The World’s Easiest Referral System
Do you know exactly how influential a patient’s recommendation to a family member, co-worker or friend can be? Here are some interesting facts that illustrate the power of referrals:
- 92% of consumers [or patients] trust referrals from people they know
- People are four times more likely to buy [or visit your practice] when referred to you by a friend
- Word of mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54%
In today’s economy, it’s commonly known that 40-60% of your existing patients should be referring at least one new patient to your dental practice a year; but encouraging your patients to send their friends, family and co-workers your way doesn’t have to cost you 40-60% of your marketing budget.
In fact, getting the maximum number of referrals out of your patients every day can be done through what I call “The World’s Easiest Referral System.”
This system isn’t a huge investment. It’s actually low cost routine (with high results), and it’s based on the principle: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
I’m sure you get referrals because of your dedication to patients and the great service from your front line staff. But are you getting the maximum number of referrals possible?
Many of your current patients are too busy with their demanding schedules, their careers, their kids, family, etc. to think about supporting your practice – unless you remind them to do so.
Also, because it’s common for family doctors to say: “sorry, our practice is full,” your patients-of-record may even think you’re too busy to accept new patients.
That’s why simply asking for patient referrals can make all the difference in the world.
Your team may have difficulty asking patients for referrals. I can tell you from experience, that if you provide your team with an easy way to ask (for example, giving them a tool like a referral card) you’ll see a dramatic increase in your results.
Patients often feel like the service they receive at your dental practice is worthy of referral to others. They want to send people your way; but they may not know exactly how to broach the subject.
This is why offering guidance to your patients on how to refer your practice to others can ease the process for them – making them more likely to generate referrals for you.
There are lots of ways to orchestrate the referral process for your team, and your patients.
Here are some marketing ideas to help you implement a system that can double patient referrals for your practice:
INTEGRATED REFERRAL CARDS:
A great way to attract quality patients to your practice is with an integrated referral card system that can be implemented by your team instantly – and effortlessly.
Your team is probably already in the habit of handing out appointment cards – so why not use an appointment card as a vehicle for distributing your referral message to each one of your patients, every day?
I like to attach a customized tear-off referral card directly to the bottom of the appointment card that a patient receives at the end of each visit.
The referral card usually includes a special offer to new patients, with an expiration date to make prospects feel compelled to visit the dental office before it’s “too late” to claim their “new patient gift.”
All your patient-of-record has to do is tear the referral card away from their appointment card, and hand it to a friend, co-worker or family member.
When you make it this easy for patients to hand out referral cards, you’ll find that they refer more frequently!
You can frame posters, reminding patients to refer people to your practice. Place them on the wall directly in front of each treatment chair (at eye-level, for maximum efficiency), hang them in heavy traffic areas, or in full view in your reception lounge.
But do keep in mind, that when posters get stale, they tend to “blend into the woodwork” – and patients stop seeing or reading them. This is why I commonly recommend “Monthly Referral Signage.”
Switching out the design, headlines, verbiage and the incentive offers each month tends to keep things fresh for your patients, which maintains a higher level of interest and a better response rate.
As I mentioned, getting more referrals shouldn’t cost you a fortune – and it truly helps to get your office team into the habit of asking for them from every patient.
However many of them feel shy, or don’t know what to say; that’s why I provide my clients with a Referral Script their team can use every day as a tool to help them contribute to the generation of more referrals.
Below is a Free Referral Script that you can give to your team. Encourage them to use it for inspiration to help them ask your patients for referrals more frequently.
REFERRAL SCRIPT: What to Say to Patients After Their Appointment
Receptionist: Hi Mr/s. Smith, how was your visit with us today?
Patient: It was great, Dr. (***you) is fantastic, and all of you always take good care of me.
Receptionist: That’s great! We’d certainly love to have more patients like you.
Patient: Aw, thank you!
Receptionist: Okay, I’ve filled out your appointment card with the details regarding your next visit. Attached to the card is a new patient referral gift that you can give to a friend, family member or co-worker looking for a dentist. Did you know that (***here you can use your offer of choice) we’re extending a special offer to the first 17 new patients who visit us this month?
Patient: No, I had no idea!
Receptionist: Well, I’m glad I can tell you about it. Just tell the recipient to bring this card to their first visit, and they’ll receive (***offer of your choice) their first exam and X-rays for $49.
Patient: Okay, I will! Thanks!
Receptionist: No problem, and thanks for visiting us! It was great to see you today!
Referrals are one of the best ways to grow your practice with quality new patients; and once implemented, “The World’s Easiest Referral System” purrs along like a well-oiled machine.
If you’d like to see a free referral card sample, give us a call today at 800-291-2291.