Bentley Motors reported better sales results for the first quarter of 2014, building on the record sales for 2013 of 10,120 cars, a 19% increase on the previous year. These are not just being shipped to China and Russia as sales in Europe as a whole were up by 12 per cent to 1,333 cars. Even staid old Rolls-Royce sold 3,575 cars, a ten-fold rise on the 300 sold in 2003.
Now, in Bentley’s own words, the Mulsanne is a car that makes the joy of driving its central focus. Whether you are behind the wheel or as a passenger, every journey is an event. Within its sumptuous interior time can seem to stand still, for the Bentley Mulsanne is laced with power; enabling its occupants to drive, relax, converse and enjoy themselves in impeccable style, at remarkable speeds. The idea of making every experience with the car ‘an event’ is selling the profound combination of luxury and amazing technology to many buyers.
I am unlikely to ever own a Bentley Mulsanne, as Father Christmas forgot mine again this year, so what has this got to do with dentistry?
Extremes of Economy
We have been told this week that unemployment is at it’s lowest for years and that the economy is at it’s strongest for years. The escalating sales of luxury goods is also an indicator that for many people at the upper end of society the recession never happened. There is also an upsurge in the general economy that is enabling a lot of other people to think about luxury buying too. Of course, we all know friends and colleagues who are struggling, but the signs are that in general there are less of them.
I have spent a lot of the last few years working in the Private sector. It used to niggle me that ‘well off’ people didn’t thank me or show gratitude in the same way that ‘ordinary’ folk do. However, I’ve come to realise that they are showing me thanks by paying invoices on time and without argument, it’s just a different way of showing it. In this changing climate, it would seem logical to now be marketing Private healthcare, or at least not being shy about telling patients about the less than basic things we might have to offer. As is obvious, there are people out there who will pay to have the best of everything.
It would also be logical to take a leaf out of the Bentley book and provide a luxury experience for our patients, to make the patient journey an ‘event’. It’s something that I know a lot of practitioners try to achieve, but sometimes there are compromises to make if the practice is mixed NHS/Private or if the majority of patients are not able to afford the sort of fees that would make it possible.
The current NHS contract is difficult to work with and I have heard some people say it is ‘not fit for purpose’. There is no longer an ethical or moral dilemma about being a Private provider, because there is a distinct possibility that you can provide better health care and more choices. If you can justify this to yourself, then it opens up more possibilities for your business, but why just stop at this, why not aim higher?
In the end, there is only one way to do this properly and it involves a big leap. A leap of faith and a commitment to providing a standard of clinical care that is streets ahead of the average. To beat the competition, you have to be better. If you think you can make that change, there is no better time to ‘go private’!