I went to the dentist yesterday for a regular check-up and cleaning. This was the first time I was at this dentist and I must say it’s very strange being in a doctor’s office in the middle of NYC!
The first thing I noticed was how old the actual office looked. The last time they painted or did anything must have been 15 years ago. At least it appeared that way. (If it appeared that way, then it was 15 years old. Whatever your customers think about you, is your reality.).
“So just a regular check-up,” the dentist says to me. It seemed as though that was his code language for, take 25 X-rays because we need to make more money. His dental assistant proceeded to do just that. I had this contraption that exposed my teeth and gums in such a way; I didn’t know it was possible!
In all of my 23 years on this amazing planet, I’ve never had so many X-rays of my teeth taken in one visit. I was counting to myself… 1…2…3….9?…12??…25?!?!? And each X-ray was a different image of my mouth.
It got me thinking. A dentist is, of course, an entrepreneur. They decided to invest in themselves and their trade to learn how to practice dentistry and then be able to sell their services and expertise for a large premium. Good deal. That’s how our great country works.
To be able to get through all those years of dental school they must have a passion for teeth. But they also need to make money doing what they (hopefully) love.
How do dentists decide what type of insurance they want to accept, what type of clientele they want to serve, how much they’ll invest in their office appearance (not including equipment), and if they even want to take insurance?
Why do some dentists focus so much on the décor of their office and location and some totally overlook that?
There’s no doubt in my mind all dentists are created equal with regards to their skill, at least in general dentistry. Not much can go wrong when taking a metal pick and knocking on all of my pearly whites or looking at X-rays.
I think the difference between the extremely wealthy dentist and the average dentist is simple. He aimed higher. He wanted more. And he felt he deserved it. A dentist who has the confidence to not accept insurance or to charge exorbitant rates is making a statement about how he views himself and his work. Or how he wants others to see him.
He is saying, “I don’t care about your money problems, I am the best dentist around. Look at my office. Look at my shiny 911 Turbo. Look at the flat screens all around the office. If you want the best dentist then you will come to me.”
His marketing is all around him. It portrays success and confidence. Ultimately, reassuring the patient why she is paying $400 when she could go down the block and only pay her $10.00 co-pay. “He must be the best, look at this office, the car he drives, everything!”
I bet the dentist I had yesterday is as good.
Image IS everything.
What do you want to be?
The struggling dentist who has to wait months and months to collect his money from insurance companies and make his patients sit through 20 minutes of X-rays or the rich one with the shiny 911 turbo?
Shoot for the stars in everything you do. You deserve it.
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