Do you reuse the patient bibs?

2015 02 15 23 17 12 996 Madow Brothers 200

Most of us have been in hotel rooms where there is a little card in the bathroom asking us to reuse our dirty towels for "environmental reasons." These cards go on to inform you of the millions of gallons of water wasted each day on laundry, as well as those nasty detergents that are leaching into our oceans.

And then we reuse the towels, and everyone feels good.

Do those huge hotels really care about the environment, or are they just trying to save money? It really doesn't matter, as in this case, everybody wins.

Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS.Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS.

Recently, social psychologists were hired to see if they could word the bathroom card differently to get even more guests to reuse their towels. After all, you can't have too much of a good thing. By using a theory called "social proof," the psychologists increased towel reuse by 26% just by adding a single phrase to the placard!

All they did was inform the hotel guests that the majority of guests in the hotel recycle their towels. By just adding a few words, they saw huge results. People love social proof because it validates their choices. Think about why the McDonald's sign screams "billions and billions served."

So how can we use social proof in our practices? There are three simple ways (and probably many more). First, when presenting elective treatment, such as adult fluoride, say something like, "Most of our adult patients choose to get fluoride, and we have seen fantastic results."

Boom! Social proof scores again.

The second way is to use testimonials. Whether they are video, written, quoted in an email, or in any other form, make sure that your patients see how happy others are with their choice of your dental practice.

A third way to make social proof work for you is to use visual representations. With your patient's written permission, post dental success photos in your office. People will usually recognize the "came-with-the-frame family," so be sure to use real yet photogenic people for your office photos. Show off the clean, white, healthy teeth of your happy, satisfied patients.

People tend to be far more interested in other people than in things, so quotes from and photos of your patients will have a much bigger effect than simply listing your services and posting them on your office wall.

It also wouldn't hurt to start recycling the towels in your patient restroom. We hear everybody's doing it.

Social proof works -- so use it!

In 1989, Richard H. Madow, DDS, and David M. Madow, DDS, founded The Madow Brothers with the goal of helping their fellow dentists achieve success and happiness in their practices. For more information about their e-letters, audio series, New Patient Mail marketing program, Dental Powerhouse group, live presentations (including "How To Love Dentistry, Have Fun, and Prosper," "The Ultimate Dental Boot Camp," and especially "TBSE"), and more, check them out at

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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