The Well-Dressed Physician — Why Your Presentation Is Just as Important as Your Staff’s (Trust-Based Marketing 101)

I have this theory about shoes. Since I was about 10 years old, I’ve been able to look at people’s shoes and tell, almost instantaneously, what kind of personality they have, what likes they have and even where they fit on the social scale. For example, a businessman who wears a high-quality Italian leather shoe, black in color with a squared off toe and a slight patterning around the laces, tells me this person takes great pride in his appearance, that he’s interested in looking fashionable, but not necessarily slavishly following all the trends. He’s likely a lateral thinker with a good dose of creativity, he likes to be admired (appearance is very important) and…he’s a man who’s going places, with a very good dose of ambition. Yes — all this in a 5-second assessment of his footwear. Contrast this with a doctor in a white coat who’s wearing just a plain black pair of well-polished, but otherwise unremarkable, leather loafers with a rounded, slightly bulging toe. The laces are thick black cotton and the soles are rubber with a decent tread. This is a practical man who is likely very much a left-brain thinker. He values both routine and simplicity, and, depending on the exact shape of the toe of his shoe, he might also be very unhappy with his career choice. I know that all this might sound completely ridiculous. But so far, my shoe theory has only been proven wrong once over the last 25 years. I bring it up to raise the point that what you look like, and how you present yourself, is of critical importance to your patients. You are in the business of beauty. It’s not just your staff’s presentation that you’re being judged on, but even more so — your own. While you don’t have to win any beauty awards, you do need to present yourself in the best light possible because, like it or not, your patients are looking at your skin, your hair, your teeth, your clothing and, yes, your shoes — the whole lot — to determine whether you’re authentic in your quest to help them look more beautiful.

Would you trust a dentist with bad teeth? A hairdresser with greasy locks or bad color? Or how about a car salesman who tells you that Audi is the greatest car maker in the world, but it turns out… he owns a brand new Mercedes?

The bottom line is that you have to drink your own Koolaid. No, that doesn’t mean you need to be contemplating having a facelift, but at the very least, start using fillers and Botox and paying extra attention to your clothes, hair and teeth. I recently attended a Plastic Surgeon’s conference in New York. Over the course of 3 days I probably shook hands with over 300 physicians, the vast majority of whom seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that they’re their own best walking billboard for their practice. Actually, your wife or significant other is the best billboard for your practice (because it’s automatically assumed to be your work); however, don’t think for a minute that prospective patients aren’t eyeing you up and down to see if your notion of beauty accords with their own.

How you look is vitally important for building trust with prospective patients. Trust-based marketing is all about consistency.

The good news is that no matter how genetically blessed you might or might not be, a good haircut, a great suit and (of course) a fantastic pair of well-made shoes will make all the difference.