Growing The Oral Systemic Practice
Achieving Goal Congruency
Thanks to Dental Town Magazine
What’s Working In Oral Systemic Practice: Installment ONE – Read The Article Here(if link does not work, please read below)
What’s Working In The Oral Systemic Practice Today
Health professionals and lay people in ever increasing numbers recognize the links between oral and overall health. For practitioners and Team Members who are committed to improving patient outcomes through an oral systemic practice philosophy, it is essential to have at their disposal resources that help them successfully integrate this philosophy.
This column is intended to serve as one of those resources.
I wish to thank my friends at Farran Media for agreeing to devote space in their publication to this important subject.
By The Numbers
A step by step guide to developing, promoting, and staging a successful Community Event Organizing and staging a successful community event is one of the most cost effective ways to grow a practice. This is especially true for practices who have made the commitment to an oral systemic philosophy because they have the ‘real goods,’ that is, protocols and modalities which, in a tangible and compelling way, distinguish theirs as a unique and enhanced Offering. The true winners are patients who learn that, when it comes to an enhanced level of oral and overall care, they have a real choice.
One: The Why
You’re already proficient at presenting treatment. Staging a Community Event permits you to, in essence, present to several people at once, thereby leveraging your time, and that of your Team. There is additional value because speaking in a group setting enhances the comfort level of attendees as compared to when they are the single object of your attention. ‘Diffusing the spotlight,’ as it were, helps people relax: when people are relaxed, they’re more likely to make a decision.
Two: The What (ill it play in Peoria)?
One of the most important decisions you will make concerns the topic and content for your presentation. Any topic about which you are knowledgeable and passionate is a worthwhile addition to your list of possibilities. Most important, however, is your topic’s interest level among your Target Audience.
One way to help decide upon that all-important content is to put Google’s pay per click management site to work for you. Go to http://www.Google.com/adwords, and click on Get Started. From here, you are able to enter words and phrases describing your proposed presentation topic, and see the number of times someone has searched for those terms.
Of 65 terms we researched, the ten top all had to do with (in order of popularity): weight loss, sleep apnea, implants, and diabetes (see table).
Three – The Where (venue)
In choosing a location for your presentation, convenience and price will likely be at the top of your list of considerations.
A great (and obvious, once you think about it) place to have your Event may well be right in your own office.
Dr. Steven Greenman, of Westlake, CA has been particularly successful reaching out to, as well as beyond, his patient base to promote his dental sleep medicine solutions. He has, as of this writing, done three community talks, and participated in one health expo. Most recently, he used his own practice location as the venue for a presentation. “We figured we might as well show people where it all happens” explains Greenman. “This enabled us to eliminate a big unknown for attendees.” Of 10 attendees, the practice made six appointments.
Reaching out to your own patients makes sense because most dentists have yet to fully capitalize upon the growth potential within their own practice. Simply invite patients of record to an open house to learn about a new, little known, and valuable aspect of your Offering. For instance, if you have incorporated a health coaching component to your hygiene department, inviting your patients to a brief presentation and tasting of your line of portion controlled meal replacements or heart healthy recipes (meaning they can simultaneously learn and dine) makes your event all the more appealing (learn more about integrating a weight loss and health coaching model into your practice, at http://www.DannyBobrow.TSFL.com/hp).
When you set your sights on an outside venue for your event, it is ideal to secure one which will co-promote. Your library, Chamber of Commerce, hospital, fitness center, religious congregation, networking group, YMCA, JCC, homeowner’s association, village hall, and other local organizations, are all promising groups to approach. Many are actively seeking valuable content to disseminate to their constituents, and so may be only too happy to help you, not only stage, but also promote, your event.
The Telephone Sandwich
To maximize the likelihood of a favorable response, we suggest employing the Telephone Sandwich, which entails a telephone call to your prospective host and event promoter during which you confirm to whom, and the preferred manner by which your Proposal is to be sent, then confirming receipt of your communication with another telephone call.
Here’s a sample email I recently sent to a prospective host of my Event:
Hello Ms. Meyer,
It was a pleasure speaking with you earlier today concerning my presentation for your Library.
As requested, I am sharing with you the following:
Program Title and Description
The Third Era of Medicine – how to achieve and maintain optimal health for yourself and those you love – the presentation concerns the obesity epidemic and obesigenic society in which we currently live, the consequences of not taking action to eradicate this epidemic, and the simple, but highly effective things each of us can do to create health in our lives.
Dates I am available to present
My schedule opens up later in August, then in October and November – Monday and Friday evenings are preferred, but I am also sometimes available during the day, as well as on some weekends.
Please click here
My requested honorarium
This is negotiable but, owing to the proximity of your Library to my home and office, I should think $250 will be acceptable.
Samples/Excerpts of the Presentation
Please see attached
I look forward to answering any further question you may have, and to delivering a presentation that is consistent with your commitment to empowering your Members and Community with valuable and complimentary information and guidance. In Health,
Oral Systemic Health
Daniel A. ‘Danny’ Bobrow, MBA DBobrow@OralSystemicHealth.com
Founding Board Member, The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health
312-455-9488 cell: 312-498-0739
In general, be prepared to provide your prospective host with a:
1. Description of your program
2. List of references, preferably from similar organizations. If this is your first foray,
see if you can cite references for lectures or any similar presentation delivered
previously. If you cannot, just omit.
3. Available dates/preferred months or days of the week. Provide a choice of dates
without being completely open-ended, as this may suggest you are ‘overly
eager’, and people like to know they are dealing with a busy professional with
limited time and several tasks, people, and groups competing
for it. Remember: people want what’s in demand.
4. Speakers fee – Be reasonable – you might even suggest that, given the fact this
is your first presentation to this Group, and you are interested in an ongoing
association, you are open to waiving your usual honorarium.
5. Presentation Sample – this can be your Powerpoint presentation (or excerpts of
it), a video montage of previous presentations (what we call a ‘sizzle piece’), or
screenshots of slides you plan to present
6. Contact person, and best telephone number, email, and time to speak
Some groups you approach may have a policy of not promoting ‘commercial interests.’ In that case, be sure to communicate that your aim is to ‘educate and empower attendees to make an informed choice’ concerning your topic.
Of course, if you choose to rent your own space, or stage an event in your own office, this is not a concern. “Renting our own space and holding events within our practice gave us carte blanche, in terms of our speaking topic.” relates Dr. Greenman.
Another potentially valuable entity to target is Employer Groups.
Dr. James Erpenbach, of Knoxville, TN shares “Companies who provide wellness incentives in the form of reduced healthcare premiums for employees who attend health prevention programs are in search of wellness centered oral systemic presentations. The City of Knoxville has such a program for its employees, where one of the requirements for reduced insurance premiums is attendance at quarterly presentations to promote healthy choices. These programs can get your name and message out to a large potential patient population with minimal work [while simultaneously serving the public].”
Consistent with the theme of following the path of least resistance, a great place to begin is with your patient charts to ascertain which of them are in positions of authority in, or at least a member of, their company’s human resources department, wellness committee, or equivalent. Ask if they think their employees would like to learn about and benefit from your presentation topic (ideally, offer them several topics from which to choose). You might also offer them a token of appreciation for their assistance, such as a free whitening, discount on diabetes testing, saliva panel, testing of carotid intra medial artery thickness (CIMT), health coaching and nutritional guidance, c-reactive protein, oral cancer screening, and other tests and information to help them attain and maintain optimal oral and overall health – which simultaneously demonstrates to them the value of your presentation.
Four –The Who (target Audience(s))
Who to target will, of course, depend upon the topic and content of your presentation. As noted above, an event is a terrific opportunity to make patients of record aware (or reminded) of your enhanced Offering.
Your Event also represents a powerful tool for cementing relationships with existing members of your professional referral network, and even more important, for expanding your network by reaching out to professionals with whom you’ve yet to establish a relationship, by inviting them and their patients to your Event..
Specific target audiences within your community include: seniors, people who use CPAP, are obese (or overweight), have diabetes (or are pre-diabetic), and are afraid of the dentist.
Five – The How
The extent to which it is possible to pinpoint your desired audience will vary. The simplest group to identify is, of course, your patient base. Ways to connect with them include your website, social media, direct mail, the telephone, and conversation while they are in your office.
Connecting with current and prospective referral sources may be achieved using the same resources as above, as well as a LinkedIn Group. LinkedIn Groups are free to set up. All you need is a LinkedIn Account.
Reaching the community at large may also be accomplished by using the aforementioned channels, as well as submitting press releases to the appropriate media, and by partnering with the entity, which has agreed to host your Event.
It is, as a matter of cost-effectiveness, ideal when your message can be directed specifically to your desired target audience (or those who may be counted upon to get the desired message to the target, such as women whose spouses snore). Paid online search and compiled direct mail lists also aid with targeting. Your message should be composed to lead your intended audience to self-select. For instance, a direct mail piece with the heading “If you, or someone you care about, has trouble sleeping, this message is for you.” will encourage the recipient, if they are not your intended audience, to share it with someone who is. Because often people ‘don’t know what they don’t know,’ interest in a topic may be uncovered simply by crafting such a compelling message.
Your by-the-numbers checklist to successfully pre-promote, stage, and post-promote your Event
1. Secure your Venue
2. If possible, gain agreement from your host to co-promote your Event
3. Promote your event via
a. grassroots (patients, family, friends, local merchants)
b. Website and Social Media
c. Frequent reminders to confirmed attendees (we recommend the following email sequence to prospective and confirmed attendees:
i. 6 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week, 1 day, and 2 hours prior to your Event
ii. Provide written directions and easy to read map to your event
4. Have an easy to use registration process e.g.
a. Call you office and ask for a specific person or, preferably, ensure all are prepared to handle sign ups
b. Have a dedicated web form on your site, and as part of your social media and email marketing campaign
5. Stage and Manage Your Event
a. Visit the venue well in advance of your presentation to confirm suitability
b. Arrive early to ensure you have time for set up, and to deal with any last-minute ‘glitches’ that may arise (you can be sure some will)
c. Have a sign-up sheet for attendees, including space for their email address, as some attendees may not have previously registered. Also, some people who did register may not attend – it is important to know this to determine who is to receive what message
d. Prepare and have sufficient quantities of handouts, promotional Literature, and contact information – better to have too much than not enough
e. On site Event Video Recording – this gives you the opportunity to ‘bring the presentation to the attendee,’ as well as share samples of your presentation with other prospective hosts (It’s also a terrific coaching tool for you).
6. Have a Post-Event Promotion Strategy
a. Follow Up with attendees via email or telephone call
b. Tag photos and videos and post to social media
c. Make an attractive offer to encourage attendees to make an appointment
The Money Making Math
“The talks have gone well. We’ve gotten 15 attendees and converted nearly half of those into appointments. We’re extremely pleased with a 50% conversion rate. ” says Dr. Greenman.
Note that one need not achieve anywhere close to such conversion percentages to make these talks a winning proposition. A quick breakeven analysis demonstrate this.
If you are promoting an oral appliance and the average case is worth $3000 (granted, this is not 100% profit), if your investment is less than $1000 (which it should be), at just one patient, you’ll realize a positive return on investment. “The Health Expo was amazing! The booth cost us $650. We made nine appointments onsite, and are expecting more calls from people who took our literature.” concludes Dr. Greenman.
Just Do It
Overcoming inertia can be a challenge. To help get you started, remember to begin with the low hanging fruit. It will build your confidence. Do not fall victim to paralysis by analysis. Most learning is accomplished by doing, not pondering and preparing. Remember too that, while we may know what we would like to have said or done differently, your audience does not, so do not let a less than perfect presentation deter you from continuing.
Here’s to those intrepid oral health professionals and their teams who boldly venture outside their comfort zone to help their community and, in the process, themselves!
Daniel A. ‘Danny’ Bobrow is Founding executive committee member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (www.AAOSH.org). He may be reached at AAOSH@AIMDentalMarketing.com or DBObrow@OralSystemicHealth.com
To learn more about Growing Your Oral Systemic Practice …