Mark and Howie discuss the value gap in dentistry. What is it? Which moms respond to advertising that doesn’t rely on a price incentive? If they don’t respond to price, what WILL they respond to?



Podcast Highlights:

  • What is your target demographic interested in?
  • How is your target market learning about dentistry?
  • Cable TV’s value gap and how it relates to dentistry
  • What do dentists believe about the value gap in dentistry? Why is this wrong?
  • Will moms ask if you are a good dentist? Not exactly. So how do you let them know?
  • The value gap and why dentists are not changing the narrative
  • What is the consumer supposed to think about other than price?
  • Patients only ask about price and insurance because it is the only question they KNOW to ask. How do you change this?
  • What if 80% of your patient’s questions had nothing to do with price?
  • Website creation guide
  • Fighting the commoditization of dentistry
  • Why dentistry is NOT a refrigerator!

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and Welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Hello, Mark, how you doing?

Mark: Hey, Howie How are you?

Howie: I’m great.

Mark: Oh, good. It’s the end of the summer.

Howie: Oh, yeah,

Mark: we’ve come to podcasts. Are we in the 20s yet?

Howie: 639 No

Mark: 639. Not

Howie: kidding,

Mark: I think we’re close to 20. And we have a new brand-new front end on

Howie: Oh

Mark: In the blog area, you’ll see all these podcasts, other articles that we’ve written our books, there’s, I think seven hours of video there. So, it’s, it’s building to be quite the quite the resource for dentists. So, if you’re a dentist listening to this, and you enjoy these podcasts, Howie and I are like that hanging thread on your favorite shirt, where you grab the hanging thread, and it just keeps going and going and going and going. And pretty soon you don’t have a shirt left.

Howie: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: As far as content is concerned, you know, when someone says, Hey, we need an article on or Hey, we need your opinion on or whatever. How he and I are usually first in line because this we enjoy this part of it.

Howie: Yes, we? We certainly do. I would also like to urge those of you who are listening to those who are already dental web content subscribers or customers, you haven’t seen the new site yet. Go take a gander at it. I think you’ll find it much easier to use. Although it was pretty easy before. I think it’s even easier now. And there’ll be a lot more to look at as far as content, we’re adding content literally hourly.

Mark: Right? Yeah. So okay, so today’s podcast topic is the value gap in dentistry.

Howie: Yes, yes. We’ve talked about this before you have a definition for it. So why don’t you go ahead with that?

Mark: Well, it in order to understand the value gap in dentistry, there’s all kinds of prerequisite understanding or agreements that you have to make in your mind. I think the first understanding that you have to have in your mind goes all the way back to the podcast, we discussed the two halves of the dental market, I think you have to believe, in your mind, at some level, that there are females out there who will absolutely not choose a health care provider for their family based primarily on a price incentive. If you believe that, then you have part of the prerequisite.

I think the next prerequisite of understanding is, is really, okay, so, if they’re not going to respond, or if half of the market won’t respond to price. What the hell will they respond to? Right, so you know, we have on in the in the resources section, there’s an area there, you can download the marketable attributes scorecard, and see what matters most and least statistically numerically, to the general consumer.

So, part of understanding the value gap in dentistry is understanding those categories and subcategories and numerically how much they matter or do not matter to the general public. So, if you understand that some moms will choose a healthcare provider based primarily on price and some moms won’t. And then beyond that, you understand at least conceptually, some of the things that moms in the top or the bottom half of the market could be interested in if given the opportunity. Okay, now we’ve come to the value gap.

It all comes down to what can I interest my target market in arm? And the value the definition of the value gap actually comes from? Well, how is how is my target market learning about these things, other than price. Now, a value gap itself is when, and I can give you some analogies, um, I’m going to say, cable TV is a great analogy of a business that has zero value gap. I guarantee you that if they raised your cable rates and other 20 $500 a month that you would whine and complain and moan and tell your wife and your neighbors, your kids and whatever and then you know what you do you spend the extra 25 bucks a month because the value of what you receive is equal to or greater than the price you pay. Now.

Now let’s go back to value gap in dentistry. Let’s go back to one of our podcasts where we talked about what dentists believe the reality is in in in what dental consumers want. Dentists understandably and their teams understandably, understandably believe all mom cares about his price. Right? Mom calls how you know, do you take my insurance? mom calls? How much is this? mom calls? Whatever 90% of the time you’re getting asked questions about price. So that leads the dentist and the team to believe that all those consumers care about is price. Now here’s where I’m going to flip it around and in your mind. Okay. Okay. What other question were they supposed to ask? Exactly. Okay. You’re not telling them anything about dentistry? So, what other question made sense to ask?

Howie: Right? Now, you know, to go along with that? Are, are they going to ask? Are you a good dentist?

Mark: No, of course not. They’re not even going to ask your the business administrator answer in your phone. They’re not going to say, hey, Mary’s, his doctor how he a good dentist. Of course, he’s a good dentist, I work for me. They’re not going to ask that question. They want to know, but they want to know that answer, don’t they?

Howie: They Do you know? Yeah,

Mark: that’s right. Okay. That’s one of the big answers they want. But they’re not going to ask your staff that question. That would be silly. I’m sure you’ve gotten that question maybe two or three times in your career, but it certainly doesn’t come out daily or weekly or even monthly. Right. So, here’s the value gap is the distance between the perceived value and the real value? The real value of today’s dentistry is sometimes life saving sometimes, heck, life altering most of the times. Life, I would say I would say life neutral. Right. So, it’s either neutral, great, or man, it saved my life. That’s a good thing. There’s nothing you know, there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

The problem is, is the value gap in dentistry is there. Because no one is changing the narrative. The only people who are controlling the narrative are dentists who are promoting their practices based primarily on a price incentive. The corporate entity promoting dentistry based on primarily price incentives and guess who the insurance companies who have taken total control of your pricing power for the trade off for you is to be put on a website with nearly every other dentist in your town, and to be put into a brochure or a booklet that gets delivered once a year.

And actually, most of the time, they don’t even do that anymore. They don’t even bother printing it, they just make a PDF out of it and email it to all their subscribers. So, you’re trading 30% of your revenues. So that that organization can distribute your name and your practice along with every other dentist in the area, to the employees who work for those companies that have that plan.

Howie: And also, the dentist gets shackled with the price.

Mark: Exactly. Exactly. Okay. Okay, so what is the consumer supposed to think about dentistry? Think about that for a second. What if we gave them something else to think about? What if we gave them some other consideration besides price? The reason here, here’s the bottom line to this whole podcast. The reason your patients only ask you about price or insurance participation, is because that’s the only reasonable question they know to ask. Think about that.

They don’t know that you can do ortho in six months, they don’t know that you can take care of periodontal disease with a laser. They don’t know that you can restore teeth in a day in one visit, they don’t know. Well, they know that their husband’s really scared and he’s a big wimp. But they don’t know that she can bring him in and have him put into a twilight so he can get years worth of dentistry done all in one shot. They don’t know that. How will the narrative change when your phone rings? If they didn’t know that?

Howie: Right? The questions you’d be getting them would be? How does this work? You know, when can I get in?

Mark: I want to see if I’m a candidate for x.

Howie: Yeah, you mean you can hear my husband snoring?

Mark: Oh my god. Exactly. Exactly. Okay, so. So, we, Howie and I totally and completely agree and we get why you and your team think that 100% of women in the country, all they care about is money and insurance. We understand why you feel that way. But the reality is, the statistic is the independent consumer research shows that price is only 28% of the of the decision. It’s not 89% or 90%, or 95%, like you think it is. Okay. so the difference between the 28% and where you think that 95% number is, is simply ignorance. The dental consumers don’t know.

They don’t know what to ask. What if you told them you had early morning and early evening hours? What if you told them you could do dentistry in a day? And, what if you told them you could help their husband who’s probably a scaredy cat, you know, get through a whole life’s worth of dentistry needs done in one day? Or maybe two visits? What if, what if, what if, what if, what if 80% of the questions that you got had nothing to do with price?

Howie: Right. And that’s and that’s the gap we’re talking about is that, you know, the value you can create, in your target on audience will, whatever value you create will narrow that gap to where the consumer will go, you know, there’s something really valuable here and I’m willing to pay for it.

Mark: Yeah, the dental consumer is below woefully ignorant we when we do the research when we do the or we pay when we pay money to do the research on the firm asks a series of questions, usually for in a group, and then they change one of the four. And they asked the questions again, and they asked the questions again, until you come up with a score of what matters most what matters least sort of like subtraction by addition. Anyway, um, I believe it’s called conjoined analysis it

Howie: anyway.

Mark: It’s called conjoined analysis. If you want to Google it and check it out. It’s kind of cool. Anyway, um, was I going with this?

Howie: Well, the we’re trying to determine what value each dental service Yeah,

Mark: There you go. Yeah, yeah, that’s where I was exactly where I was going. If you want to know the numeric value of what each item, Matt matters to the dental consumer, as you can download it off of Right, right there. It’s the same spreadsheet our designers use when they go to figure out what matters the most or least to the consumer before they go build something. So um, so if you’re going to make the case, here, here’s the here’s really the bottom line. If you believe that 100% of the women in the country, actually all countries because we work in five countries, and the stats are identical in all five, okay?

Well, if you’re the, if you believe that we’re wrong, and you believe all women care about is price and insurance, then sign up with a billion insurance plans and do your promotions make price really the only thing on your promotions, maybe a map of Google Map, little convenience statement, maybe you’re open some extended hours, one or two nights mix a little convenience and technology and with price. And you’ll probably do okay for two or three years. There’s nothing wrong with that we’re not we’re not judging you, if that’s the market, you’re going after it’s a viable market.

The problem is, is that most solo GP or small group practices have corporate entities coming into those markets, with marketing budgets that are 5, 6, 8 or 10 times yours, and they have efficiencies and scales, business scalability, that you can’t possibly provide the same services for less cost and you can’t possibly raise marketing budget as high as theirs. So, if you’re in a competitive environment like that, and everybody’s going after the bottom half of the market, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that sooner or later some of you are going to die. aren’t that many people in the bottom half of the market? Yeah,

Howie: it’s about the price battle. If you find yourself engaging in a price battle with a corporate entity, people realize you’ve already lost that war. That’s over.

Mark: Yeah, it’s over. Really before you started.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So, what we encourage people to do is to consider statistical reality. Consider the research look, see? What’s missing. Understand why moms that call you right now why they only ask you two questions, but well, they’ll ask you questions about insurance, a question about price and maybe ours? Are you open Saturdays? Okay. They’re only asking you questions that make sense to them. Not because that’s all they care about. But it’s because that’s all they know. They don’t know today’s dentistry. The dentistry they know, was passed to them from their mom and dad.

Howie: Okay,

Mark: Was ya gotta go to the dentist. I hate going but you got to go. Right. That’s, that’s the dentistry that they grow up with. Well, how far is dentistry come in the last 30 years. I mean, it’s amazing how far dentistry has come. And the consumer doesn’t know anything about it.

Howie: Right

Mark: It, you know it, it’s the same battle that you and I mark have been fighting for 26 years against the commoditization

Howie: of the profession. You know, if all you’re looking for is a refrigerator? Well, you know, then you’re going to descend that into Well, what’s the, you know, what’s the best price?

Mark: Right.

Howie: But dentistry isn’t a refrigerator?

Mark: Right

Howie: very personal health service, where you are literally, in people’s faces. It’s pretty invasive.

Mark: Yeah.

Howie: And it’s considered by the public to be invasive and it’s, it’s it the, as Mark was saying, the advances that have been made in dentistry recently, and then the last 1020 years, or make it a completely different experience, there is tons of value there. dentistry is not a commodity and, and it shouldn’t be looked at like that. But if you’re involved in a price war, or an insurance battle, or your, you know, then that’s what you’re doing is participating in the commoditization of the profession.

Mark: Yeah, and that’s it, again, not being judgmental, we’re just basically telling it like it is,

Howie: that’s all

Mark: There is a way out the way out was with the top half, primarily the top half and the way to get to them is to open up their mind to something other than price and insurance, so that when they do call those seven numbers on your dental office website, or your mail or whatever you’re doing to advertise. They ask questions that are different from price and insurance right now. They’re right now, they’re unarmed. They don’t know, they don’t understand what the possibilities are nobody sharing with them what the possibilities could be. Okay. So the only two questions that you know, to ask are the two you get every day. So, we’re saying, Give them the other possibilities, share with them. All of the benefits of the Dentistry of today’s dentistry that you provide, and you will start getting different questions when your phone rings.

Howie: Yeah, very good.

Mark: Alright, that’s the value gap in dentistry, folks. And if it totally confused the heck out of you then. I don’t know. Give us a call.

Howie: Okay, so thank you, everybody, for listening. We’ll see you again next time.

Mark: Bye. Bye.

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