The Brazilian Project - Part 3

June 1, 2005
It’s still not too late to get this project going and easily increase your annual collections by $75,000 to $150,000! For those who already have been working on Parts 1 and 2, bravo.

It’s still not too late to get this project going and easily increase your annual collections by $75,000 to $150,000! For those who already have been working on Parts 1 and 2, bravo. Action rules! If you’ve been on the sidelines, now’s the time to get into gear.

In the first two parts of “The Brazilian Project,” you learned how to create your “Hit List”... how to identify exactly who your target market is. Then we covered how to keep all the data straight. If you (and you should be) are dealing with 40 or 50 medical and professional offices, health clubs, spas, etc., you want to begin with a very clear system to track all the details covered in the “template” spreadsheet discussed in Part 2.

Now it’s time to lay out exactly how we’re going to turn this project into patients coming to your door. What do you think would happen if you “cold-called” (i.e., he has no idea who you are, and no reason to care) a local plastic surgeon to ask him to refer cosmetic dental patients to you?

In all likelihood, you wouldn’t be speaking with him in the first place! “Gatekeepers” would see to that. That’s right, gatekeepers! You have to learn how to get by them. In this case, though, you don’t really need to get by them. I’d rather you would get to them! It’s really the gatekeepers you want to be raving about your practice as much as - if not more than - their boss!

Patients, clients, and patrons typically spend more time with staff than they do with the owner, boss, or chief of any medical, health, or beauty facility. With the exception of a one-man or one-woman show (i.e., no staff), it’s the staff who holds the key to the success of this project.

Staff holds the key for two reasons. First, they are just as likely (and more so, if we have our way) to bring up the suggestion of a cosmetic smile makeover (and your name) as the owner, doctor, or boss. Second, we do want the “top dog” to be on our side as well ... and the “gatekeepers” hold the key to that entrée!

Plain and simple, the way to the gatekeepers’ hearts is through their stomachs! Truer words were never spoken. Our first (and most frequent) tactic is simply to have a couple of our team members walk into each target office or club and “bribe” them!

That’s right, bribe them! Nothing hidden, nothing shady - just give them something to eat! Dan Kennedy frequently talks about the power of the gift, especially a food gift. Dr. Robert Cialdini and Joe Sugarman both write about the psychological principle of “reciprocity.” You give to people, and most will have this gnawing feeling that they should do something in return. It’s human nature!

So, on Tuesday, two of your team members walk in with an enormous, gorgeous food basket. As they approach the desk, all the “gatekeepers” wonder, “Who’s that for and who sent it!?”

The neat thing is, when they learn it’s for them and not somebody else, they love it. Guaranteed!

Now, here’s the most important part. The first time your team members arrive at a new target location, they must ask for nothing in return. Leave no business cards. Offer no special deals or other incentives - in fact, you want these gatekeepers to feel as if they’d like to do something for you in return ... but your team members offer them no means of response! Leave them with that gnawing feeling! Besides, they’ll be busily enjoying their incredible gift.

Your ambassadors should arrive in scrubs or, better yet, the office uniform. Upon arriving, they might say:

“Hi, I’m Betty, and this is Sandy. We’re from Dr. Tom Orent’s Center for Cosmetic Dentistry down on Walnut Street. Since we’re almost neighbors, we came by to introduce ourselves and say hi. We figured since it’s not even ‘hump day’ yet, you guys might enjoy a little treat!”

Give them the basket and watch their disbelief! This would be a good time to ask them how many team members they usually have on-site any given day. Tell them you want to make sure they have enough for everyone. If it turns out they have a larger staff than anticipated, go out to the car and grab another basket. Give them no indication you’ll be back. For now, you’ve got plenty of data and a great start. Take one of their business cards to flesh out any incomplete information (e.g., fax number, name of owner, etc.).

Next month - how to keep the cost reasonable.

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 a 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.