Episode 007 – Being Authentic

On today’s episode we’re going to discuss the reasons you need to be more authentic in your practice and how to incorporate this concept in your dental marketing.

S1 00:16[music] Hi everyone and welcome to the My Dental Agency podcasts with your hosts, Jackie and Shawn.
S2 00:21Just in case you guys are not aware, we are a dental marketing company. We eat, breathe, and sleep dental. All right. Maybe it's not our whole lives, but it's pretty close. We believe in thinking differently from other mass marketing groups that you're probably used to and we help you stand up against corporate dentistry. Yes, you heard me say it, we help the little guys. We do this by helping independent practices like yourself build genuine relationships with patients, create and manage positive reputations by utilizing online resources, and retain your current patients. And you're probably thinking, "How the heck do you do that?" We do all this by creating custom, relatable, personalized, and distinctly different campaigns that reflect the needs and personalities of each individual practice. It's as simple as that.
S1 01:11So providing this valuable education to the dental community is a really big focus here for us. And this podcast just serves as one way that we do that. So in this episode and in episodes to come, we'll be talking a lot about common frustrations dental practices have with marketing, big marketing wins we've seen and been a part of, and even some really big failures. We'll also be sure to share as many tips and tricks as we can to make sure you're staying up to date on how you can really just best market your dental practice. [music]
S1 01:44On today's episode we're going to discuss the reasons you need to be more authentic in your practice and how to incorporate this concept in your marketing.
S2 01:51Last March, Entrepreneur Magazine published an article called, Being Vulnerable is the Boldest Act of Business Leadership. Author Angela Kambouris called vulnerability, "a power tool in an emotionally intelligent leader's toolkit." You think I said her name right? Kambouris. I hate butchering a name.
S1 02:10I mean, maybe.
S2 02:11Kambouris [crosstalk]. Sorry, Angela. She goes on to explain the difference between oversharing your personal business and leveraging vulnerability to make genuine connections. I mean, what does it mean, leveraging vulnerability to make genuine connections? And how exactly does that relate to your dental practice? This is what we're going to discuss in today's episode.
S1 02:33So Jackie and I have been in the website and marketing industry for well over two decades now and we've had a pretty unique experience of seeing this industry change and change quite drastically. And one of the things we've experienced is this idea of being more vulnerable and more authentic.
S2 02:50It's interesting, Shawn because most of our dentist's we talk to have amazing personalities and open up to us in a very authentic way when we speak with them originally.
S1 02:59That's right.
S2 02:59But you'd never be able to tell that in their marketing or ways they communicate with their patients. Most of their marketing doesn't even show their personality. Wouldn't you agree?
S1 03:08I would agree.
S2 03:08Yeah. And we often hear that they can be reserved when they're in the chair with their patients.
S1 03:14So Jackie, you mentioned that article that was published by Entrepreneur Magazine that talked about leveraging vulnerability to make genuine connections, can you share a little bit more about that?
S2 03:23It's simple really. I mean, consumers these days they want to make connections. It doesn't matter what they're doing or what they're buying or what they're looking at. They truly want to make connections. In order for you, as a dentist, to do this, you have to show your personality and be willing to be vulnerable. But the bad part about this, Shawn-- I'm sure you can empathize with this, being a male --is most people see vulnerability as a weakness. And in order to be authentic, you have to be vulnerable. A patient is trusting you with something very important. It's their health. It's important that they feel a connection with you before they choose you as a dentist. And more importantly, while they're sitting in your chair. And imagine, it's very important to you as a doctor-- as a dentist --that a patient trust you and accept your treatment plan, right? And how can they do this if they don't make that connection with you and you don't let some of the walls down to be a bit more vulnerable?
S1 04:19Absolutely. So what exactly does it mean, Jackie, to be more authentic? I know it seems obvious, but how does that translate to being a business owner or a dentist?
S2 04:28Yeah. I mean, that's a great question. I think that's kind of where a lot of people don't understand this concept. I think being vulnerable means admitting mistakes and that's not easy. I mean, we know that as business owners, right? You never want to admit it, but--
S1 04:41Sure. Never.
S2 04:42Showing emotion and not hiding behind a fake mask. It's impossible to be authentic without being willing to be vulnerable. You have to be yourself. You have to show that to your patients. The days are over of being just a white coat with an impressive degree from an ivy league school. The patients want to see the real you so they can feel just like you and trust you're telling them the truth. When you tell them they need four implants and a three-unit bridge-- which is probably expensive --they want to trust you. And it's interesting, Shawn because the clients we have that actually allow themselves to be more vulnerable and make that connection are the ones that are more successful. Wouldn't you agree?
S1 05:24Absolutely. It's painfully obvious which of our clients are like this because we see it referenced in their online reviews and patient testimonials time and time again. And it's really neat to see that so many different patients say a lot of the same things. And it's because they're authentic.
S2 05:43Yeah. And really what that means is their patients trust them. They're building trust before asking a thing from their patients.
S1 05:49That's right. Which is really, really important. So let's talk about some ways we can be more authentic in our marketing and how you can incorporate this easily at your practices. So the first step is probably the most obvious, and that's just being yourself. You don't have to be dry and void of all personality when you're marketing your practice or even with speaking with new and existing patients.
S2 06:09Yeah. The new and existing patients are much more likely to relate to you when you're being yourself and showing your true personality.
S1 06:17Absolutely. And for that reason, we're really big believers in showing your unique personality every single chance you get. And we truly mean everywhere. This means your website, your social media posts, your emails, and all of your ads whether those are online, offline, your appointment confirmation and reminder text messages and emails, when you're on the phone with your patients, and whether they're new or existing patients, and certainly in the practice when patients are checking in and out, and definitely when they're sitting in the chair.
S2 06:46You know what Shawn, this doesn't mean just the dentist, right? It's equally important that their hygienists, assistants, and office team be themselves and show their true personalities as well when interacting with patients.
S1 06:58That's right. Everyone has to do this for this to work.
S2 07:00And just being yourself may sound pretty obvious, right. It's a simple concept. But there are some good ways to make sure you're including your unique personality in your marketing specifically. One thing I'll point out before Shawn shares how to incorporate this into your marketing, being authentic to patients in your chair really means listening to them and relating to what they're going through or saying. Which isn't always easy for all of us. So I'll give you an example. So let's say your patient's scared, which I'm sure a lot of you have seen this, fear is a big thing for the dentist. Tell them about a time you were scared at another doctor appointment and help that patient to feel at ease and not alone in their fear.
S2 07:40If a patient shares with you that they're hesitant to spend the money or the investment on a large case that you're treatment planning, share with them maybe a story you had about a big decision you had to make where you were hesitant but how important it was to make that decision and spend the money and investment. That's being vulnerable and that's being authentic. Just showing and relating to them. All right Shawn, so now share how they can incorporate this into marketing because I'm sure it's not easy, right? It's easy to talk in the chair. It's easy to kind of show how you are vulnerable and authentic in person. Some examples I just shared, but that's the easier part. How can they incorporate that in marketing?
S1 08:21Yeah. So the first and probably the easiest way is to use as many photos and videos that include you and your team showing your personalities everywhere that you possibly can. And especially when you're interacting-- even photos that include you interacting with patients. There's a lot of emotion that's shown in photos. We absolutely do not mean kind of stuffy headshots here or anything that's terribly professional, in a sense that it's a professional photographer that's taking the photos. We mean more candid photos. Photos that you and your team and your patients are taking of you guys around the practice.
S2 08:59Or videos. Videos are good, right?
S1 09:00Absolutely. Videos are very important.
S2 09:01That'll really show their personality.
S1 09:02Absolutely. Videos will do it a lot more, but even in photos. If you're not comfortable doing video, you can absolutely still do it with photos. And when you're choosing photos, you obviously want to choose the ones that really highlight or even accentuate your personalities. So if you guys are always smiling and laughing and having fun in the practice, we don't want to use terribly serious photos that show otherwise. Because we're not going to be achieving that goal of being more authentic if we do that. And secondly, we want to make sure that the tonality of all of the text that's found on your website, your social media posts, emails, blogs, text messages, etc., truly matches your personality. So again, if your practice is more lighthearted and has a laid-back, casual atmosphere, you don't want your website and social media posts and emails and text messages to be cold, boring, and really serious because that's just a missed opportunity, again, to show your real authentic personalities.
S2 09:56You know what's really cool, I just saw a video-- this is Halloween time right now and one of our clients did a video. She dressed up as a witch. Did a really good job. Did the voice and everything. Did you see it?
S1 10:06Yes, I did.
S2 10:07Yeah. It was really funny. And she was doing a contest and she announced the contest in the typical witch voice and dressed up like one. Now that truly-- she kind of broke down the white coat and took off ivy league talk and got real, and it's Halloween and she just shared a bit of her personality. But I know we're talking about being more casual, fun, and laid back as an example, but this works just the same if you're more conservative. What truly matters most is you set the proper expectations from the beginning with marketing material and deliver what patients expect when they visit and interact with your practice. Regardless of the type of personality you and your office have, or you and the team have. You just have to be consistent.
S1 10:50For sure. And being authentic isn't-- again, it's not as easy as it all seems. I mean clearly it's easy for us to talk about it here, but it truly takes some work. And when you do this, some patients will love you and others will be turned off, right? And regardless of the type of personality that you and your team has, there are-- if you're lighthearted, fun, and casual there are going to be patients that want a more conservative, serious practice. And the same is true in the opposite direction. So you have to be willing to accept the fact that you can't please everybody and you're not always going to be the right fit for everybody. But that's okay because what's really important here and why we recommend this approach is because the patients who do appreciate your unique personality will have a much deeper connection and relationship with you and your entire practice.
S2 11:38And really that just goes back to being authentic. You got to be yourself. You can't fake it. So if you're lighthearted and you have a fun personality, you probably can't fake being conservative.
S1 11:49That's right.
S2 11:50So what does this really mean? It really means that your patients are going to be much more loyal. Less likely to slip out the back door and leave for your competitors. It's going to increase the lifetime value of your patients. They'll be more likely to refer their friends and family. They'll also likely be more likely to engage on social media platforms, getting your practice an increased awareness in the community, which is free. I mean, at that point, it's free. And as we said earlier, they'll be more likely to accept treatment. And that's what this boils down to, making that connection, being vulnerable, being authentic, and what is the end result? That they're going to feel good about it. They're going to trust the doctor, right Shawn, and ultimately accept treatment.
S1 12:33That's right. Because at the end of the day, we trust people that we're able to relate to. And so I think it's really helpful in that regard. So I can even relate to all of this myself. Something recently that happened to me. I had the same dentist for many, many years. For almost as long as I can remember, quite honestly. Now then eventually a few years ago, my dentist retired and sold his practice. And everyone at the practice from the dentist to the hygienist and even the office staff, they were always really fun to interact with and it was really clear from the outside that they all got along very, very well. They were all very much alike. And they were terribly passionate about what they did there. And most importantly, they made me feel comfortable there. I was comfortable there because I was able to relate to all of them.
S1 13:21Now, unfortunately, a lot of things changed pretty quickly after the practice was sold. My first interaction with the practice after it was sold was over the phone. They were calling to request that I reschedule an appointment that I had made during my last visit before my dentist had retired. Which certainly isn't a big deal. I'm absolutely happy to reschedule the appointment. I would have been happy to do that. But what was a big deal, however, was the person who called me wasn't very friendly at all. It seemed that-- it was pretty obvious that they had been newly hired there and I immediately got a bad feeling that this may not be the type of practice that I want to see anymore. So fast forward a little while. I end up finding out that a lot of the old staff had left when the old dentist had retired. And the staff that replaced them had a completely different personality. Now that doesn't mean that that's good or bad, but for me, it means that things were quite a bit different when I visited the practice compared to when I did previously because the personalities were just completely different.
S1 14:28The good news though, is that the hygienist that I had formed a pretty good relationship with over the years of seeing my old dentist, had moved to a new practice that was still somewhat close to my old dental practice. And so knowing I had a good relationship with her in the past, I decided to give this new dentist and office a try. And I was really happy to find out that the new dentist the hygienist was now working with was a lot like my previous dentist's practice. Which really makes sense when you think about it, right, because people are attracted to people that are just like them. So the doctor is very friendly. He's very authentic. And it's clear, just like my last dentist, that he's passionate about dentistry. And it's always relaxing and a fun experience when I'm there, so. And again, it just makes sense because clearly her as a hygienist probably wouldn't be terribly comfortable working for a dentist that was very conservative and very serious and didn't have more of an outgoing, fun, casual personality.
S1 15:29So it all kind of makes sense when you really think about it. And because I get along so well with the entire team at the practice, I'm also never questioning treatment plans or looking for second opinions or anything like that because I trust them. I can relate to them. I've built genuine relationships with them, no different then ones I would have with friends and family. So at the end of the day, I still enjoy going to the dentist. It's never something I'm dreading, and I plan on being a patient at this practice, hopefully for the rest of my life if he doesn't retire as well. And it's almost, not entirely, but almost because of them being authentic and showing their true personalities that I'm even there in the first place.
S2 16:09So I'll share this story with you. Shawn, I'm not sure if you know this about me in the past, but when I entered the corporate dental marketing world, the time also played a part in this, but years ago-- over a decade ago --when I joined the corporate marketing world, you weren't praised to be authentic, right. And they didn't value that. And you had to be stuffy and uptight. And you had to wear a certain mask in order to kind of advance that corporate ladder. And I did exactly that. And I can't tell you how good it felt when I finally broke out of that. And we started this agency and I truly could be myself and be authentic. And truly make that connection with my clients in a way that I felt good about. Not only that, but our team members and you as my partner, it feels really good to be able to be authentic and to kind of show that vulnerability. And I think I feel better day in and day out. I mean, I can't imagine that these dentists wouldn't feel the same. Would you agree?
S1 17:18Absolutely. For sure.
S2 17:20So we hope you learned something today. And we hope we shed some light on how being authentic can open doors for you in ways that you never thought were possible. Be your true self and watch your practice grow.
S1 17:32We hope all of you enjoyed today's podcast. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast platform to make sure you receive all of our future episodes. I also encourage you to visit our website at, mydentalagency.com or email us at podcast@mydentalagency.com if you have any questions or comments. Thanks so much for listening.
S2 17:49See you guys. [music]