A Huge, Untapped Source for New Dental Patients. Right There in Your Office!

Today, we’d like to discuss a source of new patient referrals often overlooked in dental practices: referrals from your team members.

When we talk about team member referrals, we’re not just referring to the occasional friends and family referrals that might come from your receptionist or assistant, often with an expectation of a discount. Instead, we’re suggesting a calculated and measurable plan to increase the number of patients that come to you through proactive engagement by your team.

The Potential of Your Team as Brand Ambassadors

Have you ever considered that your team members can act as walking billboards for your practice during their lunch breaks or while running errands on the weekend? Encouraging them to engage with potential new patients in their day-to-day activities can significantly increase your patient base.

Implementing the Strategy

The strategy is straightforward and requires minimal investment. It involves providing your team with “Care to Share” cards and perhaps a clever, well-designed T-shirt branded with your logo. The T-shirt should catch the eye and prompt potential patients to ask, “Hey, where is that dental office?” (Not to mention, it’s good practice, according to OSHA guidelines, to avoid wearing scrubs outside the office!)

Incentivizing Your Team

You might wonder, “Why would my team want to do this?” The answer is simple: incentivize them!

Here’s a tried-and-true incentive plan that has worked well in many practices:

  1. Equip Your Team: Arm your team with “Care to Share” referral cards, and have them write their names on these cards. This personal touch makes the referral process more engaging.
  2. Everyday Interactions: Encourage your team members to distribute these cards to people they interact with daily—the barista who makes their coffee, the sandwich maker at lunch, the dry cleaner, and so on. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Offer a Patient Incentive: The card should offer a $25 credit to potential new patients when they visit for an appointment. This credit can be applied to any dental service or product your practice offers.
  4. Reward Your Team: To truly motivate your team, offer a $25 bonus to the team member who distributed the “Care to Share” card that brought in the new patient.

The Investment Payoff

When you consider the lifetime value of a patient in your practice—often exceeding $10,000—this small investment of $50 (comprising the $25 patient credit and the $25 team member bonus) is minuscule. This strategy brings new patients into your office and keeps your team motivated to actively promote and advertise your practice, even when they’re not at work.

Additional Tips for Success

  1. Regular Training and Encouragement: Hold regular team meetings to discuss the referral program, share success stories, and encourage everyone to participate. Recognition and positive reinforcement can go a long way in maintaining enthusiasm and commitment.
  2. Track and Measure Success: Implement a system to track which team members distribute the most cards and bring in new patients. This data can help you identify top performers and areas for improvement.
  3. Celebrate Successes: Publicly acknowledge and reward team members who consistently bring in new patients. This motivates the individual and inspires the rest of the team.
  4. Customize the Approach: Tailor the “Care to Share” cards to reflect your practice’s brand and values. A personalized touch can make the referral feel more genuine and appealing.

The Broader Impact

By leveraging your team as brand ambassadors, you’re attracting new patients and fostering a sense of ownership and pride among your staff. When team members feel valued and see the direct impact of their efforts on the practice’s success, it boosts morale and enhances job satisfaction.

Additionally, this strategy helps build a community-focused practice. As your team interacts with people daily, they create a goodwill and positive word-of-mouth network that extends far beyond traditional marketing efforts.

For more information on effective referral programs and other marketing strategies, contact us at Practice Treatment Plan. We’re here to help you maximize your practice’s potential and achieve growth goals. Just email me at ben@practicetreatmentplan.com.