Sales executives in every business will unanimously agree that referrals from existing customers are the of lead generation. Certainly for us, when a satisfied ABELDent user recommends our software to a colleague, we are thrilled on multiple levels.
First, it is testimony to the confidence that Dentists place in our product. We are honoured that they take the time out of their busy day to champion ABELDent! Second, the positive introduction promotes our solution and dramatically reduces the sales cycle. Finally, the direct lead to a qualified decision-maker is the most cost-effective method of welcoming new customers.
The same benefits apply to a dental practice whose patients trust them enough to recommend their services. Imagine for a moment if one-quarter of your existing patient base was to successfully refer just one new patient each. That would represent a 25% growth spike without touching your advertising budget!
As great as that sounds, it is actually realistic to aim to receive one referral per year from 40-60% of your existing patient base, of which ideally 10% will successfully convert to a new patient.
So how does your dental practice measure up? Do you even know how many referrals you received over the past year? Are you aware of the value to your practice?
Every dental practice should know:
- The number of new patient referrals and revenue attributed to the new patients
- Your referral conversion ratio – how many leads actually convert to new patients
- The net patient growth of the practice (the number of patients leaving the practice vs. number of patients added over the same period)
The good news is that all of the information necessary to calculate these KPIs resides within your ABELDent data. Detailed Referral Reports present useful data about all referrals including names, sources, timing, and resulting revenue generation.
Now… considering the value of patient referrals, imagine the exponential benefits that could be achieved with a little proactivity:
- Ask for referrals. Train your front-desk staff to be confident: “We’re expanding our practice. Do you know anyone who needs a great Dentist?”
- Print out cards that your patients can easily pass along to contacts
- Develop an email or texting campaign to make it easy for your patients to forward your coordinates
- Create prestige whereby a referred patient receives a value promotion (and be prepared to offer that same promotion to existing patients upon successful referral)
- Offer an incentive. Contests, random draws and Frequent Referral Rewards always spur participation
- Establish a Patient Appreciation Event… remember the famous car maker that sponsored a free drive-in movie event each year for customers and their families and friends?
- Maintain top-of-mind awareness through ongoing communication. Brief, interesting newsletters tend to have a high readership ratio
It is important to remember that new patient acquisition should only be a priority focus once a successful patient retention strategy is in place. To explore some practical ideas and strategies for patient engagement and loyalty, just re-visit my previous posts:
In closing, we have recently launched our amazing new ABELDent 365. Do you know anyone who needs some great practice management software?
I invite you to continue this conversation by reaching out to our team at any time.