|by Sandy Pardue
Are you purchasing new equipment to help you deliver a better service
and help elevate the practice profile? As you know, the purchase is only
the beginning. Aside from training, you need to consider promotion and
implementation of the processes. What internal and external marketing
will need to be done? How will you get your staff to buy into the new
processes? Will patients see the benefits? If these areas are not carefully
thought out and planned, costly missed opportunities will occur.
There are effective ways to successfully market new equipment and
technology to prospective and current patients. Before marketing can
occur, every team member must know how the practice and patients will
benefit. It is necessary to research, evaluate and become aware of the
value new technology has to offer. We know that when new equipment
is properly utilized, it can help teams become more efficient, more effective
and deliver better patient care.
Before we can discuss how you will successfully market your new
equipment to patients, you must lay the foundation. Start by introducing
prospective technology and equipment to the staff. Learn the benefits
of the equipment, proper utilization, receive training, research
marketing opportunities and learn verbal skills that you and your team
will use to promote the new technology.
|Action Step #1 – Get Your Team on Board
Prior to making an equipment purchase, recruit your team to help
with the research process. Have them gather information and learn ways
to incorporate the equipment. Share your vision and desired outcome
with them. Get them excited about the new technology and as a team,
share the ways it will help the practice and more importantly, the
patients. Without a doubt, including your staff in the process will allow
you to get the most out of your investment.
Many times we run across resistance to change. This comes from doctors
and associates, as well as the staff. Whatever you do, stay the course.
Persistence will pay off once they see the benefits and become familiar
with the new processes. You might get complaints or questions like:
"Why do we have to do this?"
"This sounds like a lot of trouble."
"We already have a nice practice. Patients love us."
"I like the old way better"
"Can't we do it like we always have?"
Not every person in the practice will resist, so recruit the
ones that are excited to help you move forward. The others will
join as they start to see the results and start to feel more comfortable.
Negativity could prevent you from successfully implementing
new equipment. If they don't buy in, neither will your
patients. Know that every person in your practice will be responsible
for promotion, presentation and patient acceptance. Keep
in mind, people will only buy into a new idea when they see the
benefits. When employees first hear about the new equipment,
they might think about the workload they already have and
sometimes translate "change" to "more work." If they are not
tech savvy, they might resist as well. Know these indicators from
While consulting hundreds of practices over the years, we
see equipment sitting in the corner gathering dust or not being
utilized enough or properly. The common denominator in these
practices is that the doctor did not involve the team in the
implementation. A staff might say, "Oh, he bought that at a
dental meeting and it just sits there," totally unaware of the
benefits and missed opportunities. As you start discussing how
the new equipment will benefit the practice and team members'
individual jobs, you will see them brighten up. This is the first
step to acceptance and reaping the rewards of your investment.
You will have your entire team promoting with you. This will be
the most important step in marketing new equipment and new
technology to your patients.
Action Step #2 – Marketing New Equipment
Continue to establish the benefits of the equipment. How
can it help your practice and benefit your patients? Once you
establish benefits and your team is on board, start spreading the
word in your internal and external marketing efforts. Include
descriptions and benefits of the new equipment on your Web
site, in newsletters, social networking sites and practice
brochures. Your marketing should educate patients about your
equipment, but should keep in mind they are not dental professionals.
They will be more interested in something like, "We
have implemented all of the latest comforts and technologies in
order to make your visits as pleasant as possible" versus "Our
new laser works well on soft tissue procedures."
Being on the cutting edge of technology helps you to gain
the interest of the patient. They soon learn that this new equipment
improves the delivery of dentistry and the quality of care.
Staying current and being perceived as up-to-date is important.
Your team will be more interested in their jobs and the practice
as they see the patients respond to the technology. For example,
digital radiography gives us instant X-rays and reduces a
patient's exposure to radiation as much as 90 percent over traditional
X-rays. When the staff informs the patients of the
advantages and they actually see the X-rays pop up instantly on
the monitor, they are pleasantly surprised.
Another example is the use of CAD/CAM. Patients have
had to come in for two visits when they needed a crown. It is
no longer necessary. They are surprised when they learn that
their crown procedure can be done in one visit. Most patients
dread wearing a temporary crown and the CAD/CAM eliminates
the need. We see treatment acceptance increase when
these two benefits are shared with the patients.
State of the art technology is an investment. You can use the
benefits of owning this equipment to help attract and retain
patients. The fact that you are focused on delivering optimal
care will be transparent to your patients. As you are promoting
your new equipment, use the number-one patient objection to
dental treatment to work in your favor. That objection is fear.
Mention that most new equipment has made routine dentistry
more comfortable, easier and a lot faster.
Many local television stations and newspapers may be
interested in running a short segment or press release on new
procedures, especially if you are the first in your area to have it. One example would be air abrasion. People are talking
about the possibility of receiving treatment without needles or
drilling. Hard tissue lasers fall into the category as well.
Contact local news agencies and local publications and make
them aware of the new equipment in your practice and its
potential to improve dental health and patient experience.
They will be impressed if you share the technology and how it
helps you deliver a better service.
Action Step #3 – Effective Communication for
Promoting New Equipment
Marketing your new equipment will produce the best
results if it is done internally as well as externally. Capture the
patient's interest with conversation about the equipment when
you are face to face in the practice. You want to educate and
motivate. Make sure the entire team is sending the same message
and knows how to promote and answer questions. Share
this article and start a customized list of successful communication
created by you and your team. Let your patients know that
you have this technology available to them and not every practice
I've included some verbiage you and your team might find
- "The procedure for crowns is so much easier. There's no
need for impressions taken with gooey material like before.
You don't have to wear a temporary crown and since the
technology is so precise, you conserve a greater portion of
your natural tooth."
- "We are proud to offer the latest technology of being able to
produce a crown for our patients in about one hour – in a
- "This technology allows us to offer natural looking, high
quality ceramic restorations, completed and placed in your
mouth in a single visit, saving you a lot of time."
- "It's a very thin camera that gives us a 'tour' of your mouth
on a TV screen. We can even print out a picture of your
broken tooth. We want you to be informed at every step of
- "With this camera you can see what we see."
- "Lasers are a precise and effective way to perform many
- "Laser dentistry oftentimes minimizes bleeding."
- "The laser uses a sensitive beam of light to remove unwanted
tissue with very little discomfort."
- "Bacterial infections are minimized."
- "We offer the latest, most precise, diagnostic tool. Using an
electronic laser light system it helps us find even the smallest
area of concern. These areas would otherwise go undetected
until they are larger, cost more and become more complicated."
- "A large percentage of tooth decay can go undetected with
traditional dental techniques like probing and X-rays."
- "This system is painless and will help preserve your teeth by
finding potential problems early on."
- "This type of X-ray is instant, efficient and more comfortable
- "We are reducing your exposure to radiation by as much as
90 percent over traditional X-rays."
- "Digital X-rays do not require chemicals so they are better
for you and the environment."
- "We can change the contrast to better examine discrepancies."
Whether you are considering a purchase or currently implementing
new technology, know that your staff will be a key
component in gaining patients' acceptance. You and your team
will make the implementation of innovative technological
resources a success. It will be more important now, than ever
before to attract and employ high caliber staff. Utilize your staff
to create an innovative environment that renews office enthusiasm.
When properly incorporated, the return on investment for
new technology is higher profits, efficiency and marketability.
- "Air Abrasion is great for removing old white fillings because
it does it more conservatively than the drill."
- "The machine removes decay without the need of noisy
drills or anesthesia, in many cases."
- "The procedure is a lot faster with this technology."
- "It will allow us to pinpoint a small area of decay without
having to unnecessarily compromise tooth structure."