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Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is known as a top dental consultant by Dentistry Today.

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Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

10 Proven Steps to Receive More Patients

By: admin

February 1, 2010

The next 3 months Dental Practice Solutions will be hosting a Practice Profitability Challenge. The first thing we want to talk about is how to lead the patients to your front door. “Keep the old but bring in the new, one is silver and the other gold.”

The door of your dental office doesn’t need a golden ticket to enter but people who do enter need to feel as if they found the pot of gold! Our challenge is not about getting you to work harder but finding ways to add value to patients in your practice currently.

Have you been to your grocery store lately? Did the person who checked you out ask if you found what you were looking for? Have you purchased a new computer or any electronics? Were you asked to purchase an extended warranty? This is what we are talking about here. This is maximizing the revenue and adding value to the patient appointment.

Your patients use toothpaste and a toothbrush and why not buy the very best ingredients and products from the dental office where they speak to the experts. The most cost-effective action is to begin with your current patient base. It is easiest to market to your friends not total strangers.

We will share some special tips during the next 3 months to add value, keep patients coming back, refer their friends and family because they truly believe you are the best dental team there is!

This week and next we will share 5 tips (A total of 10) to be the best and attract new patients to your dental office.

Step 1: Internal Marketing

The first part of internal marketing is called “up selling.” The idea is to educate your patients about the value of buying their dental products from your dental office. This includes a Sonicare, Triumph or a battery Spinbrush. Patients buy toothpaste and possibly mouthwash so why not have them buy the product that is most effective for each individual patient with the appropriate ingredients; maybe a product that doesn’t contain alcohol or abrasive silica. You are the expert and you know which product is best for each of your patients. The idea is to sell more dentistry to those who you already know. These are people who enter your door and are most likely people who are happy with the services you already offer. These patients will benefit from your expert knowledge.

The dental office and in particular the dental hygiene team spend a lot of time communicating with the active patient base several times each year. These are the team members who hold patients captive for a longer period of time — several times a year. The dental hygienists are the perfect people to educate patients about the services and products offered in your dental office. If you have a website why not add a page which highlights the products your patients can benefit from. When you send out a newsletter include these products and the information that makes these products special for your patients. This can be a personalized letter to your patients sent out either monthly or quarterly. Most dental offices now use software which can customize a letter and “mail merge” to add your patients name and mailing address. Using a Fan Page on Facebook is also a great way to get this information out to your patient base as well as attract new patients.

Educate your patients while they are in the office and in all the information mailed to them, about the services your dental office offers. These are services such as veneers, teeth whitening, air abrasion, intraoral cameras, endoscopy procedures, magnification you use for each procedure, inlays, onlays, new types of porcelain- like crowns, all the fresh breath products offered, xylitol products -their benefits and even the power tooth brushes which you recommend on an individualized basis.

Tip 2: Ask for referrals

Maybe you feel timid about asking for referrals from your patients but this is the easiest way to receive new patients and it is the most cost-effective method to market your practice. Most patients are happy to help promote your dental office and they will remember to tell their friends and family members how great you are as their dentist, when you take time to ask for a referral. If you are sending patients out of the dental hygiene room with a type of report card; printed right from the computer software, it becomes a great reminder of the value your office adds and it will be a way for patients to have something to share with colleagues at work, family at home, or neighbors, etc.

When a referral comes to your office as a new patient remember to send a thank you and some sort of gift to the patient who referred this new patient. It can be something as simple a movie tickets but it is something small that will make a huge impact on the referring patients.

Always have a place in your reception area with brochures and information about your office, the procedures, products you offer and the value you add to the patient.

Tip 3: Use photographs everywhere

Be sure to have before and after photos of your dentistry on your website and in your reception area. Make certain these are your own photos and not a dental colleagues or stock photo. You should feel proud of the dentistry you provide and you want to show it off to all who walk through the front door of your office.

In that book of photos in your reception area and on the page of the veneers or teeth whitening procedures you are displaying, explain all about these procedures and what is actually happening in the procedure. This helps patients learn about these procedures that you offer.

Be certain that patients who have photos taken sign a disclosure form or release of liability so you can legally use their teeth and face.

Tip 4: Educate to Motivate

Patient education videos are a nice addition to photos. This can be something you run in a continuous-loop for patients in your reception area. Let the patients know the benefits of procedures you offer and let them know how great their smile can be. You can also have videos to run in the operatories if you have a set up for viewing movies. You have a captive audience and this provides another great opportunity to educate your patients.

For those who have a fun and creative team, why not make a video and post on Youtube.com. You can then post these for patients to view on the office Facebook Fan page or the Office Twitter account.

Tip 5: Pick up the Phone

It is important to call each patient on the evening after a long procedure was completed. This also includes the hygiene patients who had scaling and root planning procedures. It is a simple phone call made the evening after treatment. Ask to speak to the patient and find out how they are doing. Specifically ask how the appointment went for them, if the anesthesia has worn off, if they are experiencing any pain, if they have any questions, how the bite feels, and so on. The purpose of asking these questions is so you know ASAP if anything is wrong. If there is something wrong this is a more comfortable way for people to let you know and you can fix it right away – before they decide to go to another practice and disparage your great work completed.

Patients truly appreciate the time you take to check how they are doing later that evening.

These 5 tips aren’t the only pearls to attract new patients and keep the old but they are great tips to include for people in general showing you care. The amount of admiration and attention you give to your patients determines the rewards you receive in return. Happy Patient means Happy team! The result = Added profitability!

Next week 5 more tips…