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Introducing: Lip Balm!

If you’re looking for the perfect tool to brand your practice, lip balm is it! Check out our new website to learn more!

Study: Dentists Floundering with Facebook

As featured in DrBicuspid.com

By: DrBicuspid Staff,

“January 25, 2011 — A new U.S. study by Verasoni Ah Ha, the research arm of Verasoni Worldwide, of how dentists use Facebook to promote their practice reveals that dentists, for the most part, are at a loss on Facebook. . .

Data from the study reveal that dentists do not yet understand how to leverage social media channels such as Facebook to engage patients; despite patients’ and consumers’ growing engagement with this medium. The study concludes that dentists have not strategically positioned their practices on Facebook, nor have they focused on developing and growing their network.”

The study also found that most dentists had less than 100 friends on their page, 30% had seldom posted to their page, and nearly half had no posts at all.

The bottom line: Says Abe Kasbo, CEO of Verasoni Worldwide, “There is a clear disconnect between the potential of the medium and its utility by dentists.”

Click here to read full article.

To see how Sum Media’s online tools, including Facebook, can help you generate referrals, acquire online visibility, and build relationships with your patients, click here!

Recession Proof Your Practice

As featured in Chairside Magazine, Summer 2008

Seven Strategies to Recession Proof Your Practice:

by Gary Takacs, Dental Coach and Consultant

Takacs Learning Center (www.TakacsLearningCenter.com)

“Years ago someone came up with the idea of the “Be a Friend to a Friend” program. The concept behind this program was to encourage your patients to refer others to your practice by offering them a credit in your office (often $25-30) as a referral incentive. I always loved the idea, but I didn’t like the reward of discounting your services. So, I contacted my friend, Brad Stewart, the founder of Sum Media and one of the brightest marketing minds I know, to create a 21st Century variation of this referral program. As a result, Brad and his team developed a gift card referral program.

With this gift card referral program, we offer our patients a choice of six different gift cards to choose from when they refer someone to our office. We support this program with high quality countertop signs and small take-one brochures in our office.

The collateral material leads with the headline, “Isn’t it Great to Share the Things You Love… and that Includes Your Dentist”. The graphics and production quality of the collateral material are very high quality and represent your office well. This gift card program gives you and your team members a fun and easy way to ask for referrals and patients really like getting the gift cards.

The gift card program is responsible for approximately two-thirds of the new patients we see each month, and the cost of generating these new patients is very low compared to other forms of marketing. An added benefit is that these patients who are referred to us by loyal existing patients tend to have a higher degree of trust and confidence in us since they were directed to us by a happy existing patient.”

See full article on pages 58 – 63 here

Seven “Must Do” Tips for Successful Patient Referrals

1. Are you giving patients a great experience that compels them to talk about you to others? If so, what do they talk about? What do they say? What do you want them to say? Do they notice your décor and fancy amenities or are they more impressed by how they feel when they’re in your office? How are your team members’ verbal skills? In our work with even the most experienced offices, these systems and verbal skills are often the first things to slip unless they receive continual attention. Simply put, this kind of critical, fundamental in-practice training lays the foundation for the most successful, integrated referral programs.

2. Are you actively asking your patients for referrals? For years we have recommended that one of the items on the morning huddle agenda should be which patients you are going to ask for a referral that day and who on the team is going to ask those patients. But if the topic does not receive the attention in the morning huddle and the assignment is not made, it rarely happens. Make sure that whomever accepts the assignment has an opportunity to report back to the team in the morning huddle the next day. Also, be sure the referral conversation is recorded in the patient’s chart so that the next time the patient comes in, a team member can follow up on the previous referral conversation. Like everything else in the practice, if it is going to get done, it needs a system that can be followed on a daily basis.

3. Are you confident that everyone on your team knows how to ask for referrals? Simply saying, ‘Do you know of anyone who needs a dentist?’ is probably not going get the response you want. Do you have a proven dialogue that helps get the results you want? Do you have the tools in place that help make ‘asking’ easier and comfortable? Many times we don’t ask because we don’t know how. And because we don’t know how we don’t get a very good response when we do. Take the time to train the team so they have the ‘confidence to ask’ that comes with the ‘competence of knowing how.’

4. Are you tracking how often you ask for referrals and how many you ask for? Each day when you make the assignment to a team member to ask, are you tracking how many conversations they have so that at the end of the week or end of the month you can see how well you are doing as a team in this area? In addition to tracking daily production and collections, you might want to track how many patients you’ve asked for referrals. What we measure tends to be managed better than just what we expect. If it is worth doing, it is worth measuring so we can see what is really going on and what the results are.

5. Do you have a recognition system in place where you acknowledge, thank and show appreciation to those patients who do refer others? Have some type of system in place that you follow so that you don’t have to remember each time to do something to thank a patient who has referred someone. In other words, it is possible to show appreciation to a patient without directly tying it to the referral. Just letting them know that you appreciate them as a patient will go along way to encourage them to tell more people about you.

6. Do you reward your team members for their personal efforts and successes in getting more referrals for the practice?

7. And finally, is promoting and encouraging referrals a concentrated and ongoing effort in your office? I think you would agree that everyone recognizes how important it is. But do you have all the systems and tools in place to make sure that it happens on a regular, consistent, routine basis?

Word of Mouth Dental Referrals

81% – Word of mouth referrals still rules dental marketing

Research Continues to Confirm

In late 2006, The Crown Council in partnership with OraPharma, 1-800-Dentist, and Oral Health America,  commissioned and funded a scientific, national public opinion survey directed by the Center for Social Development and Education (CSDE) and Center for Survey Research (CSR) at the University of Massachusetts at Boston—one of the most respected centers of its type anywhere in the world.

Five major findings were distilled from the study—one of which was, “The most powerful form of marketing in dentistry remains word-of-mouth!” This finding did not come as a surprise—and while it may not be a new belief, it does deserve a new approach with more emphasis.

Survey respondents were asked if they would be very likely or a little likely to find a dentist in different ways. Here’s what they said:

27% said they would look online. While the internet received the lowest percentage of all possible responses, keep in mind that just a few years ago it would have been a fraction of this. It is a small but rapidly growing source and force in dental marketing not to be ignored.

40% said they would look in the phone book. This traditional resource is alive and well, but may be shrinking due to the rising influence, popularity and ease of use of the internet. Even so, it still commanded a 40% approval rating.

43% said they would turn to a professional referral service like 1-800-Dentist. 55% said they would turn to their dental insurance provider directory.

But the last option received a dramatically higher rating as being the place where patients would look most to find a dentist. 81% said they would look to the advice of friends and family to choose a dentist.

81%! Indeed, word-of-mouth still rules dental marketing!