BUILD A SOLID DENTAL PRACTICE THRU RECIPROCAL REFERRALS

 

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?
 
 
 

CAN A DENTIST WALK AND WHISTLE AT THE SAME TIME?

Can a Dentist talk to a patient while concentrating on the job at hand?
 
Dentists reach a point, after varying degrees of experience, where we know the clinical procedural sequence so well, that we are able to do the job and educate at the same time.

Some patients are quite “detail oriented” and they would like you to tell them what you are going to do, tell them what you are doing, and then tell them what you have done.
Then there are the “big picture” people (the vast majority of our patients) who only want to know how long. how much, and the end result. We can get to know who they are by learning body language and verbal cues… or even asking our patient. They will tell us.  In all cases it is helpful to find some subject to talk about (a one-way conversation, of course) to keep the patient distracted and thinking positive about the treatment, their comfort, and the outcome. The chairside assistant can play an important role in this.
Still interested? Please read my article on case presentation: http://wp.me/p1OXM3-5R
 
NO-ONE will disagree that any patient must be treated as a whole. I have never seen a tooth or a mouth walk into a dental office without a human attached to it.   A dentist must be a lot more than a clinical robot. To REALLY help a patient, we must serve them as a teacher, psychologist, caring person, and primarily, a LISTENER.
 
Here’s my formula: “ALF
Ask the right questions,
Listen carefully,
and give Feedback so the patient knows you understand.
“There is no such thing as a ‘bad’ question from a patient.”
 
Everyone on the team should be educators, on the same “channel”, and knowing how to fully support the dentist.

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, while 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.

 
When one of your patients gets a winning lottery card, just think of the publicity you will receive, and ………… she may spend her winnings in your office, for that dentistry she needed.
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?