Hopefully you’ve completed the simple steps of identifying two team members who would like to run this project, and your entire team has helped you brainstorm your target market. If you haven’t done this yet, go back and quickly review Part 1 in the April issue of DE. Remember, following this plan is easily worth a $75,000 to $150,000 annual bump to your practice revenues!
Keeping track of the nuts and bolts
I promised a simple system for keeping track of the project’s details. Here is a glimpse of that spreadsheet (see sample below):
Much of the spreadsheet should be self-explanatory. For example, once you’ve identified who you want to target, you could use the phone book or Google to obtain phone numbers and addresses (and, in some cases, fax numbers).
For the rest, you’ll need to do a bit of live, on-site research. You’re looking for names of owners or on-site managers if the company is a large one. You’ll want to be very careful to not blast through the doors of these businesses with a clipboard, asking for all of this information! In fact, in Part 3 of this series, we’ll go into the exact logistics of how we’ve made this work, over and over, anywhere! Timing is critical!
As with all patients, it’s all about building relationships first. There will be plenty of time for data-gathering after you are perceived as a welcomed guest (and not, as Dan Kennedy says, an “uninvited pest”). So, for now, do not go after any information other than what’s available without contact.
Additional data tracking
After the relationship is established (more about this in Part 3) you will need to know how many people work at each place and how many people work on an average day. This information is critical for you to prepare for your days out in the field. We typically visited close to 50 businesses every month. To prepare fruit baskets, cookies, or, once every six months, something slightly more special, you have got to have a good estimate of how many folks you will be dealing with that day.
The final columns will help you keep track of the monthly workings of the project. Who made the visit, when, and what did we give the people we visited this month? That three-column bit of information then repeats forever, until it goes off the right edge of the spreadsheet!
Getting the project underway does take a little bit of energy the first time you do it. But once it’s in motion, it is truly a piece of cake (or fruit) and a lot of fun! At this point, you should be ready to enter your dream target market into Excel and have your team ready to flesh out as much data as possible (phone numbers, addresses, and fax numbers) over the Web, without calling them. More on logistics and tactics next month.
Dr. Tom Orent, the “Gems Guy,” is a founding member and past president of the New England Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. His “1000 Gems Seminars™” span five countries and 48 U.S. states. He is the author of five books and hundreds of articles on practice management, TMJ, and “Extreme Customer Service.” To receive a free half-year subscription to Dr. Orent’s “Independent Dentist Newsletter” (normally $297 per year), mention Dental Economics® and send request with doctor’s name, address, e-mail, and a major credit card number and expiration date (to pay for the one--time $5.95 shipping and handling charge) to [email protected] or fax to (508) 861-1550.