The “Reciprocal Referral” is an effective method to build a strong referral-based dental practice, and the opportunities are always right in front of your eyes. Many of your patients have businesses or services that you can use either personally or in the dental office.
I have seen exceptional networking returns by a dentist who purchases a weekly delivery of fresh flowers for his Reception Room. (The Florist and husband are loyal patients and they consistently refer many of their own customers.)
Another dentist “thanked” a referring patient who is an IT specialist by having him set up an office computer system in 5 operatories, private office and business office. That patient referred nine additional families over the next six months.
Some other examples of Referral Acknowledgement by Reciprocating that have produced well for my clients were with a plumber, a commercial printing company, a realtor, and even with an attorney. In all these cases, both the doctor and the referrer were exceedingly pleased with the results of their networking.
“Scratching each others’ backs.” 
You are quite familiar with the phrase “A referral is a compliment from a patient or a friend.” That compliment can’t be ignored. When someone thinks enough of you to refer one of their family or trusted friends, ignoring their kindness would be taken as an insult, while acknowledging their referral will encourage more referrals. It seems simple, but many dentists, surprisingly, just can’t figure out what to do.
Do you or a team member make calls, send cards, flowers, gifts, movie tickets, dinner certificates, or something even more creative? Or truthfully, are you taking the referrals for granted?
In your next TEAM meeting, mastermind a Program of Acknowledgements. What is one referral worth to your practice? How would you thank a patient, friend, or associate who refers 5 patients? What about 10 referrals? Create your “program”. Make it part of your written Office Policy.
And who are the patients- tomorrow- that you can initiate into your Reciprocal Referral Program?

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