Every six months I visit this man in his early seventies at his home and after he leads me into his garage he plugs in his drill and starts grinding away at my teeth!
Now just to be clear I’m not into some weird fetishes where I enjoy pain and mutilation nor is this a scene from the Dustin Hoffman film “Marathon Man”, so having ruled those two out I think I’d better explain…
Quite simply, I visit a retired dentist and he still does work on my teeth.
But there is some very important marketing principles at play here which if you can master and apply to your own practices and businesses they will grow your client base exponentially!
Firstly, I visit this dentist because even though he has retired from mainstream dentistry he is a master and what he does and is one of the leading experts in his field. I am prepared to get work done on my teeth in a very makeshift dental practice (i.e. his garage) because I know he is the best at what he does. How many of your clients would chase you up after your retirement to continue to receive care from you? How difficult would it be to establish yourself as an expert in your field? Reading one work based book every two weeks means you will have read 50 books in two years – far more than most of your colleagues will read in their lifetimes. If reading 50 books doesn’t make you an expert worth following then very little will!
Not only is he a master at what he does he has created a niche where he specialises in one type of work – and as far as I know he is only one of two dentists that do something similar in a one hundred mile radius! There are hundreds of dentists where I live – but only one of him doing what he does. There is nothing to stop you creating a sub field in your specialty where you become the go-to person to see about this problem and by doing so you create a demand for your unique services! Uniqueness means there is no competition and no competition means you are the only person there is that the paying public can turn to!
Because he is retired he can pick and choose his clients and for this reason he can charge what he likes. This is premium pricing and the idea is applicable to every practice and business. Don’t fall into the price war / discounting strategy that most clinics are falling into as this is a downward spiral and will only end with you going broke or working twice as hard for the same money or less!
By creating expert status (as we just discussed) you put yourself in the position of being able to charge a fee which is higher than your colleagues without any loss of clients and very little complaining. When, or the rare occasions, someone does raise the issue of your fees simply tell them:
“Look, we all want value for money and we all want three things for it: high quality products, great service and a low price. I don’t know anyone who can deliver all three at the same time and if you do I would recommend you see them but until then which one is least important to you? Low price, high quality or great service?”
Now, some people will happily take anything so long as it’s cheap and that’s okay – you just don’t want them! People like that will move from business to business looking for the next bargain with no customer loyalty and usually creating the most problems along the way. Do yourself a big favour: send them to your competitors. You really do not want to be dealing with people like that!
So three strategies you should immediately think about applying to you own situation – becoming an expert, creating a niche and premium pricing. All of those ideas can be used in any practice or business