The best advertising you can get is word-of-mouth. But how do you get your patients to refer their friends and families to your office?
In this video, we explain the steps you can take to generate more new patient referrals.
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We all know 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident gum. But how many of your patients would recommend YOU as a dentist?
Word-of-mouth advertising is absolutely the best marketing you can have. The problem is, you can’t buy it, you have to earn it.
Hi, I’m Alison Micheletti, Senior Dental Marketing Strategist at Golden Proportions Marketing, the most experienced dental marketing company in the country. Earning referrals may seem hard, but I have some tips to get your patients to send their friends and family your way.
Set expectations… then exceed them
For people to know if you’re consistently going above and beyond, you need to clearly set the bar in terms of what they can, and should, expect from you. And then leap over it.
There are three important areas where you need to make sure you wow them.
Delivering the highest level of dental care is obviously a priority for you. But make sure your patients know that. Clearly state your values and principles on your website so they have no doubts that they can expect quality service.
Patients are more concerned now about safety than they have ever been. Remind them of the infection control standards you have always had in place, and then detail your new policies and procedures you have implemented since reopening.
In addition to infection control upgrades, your office may have made some recent improvements that will make appointments easier for patients. If you can promise more convenient appointment scheduling, extended hours, online bill paying, or more affordable care, then by all means let your patients know the new benefits they can expect. This will be your biggest opportunity to impress them, so make sure you can deliver.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Asking for a referral can feel awkward, but remind yourself that if you consistently provide excellent service, exceed expectations, and help people with their dental health needs, you DESERVE referrals. Also remember that patients WANT to refer others to your practice if they believe in you. One study found that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer their friends, but only 29% of them actually do. So don’t be afraid to ask.
Timing is also important. Your best opportunities to request referrals are the moments when your patients realize and acknowledge that you have pleasantly surprised them. That will most often be at the end of an appointment, but you can create those moments as well. Send a follow up survey to ask the patient what they thought of their visit. If their response is positive, remind them how much you would appreciate a recommendation to others who could benefit from your services.
Make it easy and gratifying
The smoother your referral process is, the more successful it will be. Referral cards or cards featuring an exclusive new patient promotion are easy for your patients to hand out and will create opportunities for them to be helpful. By the way, did you know that over 90% of Americans would be happy to share an exclusive offer with their friends and family?
If your state allows it, adding some incentive for your patients to make referrals by offering a small token of appreciation can also boost responses. Offering a reward increases the likelihood of a referral, but the actual size of the prize doesn’t really matter. Something as simple and thoughtful as a bottle of hand sanitizer can do the trick.
Whether or not you reward your patients for referrals, it’s always a good idea to send them a thank you note right away and mention your appreciation again in person the next time they visit the office.
Thank them for the referral. And thank YOU for watching!