In face-to-face conversations with more than 7,500 dentists the overwhelming majority saw new patient flow as the greatest challenge their dental practice faces today. According to Jim Philhower, Director of North America Dental Sales Leadership & Development at Henry Schein, a healthy practice should see an average of 25 new patients per month per doctor.
In his article, Increase in New Patient Flow and Referrals, in the dental Practice Management section of the magazine, Philhower clarifies these expectations and suggests a healthy, strategic approach to attracting new referrals from your best patients. He even tells you how to incorporate your reception room design and environment into this strategy, in a win-win situation for you and your patients. He says, “Your Reception Room should be your marketing area. The area should be neat and well lit and updated every 5 years.”
Be sure the waiting room is filled with testimonials and information on what you do. Remove “competitive distractions” like magazines featuring “other ways” for your customers to spend their discretionary income (cruises, etc) and replace the TV with dental procedures that are available in your practice, as well as medical health and wellness channels.
According to Philhower, 75%-80% of new patients come from patient referrals. So an effective internal marketing program designed to increase patient referrals should be your focus, rather than just traditional external marketing like radio and signage.
At the same time, it’s critical to note, the number one thing a dental office can do to market their practice is run on time. And, while you’re at it, answer the telephone before the 3rd ring! You will create loyal fans and evangelists if you do.
For more insights, information, and more great tips, read the full, Increase in New Patient Flow and Referrals, if you haven’t already.
And tell us what are your biggest challenges this year? And how are you solving them? Do you have a successful internal marketing strategy?