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Why 'being a good dentist' is never enough

April 1, 2017
The rise of corporate dentistry means private practices need to be more business-savvy. In this article, Graig Presti of Local Search For Dentists looks at how smart dental practice marketing can level the playing field.
Graig Presti, CEO, Local Search For Dentists®

The rise of corporate dentistry means private practices need to be more business-savvy. In this article, Graig Presti of Local Search For Dentists looks at how smart dental practice marketing can level the playing field.

Recently, corporate dental offices have been attractive targets for investment capital. What do savvy investors see in dentistry? Lots of upside and profit, that’s for sure.

Investment firms have told me that the rise of corporate dentistry demonstrates that dentistry can be extremely profitable, and investors have discovered the potential.

I talk to hundreds of solo dentists every month. Frankly, most are in denial over the fact that corporate dentistry is a real, viable threat to their practices. I’m here to tell you the threat is very real and you need to take it extremely seriously—because gone are the days when “corporate dental” meant bad dentistry. They are going out and hiring experienced dentists who no longer want the day-to-day of running a business, and paying them handsomely to come on over to the corporate side. The end result is that corporate dentistry now equates to “good dentistry.”

Without pulling any punches, one of the main attractions of investors to corporate dentistry is the “competition”—in other words, you! And what investors and managers find attractive is that they don’t see you as competitive.

What investors see in the marketplace is that most practices are managed by unseasoned business people, folks who would rather “do dentistry” than plan a marketing campaign. And in most cases, they’re identifying doctors and practices that do no marketing and have only word-of-mouth patients. When investors see this, they start to salivate at the opportunity to crush the local GP.

This is bad news for the independent dentist—and their patients. There is one extremely simple and easy way to fight back and win. What is it? Marketing!

Corporate dental organizations know that this is your biggest weakness, and they leverage the heck out of it. They know all their numbers. They’ve calculated, down to the penny, exactly how and what to spend to acquire a patient by using marketing systems. That means they can outspend you any day of the week to acquire a new patient because they know that over the lifetime of the patient, they will make a profit.

And to be quite frank, they outsource this process to companies like mine, Local Search for Dentists.

Corporate dental practices are not cheap: they know their numbers and invest thousands of dollars per month in the marketing and selling of their dental practices. That is how they take away market share. It’s that simple!

But it’s not all bad news for you, the solo practitioner, because I see that as a huge opportunity! They may have systems and deep pockets, but at the same time they’re large and slow to make decisions. A smaller practice can be nimble and act fast, since there is no board of directors or bureaucracy to get things approved, especially when it comes to marketing campaigns.

So what kinds of marketing should you be focusing on? Start simple (and powerfully).

  • Consistent branding across the Internet. Branding isn’t just a shiny logo and a fancy website, although those undeniably play into it. Branding is your entire image: your presence on social media sites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. It’s your responses on user review sites. Which leads us to this very important next item . . .
  • Google reviews. Google can arguably be the most powerful tool in your marketing tool belt. I know doctors who have boosted their production 10 times just by getting their Google house in order and showing their satisfied patients how to leave positive reviews. The potential for getting you higher production is staggering, and there are still many markets across the country where no other practice is leveraging this gold mine. (Meaning you could dominate the market very easily.)
  • Video reviews (what we call “6-star reviews”). YouTube reports that 1,300,000,000 people use its site and that 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!1 Video is not going away any time soon. Video reviews from your best patients are extremely powerful when it comes to attracting high-quality patients. Because of their personal nature, they feel more real and genuine and thus carry more weight when a potential patient is vetting you because they see how much you care and how well you take care of your patients. Remember, the majority of people have dental anxiety, so real patients bragging about you really takes your practice to the next level.

Bottom line: You have to market your services properly (beyond the unreliable word-of-mouth). The harsh truth is that if you want to flourish in the upcoming months, keep your doors open and survive the incoming wave of large private and corporate dental practices (which, trust me, are not going away), you need to set your practice apart from corporate dentistry by communicating that through proven online marketing. I’m not talking about putting a paragraph or page on your website. You need real proven marketing systems.

It’s time to shift your approach at dealing with real market threats, and you will see that you can thrive and your competition will become irrelevant.


If you’d like to learn more about how to get five-star Google reviews and protect your practice and hard-earned revenue, visit this site for Dental Economics subscribers and download a complimentary Google reviews cheat sheet:


1. YouTube company statistics. Statistic Brain website. Accessed March 5, 2017.

Graig Prestiis CEO of three-time Inc. 500/5000-recognized company Local Search For Dentists (LSFD), one of the fastest growing companies in dentistry. LSFD helps thousands of dentists all over the world gain dominance in their local markets. LSFD’s proprietary marketing systems have helped thousands of dentists achieve more freedom, greater new patient numbers, and the ability to reach their income goals. Download a free Google reviews cheat sheet at


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