THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The 100% Growth System – Part 12

Membership We end our search for 100% Growth with a long-term strategy but one that characterises the “Champions League” practice. Imagine that on the first day of every month, 1,000 patients pay £15.00 into your business account for every full-time dentist working in your business. Then you start work for the month, marketing for new patients, re-marketing for up-sales, asking for recommendations, delivering long-term care and treatment. Instead of new patients arriving in to your practice for a specific product or service and then vanishing, they stay with you for a lifetime during which they regularly attend, occasionally buy more and constantly refer. What I’m not going to do is list the features of a good dental membership scheme, take part in a debate about capitation versus pure membership, or compare the players in the marketplace versus DIY. Here are some tips for practices who want to introduce or grow a membership scheme:

  1. Start the conversation early – when a prospective new patient arrives for an initial consultation or TCO assessment, mention membership as a long-term feature and benefit right from the start;

  2. Maintain the conversation throughout the new patient experience, including reference to the benefits of membership in every consultation, every treatment plan you issue, every email newsletter, across your social media channels, in your blog and as part of any paid media or direct marketing campaign;

  3. Ask patients giving testimonials to mention that they enjoy the privileges of membership;

  4. Don’t use the words “plan”, “scheme” or any other reference to what sounds like an insurance policy or warranty for white goods. Compare membership of the practice to membership of a Golf Club, a Health Club or any community who enjoy special privileges;

  5. Don’t use the word “discount”. I hear all the time that “members enjoy a 10-20% discount on our usual price list”. Better still to explain that “members enjoy their own special price list, non-members pay more”. In fact, I love it when practices publish two price lists – one for members, one for non-members, promoting an enquiry as to the difference;

  6. Make membership compulsory. That sounds harsh doesn’t it? Yet I have worked with practices who have simply decided that the only way they will offer preventative maintenance (through the Dental Health Reviews that we discussed last time) is to fully committed members, who have demonstrated that commitment by signing a Direct Debit for the monthly fee;

  7. Create member events in your calendar. Open evenings and social events to reward those who are loyal;

  8. Establish “member get member” rewards for recommendations, not as inducements but as unsolicited “thank you’s”;

  9. Give your members advance notice of new products and services from dental procedures to consumables and give them “early-bird” offers and member-only prices;

  10. Give your members Kudos – recognition at all times, whether they are in the practice or on the web – make members feel special;

  11. Enrol the whole team in the benefits to the patient and the business of a strong membership base. Include reports and numbers in your daily huddles and frequently reinforce how important membership is;

  12. Ensure that every team member is trained, coached and mentored in the language of membership. How interest is developed, how FAQ’s are answered, how concerns and objections are overcome. Make sure the team training is repeated regularly and individual team members are held accountable and recognised for their achievements in promoting strong membership.

It is easier to grow your practice 100% when you have a strong membership base. Tactic #14 – grow a strong membership base Summary so far of The 100% Growth System Tactic #1 – hold accountability meetings face to face with your SEO, Digital and Direct Marketing providers EVERY MONTH AND PREFERABLY FACE TO FACE and ask them the golden question. Tactic #2 – lead your team in actively asking for emails, social connections, testimonials, referrals and networking invitations Tactic #3 – The Lifecycle Marketing Workflow Tactic #4- create White Paper downloads on your web site for all of the major treatment modalities that you wish to broadcast Tactic #5 – embed White Paper offers into your existing email newsletters Tactic #6 – complete internal web forms for all new patient enquiries and up-sales to existing patients Tactic #7 – create reactivation sequences for dormant treatment plans. Tactic #8 – create a CRM software-based recall system that encourages up-sales and referrals Tactic #9 – get trained and adept with Digital Treatment Planning Tactic #10 – implement The 12-Point Recommendation Checklist Tactic #11 – demonstrate Passion and Leadership on a daily basis Tactic #12 – use The Smile Check Tactic #13 – use The Dental Health Review System Tactic #14 – grow a strong membership base

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