- 2 Minute Read -

You might think that an odd title for a blog. Frankly, all of my blogs are about getting you, new patients!

But this particular blog is about Dr. Robert Cialdini's third key to persuasion: consensus. The principle of consensus is that people decide what is appropriate in a situation by examining what others like themselves are doing in that situation.

So, for instance, if you sat in the students' section of a college basketball game while you were an undergrad or graduate student, you may have stood up and clapped, screamed, cheered, booed and heckled because all the other students around you were doing it.

Big-ticket boosters probably weren't doing that. Neither were families with children. And you probably wouldn't do it now.

But at the time, you were part of the group doing what others like yourself were doing.

During a recent webinar, Dr. Cialdini told the story of how the British tax collection agency decreased the number of delinquent taxpayers simply by saying, "90 percent of people in your town pay on time" on the tax notices.

Think about that. People who were unafraid of breaking the law and incurring fees and penalties changed their actions because of perceived peer pressure.

They thought, "Now that I know I'm one few not doing paying, I guess I had better pay too."

Using consensus to your advantage

How powerful would it be if you could show potential patients that they are just like your existing patients?

At SmartBox, we encourage all of our dentists to add video testimonials to their website. But remember: one of the keys is that the patients have to resemble the patients you want to attract. I call this "the mirror effect."

So if you want to attract an older group of patients, that is who should dominate your testimonials. If you want young affluent families, that is who should dominate your testimonials.

Diversity is great if you want to reach out to a diverse community. But if you are targeting certain demographics (age, income, location), that is who you should reflect most in your testimonials.

Word of mouth (in the digital age)

Another great way to emphasize consensus is to make sure you have highly rated Google reviews. When potential patients see that other people like themselves (at least from the same area) think highly enough to give an online review, they feel more comfortable choosing you as their dentist.

That's why we offer two review systems, one for Google and the other for Yelp, that will get patients to flood Google with authentic positive reviews.

This also would be an opportunity to attract people to your social media. What better influence than to see their "friends" singing your praises?

So this gets us halfway through our list of Dr. Cialdini's six key principles of influence:

  1. Reciprocation: People feel obligated to give to those who give to them.
  2. Liking: People prefer to say yes when they know and like someone.
  3. Consensus: People decide what to do based on what other people like themselves do.
  4. Authority: People want to follow the advice of experts.
  5. Consistency: People want to follow through on their written and verbal commitments.
  6. Scarcity: People want what they perceive to be in short supply.

Next time I'll show my expertise on authority.

On an unrelated note...

Let me wish my blushing bride Amanda a wonderful and happy Valentine's Day. If you haven't done so, be sure to do the same for your significant other.

Feel free to comment on anything you have read.


Written by rcarroll