Article: What Dentists Should Know About Consulting, Coaching
The main services I offer are Dentist Marketing Coaching And Advanced Dental Communication Consulting. While many dentists will go the do-it-yourself marketing route or purchase a system (like Yellow Pages and its modern equivalents), I provide a different structure to create success for my dentistry clients.
My consultancy structure helps dentists avoid common marketing mistakes as well as understand what is best for THEM, and ultimately make THEM better marketers. An important element of consulting is its comprehensive stance and its close association with the client's goals rather than selling a product.
When selling a specific product or one type of service, it is extremely difficult to avoid conflict of interest. While nothing is wrong with selling a product or a system (which is mostly preplanned and has few customizable options), it becomes problematic when it really does not have much value to you.
An example is a very 'exciting new advertising idea' that has significant potential, but only for those who come in with the 'right basis’ for success. The seller's viewpoint is obscured by the success others have had and is not positioned to evaluate your 'readiness' for the service or product.
Think of someone selling what you suspect is a ‘counterfeit Dental marketing Rolex’. You buy it from the online street vendor dental marketer. However, in this case, you are invoiced for the purchase via the mail and when the marketing idea arrives you see that it is already deducted from your bank account. You assumed the online street vendor marketer was selling counterfeit merchandise.
His assumption was you knew what you were getting into and your bank account was flush. While the dental marketer could have explained it all to you – this would reduce his ability sell to the next person.
Many of his dentist-clients got the bill and were flush (the marketing worked well). Those dentists who did not see the same results felt they were cheated. The marketer has a good product – but because nothing always works – too many dentists will ‘get the bill’ for its trial and error reality while under the impression the marketing concept is foolproof.
The role of a coach or consultant is to be the ‘cart before the horse’ watchman. I compare what I do to the fee-only financial planner who has ‘no skin’ in the broker game. Brokers who have products in mind before they know your situation have already put themselves in a position that could undermine their ability to discover exactly what you need.
I am a co-founder of a group called Northern Dental Alliance with Rick Epple, a Minnesota-based, dentist focused, fee-only financial planner. Rick is not tied to any specific product or broker service so his fiduciary position is much more secure as compared to investment advisors who are associated with a brokerage. The fee-only status is another level of conflict of interest security.
As a dental consultant, I focus on discerning the dentist’s situation and marketing needs BEFORE any “product” is presented for sale. This distance from the ‘answer’ or ‘sale’ provides a significant amount of security from ‘amazing deal’ hype and shielding from ‘quicksand selling’ techniques until an appropriate marketing strategy is found. Expect an authentic solution from a consultant rather than the marketing product seller’s stock answer, which they always seem to be able to sell for pennies on the dollar.
Imagine any new dental treatment you offer that another dentist down the road does not. Conflict of interest is almost inevitable in the presentation of those two positions. Then again, if that “new cool treatment” really is not that good – and you don’t want to use it – but the other dentist has spent a ton of money on it – imagine how that goes.
However, consulting is not necessarily about wrong or right. With both marketing and dentistry, we all have choices to make. What if dental health is some forms is lessened but the smile’s appearance is improved so much that more people start going to the dentist to get that treatment and all the rest of oral health taken care of?
Of course, if the patient is only interested in the most healthy type of dental care, then selling them on the “new Dento-Matic cosmetic technique” would be less than ethical. What would be better is to educate on that technique before you sell them on it. But if you are selling the Dento-Matic – the likelihood of taking that stance is often greatly diminished.
In marketing, what if the product is all the rage – but the traditional strategy or service might actually be better for you? Or, what if half the dentists will be successful with the “all the rage” new marketing thingie – and you will not be? The dental advertising agency selling the “amazing marketing thingie” is more focused on their great new product or service. Therefore, the dentist will hear mostly about the good things it has done for others, which might not apply. And, when will they tell you or have the training to even know?
Another issue that comes up quite often is getting sold the new product before you have foundational elements in place. The cost to untangle or implement the foundational marketing elements precludes the dentist from proceeding in a more structured way for an extended time-period. Everything is put off and success lags considerably because of the “cart before the horse” of the right strategy for that individual dentist.
What my consulting services are focused on is blending the new with what actually still works and most importantly, what works for YOU. This is vital… Dentists need to understand that if the focus is on the service or product and not on them – their specific issues, situation, brand, etc. – the conflict of interest becomes very problematic.
Using a consultant might not be required, but buyer beware is a mantra dentists might want where on their person with their Blackberry and iPhone.
There are TWO ways we can approach my services: 1) Coaching: You have the "wheel" and I provide navigational expertise 2) Advanced Consulting: While you control the brakes and determine how much fuel is available (for the entire budget) I have the wheel. You would approve my expertise for months at a time.
Over the years, I have noticed that my consultant services are most beneficial when the dentist EITHER - uses my coaching to help them figure out things (but I am not involved in much "hands on" work) or the client hands the process over to me and I run most of it. This is less about control than it is about straightforward and on the same page collaboration.
Doing some thing “in between” might seem to make sense. Creating a hybrid where we can hand over the wheel while the dental marketing campaign is moving along. However, this strategy follows the old adage of trying to put more than a gallon of milk in a one-gallon jug.
If you compare it to dentistry, it is like a patient coming in and asking you – out of the blue – to work with a lab they like. It might be as good as your lab, the same or of less quality. The laboratory might be cheaper or more expensive, or their communication could be better or not. Yet, no matter what the lab could do better or cheaper – the reality of a multi-faceted “steering wheel sharing arrangement” usually reduces success efficiency.
The best marketing is mostly about consistency. Whether it is successful or not, it is difficult to tell what the results were if the structure is always in flux and too many hands are making “decisions” about the way things should move along. Multiple disconnected marketing vendors make the process very cumbersome and success – especially over time – less likely.
Once the direction and the momentum of the marketing starts to be diluted and inconsistently integrated, the trail back to what worked and didn’t becomes very hard to find. The blame is passed around and implosion of traceable data and collaborative trust is often the result.
The agreement to proceed in the an “advanced consulting” mode is not restricted to only working with my marketing partners, but the reality is that the dentist is asking for some assurances – often a lot of them – which is fine – but with assurances come responsibility.
That responsibility would be off loaded to me – your consultant. External vendors are often much less responsible to me than my marketing partners. While they have significant autonomy – which I want my partners to have – the direction of their marketing and advertising services are guided by me with a high level of collaboration with the dentist who has final approval.
I don't make this determination up front about what the dentists should do – coaching or advanced consulting - because it often takes time for both the client and I to figure out what is "actually" the best approach. This is less about effectiveness than it is about the dentist’s ability and confidence to hand over control.
For example, if the dentist were into do-it-yourself type development, coaching would fit better. Of course, depending on how far down the line the dentist is on the DIY spectrum, working with a coach might not ever work in their case. Cautiousness about cost (getting out of hand) and the trust the dentist has in someone else doing things “for them” are usually when coaching is put in place initially.
However, a clean “break” is needed from coaching to advanced consulting. The reason the transition needs to be complete is simplified by another analogy... It is similar to a general dentist providing a patient with good information about using a specialist as opposed to guiding the specialist from the back seat of the “treatment car” – if I can mix my driving analogies with my dental ones. The general dentist might have some good input – but the level of trust and efficiency created by this interaction would be less than positive or productive.
Moving to advanced consulting – which includes both concept development, internal structure guidance (employing other consultants when necessary) and project and brand management as well as PR – makes the most sense when the client has already determined that one or both of these situations apply to them: 1)The workload is too comprehensive and/or complicated 2)The ongoing development requires more than just “a couple hours” a week of work
Not having one person "in charge" means fewer things get resolved and/or move forward efficiently. Almost all of my clients want RESULTS - how much things cost or what they look like is important to them - but by focusing laser-like on the "pragmatic" am I able to achieve the RESULTS goal.
For example, I work with my partners (vendors) to move things forward in a fashion that is focused on results. Any savings some other vendor could produce (or getting a 'better' design) reduces my success leverage.
That said, design and costs are ALWAYS considered and reviewed for the best result possible. This is not to say that some clients won’t end up using other vendors or are using – but that the benefits of streamlining the development of marketing is more important than one element or another being in place in the exact form all would like.
Once doubt or costs rise to a level where the client wants to make changes to this structure - it greatly reduces my "success" building capacity. Coaching is presenting "pragmatic" from a distance "advanced consulting" is moving the "whole" forward with the pragmatic as a basis for us to work from.
Consulting and Marketing Choices There is always cheaper advertising. Many dental marketers sell one-size-fits-all programs. Dentists can always find something simpler and magically profitable. But… If you are the type of dentist looking for flexibility, scalability, and comprehensive abilities, then my consulting philosophy and services will fit your dental practice marketing strategy.
Just like your dental patients. Your fees are lower or higher than your competitor. Your office is newer or older. Your dentistry is built on decades of experiences or in single digits. At one point, they have to decide what really matters to them. So here is the best deal of all… You can choose to use my coaching and consultant services or not.
But today (and for tomorrow or whatever day you have in mind), your choice is HALF OFF – no, it’s FREE. Completely Guaranteed. Take your time: take your Unlimited Time. Lifelong (mine) rain checks provided. I will even accept marketing competitor choice coupons! Absolutely No Restrictions. Comparable to what Google offers.
Choice, you got it now - partner. Check out everyone else. They offer something. I know they do. You just need to choose. Yes, it is difficult and complicated (except where it is magical). Sadly, no Novocain and the laughing gas is textual not breathable.
Once you find the right marketing group - call them. If it is Niche Dental (me), call the number below.
The first call costs you nothing – finding out if you can trust me – should not cost you money. But you should know – I do charge real money at some point. What do I charge? Each restoration most dentists do cost about $1,000 – give or take a couple hundred dollars, right? That is about my fee per month – give or take a couple hundred dollars – generally. Coaching would be less.
But if I can’t expand the revenues of your dental office at least FIVE-times what my fees are plus any additional marketing we develop – together – I should not be your dental marketing coach or consultant. That is the deal we will work out. Sincerely, Dick Chwalek Niche Dental Consulting & Coaching 866-453-1026