Would you like to have your BEST pet dental health month ever….
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July 4th podcast How To Get Your Practice Organized For A Brilliant Pet Dental Health Month
Hi, it’s Diederik Gelderman here. Welcome to July, and welcome to a month of videos in which we share how you can make August Dental Month a fabulous dental month—maybe the best dental month you’ve ever had.
Now, that’s for Australia—August is Pet Dental Health Month. In South Africa, if I remember correctly, it’s in May. If it’s the United States, it’s in February, if I remember correctly.
Wherever you are watching today, use these strategies, and give yourself about two months leeway to get this all happening. This is, like I said, for the July blog that’s coming out. If you could put this stuff in place a month earlier and start this marketing in June, that would be even better, so you’d have had June and July to market, and August Dental Health Month roles out in a superb way.
But even, if you use these strategies in July and start right off the bat right now, and you’ll have to get cracking really quick-smart, you’ll have a fantastic dental health month in August.
We’re going to dig deep into one group of strategies every week for the next four weeks.
The first thing that I’m going to share with you today is the underpinning stuff and we need to start with this… clients don’t trust free.
When you drive past the store, or walk past the store or whatever, and you see ‘free this, free that, discount this, discount that’, what do you immediately think?
That’s right, you think, “Well, are they ripping me off the rest of the year or the rest of the time?” or, “If I’d go in and get this for free or for a discount, what are they going to upsell me? I’ll come out with this thing that I wanted, but all this other stuff as well.”
If you’re going to do a free dental health check month, you know, the flip the lip check that your nurses are going to do, or your vets are going to do, or whatever it is that you’re going to promote and give to your clients for ‘free’ this month – you need really need to think through ‘Why’ and is ‘free’ going to work?
You need to have a lot bigger ‘Why’, a lot bigger reason, a lot bigger hook than ‘free.”
You’ve really got to come to the party and tell your clients why it’s free.
You could focus around something like “Obesity and dental disease are the two biggest killers in the modern-day pet, or are the two biggest diseases of the modern-day pet. Therefore we like to have a really, really strong focus on dental disease once a year, and educate all our clients, and this is why we’re going to do a free ‘flip the lip’ assessment” or something along those lines.
You can even do some videos, you can do some blogs, you can do some Facebook posts in which you show the clients how to flip the lip themselves, and then say “If you’re not sure what you’re doing, come in and we’ll help you out.”
But, you’ve to got to think through the free thing, and just put yourself in your client’s shoes…..
Are YOU going to go in and get something for free, or are you going to be concerned that you’re going to come out with — what I’m going to be sold when I’m in there… or that sort of thing.
- If you don’t trust ‘free’ then why should your clients…..
So, just be really careful about that.
The next item is this; we all need to hear things — it’s used to be between five and seven times – before we trust that ‘something’.
So, if you put out a Facebook post on the 1st of August saying “Dental disease is important, and come in and have your pet assessed.” – it won’t wash….. wash, your clients will NOT rush in – because the client must hear ANYTHING a number of times before they become accepting of it.
Remember – most clients don’t even understand that pets have teeth as it were or get any form of dental disease. ?
- Australians are now the most distrusting society on the planet. Americans come second.
We now have to hear something about 14.3 times before we become trusting of it, understanding it, accept it. In the USA it’s 12 times.
This is why I’m saying that you need to get your marketing started in early June; so you’ve got eight weeks of educating clients about dental disease and the importance of it.
Just telling them once or twice is not going to cut the mustard.
And it’s the same in your practice. If you talk to a client today about dental disease and the fact that their pet needs dental treatment (whatever that happens to be) and they say ‘no’, it just means that you haven’t told them often enough yet, and you need to put a process in place to ensure that they do hear that message another number of times.
So, in your marketing, in your Facebook stuff, in your blogs, in your emails, in any and all of messaging that you do about dental disease for dental health month, you must get in at least seven repetitions before you start getting any traction.
Like I said, in Australia now, for a client—that includes you or me when people are ‘selling’ to us, all of us need to hear something multiple, multiple times—in Australia now, it’s 14 times.
Canada is still a very trusting country, it’s between seven and nine times , and the United States it is up to 12 times.
This is so because we’re just bombarded with stuff on the internet, all the time we’re just inundated with ‘crap’ and ‘stuff’ – so we’ve tuned out.
Now, one of the strategies that’s working really well for clients of mine that have a focus on dentistry is where they have done a ‘flip the lip’ assessment video.
They’ll do that on an iPhone and paste it on their YouTube channel and email the link to their clients, and show people how to do a ‘flip the lip’ assessment themselves.
Quite a lot of my clients as well, when they do their dental discharges, they encourage their clients to bring their kids along, and then they’ll do a “’lip the lip’ assessment and they’ll talk to young Johnny say, “Johnny, this is now your job. On the first Monday of every month, you need to flip the lip on Fluffy. You need to assess what the teeth are like, and then you need to report back to mom and dad, and if there is dental disease happening, you need to get mom and dad to bring Fluffy in.” So that’s really, really great strategy. That works very, very well; engaging the children.
Like I said earlier, do plenty of those sorts of educative videos and put them on Facebook, put them on Facebook Live, put them on Snap Chat, put them on YouTube. Disseminate as much information to your clients as you can to get them in the mindset of dental disease, ‘flip the lip’, pets get dental disease and all those sorts of things.
The other question I’ve got for you is this; is it okay to do a dental procedure in dental health month—and I’m talking about a dental cleaning, plus or minus extractions, whatever you want to call it—is it okay to do a dental procedure for quarter price, half price, third price, three-quarter price, or full price, and then have nothing going on at home afterwards? Is that okay?
Because that’s what I see happening in many practice; we’ll do the dental health month thing, we’ll do a 50% off special, we’ll be inundated, we’ll have 90 dentals to do this month whereas typically, we only have four or five, and those patients will go home and have no ongoing aftercare.
Should there be an aftercare process in place? Should they be coming back a week later to talk about home care and all those sorts of thing?
Because if that’s not being done, my personal opinion is that the client and the patient are just being dropped and allowed to fend for themselves, and that doesn’t help the patient, it doesn’t help the client, and certainly doesn’t help you because there’s a huge opportunity cost involved for you.
- My question to you is does that achieve anything for you or the pet?
Does that actually create long term compliance for the owner? Do they actually go on to an Oralcare, or TD or regular brushing, or chews, or stuff in the water, or stuff in the food, or anything at all?
Is there any behavioural change from the client?
Or is just the cleaning that’s been performed and there is no ongoing after-care process training for the client?
Because if there is no behaviour change by the client, are we doing the clients any favours?
Or – are they just going to come around again next dental health month and get another dental health month ‘special’ from you?
And, if you’re a doing 50% special in dental health month, and this is the only thing that’s happening, are you, in fact, making any money? Because you’re going to be running around like crazy in August, or whenever pet dental health month is for you and making no money.
You’ll be—with respect, and I mean this totally respectfully—I’ve seen the data from lots of practices, you’ll be so busy doing dentistry, you’ll actually drop the ball on other things.
If you don’t believe me, let me suggest that you track some of your other KPIs really carefully during the periods of time like that when you’re really busy….
I see that happen in tick season in practices, in flea season, and I certainly see it happen in peak dental health month, with dental gross income going up hugely and the other income falls because senior pets don’t get a look in anymore, flea control doesn’t get mentioned anymore, or heart worm, or revisits don’t get booked or whatever.
The thing is…
– it’s really important that you look at that entire scenario as a holistic approach.
There is NO point in having lots and lots of dentals, being really busy because you’re going to be running around like crazy in August, or whatever pet dental health month is for you, making no money on your discounted dentals AND losing money, dropping the ball on other things.
Superficially our figures will all look okay, your gross fees will be up, but your net profit will be substantially decreased. So, it’s something to think about.
As I’ve already said, and it’s a really important point so I’ll say it again.
Many clients simply think that if ‘they’ can do dentistry so cheaply this month, then I’m being ripped off about dentistry in the other months, and what else are they ripping me off on?
That is a valid thought that has shown up in many client based studies, and the other thing that that creates, of course, is that if you can do dentistry for $200 in pet dental health month and the normal would be say $400, if that client needs dentistry done again in, let’s say, April or a month that’s not Pet Dental Health month, and they can see themselves that their pet needs dental care, that forces your client to phone shop ‘dental’ prices.
They’re going to ring around and see who’s the cheapest on dentistry this month. And with respect – you’ve made this happen!
So, it’s a bit of a worry.
As I said, if you’re going to do something for free, or discount big, then you really, really need to have a big reason for discounting big, otherwise, it’s just not believable to the client.
Aall the marketing that you do for dental health month should be—what I call—EBM, education based marketing.
Train, educate, teach and engage. Gary Vaynerchuk who wrote a book called ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’ — if you want to read a really good book, I’d suggest you read that by book Gary Vaynerchuk.
It’s primarily on social media marketing but it’s still relevant to all your practice marketing.
He believes the same as what I do, all marketing should be education based marketing, and you give, give, give, give, give, educate, educate, train, train, train, and then ask for something in return from your client.
That’s typically them coming in through your door and spending some money.
That’s really important, educate your clients like crazy, prior to dental health month so that when Pet Dental Health month rolls around, that they know so much about dental disease that they come into your practice to make use of your services.
The types of marketing that you can use through Pet Dental Health month include;
- Facebook, it is an unbelievable marketing strategy, and you can target specifically the clients that you want. It is huge. You can do that for free, or you can do that paid. If you’re going to pay, I’m going to suggest you pay $5 a day, maximum $10 a day, something like that, not very much, certainly not hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Facebook Live is working really, really well for the practices that are using it. I’ll do a plug for a client of mine, he doesn’t even know that I’m doing this. If you want to watch some really awesome Facebook Live, go on and follow Richard Lucas at Busselton Veterinary Hospital and see of the videos that he’s doing. He’s getting, typically a 1000-1500 people watching a Facebook Live these days—just brilliant stuff.
- SnapChat is working awesomely well.
- Blogs, I’m going to suggest that you do a blog once a fortnight, once a month at the outside.
- Newsletters are great. So, if you’re doing a blog once a month, then you do the newsletter the alternate month—just one page, double sided, that’s all you need to do.
- Website, post this all – everything – to your website — all of this marketing needs to be tied together. You don’t do anything in isolation. If you’re marketing for pet dental health month, you should use as many of those modalities as you can. So, your website should be involved.
- You Tube – you should be doing YouTube videos, short three, four, or five-minute YouTube videos, post them on YouTube, place a link on the blog, a link on your website, a link in your newsletter to your YT videos.
- Email these links out to the clients saying that you’ve got a new video on how to flip the lip or in this cat everything looks great on the surface, but underneath, there was an FORL and here’s the X-ray, that sort of thing.
- Personal emails; send out personal emails to clients on your data base who have the word dental disease or grade 1, grade 2 dental disease on the pet’s record.
- Either go to the local media yourself, they’re always looking for stories. So, that’s local radio, that’s local TV, that’s local newspapers, and either go and do it yourself, or what carries a lot more weight with those organizations is if there’s three vets in town that you all go to the newspaper with a common purpose and say, “Hey, it’s pet dental health month, we’ve got some really great articles that we want you to help your reader by publishing.” That works really well as well, the weight of numbers really works well.
- NOTE: with newspapers and radio and TV, they don’t want to hear about how good am I, we are the fantastic vet, we fix this, or pet dental health month is really important because we’re giving back to the community. No, what they want to hear—they want to hear, or see, or read case studies. So, that’s the big thing to put forward to those organizations, is case studies, emotive stories, that’s what they’re really after. And as I said, make the pet and the client the hero, not you.
And, on a broader brush with that, the pet/client also needs to be the hero of all your marketing, not you.
I’ve talked about training your client to do a self-assessment, a flip the lip; you could also train them with respect to proper diet, home care, all those sort of things, this is really, really important – this should be part of your marketing.
Some videos that work really well to share for clients, whether this is Facebook, Facebook Live, YouTube, whatever it happens to be are before and after videos!
Because you’re contrasting the bad and the ugly with the good, if that makes sense.
Before and after contrasts work really well, that contrast frame works really well.
Remember your stories and all this sort of stuff that you are doing, it needs to be emotive and emotional. Get out of the logic mindset that we all have as vets. Get out of that logic, it’s not what clients base decisions on.
Clients base decision on emotions and feelings, and that’s what you need to put into those videos. Get out of that logic right-sided brain, get out of the Spock from Star Trek mentality, or Bones from the Bone show mentality. Give them your emotive, heart-string tugging story telling mode.
Two other things that I’ll talk about;
- You need to have someone in charge of this whole process. Not having anyone in charge is as bad as having everyone in charge—if that sort of makes sense, too many cooks spoil the broth. You need to have someone draw up a map of all your marketing or what you’re going to do, who’s going to do what, plan it, put [in place, write it all down, and then be responsible for making sure that things can happen as and when they need to. Without anyone in charge, this is going to fail.
- And I’m going to suggest that you document. You don’t want to go through all this July, or this month—whatever ‘this’ month happens to be for you—and then have to recreate everything again in 12-months’ time. You need to document what you’re doing, and then you can just roll it out again in 12-months’ time.
And let’s be even more down to earth, the clients next year are not going to remember if they saw a video from this year or not, so you can actually use as much of the same marketing collateral, totally unabridged and unaltered, you can use that all next year because the clients aren’t going to remember what they saw this year.
In the next video, we’re going to talk about the next most important step, and that is training your team.
Unless you’ve got the team trained, and the whole team is on board and they all know what their place is in the team and who’s passing the ball to whom, this whole thing is just not going to work.
So, I’ll catch you next week when talk about training the team.