For a dentist trying to grow or maintain a practice, getting new patients into the office is a primary concern. The flow of new contacts through our doors allows us to thrive and to provide needed service to the community.
As a dentist with my own practice, I tried many ways to get that seemingly elusive “gem” of a patient to enter and cross the threshold into my office. My viewpoint was if a person was happy with his or her dentist and was being seen regularly, I was pleased—they should continue. But, if the person did not have a dentist, that person needed to become a patient of our practice, without a doubt and with no exception.
We targeted these potential patients, knowing that if we could simply get them into the practice, we would create a lasting relationship. We would, naturally, give them the care they needed. They would be motivated by our superior service and their overall health would be significantly improved. This was the ultimate purpose of our practice.
Fortunately, I was introduced to Sterling, which helped me achieve this purpose. Sterling helped me establish a marketing program that included both internal and external avenues.
As we all know, the best patients to join our practices are those who hear of us from our happy, established patients. Providing an exceptional experience when someone visits our practice is vital to getting referrals. Having a staff that considers itself a team is also critical so that the staff helps each other attain the mutual goal of providing a superior experience for the patient. This is a must for internal marketing to be effective.
After completing their treatment plans, we always asked patients if they were happy with their experience, to please let others know. We told them we would love to be of service to their friends and family. This was done with genuine conviction and it showed. As a token of our appreciation, we gave each patient an “our gift to you” card to pass on to their friends. The gift offered the friend a complimentary exam and bitewing radiographs. The patients really appreciated it and it worked; our “family” grew to new levels.
Our external marketing included sending out 4” x 6” postcards to people in the areas surrounding our practice. These mailers invited the recipients to come in and visit us. We would include the “our gift to you” offer of a complimentary exam and bitewing radiographs. Our purpose was to provide a strong incentive to come to see us first, bypassing the myriad choices of dentists. We attracted a stream of new patients with each mailing.
The above is just a small sampling of the marketing actions I took as a result of my association with Sterling. Astonishingly, we went from averaging 10 to 12 new patients a month to averaging more than 45 per month. With Sterling’s guidance, I built an exceptional, thriving $1.2 million practice.
In these tough economic times, it’s imperative that we are effective in our approach to marketing our practices. Sterling has a successful and workable program to help dentists increase the number of new patients into their practices. I can attest to the huge benefits and results these services provide.
Wade Watkins, DDS