Gems Publishing - February 2020

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couldn’t just place an advertisement in the newspaper or tell his existing clients about this, hoping word would spread. He had to find a way to convince the demographic he was targeting that he really could offer them a preventive, useful solution.

And that’s exactly where Dr. Phelps found his answer.

to Dr. Phelps’ presentations about senior dental health. At the end of each talk, he told them about his Dental Savings Plan. Utilizing the lessons he learned from Dr. Cialdini, Dr. Phelps pulled out all the stops. His idea was perfect, his stage was set, and on the night of one of his first presentations, Dr. Phelps blew the audience away. His staff said he was amazing, and everything went great.

As Dr. Cialdini explained his principles of persuasion, Dr. Phelps felt the lightbulb in his head go off. He had been spinning his wheels, focused on what worked in the past instead of what was proven to work today. Note: Dr. Cialdini recognizes that his research could be used for unethical reasons, but that’s not what he preaches. Instead, Dr. Cialdini asks leaders to ask themselves three questions before using his principles.

Dr. Phelps still faced the same issue. How was he going to rescue his practices?



How many plans did he sell?

In order to find the root (no pun intended) cause of these practices’ pains, Dr. Phelps sought help wherever he could find it. He registered for a workshop with Dr. Robert Cialdini. You may know Dr. Cialdini as the author of the book The Harvard Business Review called one of the best business books of all time, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” Dr. Cialdini is a world-renowned psychology expert who researches and teaches others on persuasion techniques. As a Regents Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, Dr. Cialdini has done extensive research to develop six (now seven) principles of persuasion. When applied effectively and together, these principles drive results, according to Dr. Cialdini’s research. (Keep reading to see the proof!) Those seven principles are …


1. Is it true and honest?

But he didn’t give up. Dr. Phelps continued to offer good conversation, free wine, and his presentations to retirement communities across North Carolina. Soon, word spread. Dr. Phelps’ presentation was the hot ticket in these communities. In short order, he was selling dental plans to new patients who heard about the program from attendees who hadn’t even signed on as patients. That meant Dr. Phelps was getting referrals from people who weren’t even his patients (yet). Over the course of one year, Dr. Phelps sold 947 Dental Savings Plans, approximately 35–45 each month. Dr. Phelps raked in $1,460,274 in additional revenue, and his two practices saw two years of 40% growth. Today, Dr. Phelps has refined this technique into a seamless operation, offering additional perks for those who attend the events. Sure, he has his chronic attendees who only want to show up for the free wine. But that doesn’t limit the merit of his message … nor does it stop these attendees from telling others about what he can offer. And it certainly hasn’t diminished the POWERFUL results Dr. Phelps created for his now-thriving practices. To learn more about creating laser-focused target marketing to attract more new, fee-for- service patients, call your Personal Concierge to set up a meeting with your Gems Coach today. Hear Dr. Phelps’ entire presentation on this Gem at SITE MAP ADVANCED MARKETING BRAIN TRUST 031 Senior Community Wine and Cheese Event.

2. Is it natural to the situation and not staged?

3. Is this a win/win for both sides?

If you cannot answer these questions, you may need to rethink your strategy or motives. Dr. Cialdini refers to the use of his principles as “ethical influence.”


Dr. Phelps and his wife ventured on a Napa Valley Tour at one point, and, along the way, Dr. Phelps signed up for wine clubs at nearly every winery. At the time, it was a great idea! Who doesn’t love wine delivered to their house every month? When the crates began to show up, Dr. Phelps had a different perspective. What was he going to do with all this free wine? Dr. Phelps took the lessons he had learned from Dr. Cialdini, the wine that kept showing up at his doorstep each month, and his mission to provide affordable dental care to retirees straight to the source: Go directly to retirement communities. Once every quarter, Dr. Phelps and his team presented at local retirement communities, where Baby Boomers were thriving and living together in one space. They invited the community to a wine and cheese night, where Napa Valley wines were paired with the perfect cheeses. Attendees were treated And that’s when the two problems converged into ONE solution.


Reciprocity : When we receive something from someone, it's in our DNA to want to give something back.

2. Liking : It’s simple. People want to buy services from people they like.

3. Consensus (Social Proof): With so many decisions to make every day, we depend upon shortcuts based upon what others have done in a similar situation.

4. Authority : Be the expert on your topic and provide expert opinions.

5. Consistency : Make a commitment and actively pursue it. (P.S. This is what Dr. Phelps felt his practices were lacking!)

6. Scarcity : The harder it is to get, the higher the perceived value.


Unity : We crave connection. Using connecting language links you to others.

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