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The Key to Generating Referrals

When you want something, the simplestreferral way to get it is to ask for it, right? Easier said than done? We don’t think so!

Encourage your front office staff members to ask the new patients how they heard about your practice on the very first phone call. Mutual friends/acquaintances are easy conversation starters and referral information can be noted in the patient’s chart for future reference. If it is an existing patient that has referred them and you’re familiar with that person, feel free to say something kind about them. (i.e. “We just LOVE seeing Mrs. Smith! Tell her we all said hi the next time you see her!”)

All members of your staff should be familiar with the patient they’re seeing for treatment. Patients feel more at ease when they discuss matters that are dear to them, so ask about their children, their pets, friends and family, etc. When asking these questions, instruct your clinical staff to specifically ask, “I noticed Mrs. Smith told you about our office? Tell her thank you for sending us such a great patient!” Obviously, all staff members must respect HIPPA guidelines and refrain from any unnecessary discussion. However, establishing a mutual friend builds a fast rapport and immediately establishes trust between the patient and the dental team.

If the patient you’re seeing was referred from any other source, don’t panic. Note the chart and move on to other discussions. The patient should never feel they are the target of a marketing ploy (although, like it or not, we are ALWAYS marketing and networking). At the end of the appointment, ask the patient if everything went well or if they have any concerns or questions and then BE SILENT, maintain eye contact, and wait for a response. Genuinely listen to the patient’s feedback. At that time, if the patient reports a pleasant experience, respond with upbeat confidence, “Aren’t you kind? That means so much to us that you’ve enjoyed your visit today. You know, we always welcome great patients just like you, so if you know anyone who needs a dentist, we would appreciate your referrals!” Make it personal and make an example of them. Single them out, use the words “great patient” and make it sound as though you can’t wait to meet anyone they send your way. A little extra attention goes a long way and the next time a friend of theirs complains of a toothache, this discussion will ring in their ears while they willingly hand out your business card.

Repetition is very important, so from start to finish, remind the patient that they are valued, stress the importance of patient care, and relieve their anxiety by making them feel at home. This makes a lasting impression and goes a long way when you ask for a referral. Confidence in your staff and your abilities will ease the awkward feeling of feeling like you’re “begging” for referrals. Know that you are providing excellent customer service, top notch dentistry, and don’t be too shy to sell yourself!

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~Written By Rachael Armstrong



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…Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You … Matthew 7:12