There are a ZILLION ways to increase new patient flow. Not literally of course, but there are more ways than 20 pages of 12 point text can hold, let’s put it that way.
To have a steady flow of new patients ready, willing and able to pay your fees (and I hope your fees are HIGH so you actually enjoy practicing dentistry), you have to do what is often referred to as an economical, innovative, simultaneous and massive action.
You CANNOT do just one or two things at a time and expect to have more patients than you can handle. It doesn’t work that way. You have to be overwhelmed and wondering where to put those that are calling. You have to have an abundance of patients demanding your services. This happens when you get off your rusty dusty and DO/GET more than one way working for you. Preferably a half dozen or more since two or three will carry the weight/freight and deliver the large majority of those patients you need.
Here are four ways to increase new patient flow.
1. Free Standing Inserts: Once a month or more place a full-page, 8.5” × 11” sheet of paper inside your daily newspaper (almost ALWAYS on Tuesdays).
Every time you do this, you generate patients with a cost of $25 to $100 per patient. Can’t beat it. You always have an offer, testimonials, a great headline, a relevant photo, and so on. The ONLY thing you do is prepare an electronic file for the printing company you work with.
You send the electronic file to your printer. They print the inserts and deliver them to the newspaper. The newspaper then inserts it on the day of their choice. You generally have 15,000 or so inserted into the newspaper for a cost of about $0.08 each. WHERE else can you get 15,000 flyers in the hands of people who like to read?
Your local paper is about one of your only options. To me, it’s one of the best values in advertising today.
2. Newsletters: In my world, patient newsletters are the easiest way to generate new patient referrals without any effort on your part. Referrals are the best new patients you can ask for, and we all know that already.
They feel like they already have an established relationship with you and trust you. You can’t BUY that kind of respect and trust and it’s important you respect it and use it to your advantage by encouraging your patients to refer more often and reward them and recognize them when they DO refer. Positive reinforcement, right?
In your newsletter, there are very specific actions you should be taking to generate the best return on your investment. Your results will be spectacular, especially considering how little it requires from you and your team (a trivial few minutes each month spent by an appointed team member).
Plan and budget for spending each and every month to KEEP your best patients in your practice. If you don’t they WILL go somewhere else. This is just one of the very important contact points to keep going 12 months in a row, year-long.
3. Referral Letters: I like referral letters. They are easy, to the point, and frankly, they work. Three of my clients sent out one such referral letter to all of their A & B patients, asking gently, for their assistance this summer in keeping them busy (the best story to tell is the truth, right?). This is cheap to do. It’s straightforward and can be done in a matter of minutes by one of your team members.
4. Endorsed Mailings: These are really easy, again, no-brainers. Here’s the principle behind them - You find another local business person that has customers you’d like to have since they could easily mimic the customers you already have.
If all of your patients are females age 40 to 50 and without kids and there’s a divorce attorney in town that specializes in representing women in that age bracket in divorce cases without kids, there’s a match, right? So you simply ask the attorney to lunch, let them know you have the kind of clients each other wants and see if you can work out a joint marketing effort. If you both are doing newsletter article submission, it’s real easy and you can just insert a flyer (your free-standing insert from above should work). This kind of thing works well with high-end car dealers as well.
One of my local clients does this once a year with the local Mercedes dealership. They ALWAYS pick up some great patients at or near ZERO cost and they are great folks especially since they like to spoil themselves!