January 20, 2012
from admin at Modern Dental Practice Management
Dentists often turn to incentive programs for referrals. While I’m not opposed to incentive programs, incentives for referrals isn’t necessarily a good marketing tactic. Word-of-mouth is the most effective and efficient way for dentists to get new patients. Referred patients have a good reputation for long-term retention, so providing an incentive to increase word-of-mouth among your exiting patients seems like a good idea, at least on the surface.
Have you ever referred a friend to a business – like a particular golf pro shop or gym? How does it make you feel to provide a friend with information on where to get the best service? For most of us, giving good advice and helping our friends feels rewarding. Our conscience says “good job” for being wise and informative. There’s no guilt because there’s no tangible referral incentive. Yes, incentives can actually keep people from making referrals because they feel bribed. Emotion plays a big role in word-of-mouth referrals.
How to Ask for Referrals
There are alternatives to incentive programs. You can boost referrals very easily by asking for them. If you know that your team is friendly, helpful, and provide superior service to your patients, you should not feel guilty asking for referrals. Here’s a script to help you.