I was on Chris Barrows podcast a few weeks back discussing, above other things, how I was able to retire from dentistry at the age of 47.
One of the topics that came up was the question of how to get new patients.
When I was in practice we had a simple method…
- Firstly you got rid of all the people who caused you the problems (and I’m not talking about those who were awkward to treat, I’m referring to those who were rude, aggressive, late payers, that ilk of person). There is a reason these people don’t gel with your practice, and they are often better served by seeking their dental care elsewhere. I’ve said this countless times and I’ll keep on saying it, because I just KNOW that most dentists don’t filter their patients like this.
- The second part to this was to pull all the stops out for the remaining patients. Turn them into raving fans who will sing your praises and forgive you when the inevitable treatment failure occurs.
- The third part is to ask your patients (and ask often) if they know of any CLOSE friend or CLOSE relative who is or might be looking for a dentist. If they say yes, which they invariably do, I then gave them a time-limited card with our details on.
- The fourth part might seem counter-intuitive, but we made it difficult for new patients to join. We had already established social proof with these potential new patients by being recommended by people they respect and care about. We then made it clear that the practice was for members only, and having referral cards was just one of the steps to entry.
I ran my practice for 10 years like this, and in that time we had 1 complaint. We kept them healthy, we saw them when they needed seeing and we made sure they knew their responsibilities. The problems from the patient personality side dried up and made working a pleasure rather than a chore.
The other thing I did was to ask for testimonials. It didn’t matter what the treatment was, I would ask, explaining that by sharing their experiences with us they could reassure others who had received “old-style dentistry”. At one point we had the most NHS Choices five-star reviews in the whole of the North East.
My yearly marketing budget was about £20. Now we could have gone further with a fancy website and facebook advertising, but we didn’t need to so why bother? Hell, we didn’t even have a website lol
Now how many of you can honestly say you can’t do this with your patients? Just ask, that’s all you have to do.
Is it hard to ask for referrals or testimonials? It might be at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Some patients were delighted to be asked because it perhaps showed that we trusted them.
So let’s try the same thing here.
Some of you have been reading my blog now for a while. Some of you have even been unfortunate enough to have read some of my books :)
So I’m asking for testimonials. I want to know if my website and the product on it have helped you at all. Is my message one that is worth continuing with?
Also, if you have read any of my books (either dental or zombie) please could you go on Amazon and leave me an honest review. It’s one of the only things that helps independents authors like myself get the word out.