Top Referral Marketing Mistakes Dentists Make

April 20, 2017    By Becky Sheetz ()

Top Referral Marketing Mistakes Dentists Make

If you are like most dentists, you’d like more referrals, including those from your professional colleagues. But when it comes to generating more and better referrals, we see many of the same mistakes repeated over and over again. Here are three of the top dental referral mistakes.

1. Outreach is too limited
Dentists can often be too conservative in their outreach. They limit their efforts to other dentists currently in their network, sometimes only those who are actively sending them referrals. This misses a great deal of potential. An oral surgeon may garner the vast majority of referrals from a few dentists. But the question is: How many other possible referral sources are in the community? An oral surgeon should be just as concerned with the dentists who don’t send referrals as the ones who do.

If you’re not sure how many dentists are in your area, we can help. Based upon a brief telephone consultation with your office, WPI Communications can research and generate an up-to-date newsletter mailing list that fits your criteria. We can show you a list defined by radius, ZIP codes or the borders of your referral area. This list can focus on those types of practices from which you wish to receive referrals. For example, if you want children to be referred to your practice, we will include pediatricians. If you have a particular expertise in treating patients with diabetes, we can include a complete list of endocrinologists.

2. It doesn’t last long enough
No matter what outreach you’re doing to increase your referral base, you’ll need a sustained effort to be successful. Dentists may make calls or visits to referring dentists’ or physicians’ offices to promote their practices or send out one or two newsletters—but they often don’t continue these activities.

To be effective, referral marketing must be consistent and ongoing. Colleagues who have yet to work with you need assurance that your practice can be trusted. This means they need to hear from you on a regular basis, rather than just once or twice.

3. Taking referrals for granted
This one we hear too often. A dentist receives a healthy, steady stream of patient referrals until, one day, they stop. There are many reasons for this, such as changing demographics among referring dentists, dentists who sent a high volume of patients selling their practices or more colleagues performing the same treatments as your practice. You can probably add more to the list.

One of the best ways to be prepared for these developments is to be sure referring colleagues know that you appreciate the patients they send your way. Failing to say thank you and maintain good dialogue on patient progress will jeopardize that relationship, so pay attention to the value of a simple thank you.

Remember that patient referrals take work. But we can make it easy with a referral-generating newsletter sent to a wide spectrum of possible referral colleagues, over a sustained period, to show them that you appreciate them. Contact us today to get started!

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