Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Gaining New Patients

Last week, one of my customers was showing me his new website and that led to a discussion of the best way to gain new patients. We both agreed that advertising in the yellow pages was so 1989 and that
1-800-DENTIST was not for him. In this day and age of smartphones, I still don’t see people choosing a dentist via Google or a Facebook ad. Word of mouth is king in dentistry and patient referrals are the best form of advertising.  While he did agree, he wondered how to get patients to “Tell a Friend” about his practice. I suggested something that another one of my offices does….a patient referral program.

Here is how the program works…. For referring one to three patients, the office sends the referrer a $10 Starbucks gift card for every patient they refer. If they refer 4 or more patients, they are offered free bleaching for life.  Movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, Itunes/Amazon gift cards are some other ideas of incentives that could be used.

Before implementing such a reward system, please check with your state dental board. In some states, it is against the rules to implement a reward system that patients are aware of prior to referring people to your practice.  The American Dental Association’s Code of Professional Conduct states that if the person expects the reward as a result of referring the new patient, it would typically be in violation of the American Dental Association’s rules.

The key points of the ADA rules and most Board regulations are referring patients cannot expect the rewards and the rewards must be nominal in value. – Mike Smith

Make sure you research the rules and regulations that govern your dental practice before implementing a referral system.  If done properly and within the guidelines, I believe it can be effective to gaining new patients.

Do you currently have a referral program…let’s hear about it…post a comment below. Do you have any thoughts on a program like this?? Share those thoughts as well.