Do you want to know what is the most effective, yet underused referral strategy?
Simply ask for them.
After teaching dentists and their teams for over 22 years I have discovered that there are many different reasons as to why they don’t ask for referrals.
However, one thing I have come to realise is that those who do ask – get!
In no particular order, here are some of the reasons I have been told why they do not ask:
2. Don’t know how to ask
3. Did not think of asking
4. They believe that if they had a good experience, they will refer their friends anyway (this is simply not true)
5. Makes is appear to be desperate for new patients
Now here is something you should know about patients. They actually do want to help you and refer their friends and families to you. Here is another thing that you should know – the average person has an immediate circle of influence of fifty-two. Fifty-two other people that they can refer you to – imagine that.
When a satisfied patient sends someone to you the referrer should immediately receive some recognition and appreciation. Possibly a quick thank you note or telephone call at the very least. That should happen right away. Subsequently some type of thank you gift is usually appropriate and effective.
We send personal development books to the people that refer our services along with a thank you card. We often get a thank you email from our clients as they are delighted that we have shown them some recognition. I recommend gifts that you do not ordinarily sell and a different gift each time the person refers. You will really be amazed at the positive results from this kind of action.
You’d also be surprised, incidentally, at the negative results of not doing this. The client who refers once and fails to get recognition and appreciation will probably never say anything to you, but the likelihood is that they will never refer again.
So how do you ask? Here is a script that you can use:
‘(Patient name) I wonder if I could please ask a small favour?’ Wait for them to say yes
‘We really enjoyed treating you, so is it okay if I give you a few cards and if you know of any friends, relatives, associates who value this type of dentistry, can I please ask you to hand them one of our cards. We would love to treat them, just the same way we loved treating you, thank you (patient name)’
It is as simple as that.
Please hand these cards to your happy, nice clients and the good news is that the people they will introduce will most likely be the same character as your existing client. So, if you have patients that you are not keen on and occasionally keep you awake at night, then don’t ask them.
Remember, each of your patients has a circle of 52 other people they might know, do you think each one of your existing patients can refer a patient to you in 2019? If so, you could double your patient base.