THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Bums on seats

An observation of UK dental post-graduate courses suggests that it is getting tougher to sell places.

Partly dilution?

Mainly, I suggest, a consequence of the lack of confidence amongst large cohorts of the UK profession, influenced by:

  1. the GDC

  2. the NHS system of delivery

  3. the lack of decent career opportunity post-FD

  4. the dominance of mega-corporates

  5. Brexit and the prospect of President Trump

It’s not just courses that are getting tougher to sell.

Note the irritatingly slow growth of Digital Smile Design in the UK, compared to the rest of the world.

When something is getting harder to achieve, there is the temptation to look around for an easier route to market.

Maybe creating online membership sites may be the answer?

Witness:

  1. the longevity of GDP-UK (1997)

  2. the growth of Dentinal Tubules to 20,000+ members (and the biggest dental video library in the world)

  3. Howard Farran and Gary Takacs and their separate and popular podcasts plus Howard’s huge Dentaltown site

  4. Dental Concepts India – created as a private Facebook group by my friend Manish Chitnis and now with 3,200+ members in India

  5. Tips from the Dental Masters (another private Facebook Group) co-managed by Scott Park and with 3,400+ members in Australasia

  6. Dental Circle et al

  7. a new UK online membership site soon to be launched for associates who want to get into ownership

  8. all the other sites and groups I’m not aware of directly but sense them out there

So you could say that there is evidence of an online appetite globally, with the twist that the UK has become the poor relation of dentistry due to aforesaid confidence factors.

Is there room (and an audience) for more online dental membership sites, giving participants exclusive education, information, entertainment and an economic edge?

I’ve been asked many times why there isn’t a Coach Barrow or 7connections membership site, where “all that knowledge and experience” can be accessed like an extra Sky channel, some free, some monthly and some pay per view.

There are always colleagues around, telling us what we “could have, should have” done and how their mousetrap is better (and often a secret pathway to easy riches).

Bottom line is – I love (and prefer) live events, whether it’s meeting with a client/team face to face (as I’ll be doing in Belfast today and tomorrow) or speaking from a stage. I also love the solitude of space in which to write.

The decision to love what I do, when I do it and with whom, doesn’t extend to creating podcasts, videos and downloads – I will leave that to those who have the passion – they will undoubtedly make a better job of it.

If it was just about the money, I wouldn’t be a coach or operate an online membership site, I’d own a mixed hub and spoke micro-corporate.

When the route to market gets tougher, it isn’t automatically a sign to take a different direction.

You simply have to get going, work harder, accept a lower conversion rate, get smarter with your marketing, make your offer more attractive, tell more stories and add value (but not discounts!).

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that creating an online membership site is going to be “easier” than selling tickets for courses. That’s a fantasy.

There are still plenty of dentists out there who want to attend a post-graduate course.

Finding them will be just as hard a daily slog as it ever was, perhaps even harder.

The same relentless journey to get hired as a business coach or a dentist.

We are all marketers 7 days a week – it never ends.

The challenge isn’t with your product/service (unless, of course, you are selling chariot-wheel repair kits – there comes a time when you do have to move on).

The challenge is to create environments in which you can maintain and improve the confidence of your prospective audience.

To make joining your tribe so attractive that people form a queue.

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