|…Welcome back! So, what'd she say? If she said, "Dad," she's
lying to you. Ever since I started lecturing in 1990, I've asked
dentists and receptionists from New York City to Sydney,
Australia, "Who makes the most appointments?" and the answer
is always, "Mom."
I know people don't like talking about the difference
between men and women for fear they'll be labeled "sexist." But
the fact remains, men and women are different. I am not an
anthropologist. I don't make any claims to be an evolutionary
biologist. I don't know why men like to push lawn mowers,
hammer nails and fix things, or why women want careers in
health care and education, but the bottom line is men and
women are just different.
In the 1960s, zoologist Desmond Morris wrote The Naked
Ape, and showcased the differences between male and female
apes. Morris found that for every intersocial contact a male ape
has, a female has five. Humans are closely related to apes, and
the same ratio can be inferred. You don't even have to do the
research or read Morris' book to know this to be true; just look
at how your patients interact in your own practice.
When I do a hygiene exam on Mom, I spend twice as much
time with her than with Dad because we talk about her teeth,
and her daughter's teeth, and her son's teeth, and when Jr. is
going to need braces, and why her husband needs to get his
two cavities filled because if they become root canals it will cost
them $4,000 instead of $400. Women are much more social
than men, and she makes all of the medical decisions in the
household! I firmly believe that we are not a paternal society
order animal. I think humans have much in common with
whales. If you study whales, the female, who is half the size of
the male, swims out in front and calls out orders for the males
to follow as they migrate from Hawaii to Alaska and back. In
the whale world, Mom is the boss. In economics – especially in
health care and education – we live in a female-dominated
society. And because Mom makes almost 90 percent of the
dental appointments, shouldn't you focus your practice on her?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when the dentist numbs up
Mom, and then goes back to his private office for 10 minutes
to read the paper and drink coffee. Why aren't you in that operatory
building a relationship with Mom?! You might have graduated summa cum laude from the most prestigious dental
school on the planet. You might be the best dentist in the
world. But that's not going to keep Mom in the chair. That's
not going to entice Mom to refer you to all her friends. You
know what will? Getting to know her. Staying with her.
Answering any and all of her questions. Explaining to her what
she's going to experience. Earning her trust. Credentials are
necessary, but even more necessary for the life of your practice
is building that rapport with Mom!
And what about your Web site? How well are you coming
across to Mom who is checking you and your practice out for
the first time? Take a good look at your Web site. Does it promote
your training at the Pankey Institute? Does it say you
attended LVI or the Scottsdale Center for Advanced Dentistry?
Is there a mention on there about your Fellowship from the
Academy of General Dentistry? There is? That's all well and
good, but why is that information on your Web site? Who does
it serve? These days, your Web site is likely the first thing Mom
checks out when she wants to learn about you. All of those credentials
are outstanding, don't get me wrong, but does Mom
really care about all that stuff? Do you even think she knows
what LVI or Pankey is? Look, Mom knows you're a dentist. She
already assumes you know how to do crowns and fillings and
root canals. She wants to know if you're a good person. She
wants to be assured that she can trust you. She wants to know
what other patients have to say about you (on a related note, if
you want to read more about online practice reviews, check out Dr.
Thomas Giacobbi's Professional Courtesy column this month,
"The False Feedback Loop"). Mom wants to know if you're married,
if you have kids, and where you were born and raised. Are
there pictures of you and your family on your site? Why not?
Most dental practice Web sites I see are written by dentists for
other dentists – not Mom. You have to show your patients your
The Yellow Pages are dead and buried. They have been for
almost a decade. I don't understand why some of you feel the
need to get out the shovels every year and dig it back up! Ask
every patient what he or she uses to look something up and I
bet you'll hear "Google" almost every time. Google is the most
powerful Web site on the planet! It's the first thing Mom thinks
of every time she wants to search for something on the Internet.
Google searches are just mind blowing to me. When someone
types in "dentist" and your hometown, the first name that
comes up in the search gets something like three times as many
clicks as the second option down, which gets maybe four times
as many clicks as the third click and the third click gets like five
times as many clicks as the fourth click. It is like an upsidedown
pyramid. All the action is on the first or second person
that comes up.
Did you know you can buy those first clicks? Visit the
Google homepage and you'll find a little word under the search
bar that reads "Advertising." When you buy first clicks those are
the little green listings at the very top above the search-optimized
blue listings. At a recent lecture, I asked woman after
woman after woman which listing they clicked and they always
say, "The first one." I clarified and asked whether they clicked
on the blue listing or the green listing at the very top. Each one
told me "the green one at the very top."
At one of my recent lectures, I asked all of the women in the
audience to raise their hands. Then I asked all of the women to
keep their hands raised if they use Facebook. Not a single hand
went down. So I walked around the room and asked, "How
often do you check Facebook?" And everyone I asked would
cover their faces or start giggling, but the average answer was
somewhere around five times a day. Then I asked the men how
many of them use Facebook. I'd say maybe 10 percent of the
guys in the crowd raised their hands. Some of them registered
for Facebook but haven't signed back on since. Women are
communicators – that's how they're wired. So it's no surprise to
me to know that women dig Facebook, which is an outstanding
avenue to mass communicate!
So if Mom is on Facebook, why aren't you? Seriously, get
your practice on Facebook. When Mom's in the office, ask
her to "like" you on Facebook. Put up a placard on the front
desk or a sign on your front window that reads "Find us
on Facebook" and include your direct URL link where your
practice can be found. This will keep you in constant communication
with your patients. Today's Dental has a
Facebook account (http://www.facebook.com/todaysdental).
We've put up videos promoting oral health and comments
we've received from patients. Say you just returned from a
sleep medicine seminar and you're planning on implementing
sleep studies into your practice. Put a note up on Facebook
about what you just did, like, "Dr. Smith just returned from
a two-day course on snoring. Do you snore? Make an
appointment today and we'll get you on your way to silent
sleep"… or something like that. Or maybe you want to offer
a deal of the week, like $50 off bleaching – you can inform
your Facebook followers of that. And how much did that cost
you? Nothing. Don't know where or how to get started?
Check out Dr. Jason Lipscomb's updated book Social Media
for Dentists 2.0 (www.socialmediadentist.com) – it's a great
resource to get you started.
Building your relationship with Mom is key these days.
Mom is your word-of-mouth generator. Mom is the head of
the household. Mom gets the kids and Dad in for their
appointments. You need to be where Mom is – on the Internet,
on Google and on Facebook.
And hey doc, quit being so proud. When Mom is checking
out, why don't you reach behind the counter, grab five of your
business cards and give them to her. Why don't you tell her,
"These are for your five best friends. I promise I'll take as good
of care with them as I do with you." What does it hurt to ask
for referrals when your patients love, trust and respect you?
|Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, MAGD, is an international speaker who has written dozens of published articles. To schedule Howard to speak to your next national, state or local dental meeting, email email@example.com.
Dr. Farran’s next speaking engagement is January 22, 2010, at the Vegas Implant Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, please call Colleen at 480-445-9712.
|January 22 • Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas Implant Symposium
|February 18 • Seattle, Washington
Val Bartoli 253-306-0730
|March 12 • Troy, MI