Dan Kennedy, marketing coach, declared, “All wealth is based upon systems.” He tells a story I would like to share with you. However, I will add another conclusion from a System Thinker’s point of view.
“Mary S. was at a seminar I presented for doctors some years ago. She was there with her husband, a dentist.
“She pulled me aside on a break. ‘Could I talk to you alone for a minute?’ So she and I ducked out of the meeting room, went down the hall, and found an empty meeting room to step into.
“‘I’m so frustrated,’ she told me. ‘There are so many things you’ve been talking about that we could do to build up the practice. We keep going to seminars, hearing good ideas, but my husband never gets anything new implemented. Nothing happens. The staff now knows that when he comes back from a seminar talking about new ideas, all they have to do is wait a few days and it’ll all blow over. And the practice hasn’t grown a bit in three years.’
“‘What kind of things would you have him do?’ I asked.’
“‘Join the Chamber of Commerce, attend meetings and make contacts with other business people in the community,’ she said. ‘And start a mailing campaign to area business owners and executives. And put out a monthly newsletter for our past and present patients. And put together a little how-to book, something like How to Keep Healthy Teeth for Life. And, in the office, our reception area desperately needs re-decorated. The staff needs some help with handling telephone calls, especially from new patients calling in because of our yellow pages ad. And—‘
“‘Wait a minute,’ I raised my hand like a traffic cop and brought her to a halt. ‘Mary, these all sound like inarguably good ideas to me.’
“‘But he won’t do any of them,’ she said sadly.
“‘Well, Mary,’ I asked, ‘what are you waiting for?’
“For the first time that night, Mary was speechless. She returned to the meeting room with a particular thoughtful look on her face.
“About a year later, Mary appeared at another of my many seminars for doctors. Again she cornered me on a break, apart from her husband. ‘I want to tell you,’ she began, ‘that I was very angry with you and the way you answered me that night. I wanted some sympathy. And I wanted you to go have a tough talk with my husband. But I sure didn’t want you to challenge me.’
“‘Should I apologize? I asked.’
“‘Hardly,’ she answered. ‘Let me tell you about my new life.’ Mary no longer worked in the office as a dental assistant. Instead she had hired her replacement, then appointed herself Director of Marketing. She joined the Chamber of Commerce, a business women’s club, a Toastmaster’s group, and enrolled in a Dale Carnegie class. She assembled a book – Secrets of a Healthy Smile for Life – and she began speaking to groups of school children, PTA meetings, civic groups, everywhere she could on behalf of the practice. She put together a practice newsletter. . . . She designed a new Family Plan to promote to the practice’s patients. She created and promoted Patient Appreciation Weeks.
“In five months, the practice doubled in size” (Dan S. Kennedy, GKIC, The Ultimate Success Secret, 22-24).
The point that Dan Kennedy went on to make is that we have to take action. We have to implement our good ideas if we are to improve results. How could anyone argue with that?
However, as a Systems Thinker, I got something more out of the story.
The Secret to Doubling Sales
What Mary did to double sales was create unique marketing systems—the weekly-newsletter system, the Healthy-Smile-pamphlet-give-away system, the patient-Family-Plan system, the community-involvement-public-speaking system, the Patient-Appreciation-Week system, and so forth. These marketing systems made all the difference in growing the dental practice. You can do the same!
Unique and remarkable marketing systems will help differentiate your business in a crowded marketplace. They can make you “stand out like a purple cow in a field of brown cows” (Seth Godin). What is one new system you could implement soon to boost your marketing and double your sales?