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    How to attract new patients

    When the market is already saturated, how do you make your practice stand out?


    First, we hired an outside consultant, Gary Takacs, to come in and evaluate our patient experience. Sometimes we think we know what our patients want, and we typically feel like we are giving that to them, but hiring someone external to evaluate your process can be a game changer.

    Gary came in and flipped my world upside down. He brought so many things to my attention that I never would have noticed on my own. We started implementing those things and the patients reacted in a very positive way. We learned to communicate the value of everything that we were doing. When a patient feels like they receive value for their entire visit to your office, referrals start to come naturally.

    So you learned how to communicate value and the patients just naturally started referring?

    Yes, but that is not the whole story. Patients did start to refer without us asking, but we also fine tuned the process of asking for referrals.

    One of the things that we hypothesized when we were trying to figure out how to grow in a saturated market was that people were willing to refer their friends and family, but that they either didn't know that we wanted referrals, or they forgot because we did not remind them.

    Related article: How to fail (and succeed) at marketing

    When you communicate a lot of value, you get compliments about your practice. We decided to piggy back off of every compliment that we received in order to ask for referrals. If someone said, "wow, that was a lot less painless than I was expecting", I would automatically piggy back on that with, "I'm so glad to hear that! I try really hard to make dentistry as painless as possible, it makes me so happy when people notice! If you have any friends or family members that are looking for a good dentist we would love to take care of them as well!"

    I will be honest that this was hard to do at first, but I really meant it, and as I got more and more comfortable saying things like that patients responded very positively.

    Ok, so let me summarize this to see if I got the whole picture. First, hire an outsider to analyze your patient experience. Second, improve the experience and communicate value. Third, proactively ask for referrals when someone pays you a compliment.

    Yes, that process has been one of the major keys to our success. I would note that it should be an outsider with experience in either the dental industry or customer service, or both preferably.  

    Adam Smith
    Adam Smith got his start in the dental industry working for a company called Dental Intel. He was their first data analyst and worked ...


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