In this week's Monday Morning Marketing episode, we welcome back a familiar face, Dr. Chris Phelps, the visionary founder of Dental Membership Direct. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of Membership Plans and explore innovative strategies to enhance their performance, particularly through the powerful tool of local live events. Dr. Phelps guides us through understanding the mindset of potential patients grappling with the "I don't have insurance, so I can't go to the dentist" dilemma. Discover how to open doors to hosting impactful live events that effectively promote your membership plan, and learn the art of attracting more members through engaging educational experiences. From crafting compelling brochures for your live events to striking the right balance between promotional and educational content, this episode is the perfect guide to maximizing the potential of your membership plan!
Dive in this week for actionable tips that will spread the awareness of your membership plan!
You can reach out to Dr. Chris Phelps here:
Other Mentions and Links:
If you want your questions answered on Monday Morning Marketing, ask me on these platforms:
My Newsletter: https://thedentalmarketer.lpages.co/newsletter/
The Dental Marketer Society Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2031814726927041
Michael: Hey Chris, so talk to us about membership plans. Tell me one or a couple methods or suggestions that will help us with maneuvering and growing and guiding us with membership plans.
Chris: Well, the first thing to recognize is who is this really for, right? And for me, I kind of developed my membership plan years ago, uh, uh, when I noticed, like, when my parents retired from working for AT& T for 44 years, my dad worked there, and 34 years my mom worked there.
And the first thing they lost was their dental insurance policy, They got to keep their medical, but dental went out the door. And so, for the first time, they found themselves without insurance, and of course, didn't quite know what to do. Much like many of their colleagues, uh, that they worked with.
Now, of course, lucky for them, they had the best dental insurance policy ever. You know, me, who is now out of school. But outside of that, it definitely got me thinking. I was like, huh, how many others are in that situation? And when I got an opportunity to do a educational seminar on site at this active independent living and retirement community, I realized that my parents weren't alone. fact, uh, most of the folks over the age of 65 today are in that boat, And through whatever reason, I've decided that they, they, uh, had lost their dental insurance policy that they had. Forever that their employer supplemented. And so it kind of was interesting, you know, talking to these folks. I noticed, you know, I asked a simple question.
I'd like a room of 60 people and I said, ask them. I was like, well, how many of you have been to the dentist for any reason in last year? I don't really care for what, but you've been to the office and, uh, only 60 raise their hand. I was like, oof, that ain't good. Well, how many of you have dental insurance?
And of course, the 10 who'd been to the dentist raised their hand. Uh huh. Now it's clicking in my head. I'm like, all right, how many of you would have gone, had you had insurance? And the other 50 raised their hand, and I was like, There it is, right? So instantly, our, my target market just told me this barrier keeping them from coming to see any dentist, right?
Much less me. So I knew I needed some kind of solution for that problem because our culture, it's so ingrained in us that you have to have insurance to go to see any doctor, So when we don't have it, we feel like we can't go. Plus, when you retire, you know, your mindset shifts to a scarcity mindset, where you got all this money, you know, a certain amount of money saved up, and now that's it, that's what you got to live off of forever, right, as long as you live.
it's ticking away, ticking away, ticking away. So the scarcity of that loss every month, and they feel like they got to hold on to it. So they, when they price out dental insurance, and it's going to cost anywhere from 600 to 700 a year for a policy, Suddenly, they're like, yeah, that's not gonna work for me.
I can't afford that, is what they think in their mind. So, in essence, they think, well, I can't afford it. Well, that means I can't go unless it hurts or I'm in pain. So, huge barrier keeping folks from coming in. And of course, to me, what I discovered was, hey, there's 3, 500 homes in this community of people 55.
there might be some opportunity here. So I go back the next month and I talk about my membership plan. And, you you know, for those without insurance, this is what I created for you guys. And flash forward a few years later, I had about 3, 000 patients on the membership plan between two of my offices. So it was a powerful tool to, you know, the membership plan itself to attract a patient who wasn't going to see any dentist for any reason, but motivate them to not only come in and do their preventative care for hygiene.
but also when treatment was discovered because they were a planned member and they saved, guess what? They scheduled the treatment.
Michael: Now, what do you specifically talk about to entice them to like kind of bring them in? Because I guess we can just mention like, oh, y'all don't have insurance and then then what?
You know what I mean? Kind of like what, where do you go with that?
Chris: So in essence, my, I, I needed some kind of two things. I needed something to talk about more than just the membership plan. And you can't really have sales or solicitations there. So it had to be educational. So I had to slip it in under the educational moniker.
Um, at the same time, I knew nobody wants to come here about dentistry, right? Especially those of that age to back then when they were kids, uh, anesthesia was optional, meaning you had to pay for it. Right. And most of their parents, because they didn't get anesthesia because it wasn't invented, uh, didn't pay for it for their kids.
So they had some pretty nasty experiences. So coming to here, I taught dentistry was probably in their top five worst fears. So I knew I needed something to get over those kinds of barriers. So I decided to do number one, educational seminar. And number two, I, my hook was, uh, I brought my Napa Valley wine that I've spent way too much on at a recent trip.
It was sitting in my house and I was like it'd be nice if I could turn this personal expense into a business expense. So my hook was, you know, you can't get to Napa Valley because I thought they're retired, maybe they don't travel as much. So I'm going to bring Napa Valley to you. Join me for an educational seminar, the top five dental issues affecting the aging population, and enjoy some of Napa's finest wines on me.
Was kind of the what I, how I promoted it and that's what I did. So the first third of the talk was literally that here's who we are. Here's why we're different. Do you have insurance? Great. We can work with that. If you don't have insurance though. Hey, I got this for you, right? This membership plan. So the first third of the talk was just about differentiating ourselves from others and then slipping into the membership plan as promotion during that section.
And the back half, the last two thirds, if you will, were all education. So I went in, you know, to sugar and acids and how it's in everything we eat and drink and how it affects, uh, not only our teeth, but our whole body. Uh, and then the last third of the event was focused on, I'm kind of rotate the last third, depending on what month it was.
One time a month, I talk about implants, Another month, I do tooth whitening. Uh, another month I would do, uh, veneers or cosmetics, like a smile makeover. Right. So just kind of rotating it just enough because I realized I kept getting repeat, uh, people coming back to the event and I felt bad that they were hearing the same presentation like five or six times.
So, uh, but in essence, that's kind of the structure of the format that I follow up. So I had plenty to talk about that didn't sound sales or promotional. You get your promotional stuff out of the way up front. And then if you educate them 78 percent of the time, they leave thinking they were educated, not sold.
Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So interesting. So you kind of have a whole template outline, right? How you want to talk about it, but you entice them with the. Wine?
Chris: Yeah. And of course, you know, the wine that I brought was not cheap.
Michael: Yeah. No, that's good.
And then the marketing material you create or you have for this, especially when you talk about the membership plan, is it different for seniors than like the general population that you give to your practice? Or, or it's the same?
Chris: Yeah. Like most things, you know, the brochure of anything you're trying to promote to somebody.
The avatar that anybody featured in a picture in the promotional stuff, like on my membership plan brochure, they need to look like that community, right? They need to look like the people that aged, So, you know, I had some in my practice that were more for families, so it was had like a younger couple and smaller kids on the cover, uh, but yeah, for the senior crowd, it's just, you know, a senior man and a senior woman together, right?
Um, to showcase, uh, hey, these are the people just like you that respond and are interested in this thing. So I definitely want to make sure the people and pictures posted in any materials look like those people in that community. And then, you know, going to this, doing this, you know, kind of ground marketing once a month is all it took.
So it took about an hour of my time and, you know, bring a couple of team members. And I did it consistently once a month and would literally net anywhere from 30 to 60 fever service patients as a result, you know, almost all of them bought the membership plan. And I think the average spend was like something like, 1, per patient on top of the membership plan that they purchased.
so you can see what the numbers I was drawing, it was a great ROI for the wine I'd already purchased. Definitely.
Michael: Yeah. And then, so how do you, Chris, initiate this? So people listening right now, they're like, huh, this is perfect. This is beautiful. I want to do this. Do we just call or walk in or what's the script
That's the challenge, right? So obviously most of these communities have some kind of community organizer. So your goal is to find out who that is, because that's the best person for you to talk to. and usually they're, uh, pretty apt and that's their job on site is to book. Uh, events, right? So some of them will be more skeptical.
So they may say, well, we want you to come do a, uh, to our health fair. They'll do that annual, an annual health fair. And that's kind of your foot or strategy. So they, they like you and, you know, you've got good stuff to give out to folks and, you know, obviously don't piss anybody off. Uh, you can kind of get in through the health fair as a backdoor.
Another way I found is that, you know, when you become an advertiser of that community and support that community in some way, that's another way that you can get in through the back door. Meaning, so I'm looking, if they have like a neighborhood newsletter or magazine, then I want to find out what kind of advertising opportunities they have in that and definitely get a nice, have a presence there.
Um, and typically those, uh, vehicles, the newsletter and the magazine are run by the folks that live in those communities. you're basically supporting somebody who's, uh, who's doing that for the community by paying the advertising. So in reciprocity, right? Most of them want to give back. So usually I'll ask, Hey.
Can you help me do an on site event, right? Put a good word in for me with the community manager and, yeah, let's make this happen kind of thing. Uh, if they're doing any kind of big charitable events, that's the other thing I'd look for. some kind of fundraising campaign for breast cancer or some kind of walk or something like that.
Then of course you want to be there and be the biggest sponsor, right? So if you're the first to give and support their community, then they're going to be looking ways to reciprocate and help find a way to support you. Gotcha.
Michael: Gotcha. Where can we... Make mistakes here that maybe you've like really early on you're like, oh don't do this guys
Chris: Yeah, so, you know, timing of the week is important.
Uh, day of the week, time of the day, you know, um, one, I remember one community I went to, uh, I scheduled it right as the, um, they had like an on site, uh, place to eat and it was this huge cafe kind of thing and I'd scheduled it right when the, uh, cafe opened. So it was basically dinner time. So they literally rang the dinner bell.
And all the people in the community that weren't at my talk were literally walking past us as like, a herd of cattle, so to speak, going to go feed. And I remember watching the crowd and everybody was looking at, everybody going to eat and looking at me and looking at the crowd and looking at me and looking at the crowd.
Like the scarcity of not being with them, the FOMO of missing out on dinner time was like, was killing them. And I was them. The mindset shifted kind of thing. So Before dinner, So you're talking like 4. 30, right? Cause they, they eat early. you want to hit them before dinner if possible. or if you're going to hit them after dinner, you might want to, you could switch to one, to doing more like an ice cream social, so kind of do a certain thing because not, of course, not everybody drinks and you may want to attract a different crowd.
Um, so an ice cream social has also worked out really well because. They like their ice cream.
Michael: Yeah. Okay. Interesting, man. I like that. Now when it comes to The company that you're co owning, Dental Membership Direct, right? Why, I guess in the sense of, I know we hear a lot of the times we should make our own plan and then they say like, Oh yeah, go with this one.
Cause it's like super, all the features and everything. Dental Membership Direct is more, what would you say?
Chris: to put it in one word, it's simple. All right. Most of the softwares I've seen out there, third party vendors that help you organize and track this and bill your patients, uh, it's nice bells and whistles.
To look at on their dashboards enough to distract you from the fact that you're overpaying And for data and that doesn't really do anything for you and your team's not going to use so Our client said look we want something simple right because that's what we need in our offices. We need We can't spend 20 30 minutes onboarding a patient sifting through all this data to find out how we onboard somebody in charge of their credit card.
We need to be able to get them on board and buy our plan within 30 seconds to a minute while the patient's at the front desk. Because that's usually where all this is. So based on the our client's team and the doctor's feedback That's what we tried to do, was make it simple. Um, simple to use, simple to understand, and simple to pay for.
Michael: Gotcha, awesome, awesome. So that's going to be in the show notes below if anybody wants to check that out. And Chris, I appreciate your time. And if anyone has further questions, where can they reach out to you directly?
Chris: Yeah, probably the best email is Chris at drphelpshelps. com
Michael: Awesome, so that's going to be in the show notes below.
And Chris, thank you so much for being with me on this Monday Morning Marketing episode. Awesome, thanks Michael.