Growing Your Practice Through Patient Referrals

Naomi Cooper December 10, 2014

Growing Your Practice Through Patient ReferralsEveryone wants to know how to attract new patients. Dentists often spend big money on external marketing and promotional activities, but did you know one of the most effective ways of increasing new patient flow starts with your existing patient base?

Asking current satisfied patients to refer their friends and family to you is a relatively inexpensive way of promoting your practice, but for many dentists and staff, it is easier said than done. Here are 5 tips to help your practice start asking for more patient referrals in 2015:

1. The Marketing Mindset: The first hurdle that must be overcome is to shift your mindset. Asking for referrals doesn’t have to sound cheesy, desperate or sales-y. Remember, you aren’t selling snake oil; you are simply looking to provide the same high-quality dental care that your existing patients enjoy to others who will appreciate it!

2. Make It A Habit: Remember, marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not about asking every patient for a referral for the next week and then losing steam, it’s about making it an everyday practice for everyone on the team. Get the entire office on board and don’t forget to reward the team for results!

3. Practice Makes Perfect: Working the process of asking for referrals into normal patient conversations on an ongoing basis requires practice. Role playing between members of the team is a great idea, and working on verbal skills training for the entire practice can pay off huge dividends in the long run.

4. Ask For Reviews Too: Remind web-savvy patients that in addition to referring others to your practice, you also welcome them to share their experiences online on influential third-party patient review sites such as Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades.

5. Set A Team Goal (& Incentives!): “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines,” according to Brian Tracy, author of The Psychology of Achievement. Don’t forget to set new patient goals for the team and establish an objective way to measure results as you go. And finally, dangle the carrot! Whether in the form of individual spot bonuses or a team incentive, be sure to communicate to the dental team the reward that they will earn for a job well done.

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