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a blog by Chris Barrow

What implant dentists can learn from an award-winning audiologist

A fascinating dinner in Harpenden last night with European and UK Audiologist of the Year, Robert Bieny, founder of Hearing Healthcare Practice.

In his 5th decade of serving patients, Robert has that calmness and wisdom of experience that has me mentally noting the individual phrases he uses in answer to my many questions.

I’ve been fascinated by the audiology market ever since speaking at a London conference organised by manufacturer Widex over 18 months ago – the following facts will be hauntingly familiar to any independent dentist delivering implants:

  1. state of the art, iPhone-synced digital hearing appliances at £6,000 a pair

  2. an NHS option at massively lower cost

  3. huge competition from national retailers, offering insanely low prices and loss-leader inducements to get patients through the door for cross-selling

So, in a world in which many of the independent audiologists are joining that suicidal race to the bottom, how is Robert’s business maintaining a full calendar, a waiting list of new patients and an aggressive pricing strategy?

I really wish I had been able to record Robert’s 4 hours of words of wisdom (note to self and Ashley – podcast).

Here’s one gem:

When patients ask me why I charge £6,000 for 2 appliances, when exactly the same product is on offer elsewhere for £3,500, I respond by saying that, in my clinic, they are investing the same £3,500 in the appliance and a further £2,500 for access to my knowledge, experience and guidance. It can take anything up to 2 years to tweak the appliance so that it performs to a standard that will make your life easier. I’ll be around during that time, using my 40+ years of experience to make sure that you are totally happy with the result. There are some patients who reject that and go for the lower price elsewhere – that’s fine – I only want to deal with the people who appreciate my input.

Knowledge, Experience and Guidance.

Powerful words, worth remembering and reminding yourself, your team and your own patients every day.

I had a tour of Robert’s clinic last night – it is beautiful.

I’ll be meeting the team this morning – he is guiding and mentoring younger audiologists. To quote Robert, “they arrive with a master’s in audiology and I ask them to leave their degree at the door and start learning how to communicate with people.”

We have so much to learn from this – perhaps the most encouraging thing being that his calendar and order book are full of people who want to pay the full price.

It’s the same for us – we have to create beautiful environments, contemporary experts with the human touch and a commitment to be proud of our prices and able to explain why.

An inspirational evening with a professional genius.

To those attending the BDA Northamptonshire this evening – see you later for an evening session on Marketing in Independent Dentistry 2017.

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