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  • May 03 / 2014
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One of the keys of the art and science of questioning is understanding the difference between open-ended questions and close-ended questions.  An open ended question is one that invites the person to whom you are speaking to elaborate.  A close ended question is a question that can be answered with one that can be answered with one or a few words like yes, no, up, down, I will, I won’t.  Open-ended questions invite people to elaborate, and the other that we recommend that you follow in a call with a first-time telephone caller is close, open, close. The oil can is just to illustrate and underscore the fact that questions are the lubricant between effective communication that really make the machinery of communication run.  So, it’s key that you get comfortable with them.

So, let’s revisit our TAFI intro, and now, you’ll understand better why it is structured the way it is.  “Thank you for calling our practice where we, your tagline, your name.  How may I help you? I can help you with that.  My name is…”  Note the next item.  This is a closed probe, “With whom am I speaking?”  What it does, in a very subtle way is not only are you getting the person’s name so you can use the person’s name and we’ve already discussed why that’s so important, but it’s also placing you very subtly and very firmly in control of the call.

The next question is, “Are you in any discomfort presently?”  Now, that is another closed probe and note that we used the caller’s name.  The other very important distinction I’m going to share here is you know that when we ask questions, it’s an opportunity not only gather information.  It’s also an opportunity to impart information.  When we ask somebody if they are in discomfort, and I asked people why we’re asking that, the ones who yet don’t know what they don’t know, they say, “Well, we need to know if it’s an emergency and when we need to get them into the office.”

I say, “That’s absolutely right.  What information are we imparting by asking this question?”  The answer is, and I’m sure many of you don’t realize it, is that we care enough to ask.  We care about you.  Within 15 seconds of the call, you’re already establishing rapport and conveying empathy, and I said earlier you can’t do it too early.

The next question that we ask is, “Who may we thank for referring you to us?” People say, “You want to do that to see how good your marketing is, how it’s working,” and you actually want to know who you can thank.  You can send them a gift, and that’s true.  Then, I ask, “Which information are we imparting?” This is a little subtle.  What we’re imparting here is that we’re confident that you must have been referred to us by one of our many happy patients, and, again, this is a very subtle way to exude this professionalism, this caring, and this confidence because people like work with people who are confident and professional.

Then, the last question on our TAFI intro is, “Would you mind if I place you on hold for just a moment so I can get to my desk and give you my undivided attention?” Another closed probe.  You are now asking the questions, and, again, this key bridge here is what buys you time to reprioritize to give this caller your undivided attention provided you have a cordless headset and an on hold message that is professionally produced and occasionally maintained.

So, those are the closed probes.  We basically completed the closed cycle so to speak.  Now, you really don’t move to asking open-ended questions until you have been given explicitly or implicitly permission by the caller, and you will know, with practice, when the caller is comfortable opening up with you.

I actually met with a client yesterday about a health coaching opportunity, and I could tell he really wasn’t ready to open up to me yet because we kept talking about, well he was on one side of his brain talking about the logic behind the program and how he wants to do this to help his clients get healthy, and I was trying to get him to see that he needs to lead by example which is what about you?  Why are you doing it?  I realized I was asking that question a little bit too early.  He wasn’t sufficiently comfortable to open up to me.  Eventually, he did, but that’s really important to understand.

That’s where the art comes in.  I’m sharing the science, but the art is actually responding to the feedback that you’re receiving from your prospective patient. Once you do have permission, these are some good open-ended questions.  This one actually isn’t a question but a statement, but it does open them up.  “Please tell me what it is about your smile you’d like to improve.  Can you share what’s kept you from addressing this until now?  Why do you feel now is the time to get this taken care of?”

Here’s a response to somebody who was probably told by somebody else or believes they need a crown, and you obviously address it. You show you’ve heard them and, “A crown is certainly one way to achieve great cosmetic results.  Would you mind if I asked you a few questions to help be sure we’re giving you the information you need to make the right choice?” They say, “Sure.” Now, that’s permission for you ask questions, and when you get it, now you’re gathering information, and then, you’re listening.

As I said, that’s where the listening comes in because, as I said, effective selling is having your radar out and listening closely and carefully to find out what’s important to the caller and then matching those needs with your ability to fill those needs.  If you don’t have the ability to fill those needs, honestly share that information, and they’ve made the right choice.  Maybe you’re not fit for them, and that’s okay.  We’re not asking or suggesting that you should be right for everybody.

Then, when you’ve identified the wants or buying signals, as we like to call them, you move to the close of the procedure, and, again, you move to the close probes. “Would mornings or evenings be better for your first visit to our office? What form of payment will you be using today?  Can we help you process your benefits paperwork?” So, remember, closed, open, closed.

That takes us to the final component of the art of first impressions which is effective listening technique. When you listen, listen fully and completely.  Try not to be distracted, and, again, that has to do with the environment in the office which is why we recommend the on hold message, the cordless headset, and the quiet area.

Concentrate on what they’re saying.  Sometimes people thing that listening is just patiently waiting for your next opportunity to say what you want to say.  That’s not listening. Also, don’t assume that you know what the patient is saying or thinking or invalidate them by finishing their sentences for them.  You will have heard many things over and over again.  You’ll probably right about what they’re going to say, but it’s important that you let them say it. That shows respect and understanding.  I know you all know this.  Feel free to explore with them why they are here and let them talk.

These are just some verbiage cues that you can use as far as how to address concerns about fees and reimbursement and turning everything into a positive.  If somebody wants to know about it, you let them know that you care.  There’s some coaching services that will try to sidestep the question if someone says, “Are you in my insurance plan?” You say, “We can talk about that in a minute.  You know that most insurances doesn’t really cover most dental procedures. Would you mind if I tell you what our practices is about because it’s really great?”  Most people will say, “Yes,” but that’s almost the same as saying, “While I’m telling you this, would you mind not thinking about a pink elephant?” They really can’t really think about anything else.

Our approach is to address the concern, and say, “Yeah. That’s a really good question.  Obviously, affordability and being able to maximize all the benefits that you’re entitled to are very important, and that’s why we have a treatment coordinator/benefits coordinator with us on staff.  Do you have your insurance card with you?  If you do, let me jot down some information, and I’ll share that with Peggy.  We’ll get back to you on that.  Now, would you mind telling me why you’re calling?” You see, they’re not really calling to see if you’re on their plan.  That’s, again, a little hook they hang their hat on.  There’s a question they’d like to ask, but why would they, all of a sudden, have a burning and sudden need to know if your dental practice participates in their plan? They must have a dental need, right?

What you want to know is address that first question so they want to know that they’re going to be dealt with, that that’s going to be addressed.  Then, that frees them up to share why they’re really calling.  These are good verbiage to use:  “All financial considerations are share in advance of any treatment so rest assured.  We’re going to make sure you’re making an informed decision, and you let us know how and when you want to proceed because we never want to let affordability get between you and the care you want and deserve.”  I already talked about good old Peggy.

Now, if people press you for pricing, offer them a range.  This is a little advanced, but we offer them something called the triad close which is to dazzle them with data.  If somebody says, “I really want to know what a crown costs.” Say, “Well, crowns are practically all we do.  We love it, and would you mind if I just asked you a few questions and told you a little about our procedures?” Then, proceed to tell them all you want about crowns and let them know always three options, low cost, high cost, and why one’s low cost or high cost is convenience or durability or aesthetics.

Then, say, “But, you know, I’m not the dentist.  Even if I were, it would be tough to diagnose you over the phone.  That’s why we offer a complimentary meet and greet where you can meet with the professional, and he/she can do an examination and let you know what we think your options are. Then, it’s up to you to decide how and whether to proceed.”

So, you’ve given the information, and at some point, they’re like, “I’m sorry I asked.  This person is talking my ear off.  Just to get off the phone, I’m going to make an appointment to come in.”  So, that’s the approach.  Again, enthusiasm, positivity, if some a word exists.

Another issue is directions. I spoke to somebody just yesterday.  It wasn’t the dental office. It was the library because I moved to this area.  I was looking for the library.  I said, “Where is route 12?” “I have no idea sir.” Okay, they lived there for 25 years.  That’s fine.  They don’t know where is route 12, but other people do.  So, I would encourage you if there’s frequently used public transportation in your area, or some people deal with east and west.  Some people need landmarks.  Take the time to know where you are and communicate that to people.  They will appreciate it.

So, essentially, by way of wrap up, if you want to connect with callers, you have to first sell by having the “yes we can” attitude, by establishing rapport, empathy, exuding enthusiasm, avoiding those self-fulfilling prophecies, using effective questioning technique, that close-open-close protocol, translating the attributes into benefits, listen for the wants or buying signals.  Only then, qualify because a wise man once said if we’re going to do business, we’re going it discuss details later.  If we’re not going to do business, the details don’t matter.

  • Apr 27 / 2014
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Now, this gets into the selling phase of the call. I know that for some of you, selling is a negatively charged word itself.  So, if you prefer, there’s a slide on this, but I’ll just share it now, selling for me is nothing but giving people what they want.  It’s communication with a purpose.  It’s empowering people to make informed decisions.  That’s what selling is.

We’ve been victims of bad sales, which is again, just like a bad script.  So, we think all sales is bad, but I have news for you, folks. We are all in the sales business. The last time you convinced your spouse about where you wanted to go for dinner, you made a sale, and the key to selling is understanding what’s important to the people, to your prospective patient in this case.

One very important distinction along the way is understanding the difference between an attribute and a benefit.  An attribute is just a physical characteristic. We’re in a three-story house.  We have an elevator.  We have a parking lot.  We offer the Wand. Those are all attributes.  The benefit is the translation of that attribute into something that is important and valued by the person with whom you’re communicating.  Think of it in terms of A to B.  You have to get from A to B, attributes to benefits.

Here are some examples:  “We offer complimentary smile analysis.” A wonderful way to translate attributes to benefits to simply use the word bridge which is often what that means. That means, “You can visit our office without cost or obligation to choose for yourself how we can help you receive the care that you want and deserve.”

Here’s another one:  “We offer oral DNA sample testing.”  That means that “by simply testing your saliva, we can identify bacteria that could be responsible for your oral health and prescribe treatment to help you with your overall health,” which leads to oral system care which I’m very passionate about and want to lead practices into this tier of care where helping improve patient outcomes through collaboration and providing some really high level diagnostics and protocols that might help save a person’s life.  So, you might want to say, “We’re committed to oral systemic health in our office, and that’s because not only does that enable us to help save you money but by focusing on prevention and home care, we might even save your life.”

Then, of course, when it comes to the Wand, there are almost limitless benefit statements you can offer, and it’s going to make the difference between people coming into the office and not.  Think about what a great way to connect to a caller by saying, “We offer the Wand which means we can administer anesthesia in a pain-free manner.  So, you know you it will be painless and hassle-free.”  For those of you who haven’t seen it, that’s the unit.

Hey, Danny.  Can I add something to that?


Yeah.  This is Bob DiAntonio.  You mentioned earlier in the presentation about the importance of the call and how it’s like a first date with the patient.  We like to think of the Wand and how we market the Wand is really when we’re underneath the road, anesthesia is the first date with the patient.  There’s a lot of dentists that can provide quality [54:57].  It’s really that date with the syringe that determines how satisfied that new patient is and whether they’re going to come back to you or not.  The Wand, it’s an unmatched standard of care, difference maker.  It takes the guesswork out of syringe insertion, and it really will make the difference with patients going to their websites, posting on their social media, “I can’t believe Dr. Bobrow uses this technology. I didn’t even feel the injection” versus “Oh my gosh. I just went to the dentist, and it hurt like heck. I’m glad it’s over.”

That’s absolutely true.  There are a number of milestones in a relationship, and I think this is one where either the relationship is taken to the next level or it isn’t. I’m glad you mentioned, and I think you and I talked about doing a subsequent webinar on social media because we’re very passionate about that, too.  We agreed about setting up the social media sites so that they’re optimized, and you’re getting them visited connected and friended and liked which is vital.

Ultimately, where that rubber hits the road is the content that you share, and to truly go vital, it’s important, vital that there be something that the typical patient can embrace, get excited about, and share. I agree with you. I can’t think of any experience that qualifies for that better than an experience with the Wand especially when people experience, in the past, such an unpleasant experience with anesthesia.

With this, Danny, one last thing.  With social media and to what you said, you want to piggyback on your patients’ social media forums.  Obviously, you’re going to want to set up the dental clinic with your own social media and things like that, but in this particular case, you’re letting the patients do the marketing for you.  You’re letting them go back and encouraging them to post on their network because dental marketing is generally a local game. 

So, what better way than to have your patients posting on their social media network how great their experience was at the clinic, particularly when it related to the number cause of fear and anxiety in dental which is syringe injection. So, I agree with you. I think a presentation on social media could be a completely different animal and be very well-received.

Yeah.  You’re kind of stealing my thunder here, but I will say I can’t think of a better way of third party endorsement. You are spot on.

Let’s show some more examples of attributes and benefits when you do own and use the Wand.  “There is no what dentists called ‘collateral numbness’. This thing is just so precise.”  You can say that to somebody, but you’ve got to translate it so they can see, “Oh, this is why it’s going to make it better for me because you can leave your appointments smiling, speaking normally.  You’re not going to have a speech impediment or burn yourself drinking hot liquid and have it dripping off your chin after a procedure.”

Well, another thing for the working folk like myself is you don’t have to take a half day of personal time off to go to the dentist.  You can take a lunch appointment or maybe an hour and half appointment and go back to work.  Certainly, if you’re seeing children, you’re not running risk of children or special needs patients chomping down on the sides of their tongue, another big advantage of not having collateral numbness which is relatively routine in procedures.

Yeah.  It’s just one benefit and example of how you can care for your patients or about your patients. So, I agree.  Here’s another benefit.  No syringe injection which is the number one reason people don’t go to the dentist, and again, people are calling.  They haven’t made a decision, and what a great way to connect with them and allay the fear they’re likely to have, stastically speaking.

Here’s another one, bilateral dentistry.  You can take care of more in fewer visits which is, again, another convenience.  Again as Bob mentioned, they take less time away from work or whatever else they’d prefer to do which is probably most things.  Most people would rather be somewhere else so what a great way to give it to them.

In general, this whole presentation is giving you a plan so that you can deal with predictable scenarios which, if you think about it, is probably 95% to 98% of the calls you’re going to get because people aren’t calling you to see if you can flat top their driveway or if you sell snow tires.  They are calling you about things you can pretty well predict so let’s take the time to look at these scenarios which are predictable, which is almost all of them and master the verbiage so you can get excited about that phone when it rings and know that being to adeptly connect with these patients, you’re growing the practice. I presume the case is that when the practice grows, everybody wins.  There’s more money for bonuses and raises and time off and hiring more people so you can get time off. It’s the old rise in tide raises all boats.

So, here is where we share the definitions if selling, for you, is a negatively-charged word which I hope, by the end of today’s presentation, if it was no longer is. Again, this is where we talk about the checklist, which is the road map.  Once you know where you’re headed and the key points you need to accomplish in the call, we want you to seemingly lose control.  What I mean by that is connecting with the caller by finding out what you have in common.  You can share philanthropy or connections with the community or your commitment to oral system health, and these are, as I mentioned earlier, introduced prematurely.  These are arrows in your marketing quiver or your communications quiver.

Don’t wing it. You can learn from every call, but it would be great to know how you answer a question when some says, “I had a bad experience with the dentist” or “You’re so far away from me” or “I’m having trouble finding you” or “Are you in my plan” or any number of questions.  You should just be prepared for them.

The enthusiasm part is not only are you prepared to share things, but are you going to be excited about sharing them?  Here’s a list, another exercise I would ask you to consider taking the time, the dental team as well as the practice owner. Add this to your regular team meetings.  What is it that you get to share with the caller about the doctor, the facility, the amenities, our commitment to giving back, whatever it is?  These are great because, these are the attributes we’re excited about it, and this is why you should care.  This is what’s in it for you.

Well, this sort of where the rubber meets the road in terms of connecting with callers.  It’s the art and science of questioning and listening.  A lot of people think that sales people are good talkers.  I couldn’t disagree more.  The best sales people are good listeners, and the way they listen is by asking questions, by knowing when to ask the right question in the right way at the right time, which is what I meant by when.  This is you connect with callers.  You have to ask the right questions because whoever is asking the questions controls the call, and I know we all like to be in control of the clicker.

  • Apr 20 / 2014
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If a dental patient was calling you and expressed what was truly on their mind, they might probably say something like, “I’ve had negative experiences with dentists in the past, and what I’m really hoping is you can demonstrate to me on the phone right now that you’re caring, compassionate, and will deliver value if I see you.” That’s really what they want to know, but don’t be confused by the words that they use.

Here’s a little test that I like to use just to underscore a point.  Let’s imagine that there’s two callers. You have two phones, and they both ring at the same time.  On line 1 is Bill, and Bill is calling because his fiancé has “asked” him to get his teeth done in time for their big day so they are proper and they have some nice pictures for their wedding album.  On the other line is Agnes, and Agnes just received a direct mail piece offering a complimentary consultation and wants to know how much a crown costs.  My question for you is who would you rather talk to?

Now, if you’re like most people and you’re honest, you’d probably rather talk to Bill. The reason is that Bill really doesn’t require any selling.  Bill has already been sold.  He is frankly the result of your effective marketing because his fiancé is a happy patient of yours, and she’s already established credibility.  She’s already created urgency.  She’s already directed him.

Agnes is the same potential quality patient.  She’s just at a different stage in the relationship.  Basically, by working with Agnes and getting excited about talking with her, you are creating a future Bill because there’s every reason to believe that in the future, Agnes will be in the same position, a happy patient.  It’s just a matter of running the race at the caller’s pace.  So, we want you to get excited even more about the other one because Bill is already ripe fruit or low-hanging fruit.  He’s ready for harvesting, and Agnes is a seed that has to be planted.

So, in marketing math.  We touched on it a little bit. It’s just the reality that you can measure certain things like you do now, and there’s the reality that you don’t know what you don’t know.  In the case of this, one simple example is if the practice is investing $1000 a month in marketing, and as a result of that marketing, they get the phone to ring 10 times, what you can measure is the cost per call which $1000 divided by 10 calls. It’s $100 a call.  If you fail to connect with that patient and get them into the office, you could say, “It costs me $100.”

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  The average patient lifetime value which was actually calculated by the University of Minnesota in conjunction with my friend Bill Rossi at Advanced Practice Management 12 years ago came up to an average lifetime value, profit, of $4800 per patient.  I’m sure it’s higher now.  If your practice is above average, it’s higher still. So, the real cost is closer $5000 for effectively getting the caller.  That’s something that you need to keep in mind, and that’s why this is such a valuable skill right there.  That explains it.

Now, how do we actually connect with these callers? One way is the verbal component even though it only comprises 7% of effective communication. Remember, that’s only when you have the face-to-face opportunity.  So, it at least doubles when you don’t have the body language, the visual component, but negatively charged words can really affect people.  Positively charged words can also affect people, but in a positive way by way of example.

Which seminar would you rather attend:  Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and Dealing with Racism or Men and Women as Allies and Friends and Celebrating Pluralism? Some of you may be ahead of me and already realized that they’re the same lecture.  Their talking about the same subject matter. However, the one on the bottom speaks in positive terms about how we can actually help this problem or basically capitalize on an opportunity as opposed to dealing with a problem.  It’s been proven. I’m a health coach, and we know that people that achieve and sustain weight loss do so because they did not approach it from a problem-solution standpoint but from an opportunity standpoint. It’s all about the words that you use with other people and in your self-talk, the words that you use with yourself.

So, use positive words.  Here are some really good ones to incorporate into your communication.  They are proud, conservative, and concerned.  Pride is self-evident, but it gives a sense that you really have the admiration and loyalty and appreciation for your doctor’s care, skill, and judgment.  It shows passion, and when we talk about enthusiasm, you’ll see why that’s so important.  Passion is just another manifestation of enthusiasm.

What I would ask you to do because you’ve got to practice this in order to incorporate it.  I’m sure people are not in agreement that this makes sense.  If you want to internalize it and make it your own, I encourage you to practice it with your team. In this case, I would ask you to share specific reasons why you are proud to be a part of your practice.

Now, with conservative, I don’t care what your political vent is.  Nobody wants to go to a doctor who plays with their health or takes unnecessary risks, and personally speaking, I would always want people to take the conservative approach. I think you can wave the wand very well into this mindset also because in every sense it shows caring, but I think it’s a conservative approach as well. Another question is how would you demonstrate that in your treatment?

Concern is a wonderful word to use because it means you care.  I’m going to jump ahead but people don’t really care what you know until they know how much you care. So, this is a really good term.  Show people that you are human beings and you have passion, and when you do that, people will connect with you.  If they were calling about insurance or a second opinion, all of a sudden, that question’s going to begin to diminish in importance because they have connected with you.

Again, how do you show your concern for your patient, specifically?  It’s all about the verbiage, and here’s some more terms.  Instead of appointment say visit.  It’s softer.  Use challenge or opportunity instead of problem.  Today’s amount instead of cost, and initial or monthly amount instead of down payment and monthly payment.  What I like to use is remove or removal instead of extraction. Here’s some more positive words that you can use:  Approval, approve, endorse, authorize, authorization, okay can I get your John Hancock instead of sign here.  This is a really good one, too.  Also, you don’t need to use the same verbiage that your callers are using.  If someone says, “I’m looking for the cheapest dentist,” say “value”.  “Value and economy, we understand that.  That’s why were offer,” and give them the benefits.

A really good exercise is to heighten your awareness by listening to your friends and family and patient and co-workers and notice how their words make you feel.  It’s really interesting.  Say something and monitor, engage your own emotional reaction, and just make a note of it.  Well, that word is a word that can make them feel good, or that word is a word that didn’t make them feel good.  So, I would have preferred to have heard this word.  Then, you’re building a little vocabulary for your communication quicker.

So, this is time to play Guess the Charge!  These are pretty simple now that you all have already mastered the distinction between negative and positive.  So, we give a thumbs down for, “The office can’t see you until next Tuesday.”  “I can help you with that”, thumbs up.  “You must submit your own insurance forms.” “We’re delighted you’ve chosen to call you.” Pretty straight forward, right? Just ask yourself how you feel.  “Which would you prefer, morning or afternoon for your next visit?” “We don’t do it that way.” That’s exactly what the answering service said to me two weeks ago.  “Why don’t you accept messages?” “Well, we don’t do it that way,” and she hung up.  We appreciate you considering us.” So, in other words, is your attitude a my way or the highway or yes we can? Of course, you know what we hope it is.

So, here’s some of the emotional pillars that support a solid conversation based on emotion and connection: Empathy and rapport.  Empathy is simply the capability, the capacity to understand another’s feelings, to walk a mile in their moccasins. Rapport is a relation marked by harmony and conformity, and as I said, this is important because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  Another memorable phrase that I love by Maya Angelou is that people may not remember what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

Enthusiasm is key.  Henry Ford said no one ever bought anything without an exchange of enthusiasm.  We all know people like this however.  They’re at 10 out of 10, and we prefer more of a 7.  However, I will share that on the phone it’s usually the opposite.  People need to up the volume, the intensity, the articulation just a little bit.  I’m not really speaking in my normal voice right now.  It’s a little bit louder. It’s a little bit clearer.  It’s a little bit more articulated, and that’s because we’re on the phone.  I would ask you to do the same.  Exude that enthusiasm.  Make it bigger than maybe what you think it needs to be.  People will appreciate it.  They won’t be scratching their heads saying, “What is this person doing?” They will appreciate the enthusiasm.

It’s very important to get the caller’s name.  Those of you that are too young to know How to Win Friends and Influence People was a book published in 1935 by Dale Carnegie.  One of the gems in that book was that a person’s name is the sweetest sound they will ever hear.  So, people perk up when they hear their name.  You don’t want to overdo it, but most people aren’t in danger of doing it.  That’s why in the TAFI intro, you may recall the first statement we make after our introduction, no matter what people ask us, it’s, “I can help you with that.  My name is Danny.  May I ask with whom I’m speaking?”

Then, get the name, and I want to take a moment here to talk a little bit more about this. If someone calls for whom English is not their first language or has a speech impediment, take the time to get their name.  Imagine you are them.  They are going through life where people who hear this hard to pronounce name will say, “Okay, thank you dear, honey, buddy, pal,” and they just gloss through it.  The person knows what they’re doing.

Imagine, now, you take the time, and say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get your name, and I certainly want to make sure I can pronounce it correctly.  It might be a bad connection.  Would you mind spelling that for me, and let me try to pronounce it.” You will basically have a friend for life because this person, as I said, has gone through life without people taking the time to know you’re their name. It really works, and it’s such a simple way to connect.  So, I strongly encourage you to do it.

  • Apr 13 / 2014
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It also unnecessarily lengthens the time of the outgoing message, which is another inconvenience.  While we’re on the subject, when repeat callers call you, it’s very nice and convenient to say, “To bypass the remainder of this message please press pound or zero.” Make sure that your system accommodates it because sometimes I will do that and press pound, and then it says, “Please enter your password.” Then, you have to hang up and call back and listen to the whole message again.

In general, we like the answering message to not be longer than 45 seconds; 25 seconds is even better, and we have a lot clients who are able to convey all the information they need which is, “We’re glad you called. We’re sorry we’re not available.  We care about you.  Please leave a confidential message of any length or visit our website,” and that is it.

Remember that you’re actually communicating with people.  The person who’s doing the recording may not be talking to a person at that time, but obviously, that message is intended to be heard by human beings.  So, be enthusiastic.  Be excited.  Select the person in your office who gives the best phone, and let them have at it.

Now, if you have an answering service, I strongly advise that you check it often.  We have had very little success with consistent reliability of the quality of an answering service.  They will often begin good, and they reach their own level of incompetence by taking on more clients than they can handle or what it is, but I just had another experience last week trying to make an appointment to an ophthalmologist that I was referred to by a doctor.  They said, “Well, are you a patient?” I said I’m a prospective patient.  “Well, you have to call back.  We don’t take messages.” I said, “I was referred by a doctor who’s friends with the doctor.” “I’m sorry. You can leave a message.” I said, “I’m a consultant who actually evaluates how telephone calls are being handled,” and then she hung up on me.

Now, that could be that she was actually following the policy of the office, too. So, whatever your protocol is, you want to evaluate that and make that it’s open to prospective patients because you don’t know who’s going to be calling you, and if you’re accepting new patients, you certainly don’t want that to be the protocol.

Now, on hold messages are what callers hear when you’re placed on hold, and I place you on hold, you hear this.  That message runs for 4 minutes, and because I use a VoIP system, it always begins in the beginning which I like.  The reality is that every office will place callers on hold.  Sometimes, we’ll talk to practices that say, “We never place callers on hold.” If that’s true, you’re probably overstaffed, but in any case, we will actually get into this and show you where we recommend it under certain circumstances, mainly a new patient caller.

We recommend that you place them on hold provided that you have a high quality, regularly updated on hold message that entertains and educates callers that is no overly commercial and obviously is not dead air.  Tests have shown that when people are placed on hold and listen to dead air or an out of tune radio station or something else ridiculous like a competitor’s commercial that they are tapping their foot waiting, but when they hear an entertaining and informative on hold message, it literally cuts the perceived time on hold in half.  That’s great because it buys time for the team to do what they need to do to return to the line and give this caller their undivided attention.

In terms of the proper implementation of an on hold message solution, we do recommend that you update it frequently, and we do offer a service that does this.  It’s all online. Quarterly updates are sent to you, and we’ve made it really very smooth and almost seamless because otherwise practices don’t have time to do it. We want you to do it because this is another touch point that demonstrates you’re not only a professional that’s committed to high quality dental care but that you’re also a vibrant, engaged member of your community.

This gives you an opportunity to share what you’re up to, what you’re doing, what you’re doing, and that you are people, too. I think that’s a particularly valuable thing for a dental practice to remind people of because as we all know, in general, people are a little bit trepid when it comes to seeing their dentist.  So, the more you can connect with people on an emotional level, the better, and, again, we recommend that you call and check the system frequently to make sure that it’s operating.  Our systems are pretty much fool-proof. We use a USB so that there’s no moving parts, but switches can be turned. Volume can be reduced, and if nothing happens, it’s good to remind yourself what it says, especially if you’re updating it regularly.  Again, if somebody asks about it, you can very seamlessly and adeptly respond to that without thinking too much about it.

We’ve already talked about the purpose of it.  It builds a professional image, and we will also talk more about this.  It is a tool that used to prepare you to speak with the most important person in the world which is your newest patient.

This is what we call the TAFI intro.  TAFI is short for the art of first impression, and if you walk away today with nothing more than this, I believe that your time today will have been well-invested.  This is not just randomly put together verbage. I will deconstruct it throughout the rest of the presentation so you can see why it what it is, but I thought I would introduce it right now just to show you.

So, the first thing that we do is say, “Thank you for calling.” In our case, it is, “Thank you for calling AIM Dental Marketing where we take aim with your marketing.  This is Danny.  How may I help you?” In your case, you would say, “Thanks for calling our practice where we,” and I hope you have a tagline. The tagline is basically a distillation of your brand.  It is a memorably simple statement about what makes you special and different. I strongly advise practices to go through an exercise to establish a tagline with the input of the team, and another benefit of using it in your introduction is it reminds the team who you are, what you do, for whom you do it, and why.  It reinforces, in their mind, why we’re all here.

Now, whatever the person says, they may say, “I’m seeking a second opinion. I would like to accept my insurance plan.  I’d like to know how much a crown cost.  I’d like to know the purpose of life or why the sky is blue.” I don’t care about the question. The answer really should be this or a slight variation on this:  “I can help you with that.  My name is Danny.  May I ask who I’m speaking with?”

Then, the next question that you ask is, “Are you in any discomfort presently?” Use their name, even though you know they’re not in any discomfort, and we’ll about why in a little bit.  “Who may we thank for referring you to us?” Again, it’s interesting that you include these in the introduction.  Then, here’s the transition.

To help you buy time to get to a quiet area to clear your mind, we prioritize because it’s show time with the patient.  The verbage is, “Would you mind if I place you on hold for just a moment so I can get to my desk or a quiet area and give you my undivided attention?” People will never have a problem with that, and if you have a quality on hold message system, you will have easily 60 seconds to do what you need to do to prepare to talk with this person and to give them your undivided attention.  On the East Coast, it’s called take away. I’m in the Midwest.  It’s called take out, but this is a big take away.  So, if you get nothing else from today’s presentation, I hope you will walk away and take away this.

So, let’s talk about the components of effective communication.  There was a study done in UCLA by Albert [35:07], a professor, who was commissioned to evaluate what comprises effective communication as well as the percentage contribution was each component to effective communication.  Those elements are verbal, vocal, and visual, and verbal is the actual words used.  Note, it accounts for a whopping 7%. So, it’s not so much the words that we use.  It’s how we use the words, and it’s our body language.  It’s the gestures of the face and the hands.  You may realize already that when you’re on the telephone, we really don’t have this component, and that’s why we talk about the visual gap because when you’re on the phone, callers can’t see you. Actually, they can because they have a mind’s eye, but they develop that impression based on what they hear which makes the use of the verbal and the vocal components all the more vital.

Let’s talk about the self-fulfilling prophecy trap.  This process is when we label someone as undesirable.  The quality of our communication changes, and unfortunately, it inevitably changes for the worse.  Typically, we judge a book by its cover, and we write the book.  I’ve seen this time and again.  This is very important when you talk about prospective patient. More and more practices are engaging external marketing because they have control over the growth rate of their practice.  There’s a certain assumption somehow that somebody who calls asking about a price or second opinion is somehow lower quality than your community in general.

That’s just not true.  The reality is that people are calling you because they’re interested, and if they weren’t interested, they’ve got better things to do than call you. How you respond to those inquiries makes all the difference, and Bill Ross of Advanced Practice Management in Edina, Minnesota writes this:  “Externally generated patients do not yet know or trust you.  That doesn’t mean they are not good enough patients.”  The thing is we tend to focus on the negative, the clinkers as he calls them, but put yourself in their place.

When you are calling for a service, especially one that you don’t know much about, I bet the most likely question you’re going to ask is, “How much does this cost?”  That means you’re interested. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re interested in the lowest cost. What it really means is that you don’t know what else to ask.

  • Apr 06 / 2014
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In terms of personality, when one becomes confident and is really deftly able to practice the distinction that we share in the first impressions, it’s then that your true personality has an opportunity to shine through. In other words, because you know what your goal is and you know where you’re headed, you can then allow your true personality to shin through, and that is not just okay. It’s essential because people don’t want to talk to an automaton or someone that they view is just going through rout procedure, and it’s just like the dentist when they’re practicing. They’re having a conversation frequently, and that’s important because that sets the patients at ease.

It’s the very same case here. If the dentist was just out of dental school and having to think consciously about every move that he or she is making, it’s pretty tough to have your personality shine through. In terms of whether you were hired to do this or not, the fact is we live in a dynamic world, and any practice that is willing to invest in your coaching to master this art, I would look at as a positive thing because they’re actually offering to add to your skill set. They’re providing you with the tools so you can become even more indispensable to the practice.

We get a lot of pushback from reading off scripts. I suspect one reason is we know. We all have experienced people reading off a script to us, and it’s a negative experience. It’s usually the negative that we remember, and we’ll talk about that a little bit more in a minute.

Being too busy is a commonly stated concern, and the only way I ever respond to that is when the phone stops ringing, don’t worry. You won’t be busy for long. In other words, there needs to be a rearrangement of priorities when that phone rings because that really is your patient calling. When the phone stops ringing, the practice is in trouble, and lest you think this is not necessarily, I hope everything I shared already shows you that in fact communicating skills very necessary.

Some people think they’re very good at it now already, and that reminds me of the phrase which is people know what they don’t know and they also don’t know what they don’t know. This could be an example of not knowing what you don’t know. So, all I would ask is that you be open to hearing what we have to share today, and if you don’t agree that there’s some ways that perhaps you could do a better job of connecting with callers.

It’s tough to measure, and we’ll talk about that later, too, because you may have gotten on the phone with someone.  We’ll talk about in in the self-fulfilling prophecy that they didn’t come in, and you may consult yourself by saying, “Well, they’re not fit for our practice anyway.” Well, maybe, maybe not, but the production you never experienced because the patient never came in to the office. It’s something you can’t measure, but it’s nonetheless quite real.

We’ll also talk about this view that people are responding to an external stimulus.  Also, callers that are low quality, and we will demonstrate how that has never been demonstrated to be the case.  We know that once patients meet you, they love you. This is the frustration that you hear sometimes that you hear from dental team members, and the fact is that they’ve already met you. They just met you on the phone. So, we want to show you how you can make them love you on the phone so that they can’t wait to meet you in person.

Now, in terms of this concern about reading off a script, I already gave you an example. I cited one example of a script that we heard is a bad telemarketer that reads and doesn’t listen and is obviously just howling for dollars. That’s what gives scripts that name, but I would ask you to consider some of these that you might remember. Depending on how old you are, this is sometimes an age test. These are quotes from some of the movies that have really become part of our culture:  Wizard of Oz, Underwater Front. I think that’s Magnum Force. Go ahead make my day. Dirty Harry. Gone with the Wind, Sunset Boulevard.

These, if you recognize them, are actually very memorable, and they give us warm feelings, and they really remind us of what a great performance we received.  Remember, these are all lines off the script, and the reality is the reason we remember them so fondly is that the actor got what they call in the acting book, they got off book. That means they internalized these lines to the point of they didn’t think about what they had to say, and they allowed their personalities to come through. With actors, it’s actually their persona because we don’t even know what their personality is necessarily.  The versatile actors will prove that to you that they’re all over the map. They can be animated characters, and they can be heavies and comedic characters. So, it’s easier for us because we don’t want you to assume a character. We want your true personality to come through.

Now, having said all of that, if you don’t like the term script, it might be a negatively charged word for you. If it is, think of a checklist or even map. Frankly, I think they’re more appropriate because we don’t want you broadly reciting a script word for word. We want you to realize that there are certain key points that you have to do like establish rapport, convey empathy, exude enthusiasm, get the caller’s name, use the caller’s name, and connect with them. Exactly how you do that is not my concern. You may do that by sharing the fact that you have children on the same little league team. That’s great. That’s what we want to hear.

Now, setting the stage does also depend on the physical environment and your equipment, and we’re going to talk a little bit about telephone systems, cordless headsets, what people hear when they call you after hours, and what people could hear when they’re placed on hold at your office. The key is that we want all these systems working in concert which means you, every member of the team, needs to know what do people hear when they call you after hours.  That’s important.  They might make reference to it, and, specifically, we want to offer convenience to callers.  We don’t always know when they’re going to call so one way of offering convenience is your outgoing message should reference your website if it’s able to accept appointment requests.  Just about every website today has a contact us form.  So, this shows convenience and also invites them to learn more about you. Many people calling your office have already been to your website, by the way.  That’s where more and more people are going to find and evaluate a practice before they even call you.

Likewise, if you have an on hold message, what does it say? What if somebody says, “That’s really interesting.  Tell me about your implant-supported dentures” or “I didn’t know you were supporting the local [21:28].  My husband’s a part of that group.”  If you say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” that’s obviously a missed opportunity to connect with the caller.  Likewise, know what’s on your website because people will reference it.

I am on a cordless headset right now.  I have not used a handset since 1989. Literally, they were not cordless back then, but cordless headsets are nothing less than freedom.  Now, I don’t know because we’re not interacting right now, but I’ve heard things from, “We don’t like them because they mess up our hair.  They give us ear infections.  They don’t work.”

Change is uncomfortable, but I can tell you that the technology of today’s cordless headset is so wonderful that if you’re accustomed to using a handset, there’s a little bit of an adjustment.  Sometimes it’s a mental adjustment, and sometimes you just need to contact tech support and put yourself on your cordless headset.  They will walk you through how to optimize the sound quality.

I strongly recommend this because it untethers you from the front desk.  Remember we talked about whether your environment was serene or chaotic. If it’s Grand Central Station at the front desk and you’re trying to connect with a first time telephone caller, a prospective patient, that is a challenge.  What we really want to do is get you in a position where you can go to a quiet area and give this caller your undivided attention.  I recommend Mallory headsets, malloryheadsets.com.  Also go with hellodirect.com.  They’re very cost-effective. They’re very durable, and they charge for at least 3 hours, and you can walk away with 300 feet from your desk.  So, no practice is too big to be served by cordless headsets.

Your outgoing message, otherwise known as voicemail unless you’re using an answering machine or answering service, is a very important connection.  This is a first impression, and what I mean by first impression throwing its weight is we cannot control when people are going to call our office.  People will often call after hours because that’s when it’s convenient for them, and that’s why the outgoing message has got to be recorded and regularly monitored and taken very seriously because a certain percentage of people, their initial contact with you will be your outgoing message.

So, in general, during office hours, we don’t want to hear it ring more than 4 times before answering, and 3 rings is even better.  With most telephone systems, you should be able to change the settings so that when you’re not in the office, the caller doesn’t have to ring any rings, and that’s really important because here’s another convenience feature. People don’t like to be kept waiting.  People on cell phones could be driving through a bad cell, and you could lose the call.  It’s also the case that people may need to muster some courage to get the phone and call a dental office in the first place.  So, all they need is an excuse to say, “Yeah, I tried to call the dentist, but it just kept ringing.  I just hung up.” Let’s make it really simple for them to connect with you.

I’d also recommend you avoid and reference to hours and anything else that might fluff.  I can only guess that the reason that people refer to their office hours is that the first answering machine or maybe the outgoing messages that we hear at retail establishments, which a dental office is. I mean it’s a local area business for sure. It’s important to know what a pizzeria’s hours are or a dry cleaner’s office, but we are not really a walk-in business are we?
Therefore, I doubt, unless you’re a rare exception where you have a high walk-by traffic or you’re a serious dental center, I suppose, it’s  very unlikely that anybody’s going to walk into the office without first calling you. In fact, giving the hours is one less reason for a person to leave a message because they want to know what your hours are.  They may want to know that when they’re calling..

  • Mar 30 / 2014
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see the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8Z0xUCSJ8Y

Good morning, everybody. My name is Bob DiAntonio, and I am the business development manager with Aseptico, Incorporated. We’re very happy to have you joining us for the webinar today. Before I turn it over to Danny, I want to give you a couple of quick housekeeping items and to give you a little bit of clarity as to who I am and what I do.

I mentioned I am the business development manager of Aseptico, and my primary responsibility is to serve as product manager for the Wand All-Injection system. That product was developed and invented by a company called Milestone Scientific a little over a decade ago, and it’s gone through some changes. It was originally launched as the CompuDent.

It is now the Wand STA, and we at Aseptico have taken over as exclusive distributors back in November, 2012. In a few months, we are only going to be the only company selling not only the drive units but also the handpieces. So, we’re very excited about the product. It’s going to be talked about a little bit Danny today, and apart from that, that leads into the housekeeping items.

The webinar today is going to be recorded and audiotaped. So, there’s no need for you to take notes.  Just sit back and follow along with the presentation, and during the presentation, all of you guys are going to be muted. However, you guys can submit questions electronically, and we’ll get back to you at the end of today’s presentation. For Wand-specific, for anesthesia-specific questions, I will be following up with each one of you individually. So, go ahead and type in your questions online here.  We will get them and sort them out at the end of the presentation.

Let me introduce Danny for you. Danny Bobrow is an MBA and president of AIM Dental Marketing, and he’s also the executive director for the Climb for a Cause and Smile Tree Foundation. Mr. Bobrow lectures nationwide, and he’s been published on dozens of professional-related publications. He owns a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Illinoi and MBAs in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago and KUL Belgium, respectively. 

Danny is the author of the State of the Art in Dentistry Marketing and Industry Marketing: Strategies, Tips, and Secrets, and he’s the author of The Art of First Impressions.  He’s also a certified mediator and arbitrator, a charter member of the Speaking and Consulting Network and founding executive member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. So, without further ado, I’m going to turn it over to Danny.


Thanks a lot, Bob. I appreciate that kind introduction, and I want to acknowledge you and Chris and my other friends at Aseptico not only for offering a service and a product that really, without putting too fine a point on it, promises to broaden the appeal and the accessibility of dentistry to the public which, as we know, is a very important thing to do because such a large percentage of the population does not see a dentist because of fear, but I also want to acknowledge you for your generous support for our foundation. Aseptico has now, for two years, been a staunch supporter and participant in Climb for a Cause. Chris Perry joins us, and we always have a lot of fun and make a difference.  So, I appreciate that very much. Thank you.

What we want to talk about today is the all-important skill and art of connecting with prospective patients. That’s because you can have the best offering in the world but if you or your team are not adept with connecting with people who don’t know you, like you, or trust you, it’s really like you don’t ever get a chance to run the race. You don’t get out of the starting blocks, and this is why this is so important. What we’re going to cover today are the foundation pillars of building a house or a structure that enables you consistently and deftly connect with these telephone callers.

The first thing we’re going to talk about and share is setting the stage for success, and we will get into what that means. It has a technical and personal component for sure. We’ll then parse out what comprises effective communication, and that’s important to understand why sometimes it’s a bit of challenge connecting with people on the telephone. It has to do very much with the visual gap which is the next item we’ll discuss.

We’ll then talk about some distinctions that are important to understand and then choose to avoid like the self-fulfilling prophecy trap, and we will share the distinction between negatively and positively charged words and phrases and why they’re so important to building this structure on a sound foundation, emotional connection.  Speaking of emotional connection, we will talk about the key components which are really establishing rapport, conveying empathy, and exuding enthusiasm as early and often in the call as possible as well as the art and science of questioning and listening which really have all to do with gaining control of the call and guiding the caller to a decision which is really ultimately in their best interest. All these taken together lead to what we call agreement.

Now, some assumptions that I make, which I assume I make correctly because most people who choose this profession are doing so because they care, but the assumptions are that you, if you’re a practice owner, and your team are enthusiastic about mastering this art because of all the power and potential it offers you to be more successful and to have a less stressed experience during your work day.  I further assume that you care deeply about delivering the very best for your patients and your community and that anybody who is in danger of answering the telephone is really excited about being there and sharing whatever it is that your practice has to offer in terms of helping people live healthier and happier lives because that’s what it’s about.

These are some specific reasons why exceptional telephone skills are so important and valuable for your practice, and I like to use the analogy of the first date. When we’re on our first date if we want to have a second date, we’re on our best behavior. We want to impress, and that’s why we talk about the art of first impressions. This telephone call really is your first date with the patient, and it will set the tone for the relationship going forward. It’s therefore a wonderful opportunity to set mutual expectations and set a tone of professionalism and mutual respect.

As I said, when you master this skill, it actually reduces confusion and stress because you’re prepared and excited. Imagine if you were asked to perform a dental hygiene procedure and you were either fresh out of school or maybe haven’t even completed school. There’s a lack of training and experience and confidence, and that’s as much point as knowing your stuff. We’re talking about nothing less here than knowing your stuff when the phone rings.

This really is very much about branding. Branding is basically delivering on promises and exceeding promises that are made, and if someone is responding to some sort of a solicitation or was referred by a fellow patient, they have certain expectations about what they want from a dental practice. Here’s your opportunity right off the gate to exceed their expectations. For all these reasons, it is, in fact, your best marketing tool.

Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that marketing ends when the connection is made with the prospective patient, and in fact, it’s only beginning. We will talk about marketing math a little bit, not a lot of math so hang in there, but we will really use it to underscore the value of being able to convert these calls into appointments.

So, let’s talk about what we mean when we say setting the stage for success. The first thing we like to ask is which describes your practice environment? Now, environment is the physical characteristics of your practice. It’s also the environment in your own mind. Is your office cluttered? Is your mind cluttered? Are you distracted? Do you feel unprepared? Do you feel that the practice environment is not conducive to having a comfortable and focused conversation with a prospective patient? If the answer is yes, then all the training in the world, while it will be helpful, you will be limited in terms of your ability to maximize your value. That’s why these go hand-in-hand and why we will talk in some specific detail about how to create an environment in the office that is conducive to effectively communicate with callers.

Along the lines of the internal environment, what’s happening in your mind, these are some concerns that we’ve heard over and over. We’ve talked and coached thousands of practice since 1989, and we’ve got a pretty good idea about the perspective of the dental team member. I think that’s obviously important because if we don’t have that perspective, then we really lack the credibility and the empathy which we talked about. We don’t practice what we preach basically.

So, I do want to go through a few things that are often mentioned, and some of them are not mentioned. They’re just believed by the team member, and these are some of them. They’re in no particular order, but I want to spend a little time of them.

Many people are perfectionists, and I will raise my hand and pled guilty to that as well. I’ve learned fairly recently that although it’s really counted as a virtue in our society, being a perfectionist is really not a virtue because perfectionism leads to a number of unintended consequences, one if which is procrastination. When somebody feels that they have to know something perfectly before they will attempt to do it like adopt a new telephone handling protocol, they’re unlikely to ever want to start or be able to start. They’re basically suffering from paralysis by analysis.

The other kind of interesting fact is that until you actually dive in and begin to practice something, you never really can perfect it because you’re not getting the data, the feedback that you need to know whether something you’re doing works or doesn’t work. So, we like to practice the 80-20 rule or a variation of it which is if you’re 80% confident you should dive in, and then you’ll get the next 80% within a reasonable period time. You’ll never be perfect anyway. So, don’t worry about it.

People also express the concern that this is not their personality, and I actually have a couple of viewpoints on this. Number one, when you go to a restaurant and you are given excellent service by a serve, you don’t really necessarily what kind of day they’re having. It’s not really so much a comment on their personality as their personal state of mind. We’re professionals, and we have to leave our personal baggage at the door. I think you all know that.

  • Mar 23 / 2014
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Get the Media to Do Your Marketing for You P7

I talked about those national talk radio program directors, the bosses. That’s just under 2000 contacts. I have since updated these and made them fresher, but they are the bosses. I continue to use it.  The last time I sent something out, I think I got 9 radio interviews.  So, for me, it’s now turning people away because I have a lot under my belt.

Then, I have this mixed group that I have in there, about 1600. So, in total, you’re talking about 7000 contacts. Obviously, you don’t always send it out to all 7000. You pick where you want to appear or what’s what, or maybe you just want to see who in there in your area is available. So, you have to have those media e-mails ready to go, either on Outlook or Constant Contact or somewhere where you can just write a quick e-mail and deploy it.

So, purchased elsewhere, it’s about $3500 to $5000.  Bogus, if you want to look into this, sells this.  They are probably close to $5000 the way they sell it, and Verell which is now called something else. If you search Verell, it will switch over to the new name that they call themselves, but Practice Perfection Focus today, $997. I wanted to sweeten things up and make it a real no-brainer for people. I want to add as much hand holding as I could today only. So, if you’re listening on a replay, I’ll let Danny figure that out, but I wanted to add in video.

I have a couple of DVDs where I literally go through if you’re going to have somebody on your team handle this and be able to be the person, the point person, for this to come together.  There are DVDs on how I even go more in depth on how to pitch the media, the template, what the media’s thinking. I have one more where I talk about that Guinness record interview. So, some people say, I want to replicate something big.” Fine, but the very least on your team if you want someone to watch how to pitch the media DVD, they’d be off and running.

Then, there are these great audios including right in the middle of the page there a media training primer. So, when you say, “Jess, this was good, but now I’ve got it, someone to say, ‘Yes’. Now what?” You can listen to this thing for an hour, and it’s going more in depth than we are going today into sound bytes and what I also call the answer system, how to be more in control during the answer portions. Then, interview public relations people, CNN producers, people who are experts in their field.  That’s all part of this kit about 9 discs. So, I’m including that. That’s a $1000 value. I’m just going to throw that in.

So, you get that Rolodex, the 7000 contacts, the two box sets which is really 3 DVDs, 15 audio CDs. That’s a $3000 total value because the contacts themselves could be $5000, but usually on my website I sell those three components for about $1000 each. So, today, altogether $997, and you get the hand holding, but I want to make it a no-brainer for everybody. So, I’m going to $497.


Danny Bobrow:

That’s what I thought. When you said $997, I thought we agreed to let people today get a good deal. Fortunately, I don’t think anybody turned off their calls. So, they’re hearing it.


Jess Todtfeld:

Well, my goal, and you know what? I really want people to succeed. I’m just going to put something on the screen here. Practiceperfection.com, you click Buy Now. It has the instructions. It’s there.


Danny Bobrow:

By the way, that’s the landing page so if you go to practiceperfection.com and you go to the top, it’s there. Just want to make sure it’s clear. You click on Buy Now, and you get to a shopping cart. You can select Jess’s offering which show the CDs and the DVDs and the book. So, it’s pretty straightforward. That’s just for today only just so you know. We need to give them a code, right?


Jess Todtfeld:

I mean they could buy it for $997 today, but I don’t think they’d probably want to. The promo code is “media115”.


Danny Bobrow:

Yeah, that’s going to be valid for the rest of today which is the 15th of January. If you’re interested it will go up to $997 because we don’t expect everyone to act today. Some people will take their time, and I think that’s okay with you, right, Jess?


Jess Todtfeld:

Yeah. It’s fine, and good luck to you figuring out how to offer that to people who are listening on the replay, but you’ll figure out.


Danny Bobrow:

Yeah, I just stated it. I timestamped it.


Jess Todtfeld:

Okay. So, we stated this was going to be around 90 minutes. We’re about to take questions, but I just want to say I really wanted to make this a no-brainer for people today. If you’re saying, “Gee. It would be fun to do interviews. I obviously realize how this could help my business,” you and I have talked about how this is nice major part of people’s marketing.

People always ask me all the time what PR is, and I always say it’s just another method for all the levels of your marketing. It’s just another angle to look at, the one that can be ping ponged around all of your social media. So, I hope that what I’ve given people today really has a lot of hand holding, and if people have burning questions, you also get my e-mail. I usually make sure people are up and running and started. So, you get extra support.

If you don’t like it, just return it, and I’ll give you your money back. I wouldn’t want to…


Danny Bobrow:

Well, I can tell you folks, if it’s not abundantly clear to you that Jess is the real article, in fact, he was the only one that was paid to appear at AOSH last year, and I just wanted to share that because our keynote speaker was Dr. Oz’s writing partner who does realpage.com. So, he offers a lot of value, and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to our people today.

We did get a number of questions. I do want to wrap things up.


Jess Todtfeld:

Let’s go through them. I know we reached around 90 minutes so we’ll keep it as close to that, but I want to go through that. So, go ahead. Give me some.


Danny Bobrow:

Okay. So, Boris wanted to know how much is too much, and I think in terms of explaining your offer to us, you talked about the 7000 and perhaps how you don’t need to and want to send everything to everybody all the time. So, I guess what he’s saying is there an optimum in terms of frequency and interval that you reach out to the media with the same subject, or when would bury this subject? How long would you wait before you sent out another pitch?


Jess Todtfeld:

For those getting started being in front of the media on a more consistent basis, I would say every two or three weeks, you could be sending out a story. Believe me. I can’t remember what I did three weeks ago. So, it’s enough time to feel like a lot of time has gone by, but how much is too much? On the contact side, it’s segmenting and deciding who you want to reach out to. They don’t know that you sent it out to thousands of people if it says, “Hi, Danny”. The way that I have people write the e-mails is it looks like everybody got an individual e-mail.

If the question is how much is too much publicity, well, you know at a certain point if you can’t meet the demands of your practice, that would be too much. You’re going to have a certain point where in very beginning, you get a couple, a little bit. Media people are starting to get to know you. They’re seeing you pop up. Then, you’re in the rotation. Then, they have you on their Rolodex, and they’re calling you from time to time.  It’s a great thing. Once you have 10, 20 outlets and you put that all over your website, talk about credibility. It’s exciting, and obviously, you can put it in the waiting room, play it in the waiting room.


Danny Bobrow:

I think just to clarify where I think Boris was coming from, I think I know because of all the conversations I have with doctors as clients, it’s certainly true that in marketing less is more, and you can inundate people. However, we often overstate the attention span of people, especially these journalists. They’re being bombarded with information. If you think they’re able to remember that this guy sent me something three weeks ago, too frequently, I don’t that happens. If anything, I would air on the side of more frequency, and I just want to move on because a lot of these questions that were asked have already been answered.

Stan asked a good question though which is if he is being left to his own devices, what is the value added of a third party endorsement? In other words, if Danny Bobrow was sending an e-mail saying, “Hi, I think he’d be great for this subject. What do you think?” Isn’t there some value in having someone else brag for you instead of bragging for yourself?


Jess Todtfeld:

Yeah. I mean if you were to work with a financial advisor, who somebody said this person did right by me or this person was good. If you were going to hire somebody, wouldn’t you want some sort of third party information that they’ve worked for me and they’ve done the right job and did what they needed to. Third party credibility even when you say, “I don’t know. Maybe someone’s going to pick my practice because it’s closer to their house.” I know I would much rather, in times that I’ve done both, I’d much rather pick a medical professional that I’ve heard about or I’ve heard, “Gee. Their office is so clean. They’re so nice and so helpful. They really did an amazing job. I love the people there.” Done, done if I heard something like that.

So, that’s obviously a recommendation. So, how does it end up being a third-party recommendation from the media? Well, if they’re saying that you’re the expert, that you’re great, that you know what you’re talking about, it’s certainly something that separates you from all the others that are out there, and you can work into the story.

You can say, “Hey, I have a patient that can talk about their experience.” So, now, the patient is talking about their experience in the media interview, but it’s eventually to your target audience because they’d be watching or reading it on your website.  So, I’m a huge proponent of using this method.


Danny Bobrow:

Excellent. I want to thank you very much again, Jess. I think the value and the immediate applicability of what you offer is self-evident. So, I want to thank you for that. I do just want to take control of the screen here so I can invite everybody who’s interested in subscribing and receiving invitations. Many of your obviously are to our future webcasts have done so, but for those of you who aren’t on our list, simply go to practiceperfection.com, and then scroll down and click on the Practice Perfection Educational Series webinar box. You will be taken to this form or this form, and you’ll be on the list.

So, again, Jess, thank you very much. I really enjoyed it. I’m sure our audience did as well. The attention span that we were able to measure here was very good. Nobody peeled off the call, just the last few minutes so congratulations and thank you.  Thank you all for your time. I know we ran a little bit late. I look forward to seeing you again at a future installment of Practice Perfection. In the meantime, this is Danny Bobrow thanking you for your commitment to Practice Perfection.


Jess Todtfeld:

Thanks, everybody.


  • Mar 15 / 2014
  • 0

Get the Media to Do Your Marketing for You P6

Once you sent it, you’ve released that. You don’t need to tell me that, and the content information could be at the bottom. It wasn’t even addressed to me, and because it wasn’t addressed to me, I know it was joke.  So, I can delete it and never respond to this person especially since I was confused by them. So, let’s move on.

Here’s a better one. Here’s one that I e-mailed to a radio station on behalf of a friend who is also a Guinness record holder. Subject line:  Re: Thought this memory expert would be good radio. Marked. I got them to read so it must have been good.  Of course they want to have good radio, and that’s actually a good industry jargon. “I think this guy would be great for you. He’s a world record setting memory expert.  He could give your listeners tips where you put your keys or how memory tips can help you keep your job in an up and down economy,” and I always end with a yes or no question. Any interest?

So, I have this whole thing called above the line and below the line. So, if you’re taking notes, this is something you can use all across the board, and Danny and I, I’m sure we must have talked about this along the way, above the line and below the line.  I remember we were comparing marketing techniques and things like that.  You’re marketing to the media so they’ll do the heavy lifting and put you up there.

Above the line is just something short. “Hey, I have something good. Would this work for you?” Yes or no question which only requires a yes or no answer, which means they might actually reply to you. Below the line is all of the neat.  There’s the picture there. There’s a big press release or a big article or here’s what I talk about. You put that all below the line because it gives a big feeling that you’ve sent a short e-mail even though the e-mail may be 10 pages long. So, it’s kind of a psychological thing.

When Tiger Woods had his little apology tour, remember he had the little situation with his wife and drove the truck all over the place and was all over the place? He was out there. He waited three months, and then, he just thought he would apologize to the world and his family and all of that. So, the e-mail subject line, Re:, attempt to use that here and there so they’ll open it up and it looks like we’ve been having a back and forth.

Only two times has a media person ever said, “Hey, I know what you’re doing.” I mean, we didn’t really have a back and forth, and they weren’t even mad about it. They just chuckled. “Available for Tiger Woods Story”. So, the subject line is one of the most important things you can do when you’re e-mailing the media to have get them to open it and be excited. This says POV inside or below, and they have to open it up.

When they open it up, this went by the name Schaefer. That was his last name. So, that’s how I had it set in my e-mail delivery system. At that time, I think I was even using Outlook. “Schaefer, do you need someone to talk about Tiger Woods today or tomorrow?” That’s a yes or no question.  PS, full info point-of-view below the line.

So, they get everything they want, and I’m even going to refine what I’m telling you now below the line. If you can have something that looks big like the headline, I chose that day, “Available for Tiger Woods interviews” because it was a big story, and notice that I had it all bolded.  The business of Tiger Woods. This way they can say it’s going to impact the business of Tiger Woods. They could start to visualize and think and feel and taste and smell what it is that I might be good for. So, use the headline. Take your name and make it a link so that you can put your bio, get that and go to your webpage, but that’s where your bio would go. It’s not taking too much area on the e-mail.

Then, I a section I always encourage is bullet points of your point-of-view. This is huge.  Now, where would you get some of these bullet points? From that long list you wrote out earlier, the actual things you might say.  So, here comes a big golden nugget for everyone who’s listening. So, take out that pen.

The golden nugget is media people need to know what you will say before you say it to know if they would want you on. So, if you said ways to become more kissable, and all the things that you say are sit down and meditate for two hours. Some of you might say, “Hey, this is a good idea.” Some people will be turned off by it. They need to know what you will say. “Stand on one foot and do these things,” they might not like that, but if you said, “Hey, try this technique. It really comes down to this mouthwash or not eating these certain foods or having this certain time in between when you’re going to meet this person or how to get rid of the smell of onions.” You put all those, but they need to know if you’ll bring the goods or will you not?

This is off the Guinness push about topics that we could include.  The best way to present yourself in a job interview, the best ways to present yourself at work, the best way to present yourself while speaking, Obama speaking style. So, you can even put bullet points in your topics, and that’s what we did and how we continue to try to push people during that whole thing.

So, if I were to give you a template and I’m giving it to you right now, my template for e-mailing the media is this: “Hi, First Name, would this story work for you?” You can even have it be that short and have everything else below the line. In between the lines as I notice I put two lines, you can even put a little bit of contact information, or you can put it all the way at the bottom. Have a headline, a subtitle, and point-of-view that Dr. Barry Freeburg can say blank.

Then, you follow up it with just the meat of what you have to say, either a big piece or article or any of those things.  Notice the subject line: “Hospitals save money. You might pay with your life” at a doctor who did some training and consulting for. He was saying, as an anesthesiologist, if you don’t have a brain monitor, if your anesthesiologist doesn’t use a brain monitor, then they are not monitoring what they are sedating, which is your brain, and this whole thing.  You could die or wake up not too good.

So, I want you to get the most from your exposure. That is really the big template for what you should do, and that combined with the Rolodex and have the right Rolodex are the two big components to get started and stay in front of them. You can send one or two e-mails.

I’m going to give you a little case study, and let’s see I have it loaded up here.  I’m just going to jump ahead to where I have a good little case study that you might like which is our former New York congressman, Anthony Weiner. Not too long ago, last year in fact, he decided to team up with his cell phone camera and you might remember he was taking pictures of himself in his underwear and such and sending it to women on Twitter, probably not a good idea.

So, now, you would think in terms of what that would equal. Well, for me it equaled opportunity. I used it as a big opportunity. So, here’s the e-mail that I wrote. Subject line: “Weiner fallout. Available media consultant”. So, this is right after this happened. This wasn’t when he stepped down, and he ended up stepping down. “Hi, Mike. If you’re looking for a media consultant to provide quotes on this story, representative story, let me know. Here are some things I might say.”

So, I sent this out to just my print list. I was busy that week. I said I don’t have time to go on the phone or do a TV interview. I’m just going to send to my print list.


Danny Bobrow:

Hey, Jess. I just have to ask. Is that a [01:12:42] over there?


Jess Todtfeld:

Which part? It actually was not.  It fell out of his clothing. Now, I’m thinking back. It wasn’t intentional, but it just happened to be the case, but it was all this fallout and these stories.


Danny Bobrow:

You’re that good.


Jess Todtfeld:

What was that?


Danny Bobrow:

You’re that good. You don’t even know it anymore.


Jess Todtfeld:

I didn’t know it. He was on Wolf Blitzer, and he was joking about it.  I didn’t know. He really did it.  It was horrible for him. Great for me. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I was going to do this story, and I was thinking if I wanted to do it. I was like, “You know what? It should be something they wanted to talk to me about.” So, I sent these bullet points of things I would say.

I want you to look up there from the second thing on the top.  This guy quoted all over the place. They loved it.  He can never totally get past this story. He was mortally wounded his political career, but that does not mean he cannot star at a reality show or host a program on CNN.

Now, why did that work? I used some of my sound bite elements which is mortality wounded, old action words. I said he can always start a reality show which is a pop culture reference to the fact that a lot of these fallen politicians end up getting their own reality show or being in a reality show. [01:14:19], he wanted to try to get into reality shows. Some of the others got programs on CNN. So, it was a little bit of pop culture reference. It was an attack.

These are some of the sound bite elements you can work into here. Just to give you a few, attack. Rhetorical questions are good as sound bites. I’d write these down. Humor if it’s not making you look bad in some sort of way. If in doubt, leave it out. It’s not a good idea. Analogies, using analogies. I worked with an emergency room physicians group, and they said the system is literally being held together by band aids. So, we had a nice little analogy, and it got picked up.  They used it.

So, just letting you know, this story, Anthony Weiner, it went to the Washington Post. It went to the Washington Times, Philadelphia Enquirer. Now, this is just one e-mail that I sent out initially. I said I sent two. Let me back up for a second. I want to share so many things. The Philadelphia Enquirer, they share their stories with other newspapers.  I did not know that. So, boom, instantly, I was in 15 more newspapers. Then, other people started seeing it. Then, Google started seeing it, and obviously I care about that.

Then, I sent out a second batch. Forbes.com put it in there. Vancouver Sun quoted me. Financial Times. The Atlantic. This is great. I can now put these logos on my website and say “As seen and quoted in…” all these outlets that you see on here, and these are obviously some of the best ones. That made me look great. Dallas News put me on there as well.

Now, [01:16:33] of the Washing Post said, “Jess Todtfeld is a media training expert…” One of the three articles they wrote about that wasn’t as great basically said, “He sent out this e-mail to publications, and it had all of these different answers. I noticed that other newspapers are just printing his answers verbatim. That’s not right.” Then, he went on to print every one of my answers verbatim.

So, I had all these people e-mailing me saying, “Good job. I can’t believe the guy was mad at you and wrote all your things,” but the best thing for you who are listening is I want you to have the person on your website, the person, the doctor the Washing Post calls blank. That would be great.

The Washing Times in that same push said, “The public relations mavens weigh in. Jess Todtfeld says…” So, now, in the right situations, it says, “Jess Todtfeld, the man that the Washington Times calls a public relations maven,” and I’ve used the heck out of that.

It really comes down to if you want to make strives today, you really want to get out there, and I really want you to get out there. It comes down to having a good Rolodex. If it it’s okay, Danny, I want to give an offer to people. You mentioned to people there would be some sort of offer. I want them to offer them my Rolodex and how that would work.


Danny Bobrow:

Yeah, absolutely, Jess. People that have attended our webcast, they know that we do occasionally cajole or coerce our presenters to offer something of value. I have to say you’ve taken it to a whole new level. What Jess has to offer he’s shown me. It takes a little explaining. I think it’s part in partial of the presentation because what he’s done today is shown you and given you some, as with most things. You can attempt to take them and run with them yourself, and many of you will. The alternative is to gain and advance deeper learning curve.

So, by all means, spend the time that we’ve got.  Let’s spend a little time to get to our callers’ questions because we do have a few. By all means, go right ahead, Jess. Thanks for asking.


Jess Todtfeld:

Perfect. I’m glad you’re watching and keeping an eye out on those questions because we want to get to that. So, yes, you want your e-mail list to go. If you would like to get a hold of my list I put together and worked very hard on, you can do that. I have segmented my print list. The exact campaign I used for that campaign with Anthony Weiner, I thought it was 2000, but I guess I have 2804 contacts there. I’ve since built it up a little bit. Literally, I send it out. If anybody bites, great. If not, then, on to the next story.

National TV. Some of you may say that’s kind of nice, especially when there’s a story out there like the American Heart Association.  They have somebody in Good Morning America. Some of you like the sound of that. So, about 1000 contacts for national TV.

  • Mar 08 / 2014
  • 0

Get the Media to Do Your Marketing for You P5


Danny Bobrow:

Well, I think the truth is while the interviewer would never say that, the people that make it easiest for them are the ones that get the leg up in terms of getting their message heard. So, they may not be lazy, but a lot of these people have a lot of tight deadlines, and it’s the one that’s easiest to work with, I think, not necessarily the authority.

I think that point is while it should be the most important factor, you don’t even need to be the best or the most knowledgeable about your subject. It’s a much bigger package than that in terms of how to benefit the person that you want to connect with I think.


Jess Todtfeld:

And if you have a sense of where you should be going with your conversation, you’re doing the most important work for them. Many of them, trained journalists have said, “A lot of people think that we’re asking gotcha questions, but it’s not gotcha questions. We’re just throwing out a bunch of things to see what sticks.” I’ve literally had a number of people who work on the national level even say that to me.


Danny Bobrow:

That relates so much to telephone skills. When a prospective patient calls the office, they’ll ask you how much a crown costs, or they’ll ask you if you accept their insurance plan.  You think about it. They didn’t wake up just deciding to get information on the relationship and their insurance company. They have a need. They’re just not in a position to articulate it which is why it’s important of your to take control, which is very much, I think, the same thing you’re saying Jess. While being respectful and not manipulative, you really want to gain control of this conversation. Don’t you?


Jess Todtfeld:

That’s it, and you want to be strategic it.  We’re thinking about the answers we want to deliver, and we stare at that sheet after we’ve written it. We say, “Wow. If I did this, it would be perfect,” and what happens is if we don’t have that game plan, we’re floating around. We’re talking about this. We’re talking about that. We don’t know where we’re going.

So, here’s how we make it even better.  We take that list after writing down.  They say, “Jess, why seven minutes?” Well, five minutes is too short.  As soon as you go over 10 minutes, it’s going to be turning into a thesis. We don’t want to do that either. So, I say in seven minutes, you can get the main ideas out of your brain. Can you refine it after that? Sure, I’m not going to stop you, but here’s what you do.

You have a minute to get the idea of this. We want to put them in three categories. You take a new sheet. As you see on the screen here, we turn it sideways. By the way, what I’m giving you right now, when I work with big companies, they pay thousands of dollars to have me sit there and do this stuff with them. Of course, we do the videotaping and rehearsals and all that stuff which, of course, I encourage all of you to try that, but you’re getting something completely big right now.

Okay. What we do is we take those answers, and we want to put them into three categories. We want to name those categories. We want to start looking for things that are common with the answers that you’ve written out. So, sometimes we notice that the person’s written down a lot of the problems, many problems that are out there. So, if we were talking about the segment for making yourself more kissable, some of the problems are your breath stinks; your teeth look funny. On the whole, don’t say you’re not approachable. These could be problems that you write down.

What are some of the solutions? When it comes to the whole package, you could say, “Well, I’m not a stylist.” Take somebody of the opposite sex who maybe knows more about it that you, as a man having done that, having taken my wife to go with me places or whoever knows more than you to fix that up. That’s one solution. Use what we offer for bad breath. That’s another solution. You could fill all those up.

Call to action. This is very important. A lot of times when people try that technique I’ve talked about where they write up all of the answers, they tend to write out many of the problems but not many of the solutions and no call to action.  So, when I have them take those answers and write them down into these three boxes, they start to realize, “Wow. I can really talk about the solutions, and it can be amazing. I could really be offering a lot of value to the people that are listening and exciting them, and the call to action is not just go to my website.” Call to action is telling them to do something.

So, it’s saying, “Ask yourself this question:  Do I want to be alive 10 years longer? Do I want to turn my spouse and friends off because I have bad breath?” You can put all these things into the call to action, and also for call to action, you can say, “I have a free video, report, free top 10 list on my website, and it tells people what they can do.” Now, I’m not even going to say the website. This is a technique called plugging without plugging. If I said, “Danny, it’s free to all of your listeners right now, and it’s on my website,” what would you be compelled to ask me?”


Danny Bobrow:

What is the website?


Jess Todtfeld:

“What is the website?” Exactly. Get them to pitch for you and do the plugging. You’re just giving the value, but you’re doing it as a call to action. Here’s the perfect example. By the way, before I take you to that example, these three topics can be facts or details on the first column. It could be benefits on the second column, and call to action I like as a third one.

I had a woman who had a diet book. One of the three categories was ease it.  She talked about how this was so easy. Maybe for people tuning in today, if you’re talking about a new procedure or something like that, maybe easy is one of the topics.  You don’t have to rearrange your whole life. If I’m talking about a new procedure, it can be done in a short one hour to two hour session.  You won’t be in any pain afterwards. You can go in and out of whatever you would be doing. So, maybe easy could be one of the categories, but here’s the reason for three categories. You want to a three-part answer every answer you give. Why would you want to do that?

If only one of your answers made it into a story, and that happens in print, you would have given a three part answer. You’ve done the job. You’ve given the problem. Using what you see on the screen here, you’ve given the problem a solution and asked them to act. You’ve done your job. Here’s the perfect little case study for that.

I had this guy, Anthony Pratt, who’s a big CEO from a company in Australia. He says, “Jess, I’m going to be on the Today Show in a couple of days,” and he was giving a $100 million actually to the Clinton Global Initiative. He said, “I just don’t want to do a bad job. I want to mention what I need to mention.” I said, “Okay. Let me ask you, are you going to be inside on the couch, or are you going to be outside with Al Roker?”

He said, “Actually outside with Al Roker,” as you see there. I said, “If anybody understands the idea of getting a three part message into every answer, it better be you.” I said, “You might only get one answer in.” As it turned out, he only got one answer in, and it wasn’t really problem, solution, call to action.  So, we really answered it for him. So, he needed to mention the purpose, the people who were helping and a part of it, and the last part was some version of call to action saying that he wanted other people to get involved. He mentioned his company name. He said it was a home run. He got everything that he wanted done by mentioning those things, and he only got one answer. Then, Ann Curry even ran over and kissed him on the cheek.

Yeah, this great marketing piece. She was like, “You’re giving money to charity,” and she kissed him. It was this great marketing piece that lives on on his website, and it’s terrific.


Danny Bobrow:

One of the keys that we offer to get people to schedule appointments, too, is when they’re asking information, we always have a three part answer. If they want to know about a crown, you can tell them about the convenient, expensive crown, perhaps more affordable alternative, and the third option is that fortunately we make it easy for you to come in and give the dentist the opportunity to actually diagnose and examine you so we can make an informed decision. That’s why we offer a complimentary meet and greet so you can see if we’re the practice for you. So, it’s like I’ve given you the information, and I’ve given you no reason not to come in.


Jess Todtfeld:

And that’s it. The beauty in the three is that you know where you’re going. I always call this the road map because if you’re off and you don’t know where you’re going or what you’re supposed to say, as long as you remember those three headings and you go to a problem or you get to the solution or you get people to act, you can start from any of the three. It’s just great. It takes a lot of the pain out of the interviews and gets people to be on track.

Now, I know we’re about an hour, and I have a lot of other exciting stuff I want to get to including the pitching part, very important.  Now, why did I start with the media training part and getting your messages together and talking about those headlines? Because I always like to practice what I preach. I talked about beginning with the end in mind.

The end is having you be more media ready, and you need to think like a media person. You need to have your answers together to know what you’re going to say before even doing a pitch.  So, I’d be doing a huge disservice if I started with this and you didn’t have a clear sense of what you wanted to pitch them.  Then, you went out there, and they said, “Sounds good. We’ll use it.” Then, you say, “Uh.” That wouldn’t work.

Okay. Pitching the media, what works, what doesn’t. This is an actual e-mail that came to me. I change the name and phone number to protect the innocent, but these are actual e-mails that came to me when I was a producer. So, here’s the subject line. Pay attention very slowly so you don’t make the same mistake. Subject line: “Is the US headed for a similar merger with Canada and Mexico?”

Alright, I did work on a morning show in one of the cable networks at that time, and I was paying attention to the news. From that subject line, it did not compel me to open it, and I had no idea what they were talking about. Similar to what? What is going on? Then, once I opened it, they clutter up what I call the first ifall of the e-mail with “For immediate release”. Of course, it’s for immediate release.  You just e-mailed it to me. It’s not 1910. Extra, extra, read all about it.