The Office

Word of Mouth and Your Practice

Word of Mouth

Your Dental Practice

Are you interested in growing your dental practice without investing thousands of dollars in more advertising? The answer is as close as your specialty — it’s all about your clients’ mouths!

What your clients say about your practice has a significant impact on how fast you grow. Client referrals can bring in new, high-quality patients that fit your ideal customer profile.

How can you increase customer referrals to grow your business? Or if you have a referral program, how can you make it better? Here are the tips you need.

Create a Referral Program

A referral program is the easiest way to get your current patients to refer others to you. Don’t think your practice is too small to benefit from a referral program — word of mouth marketing can amplify your brand thousands of times over.

81% of consumers are influenced by social media posts from their friends and family. Every patient you have can impact hundreds of people and move them one step closer to choosing your dental clinic.

All you have to do is encourage your current customers to tell others about you. How do you set up a referral program? Here are some ideas.

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Make Sure You Keep Things Ethical

There are limits to what you can do to encourage referrals. Make sure you stay within the legal and ethical boundaries of the dental industry.

For instance, you can’t treat some patients better than others. You can’t offer a referral — or a referring patient — faster treatment, preferential service, or other care-related benefits. However, you can offer a reward as a thank you for a referral.

You’ll also want to make sure that someone is assigned to administering the referral program so that everyone gets the benefits they are due.

Starting a Dental Referral Program

The first step when creating a referral program is to decide on the rewards. The simplest thing to do is to offer new patients a discount on their first visit. You can create referral cards to make it easy for your customers to refer people they know.

However, don’t just stick with printed materials. Create an email list for your customers and, along with promotions and reminders, share useful information that they can forward to friends and family. Also, give them information and posts that they can share on social media.

Once you’ve decided on the referral discount, it’s time to think about your customers’ benefits. You can offer gift cards, deals on specific services, or even monthly drawings for a larger prize.

You might also consider having events for your referring patients. An appreciation event can help your customers feel even better about sending new patients your way.

Invite the Best Patients First

If you want to start small, especially if the cost is a concern, you can begin by just inviting your best patients. The ones who always have a kind word to say about your services and often thank you for your work.

Those customers are the most likely to be brand advocates, so they are a great place to start. Give them some materials that they can use to promote your office and ask them to begin referring their friends and family to your practice.

You can gauge your program’s results and get feedback from these customers before you roll it out to everyone you serve. Your best patients can help you refine the plan so it’s as effective as possible.

Make Your Program Part of the Patient Process

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What’s the best way to benefit from a referral program? Make sure you implement it consistently!

If you forget to ask for referrals, you aren’t likely to get one. However, most people looking for a new dentist will ask their friends and family for ideas. Tap into that opportunity by making your referral program a built-in part of your patient relationship

Just like you have a specific process for a first patient, create a post-visit process
where you encourage patients to refer others and let them know the benefits they can get.

Make sure customers are on your email list and keep your list active with regular messages.

When you consistently ask every patient for referrals every time, you’ll dramatically increase the growth of your practice.

Just like you have a specific process for a first patient, create a post-visit process where you encourage patients to refer others and let them know the benefits they can get.

Take Advantage of Referral Marketing

91% of Americans are willing to share an exclusive offer with friends and family, and patients that are referred by others are more loyal than other customers. There’s no reason not to use a referral program to grow your dental practice.

When you make a referral program a consistent part of your relationship with your customers, you’ll benefit from their network. Word of mouth marketing is powerful and much more cost-effective than other types of outreach.

There’s no reason not to start — or improve — your referral program today!

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We would appreciate it greatly if you shared this article with your office and co-workers.

Let us know what kind of referral program, if any, that your practice uses below in the comments.