Activate Patient Referrals
Tools: Letter With $1 Exam Offer or Free Whitening Kit Offer
How To Use:
- On your computer, run a scan of patient files for as many past years as you want to use. This will determine how many letters you need to print and to whom the letters will be sent. (The scan will also be used to print labels or envelopes.)
- Select from Sample Letter 5A and Sample Letter 5B, which letter you want to use and have the letters printed. The letter can be modified for any particular season or occasion, i.e., Christmas, back to school, Family Care Month, etc. The letter should be printed on your letterhead and mailed in your stationary envelopes. Take the letter to a printer, as it looks more professional than one run on your office copier.
- Prepare the team for the increased numbers of new patients. Get the team together and set targets for the number of new patients that you want in the office. Plan and prepare for how many new patients you can see in a day. Set up your appointment book with blocks of time set aside for exams, x-rays and consultations. Once that’s done, schedule new patients for as soon as possible after they call in. This may sound too basic, but it’s important to realize the volume of new patients that a letter like this can create and to be prepared to handle them efficiently. Some Doctors have called asking how to stop the flow of new patients as so many were generated that it overwhelmed the usual office procedures.
- Print envelopes or labels and mail out the letters to the patient files. Preferably mail all the letters at the same time. If it is necessary to split them up, ensure the batches are not smaller than the minimum for a mailing at bulk mail rates. Be sure to have “Address Correction Requested” stamped or printed on the envelopes used for these letters.
- Promote in the office. Make posters or signs announcing “Family Care Month” or “Dental Care Month” and place around the office. Have each team member talk up this special event in the office. The team should ask the patients if they’ve received their letters from the office yet. Create anticipation and excitement.The Doctor can remind patients that this is their opportunity to bring in anyone they know for free examination or free whitening kit. This is the time to go all out on the promotion. The more you promote this in your office, the more effective it will be.
- Do the exams and x-rays. Even though the exams and x-rays are $1.00, it is still important to do a thorough exam and x-ray. The patient should feel that you are doing a careful exam and are concerned with his health and not just with a sales pitch. Remember this is a $1.00 exam and should not be billed to insurance even if there is 100% coverage. The only patients that do not get the $1.00 exam and x-rays are those that are legally unacceptable such as P.I. or worker’s comp cases.
- Do a good report of your findings in the consultation. You have a patient in your office that has paid nothing for their care so far. It’s very important that you do a thorough report of findings and carefully explain to that patient what their problem areas are and why they need dental care. If you don’t do a good job of this, the patients won’t follow through.
- This letter is sent to all current and past patients for the past 1-2 years or more.
- The success of the letter depends on internal promotion in the office to your active patients, and your continuous promotion to the new patients that come in to bring in their friends and family members as well.
- Anyone who hasn’t received a letter by the first week or so should be given one, so ensure there are spare copies available in the office.
- This idea can be used once a year at the same time or more frequently if it is effective for you. The fact that it is a special promotion makes it draw so well. If the current policy in your office is to give $1 exams and x-rays or free whitening kits, then the impact will obviously be reduced. When used once a year, Summit client’s find their results range from 4-10% response of the number of letters sent out. You may find one or two patients who will refer ten or twelve new patients to you. So don’t stop asking after a person has sent in one or two new patients.
- The only thing we have found to disrupt this promotion would be incorrect intention on the Doctor’s part for what the letter’s purpose is. If one charges insurance for a $1 exam and x-rays or tampers with this concept financially, it will keep this letter from functioning. As long as the intention is to serve more patients, this letter will work well for you. This is an effective tool – use it!