THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Members only

At Ashby Dental in Wetherby, membership of the practice is not compulsory – yet.

I am becoming more of an advocate of the “members only” practice as the j-curve of the recession turns into a “w” (as described on Radio 4’s Today programme – Monday morning).

It seems that we are not yet out of trouble in the economy – and a further “dip” is now widely predicted by pundits.

We are living in a false economy created by deferred corporate tax liabilities and artificially created liquidity in the banking sector.

With that in mind, it becomes ever more important to positively differentiate your practice and your offer – and make it more appealing to the “right type of patient”.

I have written here more then once about the high-street retailers (Sainsbury, Optical Express et al) hoovering up the family market with their CACCU dentistry.

Add to that the “walk in hygiene” centres that Superdrug and Smilepod are pioneering to attract the 25-35 market.

Watch out for the sleeping giants on the high street and the mothballed Virgin Dental.

What’s left for the small independent?

The 25-50 year-old yummy mummy or glam gran.

The over-50’s.

The pink pound.

None of whom really want to visit a practice with Lego in the lounge.

And so will pay “extra” to enjoy the dental equivalent of “swimming in the pool after the kids have gone”.

So offer them a “members only” package – but PLEASE…..

Don’t think that “two exams, two scale and polish” is sexy – it aint.

As a prospective member of your practice, I need some “chocolates on the pillow”, some CNE’s and super-CNE’s, some members’ prices, members’ evenings, members’ special offers, members’ events, members’ diary times, members’ services.

Membership, after all, must have its privileges.

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