Something To Smile About

As a denturist, you make your patients smile again by creating works of art in their mouths. Why not give them something else to smile about – the pleasure of coming into a beautiful, stylish practice that at once makes them feel at home and like they are important (which they are!).

The appearance and attractiveness of a practice forms a major part of a successful marketing plan. While moving to new premises or completely renovating the existing space may not be an option at this time, there are certainly a number of opportunities to upgrade the image of your practice.

Since 1989, we have seen many practices and reviewed numerous videos and photos of clients’ clinics across Canada. Our observations are as follows.

Signage

Signage and front windows are often neglected as an opportunity to make yourself known and memorable. Do you remember a practice with a bland window and a blasé sign that simply says “Denture Clinic” (yawn)? Show your character on the outside (as well as on the inside), so that people are attracted to your clinic.

Your sign out front is like your signature or fingerprint – it should be uniquely you. If you do not want to use your own name, then consider naming the practice something appropriate, such as Applegate Gardens Denture Specialists. You do not want to be a “no name” clinic. The sign should be lit and colourful, i.e., no black and white or blue and white. It should also have your phone number on it.

By the way, if you can use the term “Denture Specialist”, do so (check with your licensing body to be sure). The term positions you exactly as you are: a specialist in the manufacture of dentures. One of our clients who is a long term denturist put up a sign in his window stating “Denture Specialist” and had a new patient come in who told him: “It’s about time we had a Denture Specialist in our area!” He had been there for 15 years!

A lot of practices have paid for storefront space and one of the advantages is the big front window is a major marketing opportunity. However, do not try and cram it with multiple messages. Keep it simple and elegant. One practice had a very large whiteboard on an easel in the front window and, weekly, put fresh “Confusius Say” -type sayings on it. People often stopped in front to read the new message each week. That is just one example of how to attract favourable attention.

Design and aesthetics

Appearance is not just about space and layout, although these are definitely important. You ought to have a theme or some cohesive design direction that runs through the entire practice. We have seen premises that were very modern and well laid out, but austere and uninviting. The exterior of the building was more inviting than the interior!

In a restaurant, the décor and ambiance is a major part of the whole experience of dining out. We are often drawn to spaces that have exceptional aesthetics. If you want plastic and bright, glaring colours, you go to a fast food place. If you want quality dining, you are going to seek out a restaurant where the décor, service and ambiance are at least equal to the quality of the food.

Rather than industry posters and notices and warnings about payment methods, consider warming up your walls with beautiful artwork or framed photos with spotlights aimed on them. Local galleries are sometimes interested in hanging paintings on your walls on consignment, and even go so far as to change them each month. This promotes their gallery, but gives you beautiful art to enhance your image.

If the décor makes too strong a male statement, women will not be comfortable. Conversely, if it is too feminine males will be uncomfortable. However, let us say that it is a well-known fact that women predominantly choose the denture practice and make the appointments for their family members. Therefore, a slight leaning in the feminine direction is appropriate.

A local interior designer can make recommendations that will often pull the whole design together and make you proud of your office.

Reception

What you want is a warm, inviting reception area where the receptionist is the first person they see when they walk in, not the ops and labs! Keep in mind, this is a greeting area where your patients are welcomed and made to feel comfortable and at home. Adding more comfortable chairs or matching leather loveseats with subtle lighting and side tables for an upscale living room “feel” can change the patients perception of the whole practice.

 The ops

Ensure that the ops are as attractive as the front end of the practice with attractive wall art and well-maintained equipment and chairs. Avoid the cluttered look, especially on counter space. Keep your instruments and other equipment enclosed in drawers or cupboards.

Investments

Spend some money on paint and wallpaper and watch your income rise. It is an investment that pays off again and again. If coming into your newly refurbished office in the morning puts a smile on your face, this same feeling will be passed on to each of your patients.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to The Art of Management Inc. and a clickable link back to this page.

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