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 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 each and every month. Frankly, most are in denial over the fact that corporate dentistry is a real viable threat to their practice. I’m here to tell you the threat is very real and you need to take it extremely seriously. Gone are the days when “corporate dental” meant bad dentistry. They're going out and hiring experienced dentists who no longer want the “day to day” of running a business. They're paying them handsomely to come on over to the corporate side. The end result is 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 they don’t see you as competitive.
What investors see in the marketplace is 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 who do no marketing and only have “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 independent dentists, and their patients
There is one extremely simple and easy way to fight back and win. What is it? Marketing!
Corporate dental organizations know 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'll make a profit.
And to be quite frank, they outsource this process to companies such as 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 break private practices in half and steal their best patients. 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 because there's 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 powerful):
The 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 through proven online marketing. I’m not talking about putting a paragraph or page 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. Be bold and do something great!