We market, we look for referrals, but we forget what really pushes the tipping point of becoming a new patient in our practice. Many of us attribute our new patients to a marketing campaign or our Internet presence. While that is part of it, the real reason people choose you is more fundamental, and actually requires two important actions to occur. Marketing is just information and, as it happens, people need two important points of information in order to choose you.
1. Receiving information from an objective source. This is a source that the receiver considers to be based on true facts. An objective source would be an unbiased and non-judgmental source not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudices: Based on facts. This might be the fact that the newspaper or radio announced that you had been awarded the keys to the city, or you were the drop off point for Hurricane Sandy donations, or possibly the dentist for the high school football team. These create factual “validity”. You are the “it” dentist in the minds of the public. As great as this is, it is not enough.
2. Receiving information from a source you trust. This is the card that makes a royal flush, and an unbeatable hand. This could be a friend’s endorsement and referral. Or raving fans on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media reviews on the Internet. This is defined as “social proof”. Social proof validates people’s choices. Your testimonials are a great example of this. So if you are one of those practices that think you can prosper without actively participating in social media (you still participate, because people are talking about you, but you just don’t know what they are saying), then think again. Social media is as important as your signage and telephone number. Without it, your practice will fail.
If you aren’t getting the referrals and new patients you think you should be getting (about 50-75 total new patients per month per doctor with at least 50% of them coming from referrals), then one of these cornerstones is missing in your practice. Over and over we tell offices two crucial things to remember:
1. You can’t get better at giving patients what they don’t want. If you are not growing, you are trying to give your patients something they don’t want. Only the consumer gets to define what quality dentistry is. They buy what they want, not what you want. Any failure in growth indicates a lack of inspiring your patients.
2. Your systems are precisely designed to give you the results you are currently getting, and systems are everything you do. You are working at capacity and you are what your current production, new patients, and overhead say you are. If you want more, you have to do something “different”.
We call the “different” Summiting. Our clients are some of the most prosperous, well balanced, and profitable businesses in Dentistry today. Why don’t you call and learn how to “Summit” too?
This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS