Single retired female provides a dental patient referral to hugging couple who live in her neighborhood

Dental Patient Referrals –Your Top Source Of Growth

Have you earned your stripes in your patient’s eyes?

Did you know ... half of all new-patient growth should come from dental patient referrals, and that includes the ones your front desk team asks for. Referrals continue to be the most powerful weapon in your arsenal to keep your practice secure.

Although online reviews are all the rage and new patients read them, one can’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth communication. They’re still very much a thing. Consumers and dental patients make purchasing decisions with a herd mentality, meaning if the people they trust are patronizing a business or using their products, they’re more likely to follow suit.

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Dental Patient Referral & Reactivation Programs Include:

  • Referral content for patient newsletters
  • Email newsletters
  • Referral cards
  • Reactivation postcards & letters.
Referrals help build a loyal patient base.

Increase dental patient referrals with help from your patients

Illustration of dental patients spreading the word about their dentist with a larger-than-life megaphone
Most existing patients aren’t aware your office is a growing business seeking more patients – people who are just like them. So how can you keep your brand top-of-mind and entice them to spread the word that your practice is the one their friends, family, and colleagues should see?
Young independent woman raises both fists in victory while seated on couch with laptop

What else can your practice do to get more referrals?

A referral bonus system is something to consider. It offers patients an incentive to refer people they know to your practice. You must know the guidelines for your area, as referral incentives aren’t always allowed. When they are, it’s a great way to generate more new patients.

Here’s how it works: In return for a referral, you reward patients with a discount or a dental product, and sometimes it really hits home when you give patients a choice of reward. With this approach, you get the double benefit of engaging with old and new patients and strengthening their bond with your practice. You can also use your social channels and website to promote your referral incentive.

Young independent woman raises both fists in victory while seated on couch with laptop

And another biggie…

Is your dental receptionist asking patients about additional family members? This is what we call “the magic question” and one that every new patient should be asked when booking the first appointment. Before hanging up ask, “Is there anyone else in your family who needs a dental appointment? I can schedule them right now.” Dental offices that pose this question usually get 2-3 additional appointments.

Young independent woman raises both fists in victory while seated on couch with laptop

Telephone training can boost referrals!

Phone Power telephone training, the best-in-class, customized new-dental-patient training system, will help everyone who answers the phone at your practice improve their call handling skills. And one simple tip for more patient referrals, add the magic question! Just ask if anyone else in the patient household also needs a dental appointment. When you improve call handling, you improve patient satisfaction, and that benefits your practice significantly with a lot more new patient referrals!

Phone Power features videos, workbooks, and specific scripts to improve inbound call conversion rates and is available with your Practice ZEBRA subscription.

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Reactivate Patients & Re-establish Relationships

Most dental practices have lapsing and inactive patients. It’s just a reality of being in dentistry. These patients haven’t attended an appointment in 9-24 months. Maybe they just missed an appointment and didn’t reschedule and are floating. Perhaps they found another dentist or changed insurance.
Middle Eastern female dental patient calls her dentist after receiving email newsletter on laptop

At Patient NEWS, we encourage our valued clients to keep patients engaged with value-added communication before it gets to that point. The best dental marketing solutions and strategies used to prevent patients from slipping into inactive territory include:

When patients don’t schedule a recall appointment or they cancel or miss their last appointment without rescheduling – automated reminder systems can’t reach them. This is where value-added communications can break through. If patients do go silent, the good news is it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gone for good. We offer a series of letters, newsletters, and postcards to draw them back to your practice.
Want a steady flow of new patients? We can help you get more dental patients to refer and so you can capitalize on that production potential. And if you’re looking to increase reactivations, we can give you a hand with that too.

Your Questions Answered

Open FAQs To Read Frequently Asked Questions About Market Referrals and Reactivations

or better yet, call us at
888-377-2404 & talk to a real person!


What’s the best way to ask for dental patient referrals?

Right after a patient says something great about your practice, team, and/or their experience during the appointment is when a team member should jump in with a response. Start with a simple “thank you” and then kindly ask they share that information within their circle. Seize all these opportunities and watch it pay off!

What development do I need to launch a referral program?

You can be up and running with your dental patient referral program within 30-days with Patient NEWS, faster with Practice ZEBRA’s automated email solutions.

Do I need a dental website to offer a dental patient referral program?

You definitely need a modern, secure dental website, but you don’t need a page or reference on there to launch a patient referral program. Many dentists will promote their patient loyalty programs on their websites because they run it on a continuous basis. Programs like whitening-for-life are great dental referral program campaigns and work very well to keep patients coming back.

Do I have to offer a reward with my dental patient referral program?

No, and sometimes you can’t because of your local guidelines. But even then it’s important to let patients know that referrals are important to your practice, they help you continue to provide the latest technologies to support their oral health, and good and healthy patient flow allows you to invest in continuing education and your great team members that they’ve come to love and appreciate. Saying thank you – consistently – in value-added communications can be a powerful way to maximize a dental patient referral program.