5 Ways to Get More Dentist Referrals

Eager to grow your patient roster? Read our tips for cost-effective ways to give your practice a boost

April 28, 2016

One woman whispering to another

It’s common knowledge in any industry that word-of-mouth referrals from your customers (or in this case, patients) to their friends, colleagues, and families is the most cost-effective and productive way to create more business. But how do you persuade your existing patients to tell other people about your dental practice? And what other things can you do to increase your patient roster?

When it comes to what’s known as “referral marketing” – a time-honored tactic almost every type of business uses – there are no greater economic or impactful ways to grow your practice.

Thanks in part to the continued evolution of the social web, and in addition to patient recommendations and referrals via social media, online dental office reviews do drive measureable results. In fact, and according to Nielsen’s annual “Trust in Advertising” survey of how credible consumers regard various forms of advertising, 83% of the respondents stated they “completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.” Interestingly, another 66% said they trust the opinions of other consumers that are posted online. Furthermore, a separate Harris Poll survey found across several industries that 92% of adult consumers aged 18 to 34 seek recommendations from friends and family when considering purchasing any product or service.

When you stop to consider it takes the average solo dentist between 24 to 50 new patients per month to achieve sustainable growth, and in light of the data above, establishing a patient referral bonus system makes a lot of sense.

Five Things You Can Do to Get More Referrals

At a cost of time and effort, here are five additional things you can do today to start generating more patient referrals:

1. Get involved in your local business community

Joining your local business improvement association (BIA), chamber of commerce, or business bureau yields benefits aplenty. For starters, you’ll be contributing to the continuing prosperity of your community, and a local thriving economic environment is beneficial for all. Your local chamber or BIA likely holds several networking events throughout the year that you can participate in and meet other business owners, medical professionals, and new patients. Moreover, being listed in their printed and online directory will expose your practice to hundreds of people in your community.

2. Connect with other business owners nearby

In addition to making the acquaintance of other business owners and leaders via your local chamber of commerce, take the initiative to meet the owners at the businesses in your immediate vicinity. Introduce yourself and your practice to them, offer them a brochure with a free, one-time teeth cleaning offer, and explore ways on how you can cross-promote each other.
 

3. Host an event in your shared medical building

If your practice is in a medical building where other practitioners are, host an open house event in your office and invite them and their employees to attend. It’s a terrific way to establish a supportive community within your building and provide other doctors with insight into your practice and services.
 

4. Entice your existing patients to spread the word

As highlighted above, incentivizing your patients and employees to help create more business is smart. Incentives don’t have to cost you a bundle. On the contrary, it sometimes can be as simple as saying, “thank you” to your patients and ensuring they have an exceptional experience each time they pay your practice a visit. Once you’ve created a growing legion of what are essentially brand ambassadors, you might find referral marketing will take on a life of its own. Don’t forget that patients are busy people who aren’t thinking about your dental practice. Your referral campaign must be just that: a campaign. Building patient referrals takes time and repetition to generate consistent results. A multi-channel mix of monthly communications will assist in the endeavor.
 

5. Build partnerships with other medical specialists

Outside of the building where your practice resides, aim to establish partnerships with other medical specialists in your town or city. Write a letter and introduce yourself to others in your local medical community, include a copy of your most recent patient newsletter to show how your practice provides added value to them, and how you will, in turn, elevate the standing of that referring physician or specialist. There is a myriad of study clubs available and area executive committees such as Vistage International that can increase connections.

Need professional assistance marketing your dental practice? We can help. Since 1993, Patient News has specialized in representing, promoting, and marketing dental offices across the U.S. and Canada. Find out why thousands of dentists rely on our services. Call us now at 888-377-2404 or request a callback.