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a blog by Chris Barrow

Why you shouldn't offer a Black Friday deal to your patients (and a great idea for one)

I'm irritated as I delete Black Friday emails - there seem to be dozens of them, all saying the same thing in a different way.

Already this morning, a client has shared a Black Friday Tooth-Whitening deal:

"We are doing a Black Friday deal on whitening. Nice easy gift for Christmas and not much clinical time. 🙂"

Which brings me to the subject of the emails I'm getting from clients, asking if they should be offering a deal?

As a consumer I have asked myself a simple question - "is there anything I need right now, for which I could take advantage of this short term window to get a discount?"

The most important word in that sentence is NEED.


That's the whole point of Black Friday - to encourage people to spend money on things that they WANT but don't necessarily NEED in order to boost sales in Q4.

Businesses are clearly taking the view that there is still plenty of unlocked consumer spending in the pandemic landscape - they are probably right.

Do I think that dentists should be taking part in Black Friday?

At the risk of upsetting my clients (and others) my conclusion is to advise them to avoid it.

Here's why:

  • Irate patients are complaining about access and waiting lists and you run a risk of an accusation of greed at a time when you are telling them there is a problem with basic delivery;

  • Your team are complaining that "it's just too hard" to work the extra hours, work faster, see more patients and do all of that in uncomfortable working conditions - and now you want to open a further potential floodgate - possibly counter-productive for morale?

  • Predictably, little or no calculation is done as to the bottom line profitability of a discounted deal - can I just remind you of how effective GroupOn was at putting dentists out of business? Big business can afford "loss leaders" - you cannot;

  • It's raining patients anyway - what's your point?

There will, as always, be exceptions - perhaps a private squat wanting to attract strangers or a new dentist building a book - but generally speaking I don't like the idea of my clients taking part in this mob behaviour.

However - I did read one Black Friday offer this morning that made me smile and admire the promoter - so much so that I'm going to suggest to my clients that they might want to copy it - you can read it at this link - I think it's genius and that every one of us would do well to follow suit.

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