael is also able to provide support through Horton Consulting.