Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Beach Walk

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About this post

I’m learning to write.

This is the final version of my first assignment.

Thank you Emily Ross for coaching me.

In the words of Seth Godin – I’m “shipping it”.

Beach Walk

This “now”.

This corridor of sand and time.

In camp, they use the name I give them.

Nothing else, no edge to grab, no way to position me relative to themselves, except perhaps that I am older, thinner, weaker, more agile, articulate in conversation, humane in action and contemplative by nature.

I leave them every afternoon.

To walk alone on the beach.

Bright sunshine at first, unforgiving.

I still inhale the lingering oven-heat that hauls the dry air of impenetrable forest out across a carpet of high-tide human detritus and down to evaporate amongst the tidal breakers.

Spirit-sapping convection, softening in intensity as the sun settles into the Pacific, seducing me with hues of red, ruby and crimson before darkness falls.

Soon a chilling sea-breeze will herald the resurrection of nocturnal insects, driven to penetrate and suck their sustenance from my burned raw body, hastening a scramble into malodorous clothing baked in salt and sweat.

Nightfall will imprison me in cold and restless sleep.

I’ve been starved, scratched, bitten, burned, submerged and scared.

For these few moments I am free.

No thought of the comforts of home, the security of tribe and the love of family.

No thought of the urban jungle I traverse in an unremitting voyage of “stuff that needs doing”.

I am the “now” of indifferent pelicans who surf the thermals, wing tips tapping the wave tops before they rise, pause and dive with deadly accuracy.

I am the “now” of the silvered ice-shards of schooling fish leaping into an alien sky, whilst grey stingrays hover in the shallows, their deadly tails waving an insincere welcome.

I am the “now” of coconut palms wafting in towering clans, guarding their armoured drupe whilst lower flora desperately protect each shaded plot by impeding, impaling and poisoning.

In the malignant cradle of nature.

I am enraptured.

I have no name.

I am this corridor of sand and time.

I am the “now”.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

Working “on” your business

Working on your business

Vintage E-Myth and Michael Gerber.

When you are doing dentistry you are working “in” your business.

When you are working “in” your business, it is unlikely that you are doing something that will generate future profits by growing your business.

When you are reflecting on, reviewing and developing strategies and tactics around finance, marketing, customer service, operations and team, as well as your overall vision, you are working “on” your business.

When you are working “on” your business, it is unlikely that you are generating cash flow that is going to pay the bills today.

So if you are a slave to your cash flow requirement, your business is unlikely to grow.

Yet again, I was talking to a dentist the other day who delivers dentistry 5 days a week, is a multi-tasking owner-mother and could not imagine that reducing her clinical days from 5 to 4 (and spending the 5th day working “on” the business) would increase profits by 30%.

Thus it was in the 90’s and thus it remains – that gap in belief.

The difference now is that I can call on existing friends and clients who have made that transition and can reassure her that the paradoxical maths do indeed work.

I’m blessed with clients who love to share – the conversation has been arranged.

I find myself writing this during a 2-week period during which I am 80% “off the road” and working on a series of 7connections and personal Basecamp projects down in The Bunker.

Time to think.

Time to read.

Time to research.

Time to plan.

Time to create.

Time to curate.

A big decision was agreed at our Board Meeting on Monday last.

For some time now I’ve allocated Monday as my day “on” the business, keeping client contact to a minimum.

That left 4 days a week for billable time, 40 weeks a year.

I’ve now reached the point where I want to take a further day each week (Friday) as a “call-in” day – allowing me to use the time to take part in review conversations with clients and exploratory conversations with potential new clients – either by telephone (which I’m increasingly coming to find very limiting) or online, using FaceTime, Skype and GoToMeeting.

So the “call in” day will be a blended mix of continued care and new business.

In a perfectly imperfect world, that will be interrupted by dental conferences and people who can only meet me at the end of the week because of their own schedules. The target is, of course, 80% effectiveness.

Admittedly, the prospect of not travelling home on a Friday is very appealing.

As I get older, I’m finding that my real value to the business is measured more in time “on” than time “in”.

Perhaps the same for you?

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Running out of ideas?

Marmite 500PX V2-01

I count myself very lucky that, at least twice a week, someone contacts me and asks for advice – almost always because they have been “following my stuff” for a month to 17 years and have experienced a “trigger event” that has prompted the connection.

Just like in your business (I hope).

Prospective new patients contact you because their “trigger event” has made them decide to get that new smile sorted out (or that functional problem repaired once and for all).

They don’t know how to do their own dentistry (wouldn’t want to if they did) and need your help.

With me, it’s a bit different in an intriguing way.

On a call today, my prospect spoke for many of you when he said:

Ive owned the practice for 5 years, we have hit a glass ceiling and Ive just run out of ideas – so I need your input.

Again, lucky me – I do mean that.

But what intrigues me is that there have never been more ideas floating around in the history of the human race – so how can anyone have run out of them?

The internet has created a conversation about ideas that has overwhelmed us; the ground is so densely covered that the individual trees have become as impossible to see as the wood.

Everything you could ever need to know about how to run a successful dental business is available, free of charge, on the internet. Just as everything you could ever need to know about pretty much anything is there as well.

So how come I’m not selling The Big Issue and my calendar doth brimmeth?

Running out of ideas

Because to have ideas you have to:

have the time to do the research
know where to look
get out of your comfort zone
be prepared to take the risk of innovation

Maybe I’m busy because I make the time to do those things, especially the research.

Changing the subject just a tad…

Yesterday I caught the 14:40 from Euston to Stockport after a mid-day meeting in The City.

The train was packed with off-peak travellers.

The chap sitting next to me was 50+, besuited and spread out on the table before us a Dell computer (clearly company issue), an iPhone 6 and an iPad Mini.

He then spent the 2 hour journey as follows:

chomping his way through a variety of cardiac-inducing fruit cake, chocolate biscuits, crisps and frothy Virgin trains cappuccino
playing with Excel spreadsheets on his PC
answering emails on his iPhone 6
playing Candy Crush on his iPad Mini

Candy Crush?

80% of the time I’m on trains it’s full on with emails.

20% I relax on the train by catching up on the blogs, newsletters, aggregators and other sources of knowledge of fruit of the tree of dental business – there is loads of it.

It’s is my equivalent of Ashley Latter listening to development books whilst driving. That’s why he is as busy as I am helping people who have run out of ideas about ethical selling.

But Candy Crush – really?

I’m sure it’s a form of relaxation – as are all the other games I see grown ups playing on The Tube, platforms, terminals and in transit.

They have clearly run out of ideas.

Change of subject over – thank you.

Back on point.

There are more ideas than you can shake a stick at – it is all right there, right under your nose.

You just need to prioritise your time.

People don’t.

I suppose I should be grateful – it’s keeping me in a job.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Can I trust you?

Marmite 500PX V2-01

It’s easy to get frustrated sometimes by the fact that the people you are trying to help are suspicious and assume that you are trying to line your pockets by preying on their ignorance.

I amused myself last weekend by watching a pilot episode of a Netflix TV series called Klondike.

Set in the late 19th Century (and based on a true story) it tells the adventures of 2 young New York graduates who throw away a promising but predictable legal career to “go west” and seek their fortunes as gold prospectors in the Canadian Rockies.

Ripping yarn it is – serious television drama it ain’t – but a great way to fill the time whilst I indulge in my Sunday afternoon hobby of ironing (and one has to do something between seasons of The Walking Dead).

As our intrepid heroes venture further from home, the vast lawless territory swallows them and they become victims of tricksters at every twist and turn.

To cross a river, they buy a leaky boat.

To climb a mountain range, they buy boots that wear out and clothes that fail to protect.

To stake a claim, they buy land on a forged deed.

The dangers abound and nobody can be trusted, not even the luscious barmaid who hides a heart of ice behind her petticoats and frills.

Cracking good telly for a wet afternoon.

An interesting metaphor for the challenge we all face in sales (and we are all in sales).

The public have been trained to be wary, to read the small print, to dilute grandiose claims.

Honesty makes for dull television and so our diet is dictated by the race for ratings – and the bad guys win. A villain is so colourful.

This then manifests itself in our everyday lives.

Can I trust you

I’ve experienced 2 conversations recently where I’ve given my best to potential new clients who have responded with words to the effect of how do I know that what you are telling me is true?

At first, I can feel the outrage welling up inside me – and have to internally count to 10 and keep breathing.

How could they say that about me – I’m such a nice bloke?

After a while, I’m only 5% angry but still probably 75% confused.

In answer to one challenge I simply pointed out that after 22 years and around 2,000 clients I would probably have been busted by now if I was spoofing, because my clients don’t leave town.

In answer to the second person, I went through my calendar for the week and demonstrated that over half my meetings were free of charge, supporting existing clients, revisiting former clients and prospecting with new people.

I’m not sure that exactly answers the point other than to demonstrate that we take a long-term view on nurturing relationships. The snake oil salespeople tend to want to get in and out quickly.

I wonder if patients are similar – hearing bad press about dentists (and perhaps negative word of mouth) and starting from a base of suspicion – so that you have to build trust before you can sell treatment?

Three types of trust (vintage Chris Barrow):

1. Third party trust (my friend trusts you, I trust my friend, so I trust my friend’s judgement)
2. Instinctive trust (we just met and I feel OK next to you)
3. Long term trust (you have looked after me for years)

The first being the most important if you are building a service-based business like dentistry.

I guess it must be so.

Therefore, when questions about our integrity come up, we must only assume that not enough effort has been invested BY US in establishing that trust at the outset.

Learn from that and adapt our style and systems.

Don’t get angry, get trustworthy.

To avoid the risk of being treated like a gold-rush hustler:

Step 1 – establish trust.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

Guest blog: PatientConnections Friends and Family Test

PatientConnections

By Mubbasher Khanzada

FRIENDS AND FAMILY TEST:
- —————————
It is coming from 1st April. You have to comply. Everyone does, because it is law for the NHS dentists in England.

Welltime has anticipated this, and so we have the answer already. Our FFT response mechanism is tested in the marketplace. It is proven to work with no fuss, because it is integrated, simple to install and to operate.

What is more, it is free. Forever.

The PatientConnections solution is a powerful platform for managing patient relationships and feedbacks, with the mechanisms built-in to grow a practice’s business. We are extending the PatientConnections solution with the Friends and Family Test (NHS regulatory requirement from 1st April 2015), making it available as a general solution for a number of popular practice management systems.

To get started, please click here:
http://patientconnections.co.uk/friends-and-family-test/

Key benefits of PatientConnections FFT solution:
- ————————————————-

1.    Welltime is offering a FREE Friends and Family Test solution (PatientConnections FFT). It will be available for practices of all sizes and would remain free for ever.

2.    PatientConnections FFT is based on an already tested, mature and solid technology platform with a rapidly expanding customer base (last year we processed over 38,000 feedbacks).

3.    It is already fully integrated with a number of Dental Practice Management Systems, which means automation and ease of use, resulting in no (or very little) work required by the practice team. It makes life hugely easier for staff which achieving effective compliance.

4.    We are providing Free iOS and Android Apps for the practices to use with tablets / smart phones in the practice (tablets/phones would need to be procured by the practices).

5.    There is also a Free QR code based digital mobile FFT form included in the offer, allowing people to scan and fill FFT form on their smart phones.

6.    Welltime would provide a PDF document template that the practices can use for paper based FFT collection (allowing multiple channels of accessibility for different patients)- accompanied by a secure Web Form to input the result of paper surveys (probably would take about 5-10 minutes each month). The results from all of these different channels would be aggregated to get the main FFT recommendations results.

7.    Results are automatically compiled, graphs created, and the system would provide easy and automated submission to the NHS- as well as automatically preparing an FFT Score certificate for printing and displaying inside the practice and displaying FFT Score on the practice website.

8.    We have a free FFT calculator on the site available for anyone to use to get their FFT results
(http://patientconnections.co.uk/fft-calculator/).

9.    One big pain for mix practices (with the NHS and Private patients) is to make sure Friends and Family Test information being submitted to the NHS only contains NHS patients’ responses. This is a manual and labour intensive task. PatientConnections FFT can automatically aggregate the NHS patients information for submission to the NHS, resulting in saving of time and stress for the dental practice teams.

There is also a fantastic upgrade path available (along with FFT, practices will be able to try out PatientConnections packages for free for 3 months without any obligations). This is a free gift for 3 months with a value of £324 (incl VAT). These packages are aimed at helping you to achieve greater customer satisfaction and retention, as well as
growing your business. There is no obligation to buy or continue to use any of the additional solutions, FFT would remain independently free for the practices.

We hope the above helps in providing an understanding of PatientConnections FFT solution. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us, we would be happy to help and provide further assistance.

Best Regards,
Mubbasher.
CEO, Welltime Ltd.,
pcinfo@patientconnections.co.uk
0203 664 6537

New features added to our Lifecycle Marketing solution

Artisan Lifecycle Marketing

You will know about our game-changing Artisan Lifecycle Marketing by now.

It’s “done for you” automated marketing and sales that:

+ Attracts new patients

++ Sells to existing patients

+++ Encourages sharing and word of mouth recommendations

Here’s a good overview for the uninitiated.

For those who already use Artisan (or put another way, those who are already selling more treatments and making more money because of Artisan)…

… we have big news.

Two questions that our astute Artisan dentists have asked us are:

1. If someone walks into the practice or phones us or sends us an email, what’s the simplest way to send them information about the treatment they’re interested in?

and

2. A patient or prospect is receiving the nurture sequence emails through Artisan. When they’re ready to book a consultation, how do we stop Artisan from sending those emails?

Now we have the answers.

In each case, your receptionist or treatment coordinator just types the patient’s name and email address into a personal (and secure) new web form we’ve set up for each of our clients.

Problem solved.

Why is this significant?

In the case of No 1:

You can now very easily add a large group of new leads to your list of patients within Artisan, which will initiate the appropriate automated follow-up based on the treatment the lead was interest in.

More leads = more sales = more profits.

In the case of No 2:

You remove the risk of “burning your list”: in this case, overloading a patient with information when they’re already keen to talk about having a treatment.

Exciting times.

We will continue to add new features as they are developed.

Click here for the opportunity to join a FREE webinar on how Artisan

+ Attracts new patients

++ Sells to existing patients

+++ Encourages sharing and word of mouth recommendations

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Things I’m bored with hearing

Marmite 500PX V2-01

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away I regarded myself as being on missionary work to bring the truths of the business of dentistry to a fragmented market of independent and isolated Principals.

On reflection, an arrogant proposition – “the man in black” used to strut around hotel rooms, telling bewildered teams that what they were doing was rubbish.

I implied that if they didn’t listen to me and change, they would be consigned to a lifetime of struggle and anonymity.

Thus, the phrase “Barrowed up” was born and the Marmite camps took their places at either end of the see-saw of love, indifference and hate.

Some say that they were inspired by the message and the messenger.

Others hated both.

Most didn’t care.

A minority converted over the years to the love end of the plank.

However prophetic the material, even I think back and cringe at my delivery style.

I’m a little bit soz.

Then again, perhaps I was the colonic irrigation that the profession needed at that time?

It has been a relief to stand back as younger, more energetic missionaries have emerged from the bush with bright shiny beads to trade and a new taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

With the knowledge and experience that have entered through my own (sometimes self-inflicted) wounds, I hope that my style has mellowed somewhat – certainly (and metaphorically) the Hugo Boss t-shirts, trousers and shoes have long been sent off to the Oxfam shop.

The power clothes, the car, the big fat salary, all gone. I’ve even stopped wearing socks in the summer.

Perhaps, eventually, more tattoos, a loin cloth and mountain retreat where I dispense tweets of wisdom in return for offerings of Paleo food and drink?

For now though, the missionary work is over – I don’t need you to believe me any more.

ThingsImBoredWithHearing

So can I please submit for your study a list of 7 statements I’m bored with hearing (just to annoy the people who get annoyed when I break everything down into 7 steps just because it’s a reminder of the name of our business – ha!) that, although I would defend to the death your right to use them, I do not intend to respond to any more:

1. Most of our patients don’t have email addresses and, in any event, they don’t like giving them
2. We find it impossible to get patients to like our Facebook page – they are the wrong type of people for Facebook
3. I don’t believe the hygiene “pop-in” or dental health review system will work in our practice, our patients are used to seeing the same person every time and the team don’t want to do it
4. I cannot afford to lose any team or clinical member of the practice, no matter how they perform or behave, as they will be impossible to replace
5. We think that the reason our new patient numbers are down is increased price competition in the area
6. I cannot possibly work 4 days a week clinical – we will not be able to pay our bills
7. Our existing accountant, lawyer, trainer, web designer, consultant, digital marketing agency, architect, supplier, laboratory, et al, doesn’t seem to be fulfilling their original promise any more but we are going to keep using them because change would be disruptive

I’m not going to wrestle with you any more.

If you believe any of the above then you are right.

Don’t call me.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Leaving the comfort zone behind

Marmite 500PX V2-01

A year ago I took a month off work to take part in a TV reality show, surviving abandonment on a Pacific island, diminished in body but developed in spirit.

On our last day, the emaciated me, about to return to the comforts of “civilisation”, declared to his peers that, henceforward, the month of February would be dedicated to exploring the uncharted territory outside of normality.

There was a degree of cynicism at my promise, suggesting that the demands of modern life, work and responsibility, plus the memories of discomfort would encroach and deflate the grand idea.

As a perfect imperfectionist I am happy to report that my plans have reached partial fruition.

For three weeks in February I have no normal client meetings, no fixed schedule.

I’m not staggering off into the jungle forest again (at least not this year).

But I am working on some projects that would not otherwise have seen daylight:

working with a vocal coach to learn how to sing
working with a coach to improve my writing
understanding poetry by reading slowly

Leaving the comfort zone behind

There will also be heavy final training for the Barcelona Marathon – regular long runs to build up the miles in my legs as well as a focus on better nutrition. Plenty of headspace there.

I’m not taking a holiday from work and will still be responding to the requirements of clients and colleagues but there will be a huge reduction in the formality of my business life.

I want to explore an inner universe – and expect that 80% of that process will be fun.

The work with the writing coach has already begun – and I can tell you it’s one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever taken.

Pouring my heart out over 500 words for hours, pressing the “send” button and then reading an unsympathetic critique that points out my narcissism and demands “start again, decide what you are trying to say, use fewer words to greater effect and write for the reader and not for yourself”.

I’m already quaking in my boots about the vocal coach.

The process of moving out of one’s comfort zone is, at once, thrilling and terrifying.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”

Meet Kerry Howard

Kerry Profile Pic

Kerry Howard is the new Operations Manager at 7connections and, although she started working with us a month ago, I’ve only just got around to formally introducing her to our community.

Kerry’s background might surprise you – in project management for £100m+ companies in:

aeronautical engineering and
housing

So when she initially responded to our recruitment advert, we were a little apprehensive that she might find 7connections an unusual challenge?

It quickly became evident that the unique requirements of a lean start-up were of interest to her.

Add to that the fact that we all “clicked” at the interview stage – and the rest was plain sailing.

Our thanks to Alison King and the team at Bespoke HR for their help in this process, creating and placing the initial advertisement, sifting through the first batch of applicants (there were many) and presenting us with a shortlist of candidates.

Personally, I also want to thank Tim Caudrelier and Tim Thackrah for attending the first formal meetings with Kerry.

I’m pleased to say that they only brought me in for the final meeting – just to make sure that Kerry and I got along – which we did.

Kerry will be responsible for “getting things done” here at 7connections and also for implementing the processes and protocols that will allow us to to expand and evolve over the years ahead.

She is attending client meetings to get to know our tribe and getting to grips with who we are and how we do things around here but we are already preparing ourselves for the changes that she will undoubtedly implement.

Even after a month we know that she is “one of us” and our first management and marketing meetings have been exciting and fun.

A big small world

ASmallWorld

We’ve looked before at Dunbar’s number; defined as the suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.

In the early 1990s Robin Dunbar proposed a limit of 150, partly based on his anthropological research of hunter/gatherer social group sizes and primate brain evolution.

His remarkable proposal was that our brains evolved to adapt to group size and not the other way around.

Alternative research has since proposed figures of 290 or 231 – commonly accepted thinking is between 150-250 per social group.

The makers of Gore-Tex and the Swedish Inland Revenue have improved effectiveness by housing their employees in buildings that accommodated no more than 150 employees with 150 parking spaces.

Beyond that number in society, rules are required to regulate performance and behaviour – eventually becoming systems of law, politics, economics or religion that keep us all operating within acceptable boundaries.

Then came the internet of things (IOT).

The connected economy has created a new way to maintain perceived relationships.

Viral is what happens when connected people experience in a way that is so remarkable that they feel compelled to “share” with their stable online social relationships.

So if we use Facebook as one of the most widely used viral networks in the world, how do Facebook users connect and in what numbers?

For a very complex (and fascinating) answer to that question:

READ THIS post from Stephen Wolfram.

For the time-starved – a global average of 338 friends per Facebook user will suffice for my purposes.

If everyone shared everything we would soon drown in information:

1 x 338 = 338 x 338 = 114,244 x 338= 3,770,052 x 338 = 1.2bn and you run out of people on Earth at the 5th degree of separation.

Come to think of it – we are drowning in information, making “getting noticed” that much harder.

But if even 1 in 100 people share:

1 x 338 = 338 x 34 = 11,492 x 34 = 390,728 x 34 = 13,284,752 x 34 = 451,681,568 at 5 degrees of separation.

That’s how Harry Potter and Christian Grey go viral.

It is also how Colin Campbell’s GDC blog is going viral right now.

In this way, many of us share remarkable news, both good and bad.

Advertisers and marketers have cottoned on to this and try to draw us into a net of virality by creating pseudo-experiences that they hope will be remarkable enough to share.

The most viral advert on TV during last year’s Superbowl was a Budweiser commercial that told the story of a puppy loved by horses – no beer was necessary and over 57,000,000 shared the YouTube version.

You have probably seen those posts that appear in your Facebook newsfeed proclaiming that “you’ll never guess what happened next?” and asking you to click-through and watch what is heralded as a one-off event?

This is an attempt to lure you into a form of false virality by sharing the same clip with your friends – and so on.

This morning I woke to find a post shared on my timeline, showing a train with a snow plough clearing a path through a Canadian blizzard. Relevant? No. Timely? No. Was I hooked enough to watch? Yes – and so was re-directed to a site that shares “sensational” videos. I don’t do that often and I didn’t subscribe – but the temptation is there.

We, the public, are getting savvy about this and so I suggest that the success of these false promotions (and the intellect and buying power of those who succumb) are heading downwards.

The challenge for those of us in the small business sector is to access virality on a low-budget and with a standard of excellence and authenticity.

Put bluntly, your short-term ortho poster on the patient lounge wall, your same-day crown post on Facebook, your half-price whitening video loop and your A5 brochures on facial aesthetics just aren’t going to go viral – more likely ignored or read once and in the recycling bin back at home.

Your print media can’t go viral – a piece of paper will, at best, be passed on to one person.

Go figure.

So here is a new definition of marketing.

Say or do something, somewhere connected, that is remarkable enough to be shared.

And it follows that saying something about a product or service is going to have to be pretty world-changing before anybody will be compelled to share it.

Cure for cancer – no problem.

Our tooth whitening is a bit cheaper than the others?

Nope.

Our practice is nicely decorated?

And?

Our dentist has passed some exams?

Really?

We open late?

Shrug.

I’m not saying that this information isn’t important – simply that it isn’t remarkable.

Nobody ever ran into a wine bar on a Saturday and shouted “you’ll never guess, my dentist has just bought a new OPG!”

Nobody ever shared on Facebook, “25% off down the street on short-term ortho!”

Groupon and Living Social were remarkable but a great way of killing your cash flow.

This is just advertising of “stuff” that gets lost in the noise, so that if 10,000 people see it, 1 might buy. The law of large numbers but not the law of sharing.

Solution?

Ask yourself a simple question:

“What have we done around here to change someone’s life for the better that is remarkable enough to share?

You can engage with this new and much smaller world of ours IF you can crack that code.

I’m writing this post after attending the Broadcast TV awards where The Island with Bear Grylls was nominated (unsuccessfully) in two categories.

You see now why I dashed over for a remarkable selfie with gay hairdressers Chris & Stephen from Gogglebox?

After the celebrity-spotting had died down I found myself in a deep and sober conversation with a few of the media people around me.

One battle-weary TV director pointed to the gathering and informed me that they were all chasing the same thing – the next “big thing” on British TV.

The superbly funny David Walliams, our MC for the evening, cracked an unkind and telling joke that Season 1 of Broadchurch had been about 1 missing person and Season 2 about 5 million missing persons (the viewers).

The drama is as good but the novelty of the plot may have faded.

Fickle just isn’t the word and the thought-leaders in television are wracking their brains trying to work out “what will go viral next”, with less funding available for traditional shows clinging to diminishing audiences.

Having suffered 5 turgid minutes of Davina and The Jump last night, I can see that there is much more work to do in this sector.

So everyone in business appears to be in the same field of blind geese, dashing around searching for a hidden golden egg to hatch.

Option 1 – sit on every egg until you find the right one.

Option 2 – sit and think about where the egg is most likely to be.

TV makers have the world as their playing (laying?) field – not so much freedom for dentists.

Those in the Digital Smile Design movement seem to be leading the search at the moment with their innovative video storytelling, not to everyone’s taste (what is?) but certainly getting shared and promoting new patient enquiries.

I’ve shared some of their video material to audiences, clients and their advisors and the reactions range from “sign me up” to “what a load of rubbish, I didn’t come into dentistry to film glamour models dancing in disco lights.

The reality is that remarkable storytelling in dentistry doesn’t have to be about young attractive women – it can be either gender and any demographic, as evidenced by the work of dental technician Russell Young in Melbourne, Australia.

What is certain is that sharing is the new word of mouth.

It is a big small world.

Say or do something, somewhere connected, that is remarkable enough to be shared.

and that isn’t just fancy videos.

Remarkable extends to:

the way you answer the phone
the new patient experience
the treatment co-ordination
the presentation of the treatment plan
the delivery of the treatment
the post-treatment phase of care
the next 20 years

Constant self-examination to ask whether what you did today was remarkable enough for someone to share.

If they do, the results can be viral.

It’s a big small world.