You are now a master of the 80/20 rule. You now know the importance (the why) of building your network instead of relying on a broker. You understand the principle but now you are likely curious how to put it into practice. How do you approach a seller directly?
Let’s first talk about the when. The best time to build your broad, deep network of gray-haired dentists is in your first year of dental school. Already beyond that point? Don’t stress just yet; the next best time to start is today.
Before a million thoughts race through your mind, slow down a bit and think through how you are going to do this. Once you find an office that catches your eye, you may want to skip the frills and directly ask if they’re interested in selling. In theory, you can ask the seller, right out of the blue, if they want to sell their practice to you. Although you can, it doesn’t mean you should.
This is a little like proposing on the first date; occasionally you hear a success story and they’re still married 40 years later…occasionally. Most of the time, it’s a funny story your date will tell friends for years to come. We’re here to make sure you’re not the butt of a joke!
The dentist you are approaching was once you: young, eager, hopeful, and hardworking. Forty years later, they have nourished this practice into something that’s worth catching the eye of the new kid on the block. No, not Donny. You…and many others like you.
How can you stand out above all the rest? It comes down to simple human nature. One thing we all like is to feel like we have something important to offer. It’s even better when we feel like someone wants to hear what we say. Instead of going right for the jugular and requesting to purchase, ask the doctor to be your mentor.
Think of it like your mom. When she poured her blood, sweat and tears into a Thanksgiving meal for you (and 8 others), should you have said “Hey, looks good. I want the leg”? Or maybe should you have instead said “Wow, Mom this is a great dinner! I love that way you arranged the deviled-eggs like a turkey. Can you teach me that sometime?” Who do you think will get a bigger slice of pie for dessert?
Come to the doctor with sincerity and humility. “Wow! How did you get 900 positive Google reviews?” Listen to the answer and sprinkle a little “That’s an incredibly smart approach” and top it with a cherry by saying “Will you teach me?” And once again, let me insert the key word: sincerity. You should want to learn from these grey-haired dentists, since they have not only a practice possibly worth buying, but also decades of experience that can help you in your own career.
Once you have that connection the door is open. THEN you can mention that you’re looking to buy and you can ask them if they know of anyone. Most of the time, the seller has been chewing on the idea of selling but just hasn’t felt comfortable letting it go…until now. Now they’ve met you: a teachable, sincere, smart young buck ready to carry on the legacy of the office.
As long as I’m spilling my secrets, I may as well give you one more tip: be indiscriminate. Cast your net wide. Though I encourage sincerity, keep in mind that you’re not looking for life-long friends. You’re looking for knowledge about the market-place and an inside track on opportunities in your target area.
It may take a couple tries to get this down but just like anything worthwhile, it’s worth it. How many hours did you spend in the lab making crowns? How was your first crown compared to your fifth? Building your network and approaching Sellers directly is a skill and hard one at that. You’ll learn this hard skill and you’ll be the one that finds the good practice to buy.
Tune in next week to hear what I have to say about mass mailers.
4 Things NOT to Say in Your First Meeting | Evaluating a Dental Practice to Buy
How to find a dental practice for sale (it’s simple, but not easy)
Why Sellers Sometimes WILDLY Overvalue Their Practice – And What To Do