BY DR. MARK MURPHY, DDS, FAGD
Many of you have heard me speak about ASKING existing great patients for referrals. It is not my idea specifically, it is the outcome of dozens of surveys that all say the same thing. Although external and internal marketing can be effective, in every survey I have seen, the number one source of good new patients is existing patient referrals. So how do we get more? Here are three steps that have produced excellent results in every practice that has used them.
1. ASK. The most important step is to simply ask great existing patients who you like for referrals. I suggest practices identify in the huddle good candidates, have a script or design flow for the conversation and then keep track of who they asked (so they don’t ask again in 6 months). You may have your own way of asking that has worked in the past, if so Just Do It…MORE! If not, we have used personalized variations of the following with great impact. “Mr. Jones, good to see you, hope everything is going well with the dentistry we did for you. By the way, can I ask your help with something? You know, I am not trying to be the biggest or busiest dentist in YOUR CITY, in fact, if everyone who lives here decided to come to me, we couldn’t possible see them all. So, whether we like it or not, we must be a little selective. That’s where you come in. We have enjoyed working with you, and the favor I would ask is, if you should happen to know anyone who you think would be right for our office, would you give them one of our cards?” Extending a few cards towards them. Works every time…not necessarily right away, but people who like you will refer their friends if you ask.
2. WEBSITE. Have a pleasant looking, educational website that makes you, the team and the office look good! In a recent survey, 87% of patients who were referred to a dentist all did the same one thing before calling. They Googled that dentist. It doesn’t mean they did not trust the referrer, rather, this is how we confirm things today.
3. REVIEWS. The lifeblood of the confirmation process potential patients is reviews. Have them, encourage them, monitor them and promote them. The same survey referenced above said that 66% of the patients who Googled the dentist were looking for reviews too. Many scheduling platforms have review generating capabilities. If not, ask patients to check in online at Facebook, leave a review on Google and/or write a brief testimonial you can publish.
Do these three things well and often and your schedule will not just be fuller in six months, it will have more of the right kinds of patients you and your team enjoy.
Mark T. Murphy, DDS, FAGD Mark is the Principal of funktionaltracker.com and Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at MicroDental Laboratories and ProSomnus Sleep Technologies. He also serves on the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy and oversees the Practice and Financial Management Curriculum at the Pankey Institute. He lectures internationally on Leadership, Practice Management, Communication, Case Acceptance, Planning, Occlusion, TMD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Mark has been involved in Sleep Dentistry for over 25 years, is an AADSM member, and has trained with several of the leading sleep dentists and training institutes. He is an informative and entertaining speaker, blending a stand-up style of humor and anecdotes with current evidence based research that you can take home and use in your practice right away.