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Are you familiar with the “Tinder” economy?
It’s probably the single most important trend affecting the dental profession right now. In fact, it’s a growing menace for almost all highly skilled professions.
(I’m talking about attorneys, physicians, accountants, architects, etc. – in addition to dentists, periodontists, orthodontists, and other dental doctors.)
What is the “Tinder” economy?
It is the result of three separate macro trends coming together.
First – the rise of the internet.
Back in the day, when someone needed a dentist, they’d turn to a friend or, more likely, another respected professional in your community, and ask for a referral.
Since these professionals had a reputation to protect, they wouldn’t recommend just anyone. It had to be a dentist they in turn liked, trusted, and respected.
If a new dentist wanted to set up shop in your town, they needed to invest years, maybe even a decade or more, paying their dues and earning a reputation.
Now, thanks to the internet, any new dentist can set up a website, hire a decent marketing company to make it look as if they are an equal peer to you, and start tapping into your referral network within just a few weeks.
Because people no longer turn to other people when they need a recommendation for a dentist. They turn to Google. And Google will recommend anybody.
Second – the glut of junior dentists.
According to figures taken from the American Dental Association, the number of practicing dentists increased 11% between 2008 and 2018.
You don’t need me to tell you that, whatever the official statistics say, the market for dental services has gotten smaller during that same period.
In other words, if the dental market were a pie, there are now more hungry hands fighting for a slice – yet, there are fewer slices to go around than before.
Increased competition. Ruthless competition.
Third – smartphones and the new instant gratification culture.
People have been trained (yes, TRAINED by the tech companies) to pull out a phone whenever they want something and get it almost right away.
There’s an app that will bring pizza to your door in 30 minutes.
Feeling too tired to walk home?
There’s an app that will bring a car and driver to your door in 3 minutes.
Feeling lonely and want some “company”?
There’s even an app that will let you swipe through photos of members of the opposite gender and have a date jump into your bed within an hour.
Of course, I’m talking about the Tinder app.
It’s a human meat market. It reduces men and women –human beings who, like all of us, have many facets to their existence – to photos that are either “hot”, in which case you swipe right, or “not hot”, in which case you swipe left to eliminate.
This is what human courtship has become in the 21st century.
No serendipitous encounters. No getting to know each other. No falling in love. You either swipe left or you swipe right – based on how someone looks.
Isn’t that sad?
What’s really sad, though, is that the market for dentistry – as well as other respected professions, including law – are becoming meat markets too.
That’s what I mean by the term “Tinder economy”.
In the eyes of potential patients, all that counts is how you look on a screen.
Perception is the new coin of the real. NOT reputation.
Potential patients will compare you – literally side by side with other dental professionals who are listed in the same directories as you – and make a split-second judgment about whether to “swipe left” or “swipe right”.
How can you make sure they choose you?
You need to let them know that you are in a different league to the competition, that you are not only a respected professional, but also a respected authority.
By being the only dentist they see who is also a published author.
This is the authority advantage. It’s one of the only marketing and positioning advantages a dentist can have that the Tinder economy cannot take away.
And it’s the subject of a special report I wrote.
You can request a copy of his report, on the house, over here:
Until next time,