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a blog by Chris Barrow

What L'Oréal Paris teaches us about selling dentistry in 2020

Before Covid I wrote and lectured constantly on the reasons why patients invested in any form of confidence-building dentistry, from whitening to implants.

We talked about the "trigger events" that often created a simple desired outcome - to be able to smile confidently when the smartphone cameras came out at:

  • The graduation

  • The coming of age

  • The empty nest celebration

  • The engagement

  • The wedding

  • The anniversary

  • The re-marriage

  • The retirement

  • The sale of a business

In fact - any social gathering at which people were taking selfies.

We all know what has happened to those events and, frankly, the current landscape doesn't look especially good for seeing them back again any time soon.

Which begs a question - why then are short term ortho and implant sales through the roof?

If patients have nowhere to go, why are they investing?

The answer can be found in car showrooms, in garden and home improvement centres, in the lines of white vans parked outside houses covered in scaffolding in my postcode.

Because people cannot go out - they are investing their unspent vacation and leisure money in themselves as a reward for having survived 2020.

"I'm changing my car."

"We are doing up the house."

"I'm buying my new smile."

"Because I'm worth it."

So the way in which we close sales has changed - and you need to change as well.

It used to be simple - "So if you want that new smile in time for your daughter's wedding, is there any reason why we can't get started?"

Now it's a little more subtle - "So a new smile might be your way of telling the yourself that 2020 hasn't gotten the better of you, is there any reason why we can't get started? Do you feel worth it?"

The theory still holds true - that in sales we first have to build rapport, then discover the patient's desired outcome and the reason why that outcome is important.

L'Oréal Paris's trademark slogan "Because I'm worth it" was created almost 50 years ago and quietly changed to "Because we're worth it" back in 2009.

One of their earliest ambassadors, Jane Fonda, said:

“When it started in 1971, it was revolutionary.

Women were not used to feeling that we were worth it.

And it means a lot to me because even though I was successful and famous and so forth, I did not feel that I was worth it.

You know, you can look a certain way, but you have to own it in your gut. That’s when it really matters.

And it took me a long, long time. I was 60 years old before I could really say, ‘Yes, darn it, I am worth it.’”

May I suggest that "because I'm worth it" is making a big comeback this year - and to be successful in sales, we have to recognise that.

You would do well to sit down with your clinicians, your marketing team and your TCOs and have a conversation about adapting your current patient conversations to recognise this change.

After all - you are worth it.

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