3 ways to evaluate if you should attend a dental networking event

July 13, 2016

Have you ever been invited to a networking event or mixer? One of the greatest challenges that dentists face is making sure that they get effective return on their time investment from choosing to attend a networking event. This article provides a simple and effective measurement system for dentists to use when evaluating whether or not the opportunity is worth the cost.

Have you ever been invited to a networking event or mixer? One of the greatest challenges that dentists face is making sure that they get effective return on their time investment from choosing to attend a networking event.

This article provides a simple and effective measurement system for dentists to use when evaluating whether or not the opportunity is worth the cost.

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Is it worth it for you to participate in the event and is it a one-off or repeat event? 

After all, you know your hourly production rate. You now have the metric to measure the networking opportunity by: Will you make money or lose money per hour? Is it a social networking event and if so who is going to be there that you know and is already a patient? I cannot think of many social/traditional networking events that are worth a dentist’s time. Is the event during business hours (usually should be an instantaneous “no”)? What is your pitch going to be at the event and is it comfortable for you to deliver?

Social events, however, that are worth your time are ones that you deeply care about. Great examples are charitable functions for organizations that you are serving in. These are great opportunities to show that you aren’t just a leader in your practice, but also in the community. Financially speaking, the folks that are supporting the charities will make decision about which businesses they frequent based upon which businesses they see that share their passion for the organization.

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Does it advance your strategic plan for your practice?

One easy way to figure out what to do, reference networking opportunities, is does it make a measurable difference in your goals for your practice/business? My take on networking and proactive referral generation (externally from the practice) is that dentists must be strategic and not Impulsive when networking. You will receive far greater return on investment from your time when you are looking at the impact from your efforts on a minimum five-year window. Please note, I am not saying that you should be comfortable waiting that long for results! 

If you are transitioning your business within the next five years, attending events where lots of younger dentists are could be of tremendous strategic value. After all, it’s almost always less expensive to sell to a buyer that YOU find first. Is it a higher level networking event comprised of extremely successful and focused sales professionals and/or business owners?  If so, you might have found some instance cosmetic case prospects!

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Continue to the next page for the last thing to keep in mind...

 

Will you enjoy it?

When you get down to brass tacks, the truth is there are too many options out there to grow your practice. Anything you consider from a networking perspective needs to be something that you will follow through on and not hate every second of the way. If you hate, with the fire of a thousand suns, larger networking events… well, I would encourage you to not attend them. Life is too short.

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However, if you love golf or another hobby, there is no reason that you cannot pursue that passion in a way that also will produce profit. After all, my average round is four and a half hours and that is a tremendous opportunity to develop better relationships and create strategic referrals. Strategic networking is planning to spend more time with better relationships. Even if you don’t attempt to talk business or referrals, you are still being productive!

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