The 3 myths about getting referrals for your dental practice

July 13, 2016

There is a ton of information out there for the dental professional to consider when looking to increase their favorite type of patient acquisition (referrals), but, very little of it is actually relevant to the unique nature of dentistry. Here we explore three pervasive myths about referrals and how it applies to today’s dental practices.

How many times have you, as a dental professional, heard how wonderful referrals are for growing your practice, yet, when you searched out information for yourself you realized that much of it was for a traditional salesperson and didn’t fit you?

This article is all about helping you, the dentist, network in effective ways that are based upon an understanding of the unique challenges your profession faces when looking to increase referral production (both within your client base and from outside your office).  

There is a ton of information out there for the dental professional to consider when looking to increase their favorite type of patient acquisition (referrals), but, very little of it is actually relevant to the unique nature of dentistry. Here we explore three pervasive myths about referrals and how it applies to today’s dental practices.

Related reading: 5 ways to boost your dental practice's patient referrals

Myth #1: You just have to get your patients to like, know and trust you.

This might be the biggest false hurdle of all. Let’s approach it this way: How often do you refer professionals that you don’t like, know or trust? I call this, in our consulting firm, “marketing to the prerequisites.” Do great work, treat people with dignity and respect and follow through on your commitments as a normal practice. The above is how you earn the right to be referred, but, it is almost never the actual reason patients refer. They refer because they want to.

Related reading: How to ask for referrals without sounding like a salesperson

Myth #2: To give referrals, the referral source has to be a patient of yours.

Another huge myth. This applies not only in dentistry, but in the business community at large. This assumption is that you have to have bought (been sold) in order to refer (sell) somebody else to the doctor. Not true! It is true that happy patients are much more likely and convenient referral sources. Think about other professionals you work with that may not necessarily be your patient, but, can refer business all day long with little expense and effort on your part (hint: Other medical professionals in the area like optometrists, plastic surgeons and chiropractors). These professionals have access to your likely clients and with a little time and effort (not necessarily during business hours) they can queue up prospects for you on a regular basis and you can reciprocate easily.

 

Continue to page two for the third myth...

 

Myth #3: It takes a long time to get people to refer on purpose.

There is a difference in the types of referral partners you can engage for your practice. Simply put, there are impulsive and strategic referral partners for your business. There are many different automated referral options out there (Solutionreach, Social Dental, etc.) and they are awesome tools to help make it easier for patients to refer you when they remember you. That shouldn’t take very long and should be relatively inexpensive. Strategic, however, is where people start deluding themselves into thinking that it takes a long time for another professional to start referring business.

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In almost every single case this myth is perpetuated by this simple error: They are networking by emotion without logic. Professionals and super patients refer strategically because they want to do so on consistent basis. They either perceive tremendous direct value for their business in doing so or, in the case of super patients, are so connected emotionally to your business that they receive consistent emotional satisfaction from referring friends and family.

Bust the above myths and start strategically (and easily) setting up for consistent, high-quality referrals for you practice today!

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