We have talked with dentists all over the world, and find that dentists often wish they had no competition. For those that provide orthodontic care, they often want no other orthodontists or dentists in their area offering braces. They feel like if there is no competition, they could dominate the entire market for those needing orthodontic care.
But from our years of experience, we’ve found that having a strong orthodontic community is professionally rewarding and good for business. Here is why you want to have orthodontic friends and even orthodontic competitors in your neighborhood.
Patients Feel Like They Have a Choice
Potential customers are more likely to purchase when they feel like they are buying something that they want and choose. People like to buy when they feel like they have power.
Consumers buy most when there are multiple (but not too many) choices. A behavioral science study found a 650% increase in sales consideration by giving participants two brand options (Sony and Philips) instead of just one when buying a DVD player. In this experiment, we see that both companies more than tripled their probable sales when there are two options for the consumer. 1, 2
Study showing large growth in sales potential with customers had multiple providers.
When I was practicing in LA, there was a POS graduate doing good orthodontic work half a block from me. My business never suffered from her treating more orthodontic patients. Her practice was growing and mine kept growing as well. Sharing knowledge with each other makes all of our practices and entire community better.
–Dr. David Dana
Los Angeles, USA
If you’re a dentist providing good orthodontic work, a neighbor dentist also offering good orthodontic work will bring you social and clinical validation within your community.
For example, if you and your ortho friends treat less common ages like interceptive orthodontic patients and adult cases, their work will validate your good treatment decisions. If your neighbor does great extraction orthodontic work, your patients will be more open to your extraction treatment suggestions as well.
Your Patients Get Educated
Having multiple doctors offering quality orthodontic care in your area helps educate your patients. The good work of your neighbor will both validate and educate that braces are great ways to improve smiles and dental health.
As a result, you may see a growth in demand. For example, if there is an adult with braces in your community, her friends will be more likely to consider getting braces too. Your neighbor’s work will show everyone she meets that it’s both socially accepted and beneficial for adults to have braces. You may also notice that your patients will already know what foods they can or can’t eat, or how to brush with braces because they’ve chatted with friends getting ortho. What’s best is that you didn’t need to spend any time or money to get this great benefit!
In a time of DIY dentistry, it’s even more important that your community is well educated. Read more about DIY “orthodontics”. If you and your ortho colleagues both decide to educate the neighborhood with good work and communication, everyone will be able to make better decisions in dental health.
In a level playing field where orthodontic fees between practices do not vary extremely, having orthodontic neighbors brings you a great advantage. Orthodontic awareness spreads among the patient population and is good for everybody.
When a large number of doctors are doing your kind of orthodontics, you gain confidence and a feeling of protection. If these doctors can meet in class or study groups and discuss cases and improve business practices together, it will be an extremely positive step for everybody and the profession.
–Dr. Sivaraman Vasanth
A “competitor’s” advertising and work can get both of you more orthodontic clients. If a nearby orthodontist or dentist advertises orthodontics, you have thousands more people in your area thinking about braces.
Sure, the biggest benefit will probably be seen by your advertising neighbor. However, when your patients see it, they will be thinking more about braces. And the next time they’re at your office, they’re much more likely to ask you about it. Usually patients stay with the dentist they’ve been with (especially if they like you), so if you provide great dental work as well as great orthodontic care, you win from others’ advertising.
You’ll even see benefits from people whom aren’t even your patients yet. The more someone thinks about dentistry and braces, the more likely he is to become your patient. Advertising experts say that consumers typically need to see a product or service 7 to 20 times to gain the awareness and consideration to purchase it.3 When people see your neighbor’s ad (or any person with braces), they may research braces and providers in the area…giving you free patient education and advertising!
“Having a POS friend (or any ortho-providing dentist) in my area has never hurt my practice, and I have over a dozen practices. Logically – yes, if my competitors now start providing ortho in their practices, then they may take a few possible ortho patients. Having said that, I have seen many occasions where patients or parents came to me to get braces because their friends or neighbours got braces from their own dentists.
As more dentists practice orthodontics, more people are aware of orthodontics and more people get orthodontic treatment. The same growth happened with the Invisalign market and the Implant market. Together we are creating a bigger market for everyone."
–Dr. Ray Han
Learn from Others
You can learn a lot from your colleagues, friends, and competition. Friendly discussions can help you identify ways that you both can grow. Even if you’re not friends, you can learn a lot from those providing orthodontics in your community.
Your neighbor’s research could have shown him things about orthodontic patients, like how they prefer appointments after school gets out, need payment plans to be financially feasible, or love the glow in the dark elastic colors. If his patients like those things, try it out in your practice, and you may see a bigger growth in your orthodontic business too. Learning from neighbors’ successes and failures save you time and energy to pick and choose the best ideas.4
Pushes You to Improve
Neighboring providers can inspire and challenge you to be your best self. It can be easy to stick with what’s comfortable. Having others around can challenge you to provide a service that is better for both you and your patients.
We’ve found that there are many reasons your patients haven’t started orthodontics with you, and it’s not usually because you have other providers in your area. Competition can actually push you to recognize and address these hurdles and boost your business.
Gain Orthodontic Support
Having friends and colleagues who provide quality orthodontic care is a large business and social benefit. Collaboration is key to your success in dentistry. Whether you have lunches to discuss progress records, study club lectures, or you chat with them online to hear which products they like best, having an ortho friend is invaluable and will make your craft more enjoyable.
“I haven’t noticed any hit to my business when other GPs learn to do good ortho. GPs do ortho in every community, but some do not do it very well. But by being trained in a 2 year postgrad program (like Progressive Orthodontic Seminars) you actually raise the level of orthodontics in your area. I find that when there are more POS grads in the area, there is a greater level of confidence in treating ortho cases.
You can now understand what great ortho looks like and have intelligent conversations with like-minded practitioners in your community who are sincerely trying to move the profession forward for good.”
Dentistry can be a competitive industry. But luckily for you, competition may not be as bad as you think.
“Competition” often gives consumers more confidence to buy, and gives you free marketing, validation of your work, and patient education. When done right, your “ortho competition” can improve your business success!
So please thank your ortho colleagues, make a few more ortho friends, and invite your neighbors to elevate the orthodontics in your neighborhood with you.
- SaQi K. “Rethinking Decision Fatigue: How the Perfect Number of Choices Can Increase Conversions.” Foundr. https://foundr.com/increase-conversions. Accessed April 17, 2018.
- Mochon, Daniel. “Single Option Aversion” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 40 (June 2013), 555-566.
- “How Many Times Do Prospects Need to See your Stuff Before They Buy?” Square2Marketing. https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/bid/168595/how-many-times-do-prospects-need-to-see-your-stuff-before-they-buy. Accessed April 17, 2018.
- “Why Competition is Good.” Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239043. Accessed April 17, 2018.
- Thorne, Heidi. “Competitive Advantage: Why it’s Good to Be Near Competitors.” ToughNickel.
- https://toughnickel.com/industries/Competitive-Advantage-Why-Its-Good-to-be-Near-Competitors. Accessed April 17, 2018.