Gaining ideal patients is what we all want, right?
I mean, more patients is great. We all need new people coming through the door on a regular basis.
But ideal patients are the best.
When I say ‘ideal’ I’m talking about people who arrive on time, accept treatment, pay their bills and refer family and friends.
Ideal patients also share similar values and culture to you. They come in the door (almost) loving you from the word go.
A family member, friend or colleague has already sung your praises and it means you can develop a relationship more quickly and more easily than you would otherwise be able to.
We all want more of these patients.
But how do we find them?
Trust Is The Key
Here’s a little secret that not many people know.
One of the most effective ways of gaining ideal patients is to focus on internal marketing. This is also sometimes called “word of mouth” marketing.
It stands to reason that if our patients meet the criteria of an ideal patient, then it is likely their family and friends will too because “birds of a feather flock together”.
So your current ideal – or favourite – patients are the key here, and here’s why.
Dentistry relies heavily on trust. And it used to be that just being a dentist meant you were trustworthy.
Unfortunately, numerous tabloid media reports and “exposes’s” have seen the public’s trust in dentists plummet.
Which is why people rely on their friends and family to provide solid recommendations. If someone you trust recommends a service to you, you take note.
Marketing Made Simple
This is a simple strategy, but in order for it to be effective, two very important things need to happen.
The first is that you need to “Wow” your existing patients so they actually want to recommend you in the first place.
A “wow” is all about how the patient feels when they see you. It has nothing to do with technical ability.
We all accept technical ability is important but it has nothing to do with Wow-ing a patient.
Dentists get excited by parallel walls on preps – not patients.
What patients notice is how well they have been cared for.
The second important factor for generating word of mouth referrals is to make it known that you accept new patients.
Yes, it’s that simple. You ask for the referral.
Don’t recoil in horror at the thought of letting your patients know you’re open for business.
We Australians are very sensitive about being seen as overtly commercial and “American”.
Asking for a referral can be done simply, in a low-key manner and without stress.
Here’s the low down.
Care To Share
The method I teach my clients is to use a “Care to Share” Card.
These cards have the details of the practice and particular dentist on one side of the card, and an offer of some sort on the other side. (Remember to avoid time limited offers as this would breach the AHPRA guidelines).
The offer can be as simple as 2 free bitewings with a comprehensive examination. You’re only limited by your imagination.
The receptionist would introduce the Care to Share programme like this.
“Did Dr Bloggs discuss our Care to Share Program with you Mrs Jones?”
She will typically say no and the receptionist will then ask,
“Do you mind if I take a minute to explain it?”
If she says yes then the receptionist says,
“If you have enjoyed your experience with us, I’d like to offer you 3 Care to Share cards to give to family members or friends. On the reverse side is a gift we’d like to offer someone you care about. All they need to do is bring the card to our practice and we’d be happy to provide them with that gift on your behalf.”
Then hand over the cards with the offer on the reverse side. Give out 3 cards to each of your ideal patients and you’ll soon find yourself with a constant stream of patients pre-sold on you and your practice.
Don’t Dream About Gaining Ideal Patients – Create Them
This simple system has helped many of my clients’ practices grow exponentially in a short period of time.
So now you know this secret of attracting more ideal patients, it’s over to you.
Put your thinking cap on and come up with an offer for your Care To Share cards.
Get them made up and train your receptionist in how to introduce the offer.
You’ll be attracting more patients, and sky-rocketing your business in no time.
All you have to do is stop dreaming, and start taking action.
You can do that, can’t you?