Does your agency sell marketing services to dental practices?
If you offer search engine marketing services such as PPC or SEO then it is extremely likely that dental practices are directly in your strike zone.
Because dentists tick a lot of boxes when it comes to ideal marketing clients:
- They’re typically inexperienced with digital marketing, so they’re craving expert advice.
- They sell high-priced services that allow for a reasonable profit margin based on the cost of marketing in the industry.
- Their patients are actively searching for these high-priced dental services, meaning there is enough demand to satisfy the supply.
Yes, the dental industry is an attractive proposition for marketing agencies, but finding and closing dental clients isn’t always easy. After all, you are competing with thousands of other agencies putting forward a similar value proposition. Plus, dentists are a unique beast with one-of-a-kind desires and challenges. They don’t respond to the same tactics and cookie-cutter messaging as other industry verticals.
With that in mind, how can you capitalize on this opportunity without getting lost in the noise?
The key is to walk in the shoes of your potential clients and truly understand what they care about. To help you out, here are five ways to sell marketing services to dental practices by tapping into a dentist’s psyche.
1. Lead with a high-end product focus
Dentists are looking for ways to improve their profit margins and increase their hourly earning capacity. The best way for you to help them achieve this goal is to generate qualified leads that are looking for high-priced dental services. Think about things such as Invisalign, dental implants, and cosmetic-based dental surgeries. These are the money-makers for dental practices.
If you go into a dental practice with a generic pitch about lead generation and new customer inquiries, you are at risk of getting lost in a sea of other off-the-shelf programs the practice is being pitched every other day.
Instead, if you position your marketing agency in the dental niche as the “Invisalign Lead Gen Experts”, or something similar, you are more likely to catch their attention.
The harsh reality is, especially with PPC, it’s very hard to be profitable in the dental niche if you are attracting run-of-the-mill teeth cleaning or dental checkup inquiries for $50-100 per lead. When you consider that these consultations only generate somewhere between $100-200 for the dental practice, the maths just doesn’t stack up for a profitable relationship.
On the flip side, if you can acquire dental implant, Invisalign, root canal, or other high-end cosmetic leads for dentists where the consultation and surgery costs are in the thousands of dollars, it starts becoming interesting.
Below is an example of a marketing agency that uses “New Implant Patient Opportunities” as their primary value proposition for dentists:
2. Understand the dentist’s daily schedule
When you are selling to dental practices, you need to be aware of the key decision-maker and their daily schedule. This is usually the dentist or a franchise owner.
The daily calendar of a dentist can look significantly different to almost any other industry vertical you work with. On top of this, these decision-makers are bombarded with calls, walk-ins, flyers, and an array of other marketing campaigns from all sorts of product and service companies on a daily basis – they’re naturally skeptical. By understanding and fitting into this ecosystem you can break through the noise and get noticed.
Of course, you need to have your messaging tight and focussed before interrupting their busy schedule. At best you will only have a few seconds to catch their attention. Your offer is only going to be worth their time if it maximizes their billable hours. So start with this message and be empathetic and understanding of their situation.
Also, do it at a time of the day when they have the most headspace. Before the patient day kicks off and during lunchtime tend to be effective times for locking down a dentist for a short meeting.
You could even block these times out in your calendar as a sales block for calls and meetings with dental practices:
3. Know exactly who you are targeting and what they value
On the surface, the dental niche itself may appear like a targeted audience segment.
While this is true, it’s also a basic way of defining your ideal customer.
Yes, you are approaching dentists… but dentists come in all shapes and sizes. If you can more accurately define the type of dental practice you are targeting, your sales approach and messaging will become much more effective.
Document a detailed customer avatar by answering these type of questions:
- What geographical area do your ideal dental practices operate in?
- Are they independent practices or do they have more than one location?
- What treatments do your ideal dentists specialize in?
- How much do they charge for these treatments?
- What does it cost to acquire a click/lead/sale for these treatments?
- What are the demographics of the ideal patients of this practice?
- Who is in control of the marketing spend?
- What are the demographics of the primary decision maker?
- What does their daily schedule look like?
- What are their other daily frustrations?
- Are there any other key decision makers you should be aware of?
Do you see how granular and specific you can get when defining your dental prospects?
It may seem trivial at this point, but if you can leverage this information when starting and progressing a conversation with a potential client it is going to help you stand out from other marketing agencies. You will be seen as a focussed dental marketing expert rather than another flyer that gets thrown in the trash.
Here is a basic avatar of a dental practice owner we created using HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool:
4. Appreciate and plan for skepticism
As we mentioned earlier in this article, dentists are over-run with marketing campaigns every day. This creates noise and a degree of skepticism towards any new service provider.
If you are selling your services to dental practices then you need to be ready for an unenthusiastic response. There is every chance that the dentist you are talking to has been let down by marketing agencies in the past, or have accrued dis-trust for service providers in general.
You can’t let this skepticism get to you. In fact, you may be able to use it to your advantage during the sales conversation by embracing the pink elephant in the room as a way of building trust. If you are good at what you do and have the results to prove it, then it shouldn’t take long to overcome this hurdle.
Here are some tips for gaining immediate trust with a dental practice and overcoming skepticism:
- Put together a custom, or highly-targeted report for the key decision maker regarding the opportunities in their space and give it to them for free. Include things such as keyword research, average acquisition costs, and untapped segments of the market.
- Capture and provide detailed testimonials from other dentists who were at first skeptical themselves, but eventually experienced the benefits of your services. For example, this marketing agency that is solely focused on dental practices has a series of professionally edited videos highlighting their clients’ results:
- Create an offer that is in itself risk-averse for the dentist, such as a free marketing evaluation or audit like the example below:
- If and when you have a meeting with the decision maker at a practice, talk directly to their concerns and skepticism. By not avoiding the big issues you can address them head-on and more often than not overcome them.
5. Go offline and create relationships
A dental practice is an offline business – they’re local, and for the most part have built their reputation from showing interest in their patients and developing relationships.
This is the way that they view the world and subsequently an approach that they appreciate from other service providers.
If you put in the effort to physically visit a dental practice, get to know the dentist, and leave without pushing your agenda every time, it shows that you have a genuine care for the prosperity of their business. Go above and beyond to offer insights and advice for free about the trends in the area, the opportunities with digital marketing for dentists, and leave something physical for them to take value from – such as the aforementioned report.
Of course, you don’t want to over-do it and seem pushy. But by creating a physical connection with the decision-maker you are immediately skipping the queue of marketing agencies who simply post a few ads or send a few emails.
Before long you will be more than just another service provider but instead a friend, a mentor, and an integral part of their team. Nothing that any other agency can do on the phone, over email, or via a banner ad can trump that.
The dental niche presents a proven opportunity for marketing agencies. Not only can it be extremely profitable for your clients, but for the most part, dentists are inexperienced with digital marketing activity and looking for expert advice.
Given the “searchable” nature of many high-priced dental services and treatments, search engine marketing is a great entry point for securing new dental practice clients.
The challenge you face is to truly put yourself in the shoes of the practice owner and avoid the temptation of out-of-the-box solutions and generic sales processes. If you can take the time to understand the decision makers at these practices, adjust your offer to align with what they value, and dedicate time to building a real-life relationship, then you are bound to prosper.
What other tips do you have for selling marketing services to dental practices?