Implement internal marketing. Practices that already have an adequate patient base can have dramatic effects on increasing referrals by implementing a strong internal marketing program. The target would be to have 40% to 60% of patients refer at least one other patient each year. If this is accomplished, the practice will certainly increase production and profit based on the enrollment of new patients.
Don't forget to make patient retention a priority. While some patients will invariably be lost to the practice, due to reasons beyond the practice's control (relocation, death, etc.), the vast majority of patients become inactive simply because the practice did not try hard enough to retain them. The best way to get patients back into the practice is with some type of incentive, such as a free exam or even a free hygiene visit. Many dentists react negatively to giving away a service. Dentists must be less concerned with the free incentive and focus more on what it will do for overall annual practice performance.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm, and one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry. Dr. Levin has authored 65 books and more than 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. You can sign up for the Levin Group Tip of the Day.
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