Doctors need to know precisely four things about a new technology before they decide to use it in their practices:
- Will it create the image of an advanced office?>
- Will it create value for the patient?
- Will patients feel the fee is justified?
- Will it provide a timely return on investment?
Sales representatives who can answer all four questions for the dentist will go far in helping their client successfully implement a new technology. In the process, they will also strengthen their relationship with the practice.
To understand how practices often fail with implementation, it may be helpful to understand some of the ineffective approaches some practices take when implementing new technology:
Ineffective Approach #1: The Technology Honeymoon
The decision to purchase many new technologies comes after a seminar or tradeshow. The dentist attends, becomes educated and excited, and purchases the technology. In the first 90 to 120 days, the dentist is excited and the new technology receives a great deal of use, then the dentist’s excitement and fascination begins to wane. Once this happens, the technology will be used only sporadically, if at all.
Ineffective Approach #2: The Doctor Sacrifices His Time to Become a Marketing Manager
Dentists have the ability to internally market or communicate information about new technology to the current patients, hoping they will refer other people to the practice. However, it comes at a price.
Developing an internal marketing plan for new technology requires communication materials such as letters, brochures, scripting to explain the technology to patients, and training of the team. Patients must learn about the new technology, the overall benefits, and when it might be applied to them. The process also requires time and effort on the dentist’s part - usually far more than is actually available. Consequently, patient care suffers as chair time is sacrificed for marketing time.
Ineffective Approach #3: Tell the World
Dentists or specialists can externally market or communicate information about the technology to targeted or broad audiences in the community, hoping people will become new patients in their practice.
At times, these marketing expenses can be extremely high. Without a well-designed marketing plan, the effort may have little positive return. Many dentists or specialists increase their fees to make up for their new investment. If patients, staff, and referrals are not educated on the benefits of the new technology, they may not understand its value.
The Solution: A Sales Implementation Kit
A sales implementation kit provided by the sales representative sets up a game plan for the practice to follow. Without it, the doctor inevitably follows one of the scenarios above.
To effectively implement a new product or technology, the doctor must be able to easily answer the following questions:
- How will the team be trained?
- What materials will be used to explain the technology and its use?
- What fees will be established when this technology is used?
- What is the ultimate benefit to the patient?
These issues and others are effectively addressed by a sales implementation kit, which should contain a variety of components such as:
- Customized scripts for the doctor and the team
- In-depth case studies
- Profit calculators to assist in determining fees
- Patient education brochures
A successful sales implementation kit effectively addressed all three concerns, creating a win-win situation for the practice and the sales representative alike.
For dentists, marketing of technology is a critical factor in overall technology selection. Without the right input from sales representatives, dentists will usually follow one of the three ineffective scenarios discussed. Sales representatives should be aware that dentists need assistance in the implementation process. An effective sales implementation kit can help the practice by setting up a plan for the technology’s use in the practice.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is founder and CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental practice management consulting firm that is dedicated to improving the lives of dentists through a diverse portfolio of lifetime services and solutions. Since the company’s inception in 1985, Dr. Levin has worked to bring the business world to dentistry. A popular lecturer, Dr. Levin addresses thousands of dentists and staff worldwide each year in 100-plus seminars and at the dental industry’s most prestigious meetings.