Gain more new patients: Know your numbers

Grow from your past success

Every dentist I know would like more new patients. So – how do you that? First, you have to know your numbers. Find out which marketing programs have been most successful for you, and which ones are the losers so you can make solid decisions based on real numbers. It’s so easy to get sold by the latest marketing idea – “Dr. you can be the first in your area to have a mobile website!” but you need to know what’s working for you.

In this brief video recorded for Dental Products Report (so hang in there through the invisalign ad) I share a few ideas on how to gain new patients.

Who can we thank?

Instruct your team to ask every new patient, “Who may we thank for referring you to us?” and document every referral source in your dental practice software.  In fact, if you use a new patient form for your staff to make sure they cover all the pertinent information when a new patient calls, this is an important phrase to add.

Run a report at month end

At end of month, every month, run a report to look at your new patients and make sure that every one has a referral source documented. In Dentrix, I use the office manager to create my own report – including all patients, last visit for the month and referral source. I simply build a .txt file and paste the results into excel  – then it’s a piece of cake to look down the list and see who we missed. I give this list to my front desk team and ask them to check the chart (maybe we just missed transferring it from the patient’s health history into the computer) and if we can’t find it, then my team calls the new patient. We say something like, “Hi Mrs. New Patient, this is Jill with HealthPark Dentistry and I’m calling to follow up on your first visit with us. How did your appointment go?” – Hopefully, this patient shares a wonderful experience and you can agree on how fabulous the dentist and hygienist are, how beautiful the practice is, etc. Next, ask, “We like to thank people that refer new patients to us – would you let me know who we should thank for referring you to our practice?”

Run a production report every 6 months

Your diligence in documenting new patient referrals pays off for you when you run a report that shows production from these new patients categorized by referral source. In Dentrix, the report to use is: Office Manager, Reports, Management, Referred by Doctor/Other. Just choose the production and referral dates to span the 6 month period you want to evaluate – be sure to include all providers, all referrers and all procedures. This generates a report that shows you the name of every patient referred by “internet” or “yellow pages” or whatever referral sources you use. Beside the name, it shows the production.

I like to track the performance of my referral sources. So, in a simple excel spreadsheet named Marketing Tracking, I document the number of patients and the dollar value of total production. I update this 2x/year so my dentists can see what marketing is working and they can compare the different referral sources. This helps the dentists to make better decisions about where to invest future marketing money.

Tracking new patients to direct marketing investment is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog. One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

Feel free to email me.

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
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