By Nancy Hyman
Patient referrals come from a myriad of sources in today’s unique promotional climate: your business Facebook page, Facebook post boosts and advertising, Google advertising, and family, friend, and dental referrals all vie for attention in planning your marketing budget.
Practices formerly reliant on dental and internal referrals may discover that as patterns change referrals from Internet sources may not be completely sold on you and require a different approach. This blog will discuss three key points to wow the new (potential) patient and is applicable to all initial exams, including consumers unfamiliar with your wonderful benefits and services.
Wow Factor One: Utilize professional referral cards customized to the target: dentists and other professionals, active patients, former patients, family members, schools, and community event participants. As an example, I recommend offering your referring dental offices an orthodontic referral card in triplicate, with one copy to the potential patient/parent, one copy to the dental office and one copy mailed to the orthodontic practice. No more traditional business cards! When the dental team member hands the patient two business cards from “the other guy/gal” and your sharp piece with your “why you” information and a complimentary exam offer, your practice will stand apart with a terrific first impression. If you offer something exemplifying great service such as free retainer checks for life, complimentary exams and digital photos, evening and weekend hours, etc. make these features prominent in your referral pieces.
Wow Factor Two: Speaking of why you, be very clear in every aspect of your image: Internet design, on-site protocols, and visual pieces point to your practice as the only choice. Roll out a portion or complete list of your top 12-15 “why you” attributes onto your website, Facebook posts, new patient call script, referral cards, in-office posters, new patient tour scripting, initial exam reminder letters…the list is unlimited! Is your branded image matching your team’s enthusiasm? Does your team match your desired practice environment? Patients without a treatment are consumers. Turn them into active, fervent fans by matching the practice you wish to be with the practice you are and project that confidence to your audience.
Wow Factor Three: You must clear every impediment to patient enrollment out of the way starting with the first point of contact. Respond to any hesitation during the initial exam call and note it for the treatment coordinator’s and doctor’s benefit. Address the patient’s roadblock or readiness immediately after the treatment coordinator introduces him/herself. Alert the doctor so that he/she may lead with an introduction that shows the parent/potential patient that you are in sync with the person’s concerns. For example, If Mary’s mom is concerned about treatment timing, the doctor may assure the mom: “I understand that you want to limit Mary’s treatment to the shorted time possible. That is my goal too! We’ll talk together about what is best for Mary.”
Tying It All Together: Coordinate all aspects of your practice picture to project a cohesive image to your potential patients and parents. Passionate friends of the practice will continue to sing your praises and newcomers will jump onboard as well. Your success is a team effort!