By Timothy A. Brown
A family member received a letter last fall announcing the sale of a dental practice. Our company did not act as the broker for the selling dentist. I recognized the name of the purchaser because I happened to have met her last spring when she was starting her search for a dental practice. A lovely person with a
great attitude. She found the right opportunity for her through one of our competitors and she completed the sale. When I saw the letter announcing her name as the purchaser and the retirement of the previous owner, I was shocked at the terrible quality and the lack of sensitivity. It was one of those
traditional “dear patient” letters and it was photocopied on low quality paper with a photocopied signature of the outgoing dentist. And the overall message was bland. No energy! Nothing to make a patient feel ‘good’ about the change. It was also insensitive to long-term, loyal patients who at least
commanded the simplicity of striking out the “dear patient” and writing in their first name because they were friends with the dentist. An opportunity missed.
I felt obligated to reach out. So, I did just that. I called her and said that I was disappointed in the letter and that it could have been written and presented in a much better format. She conceded that it was the staff that made all the arrangements and that she just let the process flow. I reminded her that as the
new business owner (who is now heavily invested) that she should take the lead on these matters. I did not reprimand her, but I made it clear that our firm would have recommend strongly against the lowenergy message and the quality of the mailing.
In addition, the letter announced an open house at the practice and because I had been to that practice a number of years ago, I cautioned her that it was quite small and the facility itself was extremely dated and that I did not think it was the right place to hold a reception. I asked if she renovated since she took
over, which might have changed my opinion, and she said no.
That is when I stepped up my game. I said “Dr., cancel this event. We will find a much better facility and we will do a second mailing to the patients announcing that due to overwhelming demand, we had to delay and move the reception to a larger facility.” I offered to host it at my country club in an effort to
help her communicate with her patient base that she is a classy individual and that they are worthy of a reception at a nicer facility than a very dated (wood paneling!) 1980s dental office.
She agreed with most of my observations, but decided to let the reception proceed. It transpired last month. At the end of the event, she sent a message saying “it went very well today, but Tim I’m really looking forward to the much bigger and better event that you are going to help me plan for the Fall of
2020.” My firm did not sell the practice to this young lady, but she is the kind of individual I want to work with. She accepted my advice and now we are going to help her deliver an impression and a message that is worthy of her style and also to show some respect for the outgoing dentist.
I am paying it forwards. I believe she will tell a lot of people that the broker who sold her the practice offered no help or advice on this very critical event. Do not underestimate the significance of a Career Celebration. I will co-host an elegant function at the Missiissauga Golf and Country Club which will
commensurate with her style and suits the well-established patient base. It is never too early to plant seeds in my business even if it’s too late to reap a harvest. Timothy Brown is Chief Executive Office of ROI Corporation Canada’s national professional practice and brokerage firm.Timothy Brown is Chief Executive Office of ROI Corporation Canada’s national professional practice and brokerage firm.