How to Ask for New Patient Referrals

December 30, 2017 Mark Murphy DDS

Customer equity in the dental practice is the retention of existing patients and attraction of new ones. This ensures patients can have more of the dentistry they don’t realize they need. So how do you find and retain new patients?

Asking for New Patient Referrals

New patients come from a combination of invitations, referrals, and marketing. You can have much more control over internal marketing than external. This is the environment you create in your practice that incites patients to refer you to their personal networks.

You must create a safe, non-judgmental system for asking for referrals and having those important conversations in your practice. Most importantly, you must choose the right patients to ask, because some will be too difficult or unreceptive to the question. Some may also be patients that you don’t want extensive relationships with. In that case, you may thank them for offering, but make it clear you aren’t looking for new patients with a soft statement.

Asking for new patient referrals is made easy by the fact that you usually know immediately which patients will be receptive. These are the model patients who pay bills in a timely fashion, care about your suggestions, and are just generally amazing for whatever reason.

Identify potential patient ‘marketers’ in your morning huddle on a regular basis. Then pose the question to these patients in a casual, non-aggressive manner. You can be joking, vulnerable, honest, reserved … whatever tone you think will work best with that particular patient. The request should flatter them or feel good to them.

This is how you create and seize opportunities. It can also occur naturally if they compliment you, but there is no shame in being upfront about asking for referrals.

How do you handle patient referrals in your dental practice? Leave your thoughts in the comments! 

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About Author

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Mark Murphy DDS

Mark is the Lead Faculty for Clinical Education at ProSomnus Sleep Technologies, Principal of Funktional Consulting, serves on the Guest Faculty at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry and is a Regular Presenter on Business Development, Practice Management and Leadership at The Pankey Institute. He has served on the Boards of Directors of The Pankey Institute, National Association of Dental Laboratories, the Identalloy Council, the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology, St. Vincent DePaul's Dental Center and the Dental Advisor. He lectures internationally on Leadership, Practice Management, Communication, Case Acceptance, Planning, Occlusion, Sleep and TMD. He has a knack for presenting pertinent information in an entertaining manner.