Networking can yield huge gains for your business if done efficiently and effectively. It can create a snowball effect on your word of mouth. With these tips, it won’t be as daunting as you may think. Here are some ideas for getting the most out of your networking money and time!
- Choose your networking wisely – Make sure the group of people you are networking with are within your target market. Women tend to be the health care decision-makers in the family, so choosing a group comprised with at least some women is important. Polka Dot Powerhouse is a nationwide connection company (comprised largely of women) that we have found to be beneficial for our office. If you are a male dentist, find an outgoing female team member, spouse, or family member who can attend and represent your business.
- Relationships before business – The dental relationship is an intimate one and people are creatures of habit, therefore, getting someone to change dentists isn’t always an easy feat, even as a dental spa! People need to know, like, and trust you before they will want to do business with your office. Invest time in building relationships with people before the business discussion occurs.
- Give business – The more business you can do with your networking contacts, the more business you will get in return. When you have a business or personal need, turn to those you have come to trust from your networking groups. They are also participating in networking to grow their business, so the more you can help them do so, the more inclined they will also be to help your business grow. You won’t be able to buy something from everyone so be creative about other ways you can help others’ businesses – telling others who may need their services, connecting them with others who can help them grow, promoting them on social media, etc.
- Educate – Now that you are a dental spa, make sure the people you are meeting when networking know about what sets your office apart. We have found that in candid conversations, simply stating that you own/work for a dental spa peaks curiosity. Because it’s a novel concept, people want to know all about it and you have a captive ear to promote all the new things you are doing. Make sure you have a good “elevator pitch” prepared for these moments so that you can effectively explain what your office is all about in a short amount of time.
- Follow up – If someone mentions wanting to switch to your office but then doesn’t follow through with making the call to switch, go out of your comfort zone and email them with some dates and times when you have new patient appointments available. It’s not as though you are being presumptuous – they told you they wanted to switch! Sometimes this step is all they need to make that leap. If they don’t respond, you know they were just paying lip service and that’s ok too! At least you followed up and tried, and that shows you care about your business.
- Be patient – Because dental care can be an invasive experience, it may take some time for people to make the switch – even after they have learned how amazing a dental spa can be and know, like and trust you. Letting people know that you will be there when they are ready takes the pressure off the notion that you expect them to make immediate changes on their comfortable habit of going to their old dentist. Sometimes people will wait until they are due for their next 6-month check up before thinking about switching and then there may not be time to get them in. In these situations, hopefully you have taken our tips about preparing your schedule for the influx of new patients but if there simply is not space for these procrastinators, make sure to book them immediately for their next 6-month checkup so that the cycle does not continue.