Referrals- Top 3 Tips Addressing Patient Perception

Dentists ignore these top 3 tips on how to best ask for referrals all the time.

Why should you care?  Because dentistry is riddled with bad marketing practices, and instead of blending in with the crowd, it’s now easier than ever before to stand out.  You have to love the dentists that ignore these tips because, there they are, your competitors, making it easy for you to shine.

You can apply these tomorrow! Here are the top 3 tips on how to ask for patient referrals:

 

 

1. Thanking Patients who refer to your dental practice.  Have a system in place to thank those who refer to your dental practice.  I’m talking about every single patient, not just the ones you know personally.   Have a budget to reward referring dental patients.  It could be a bottle of wine with a handwritten note, or anything you believe the patient would most value.  If someone sends you a restorative or cosmetic dental patient, you don’t want to pinch pennies, here.  Given the lifetime value of a new patient, you want to create a lasting memory in the referring patient’s mind.

DON’T create expectations before hand by promising them a gift card or cash award for any future patients they might refer.  This creates a high expectation, and makes it hard to under-promise and over-deliver.  The whole point is to exceed expectations.  Promise your patients nothing ahead of time for referrals other than the best patient experience and optimal care for their friends and family.  Both the referring patient and the referral patient will respect you more for it, in the end.

The other problem with offering cash for referral cases is that it creates the perception that it’s all about money for you, not patient care.  Don’t be that dentist.  Be someone that stands out from the crowd by showing your patients that this is about their well-being, not your pocketbook.  Many patients feel dentists become dentists simply to make money.  Nothing reinforces this belief quite like the promise of a multi-level-marketing scheme, which is a close model to what’s being offered with cash-for-cases.

 

 

 

2. Take Notes on Patient Values.  Intake forms allow you the opportunity to learn a bit more than the average dentist about your new patient.  In my experience, patients actually like to talk about themselves and what they like or dislike on these forms.  Better yet, if they happen to mention in passing that they’re a Lakers fan, or follow a certain sport, make a note of it in the patient’s file.  This will allow you to pull up the information when the patient is referring to you, and they’ll think you have an amazing memory!

Better yet, they’ll feel that you truly care enough about them to take the time to address such things.  The more personal the gift, the better.  Do they like a particular brand of wine? Sports fan memorabilia is particularly memorable.  Get creative.  This is your time to separate yourself from the pack.

 

 

 

3. Free Marriage Anniversary Whitening.  Talk about unexpected!  If they have a 10th, 20th, or other milestone marriage anniversary coming up, they’re probably thinking about hiring a photographer or at least snapping a selfie while out to dinner.  Think of how meaningful it is to have perfectly white teeth for these photos!

It costs you a whitening kit less than $100, and if you schedule it during an open time in your assistant’s schedule, that’s all your out of pocket cost is.

Make a note of which patients refer to your practice and offer them all this deal.  While other dentists cheapen their appearance by shooting out mailers for free whitening to every Joe Schmo, you’re only rewarding those patients whom have the highest lifetime value.  Think of the conversations their white teeth will start!  Remember, this was a referral source before you gifted them.  Think of the evangelical reviews you’ll get when you offer this.  Even if the couple doesn’t take you up on the offer, they’ll never forget the dentist who did!

 

 

 

In Dental Marketing, perception is everything.  Be sure to create the optimal perception.  All that return on your investment for dental seo is depending on your relationship building with the dental patients that refer to you.