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Inside Dental Technology
December 2020
Volume 11, Issue 11

Stand Out, Get Clients

Why being different is better than being better

Jonathan Hill, BS

Technology has opened many doors for us. We can now own as much online real estate as we want on websites and social media platforms. We can email and text to a list of prospects or clients at the snap of a finger. We have many digital tools to help our businesses grow.

But this advancement in technology has also brought about its own challenges. It has created so much noise that our brands and messages get lost. According to 2019 research from RescueTime, people spend an average of 3.5 to 4.5 hours on their smartphones each day. The problem is that we are being bombarded with endless advertisements and messages every second of our day. It is getting more difficult to get our message out effectively to our dentist audience. Every effort seems to blend in and get lost in the chatter.

There is one way to stand out in this crowded digital age: Position your laboratory as being completely different from the others. It's not about being better or lower-priced; the solution is to be different.

Consider name brands. The Toyota Prius was a pioneer of this revolution in the automotive industry in 1997. This electric/gas hybrid car was a first of its kind; it disrupted the status quo. Two decades ago, when you thought of hybrid cars, you thought Prius. Prius disrupted the market simply by being different. Your goal should be to get your potential clients to recognize your brand for being different.

Your laboratory sells restorative solutions, products, and services. But there is something else that your dentist clients are buying—they are buying something that provides them value. They are buying something that a competitor cannot offer them. It's your responsibility to know what that is and promote what makes your laboratory different. If you don't know what makes your laboratory different, no one else will either.

Being different doesn't have to cost your business a penny. You just need to get your message in front of your audience. Do this test and visit three websites right now. Stay above the fold (don't scroll down) and see if it is clear what that business or brand offers. Are they positioned to be different than everyone else in their industry? If that is unclear, money is being left on the table. The message must be clear.

The laboratory down the street is no different than you when it comes to product offerings. They offer lithium disilicate and zirconia crowns. They offer implants. They offer digital dentures. But so do you. Since you offer the same products and services, you must position your laboratory differently. What would make a dentist want to choose your laboratory?

The main mistake that laboratories make in marketing is typically overcomplicating our message. We are not good at communicating what sets us apart from everyone else. We tend to use big words in hopes that it makes us look better; but it doesn't. Instead of making our business stand out, it makes us look confusing. Our dentist clients are left with no other choice but to find a laboratory that is easier to understand. If you confuse, you lose.

A rule of thumb is to ensure what makes you different must be true. Never make a claim that is untrue. This will harm the reputation of your laboratory and you will lose credibility. 

For example, if I own a laboratory, and I know that we can turn a crown around very quickly, I could use that to position my laboratory. My slogan could be: "We are the only laboratory that returns your crowns ahead of schedule, every time." This is what my laboratory would begin to promote. Remember that dentists talk to other dentists, and they also refer.

A slogan like the one above is how you can get the attention of your prospective dentists. Do you feel the power in those five words—"ahead of schedule, every time"? Working with you, they will no longer have to wait 2 weeks for the typical turnaround time. This will please both the dentist and the patient. You just added tremendous value simply by clarifying your message.

Notice that clarifying your message with a statement like this costs you nothing. It's a free way to add substantial value. In a world where you must be positioned differently to stand out, a significant financial investment is not required.

Finally, avoid creating a message that is cute or clever. These types of messages confuse. As already stated, if you confuse you lose. Your dentists want to know exactly how you will help them. Don't overcomplicate the simplicity of their need. Just provide the answer that they are looking for before they ask.

This is your starting point. Determine what makes you different. If you need help, reach out to your top 10 dentist clients and ask them how you are different than their previous laboratory. Why make an assumption when your clients can tell you directly what they think? If most of their answers are the same, then it's clear what sets your business apart. If you receive 10 different answers, spend a little more time pressing in to determine how you're different.

Once you know what makes your laboratory different, communicate that message across every single asset that you have. Your website should be updated. Your social media pages need to convey this message. This should be added to your email signature for every email that goes out. Your statement stuffers can be updated. This can be added to your Rx forms or invoices. Think of everything that represents your brand. Nothing with your laboratory name should be sent out without this message on it. Leave nothing in question. Clarity wins every time.

About the Author

Jonathan Hill, BS, is the owner of EXCELerate, LLC, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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