According to a series of TV commercials I recently watched, satisfying primary relationships only exist if you chew a particular brand of gum, eat certain fast food or purchase specified car parts.

Why did I waste so much of my youth (and adulthood, let’s be honest) reading self-help books (I recommend ‘The Shy Single’ by Bonnie Jacobson), attending meetings of Co-Dependents Anonymous and working through the dark recesses of my psyche in therapy to improve my chances of finding The One and maintaining True Love?

When all could be had for, say, the price of a pack of chewing gum?

Having taken the long, high and more expensive road to enjoying healthy and functional relationships, I would feel a little foolish if it weren’t for one thing; the buying, selling and sharing of material goods and services does not guarantee intimacy. Unless you offer me free lifetime membership and tickets (home and away) to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club games, in which case I will reconsider.

So, other than winning my affections with gratuitous and eternal access to Spurs fixtures, why promise the very things that money generally can’t buy to entice myself and other good folk to buy products?

Because it works. And according to clever psychologically minded people, once our basic physiological needs for food, clothing, shelter and security are satisfied, we are motivated by higher level needs relating to love, belonging, self-esteem, learning, beauty, self-fulfilment and transcendent spiritual experiences.

Simply put, most people are not particularly interested in the superior specifications of your restorative materials, your low radiation digital radiography, your high resolution operating microscope or even your stringent infection control protocols. Sure, you may be justifiably proud of these important features describing your services. But for effective marketing, your communications must answer the one and only question your patients are really asking:

‘What’s in it for me?’

When promoting your products and services, think in terms of the power, pleasure, profit, prestige and other associated benefits they bring for your patients.

A tooth whitening kit is not simply a set of carefully crafted, custom fabricated trays with professionally prescribed gel (its features). It is a sensational smile brightening system that transforms career confidence, social success and brings lasting luck in love (its benefits).

An endodontic treatment is not just a highly technical, rubber dam isolated, operating microscope guided procedure (its features). It is your patients’ passport to lasting comfort, smile saving security and peace of mind (its benefits).

And a stick of gum is not merely a sweetened, flavoured, food grade comestible designed to be chewed. It is a mighty, minty, magical, masticated marvel that attracts interesting people and makes love blossom.

Isn’t it?

For all of us dentists and for our very patient patients who read what we write and need what we offer, I remain, writing for dentists, at your service.

P.S. For more exclusive writing wit and wisdom and a free copy of my e-booklet ‘WRITE YOUR OWN WEBSITE’ sent directly to your email address (which will not be shared or used for any other purpose), contact me:

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