Fred Joyal Book Cover

"Thrive and grow"

May 19, 2014
You may be familiar with the dentist featured on this month's cover. Dr. Tarun Agarwal has been involved in giving continuing education courses for a number of years ...

By Joe Blaes

You may be familiar with the dentist featured on this month's cover. Dr. Tarun Agarwal has been involved in giving continuing education courses for a number of years and he is an excellent educator. Personally, I have learned so much about implant dentistry from him. Be sure to read his article, "The Economics of Digital Implant Placement". He is a leader in this field of technology.

I have just finished reading Everything is Marketing: The Ultimate Strategy for Dental Practice Growth (Fifth Edition) by Fred Joyal. Every dentist should read this great book. To get the flavor, I am copying Fred's words from Chapter 1, “Why Listen to Me?”

Why the heck should you listen to me? I'm not a dentist. I don't own a dental practice, nor have I ever run one.

The answer is simply this: Your skill set is dentistry. You were offered maybe one business course in all your years of dental school and you skipped it because you were focused (quite reasonably) on passing your clinical. Even if you did attend, they barely talked about marketing or advertising.

My skill set is not dentistry. It is advertising and marketing, specifically focused on getting people to go to the dentist. That's what I spend all my time doing, what I study and what I'm constantly refining. It's my career. I don't believe there is anyone in dentistry with my level of experience in marketing.

After 15 years at a major advertising agency, I got into the dental field. In 1986, my partner Gary Saint Denis and I started Futuredontics, Inc., the parent company of 1-800-DENTIST, in Los Angeles, which expanded over the years to become the largest dental referral service in the country. To date, we have spent more than half a billion dollars promoting the brand. I have personally written over 200 television and radio ads to prompt consumers to call our phone number and visit our website. Along the way, we have tried every medium and approach: cable and network television, radio, print, billboards, bus cards, newspapers, magazines, airplane banners, direct mail, and on the internet we have multiple websites and bid on more than 1,000,000 keywords in any given month. We even do ads on mobile phone. We track in minute detail which messages work with consumers and which ones don't.

As a result, we get thousands of people calling us every single day across the country, and tens of thousands coming to our websites. Over the years, we have referred literally millions of people to dentists who are members of our service. But even more importantly, we operate a live call center in Los Angeles, 24/7, 365 days a year. I learn more about the dental consumer in one day listening in on phone calls than I could get out of a dozen books on consumer behavior.

Because of all these interactions, we have a clear sense of what people want from you. They tell us their needs, their wants and their fears – and we listen. We have learned the reasons people avoid the dentist, what they are looking for in a dentist, what finally gets them to see a dentist and what turns them off (or on) about dental practices.

Something else happens. Because we directly connect referrals to the dental office, we communicate with each of our member's appointment coordinators almost every day, and those interactions are equally instructive.

Finally, it's important to know that because of this business, I've also been involved with some of the most successful dental practices in the country – from solo practitioners who produce $2 million annually in middle class neighborhoods, to practices thriving in remote parts of the country, to dentists in highly competitive areas who enjoy extraordinary success while their peers struggle. I've also seen practices that do things wrong and never get out of the painful cycle of fluctuating income and profit. I've taken all of these experiences and distilled them down into some powerful techniques for bringing your office to a whole different level.

Interested? Then order the book and read on.

email: [email protected]

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