Asking your patients for referrals is a good way to get referrals, but when you create lift, you truly create an easy and simple way for your patients to send you referrals.
Marketing to your current patients is not a new dental marketing idea. There are, and continue to be many different strategies and programs that allow you to increase your referrals and retention.One of the concepts you won't hear very much is the concept of "lift" as it applies to your internal dental marketing. When it comes to marketing for new patients, the best place to start is inside your practice.Lift is a term that is often you in the aerospace industry. The term applies in much the same way in your dental practice.As an analogy, let's take the example of an airplane wing. The airplane wing without movement creates no lift, and will not cause the airplane to fly.In this same way, your patient (the wing) will not create this lift for your practice (the airplane), unless given information (movement) to allow them to talk about your practice everyday. This information is important.Many dental marketing consultants out there will tell you the easiest way to get referrals is to ask. But nobody likes to sit face to face with a patient and ask them to send their friends.With the concept of lift, a dentist only needs to convey to the patient a way to spread the word about the practice, and let the patients everyday conversations take care of the rest. When a patient has new information that pertains directly to the patient as a person, they now have the ammunition to talk to their friends, and mention you.Lift is not telling your patients to talk about your practice, it is giving them a way to talk about your practice. You are helping them refer their friends to you without actually asking.Let me give an example: If you spread news about your practice to your patients, something like your wife is having a baby. This news will create some conversational pieces about your practice that a patient can use in everyday life.Now, when that patient is talking to their friend who happens to be pregnant, they can say "Oh, that's funny, my dentist's wife is pregnant." This is a simple example, but the more information you can give about yourself that will tie into everyday conversations, the better. Your patients will now be able to convey the benefits of your practice more times, and you in return create more buzz and get more referrals.How you create this lift is by sharing with people news about yourself and your staff. A normal patient cannot relate to you as a dentist, but can relate to you as a person.Here are a few simple things that you can discuss that will help to create lift:- You, or a staff member buying a new car- You or your staff getting a new dog- You, your staff, or a relative getting married or being pregnant- Telling stories from your latest vacationYou don't have to do anything crazy, or even newsworthy. Just portray yourself to your patients as a person. If you went to Chicago for a dental conference, don't tell them much about the conference, but tell them about Chicago being a beautiful place, or the deep dish pizza you ate.Remember, the concept of lift is not to tell patients to talk about your practice, the concept is telling patients how to talk about your practice.
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing, a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education. Visit http://www.EMCdental.com to receive a free practice building kit sent directly to you.