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Trump Wisdom: How Successful Doctors Play to Win

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

WIN HOMERUNWe’ve had the great good fortune and pleasure to team-up with many successful doctors, medical group practices, hospitals and others. To a person, their medical/clinical capabilities are first class, but their business acumen—in particular their marketing savvy—is a model for others.

The fact is, successful doctors do things differently. They recognize that medicine is a profession, but healthcare is a business. And they work at being business-smart. Over time, we’ve collected a few bits of wisdom that you can take to the bank.

Here are just a few of the ways successful doctors play to win. What would you add to this list?

  • Product trumps promotion. Delivering a superior product or service is first. No amount of marketing and advertising can, in the long run, overcome an unsatisfactory product. The success we know in our own firm and with our clients is directly the result of creating a better product…and not because we are marketing well. Creating a better product is exponentially stronger than creating a better ad.
  • Making things people want trumps making people want things. The key to this gem is in first knowing what people want or need, and then providing the answer or solution. Some medical practices are determined to sell what they have…what they like to do…what they prefer. Unfortunately for them, even excellent capabilities don’t create a market demand.
  • Listening trumps telling, and dialog trumps monolog. Successful doctors and medical practices are active listeners, often inventing new ways to hear, understand and respond to the voice of the patient. They also tap into changes, conditions and competitive information in their market. And, when first equipped with awareness and understanding, they are able to foster a meaningful connection and conversation.
  • "Right here" trumps "everywhere." When medical practices set out to do everything, serve everyone, and cover everywhere, their message and their effectiveness is diluted and ineffective. Conversely, providers—even large, multi-specialty groups—that concentrate their marketing efforts toward a precisely defined target audience and service area enjoy a better return on investment.
  • Retention trumps acquisition. Patient satisfaction and other forms of customer service hold, as a core concept, that it is far better to keep a customer/patient/consumer than it is to constantly find and attract replacements. There are many cost factors to consider, but retention reflects on your reputation and brand. And for many practices it also influences—either positively or negatively—referrals by patients and fellow professionals.

Tell us your “trump wisdom.”

We have quite a few other “trump” ideas, but before we continue this series, we’d like to hear from you. What words of wisdom can you suggest? Do you have a best practice example or case history? Enter your ideas below, or send them to us by email. We’re already working on bringing you more ways that successful doctors play a winning hand.

And for related reading, you might enjoy: Sage Advice: Medical Advertising Agency Words of Wisdom.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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