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Using the science of persuasion in dental marketing

science of persuasion in dental marketing

It’s no secret that marketing is all about persuasion. After all, the goal of marketing is to persuade people to buy your product or use your service. But what is the science of persuasion? And how can you use it to improve your dental marketing? That’s where Dr. Robert B. Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, comes in. First published in 1984, the book has been hailed by marketing experts as a seminal work on the science of persuasion. In this article, we explore the principles and science of persuasion in marketing – and how it can help your dental practice.

What is the psychology of persuasion

In the book, Dr. Cialdini outlines six principles of persuasion. They are:

  • Reciprocity
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Social proof
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Scarcity

Dr. Cialdini identified these principles based on his observations of successful salespeople. He found that the most successful salespeople tended to use one or more of these principles when persuading people to buy their products.


The reciprocity principle is based on the idea that we humans are hardwired to reciprocate acts of kindness. In other words, if someone does something nice for you, you will want to repay them in some way.

This principle can be used in marketing by offering a freebie or discount to your potential customers. For example, you could offer a free consultation, free toothbrush for new patients, or some other freebie. This will make a patient more likely to proceed with treatment.

Commitment and consistency

The commitment and consistency principle is based on the idea that we humans are more likely to follow through on our commitments and be consistent with our words and actions. In other words, if we say we’re going to do something, we’re more likely to actually do.

Use this principle in sales and marketing by asking your patients to commit to regular dental cleanings. For example, if you can get a patient to make a return appointment before they leave the office, they are more likely to follow through on that commitment.

Social Proof

The social proof principle is based on the idea that we humans are more likely to do something if we see others doing it. For example, if we see our friends and neighbors using a dental service, we’re more likely to use it ourselves.

This principle can be used in marketing by asking your patients for testimonials and reviews. You can use testimonials and reviews on your website, in your office, or in other marketing materials.


The authority principle is based on the idea that humans are more likely to do something if we’re told to do it by an authority figure. Additionally, looking/dressing the part can help to bolster someone’s opinion of you as an authority figure.

In other words, if our dentist tells us we need a dental treatment, it is more powerful than if someone who was not an authority suggested we need dental treatment. Wearing a smock will make you look like an authority figure, and people will see you as authoritative and trustworthy.


The liking principle is based on the idea that humans are more likely to say yes to someone we like. Additionally, humans tend to like other humans that are more like them.

In other words, we can make people more likely to like us if we can show them how we are similar. Additionally, if we have a positive relationship with someone, they’re more likely to do what we ask.

Build relationships with your patients by using this principle. For example, you should immediately look for similarities between you and your patients and talk about those similarities. If we have built a good relationship with them, we are more likely to get compliance for good oral hygiene.


People value things that are rare or in limited supply. The idea behind the scarcity principle is that humans are more likely to want something if it is scarce, or even just perceived to be scarce.

By stressing the limited availability of your product or service, you are using the scarcity principle. For example, maybe you have limited slots for new patients at your practice because your skills are in high demand. You could use this to your advantage by stressing how difficult it is to get an appointment with you.

Use the science of persuasion in dental marketing and sales

Every time you come up with a new sales technique or dental marketing campaign, you should use the science of persuasion.

By understanding and utilizing these six principles of persuasion, you can improve your marketing efforts and see better results. Keep in mind that persuasion is a science, not an art, so there is always room for improvement. If you’re not already using the science of persuasion in your marketing, now is the time to start.

If you are looking to learn more, check out the book, but here is a short video that will also go over some of the ideas as well.

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