By Julie Parker, Julie Parker Practice Success
We live in this information age, where you don’t need degrees in marketing and business in order to learn how to run highly successful dental practices. We can research online and tap in to other people’s brilliance at the click of a mouse. As a result there are many stylish and sophisticated marketing campaigns being rolled out in many surgeries. I love a good promotion and honour the creativity that goes in to producing them. Although I encourage all small businesses to develop smart marketing and promotional systems to attract new business, it is important to never lose sight of THE MOST effective new business generator of all; and that is REFERRALS.
Most of you are keenly aware that generating referrals from your existing patients is the cheapest form of advertising. However there are even more compelling reasons to encourage referrals. Note in the above graphic that people are four times more likely to come to you if they have been recommended by a friend. When someone you know and trust suggests you try something, it is a compelling offer. There is a ‘transfer of trust’ from the friend to you. You think “If they are happy with it, it is likely I will be too”. Considering that trust plays such an enormous role in treating your dental patients effectively, leveraging off another patient’s trust in you is a smart move.
Dental practices are only viable with repeat business. It is your loyal patient base who return for all of their required dental treatments that are likely to be responsible for around 80% of your turnover. So it is not enough to simply get new patients. You also need to provide them with the service that they will return for, and become part of you5r loyal patient base. The Journal of Marketing states that of all of your new patients, the ones who come from referrals have a 16% higher lifetime value to your practice than those who came through other methods.
The wonderful news is that if you put in the effort to create the ideal environment for your dental patients, if they are indeed satisfied then a whopping 83% are willing to recommend you to their peers! And that’s where the gold lies…they are WILLING to refer. In order to enjoy these referrals make sure your patients are aware that you want these new patients. I suggest to not be shy in this area of your business. Notify patients through promotions, rewards and gifts, signs and website content, and through your conversations with them that you want and appreciate every new patient they bring in to the practice.