When Dentists and Physicians Underestimate Competition, Referrals Dry Up

October 17, 2017    By Becky Sheetz ()

When Dentists and Physicians Underestimate Competition, Referrals Dry Up

Dentists and physicians don’t always think of their peers as “competitors.” After all, your practice’s mission is not simply to make more money or sell more products, as it may be for your town’s largest big-box store. As a dentist or physician, your goal is to provide the absolute best care for your patients.

Bringing healing and comfort is a noble calling, and there is no doubt your community is better off because you are there. However, despite the importance of your mission, you do have competitors. Even if you are a leader in your practice area today, if you’re not mindful of this, the day will come that you’ll wish you had been more intentional in considering your rivals.

If you don’t agree, please keep reading.

A sad but true story
For many dentists and physicians, that day of wishing they had been more intentional has already come. Consider “Dr. Miller.” He had a well-established practice. He was the only oral surgeon in town and, as a result, he received almost all the referrals from the other dentists in town.

But little by little, the situation changed. A new oral surgeon opened an office a couple of blocks away. This new dental specialist contacted all the area dentists, and to show them how much he appreciated their referrals, he offered them goodies—gift certificates and cheesecakes. The timing was particularly lousy for Dr. Miller. Referrals were dropping off with dentists across the country, as more procedures were being performed in-house.

To add another layer to the bad news, because Dr. Miller had been the only game in town for so long, he had stopped marketing to other dentists quite a while ago. He had fallen behind.

We hear similar stories all the time
When things are going well, many dentists and physicians, particularly specialists, assume they will always receive the same quality and quantity of referrals. Of course, that’s not the world we live in. Even the very best dentists and physicians have to market their practices. The alternative is Dr. Miller’s sad but true story.

Don’t underestimate professional colleagues. You can be the best of friends, but always keep in perspective that they are the competition, and market your practice accordingly.

Newsletters keep your practice in front of referring physicians
Dr. Miller stopped reaching out to referring dentists, and he paid the price. Referral-generating newsletters are a terrific way to keep in touch with other dentists and physicians in your region. You’ll keep your practice top-of-mind on an ongoing basis and stand out from the competition. Choose a newsletter program that’s systematic, easy for your practice to execute, and cost effective.

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