In this digital age, consumers have greater access to the businesses they choose to support – or not. Business owners in every industry are competing for the attention of the right patrons, and dentists are no exception. So, what distinguishes you in this competitive marketplace? Your dental brand. According to the American Dental Association: “A brand identifies a good or services as distinctive from others—think of the original use of branding as a way for ranchers to identify cattle from various owners.” And the reach of your brand extends further than you might think.
More than a compelling logo or marketing visuals, Practice Builders claims that traits like bedside manner, reputation, and leading edge procedures are key in what makes or breaks a successful dental brand. Today’s marketplace is saturated with seductive advertising – yet quality patient care is still a dentist’s best selling point. Here are some tips on how to leverage your most powerful tool for patient production:
1. Take the time to listen, learn, and teach. Look patients in the eye and ask them what their wants, needs, and concerns are when it comes to their dental health. This will help you position yourself as a trustworthy partner in your patients’ care. Then, educate them on potential solutions and negotiate a treatment plan together. Also show consideration for the well-being of patients and their families. A sincere “how have you been?” can go a long way.
2. Keep your “dental speak” between colleagues. Keep your communications clear and relatable by speaking plainly. Don’t assume your patients understand medical terminology, and if you must use it, put it in a context relevant to the patient and his/her health.
3. Respect patients’ time. Dentists aren’t the only ones with busy lives. Your patients value prompt care, so keep your schedule manageable and inform patients if you’re running late. Offer opportunities to reschedule when appropriate.
When you notice that patients are expressing their satisfaction or success with you, put their praise to work for your practice as follows:
1. Ask for testimonials and images of happy patients. According to a recent Dental Town podcast, “Smart Strategies for Getting New Clients,” pay attention to the positive feedback you receive from patients and ask to use it as a testimonial. You may also request pictures of said patients – especially helpful for success stories whose improved smiles can attract the attention of new patients.
2. Ask for referrals. Kristin Uhles, VP of Marketing for SmartPractice, “the number one source of new patients is referrals.” Give incentives to your staff and satisfied patients for referring patients — like service discounts, gift cards, or cash vouchers — to say thank you for their support.
When you build your brand, consider the major role that quality patient care plays. Satisfied patients make loyal patients — and referrals! So, be sure to leverage both the medical and marketing value in any positive feedback you receive from them. What struggles and successes have you experienced when it comes to patient production and building your brand? Let us know in the comments below.
At SmartPractice, we strive to give you the tools and support you need to develop your brand. Feel free to explore our dental marketing products and services, as well as our patient communication tools.