How do you acknowledge word-of-mouth referrals? How do you thank the referrer?

When someone thinks enough of you to refer one of their family or trusted friends, ignoring their kindness would be taken as an insult, and acknowledging their referral will encourage more referrals. It seems simple, but many dentists, surprisingly, just can’t figure out what to do. 

What do you think of this idea?
A printed card is sent to the referring friend with a lottery ticket inside. The outside of the card says, “You’re worth a million to us.” On the inside where the ticket is attached, it is inscribed, “We hope you win.”
On the other inside flap there’s a personal note from the doctor, “Thank you for referring (patient) to us.”
Small cost, great value. I hope you can send 5 of these every day.
Do you or a team member make calls, send cards,  flowers, gifts, movie tickets, dinner certificates, or something more creative? Or truthfully, are you taking the referrals for granted?

Don’t make this common mistake in purchasing a dental office:


“Wow, how lucky I am to find such a beautiful office at such a reasonable price!”

Aside from the salient features like price, size, appearance and whether there is an existing patient base, here are some other factors to discuss with your Broker. An experienced licensed real estate consultant is the most qualified person to help you get needed information to match yourself with a location designed for success.

  • Will the seller help with the transition of patients? Do you want him/her to?
  • What do you know about the employees you may be inheriting? Will you want to replace any of them?

  • What services are the prior patients accustomed to receiving? Will you be able to provide those services?

  • How long has this “opportunity” been on the market?
    What is the REAL reason the existing dentist is selling?

  • What is the ratio of Comprehensive services to Problem-focused only services?
  • What are the demographics of the area within 1, 5, and 10 miles? The age distribution, property value, etc.

  • How do my practice philosophy and my skills match up with the demographics of the area?

  • Are there any inefficient or incompatible systems in the administrative or clinical area?

What other factors would YOU want to know before making a purchase decision?


Your comments are welcomed.

“Are there any dedicated employees out there?”


“STAFFING WOES?” Sorry to hear that.
 Some of the most frequently heard complaints from dentists are concerning their staff:
“Why can’t I find a smart receptionist?”
“She’s only been here three months and she’s asking for a raise.”
“Aren’t there any dedicated people out there?” 
 John McKay was a very successful college footballl head coach with UCLA. He was hired to be head coach of the 1976 NFL expansion team Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After starting their first 26 games without a win, head coach John McKay was asked what he thought of his team’s “execution.” He replied, “I’m all for it.
Here’s an OUTLINE OF A PROCESS that assures a more successful and longer lasting relationship with employees. It will foster a mutually rewarding future for the doctor and the whole team. 
By the way, McKay’s team improved by the end of the 1970s, making the playoffs three times including an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in 1979

The solution starts at the beginning and lies in your Process of Recruiting, Inducting, and Managing.

 1. Locate your “Prospects” through your ad in the media. 

2. Have applicants e-mail you their resumes with cover letters. 

3. Call back the few “promising applicants” to make preliminary phone judgements.
4. Set up “working interviews” of undetermined length with “the finalists”. This will help you determine the prospect’s value and  thus, her/his starting pay.
5. Carefully review the job description and your expectations. 
6. Hire on a probationary three month basis with all recommended written safeguards. (Employment Practice Liability, etc., See footnote and link at bottom.)
7. Get on-going feedback from trusted team members. 
8. Conduct scheduled, periodic, one-on-one, quarterly employee evaluation meetings.
Remember that “experience” does not always = “skill”.
 ….. that “trainability” and having an open mind (growth potential) is crucial, because YOUR practice and YOUR expectations are much different from those of her prior employers.
…… that the “chemistry” between you, your other teammates, and the prospect is necessary. You will be spending more time with the new employee than with your spouse.
…….that you are the President and CEO of this team. Be a benevolent but firm, empowering, hands-on Leader.  Employee management is part of YOUR job.
I want to share this article by Ike Devji, JD, an attorney specializing in Employee relations:

Advance! Consulting

Celebrate Your Dental Office to Your Community

Chambers of Commerce provide a “Ribbon Cutting Ceremony” as part of your membership. A new (or established) dental office can plan a “Grand Opening” and invite key members of the community, influential neighboring businesses, and possibly a “celebrity” to draw more people.  THROW A PARTY!
The Chamber will provide publicity to all their members and they will send the Chamber “Ambassadors” to the event. They will photograph and publicize the event afterward. This is all at NO CHARGE to the Chamber member. Chambers of Commerce almost everywhere use the same technique. The new doctor can send out personal invitations to the local elected officials. If given enough advance notice, and a good personal invitation, you can bet that the Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Sheriff, City Manager,and Mayor and Vice Mayor will be there.  
The event takes about 2 hours, costs nothing beyond the refreshments or snacks, and ALWAYS gives a new dental practice a jump start. Some invitees make appointments right on the spot. Have your office team prepared to give office tours, be social, and MAKE APPOINTMENTS.  A Chamber photographer will take group pictures of the dental team posed with other dignitaries who attended.
The Chamber will publish the photograph in their next publication and forward a press release to your local neighborhood news journal. In both publications there will be a “bio”, written or edited by YOU. You will be able to have a copy of the photo for you own personally generated publicity.
The pictures and publicity keep on working for you ad infinitum. Can you imagine anything with a greater ROI?
The Ribbon Cutting ceremony can also be used for a 1st, 5th,  20th Anniversary, relocation, team addition, or any business-related celebration.