There are reasons people seek dentistry. And there are reasons you’re able to be there for them when they do. It has everything to do with your strategy for acquiring…and keeping new patients.
At the intersection of a potential new patient’s search for dental care and your presence in the community you serve is a two-fold result.
- A new patient finds a solution for their dental needs
- You acquire a new patient with a potential for influencing their lifetime dental care
Standing-out in a crowded space
In certain seasons (such as 2020s pandemic) it could appear that dentistry is in a decline. And especially as relates to new practice growth and patient demand for dental care.
Whether the market is saturated or those seeking dentistry appear to be in a period of decline—one thing remain
Competition for new patients!
Creating a stand-out dental practice or dental organization requires you to provide outstanding care but also care that’s a few steps ahead of the “pack” in terms of new patient acquisition (and retention) strategy.
Four strategies for acquiring and keeping new patients
1. Understand how patient communication works in today’s culture
Just because you’re “talking” doesn’t mean you’re communicating. And even though you’re focused on someone doesn’t mean you’re listening or actually hearing what they’re saying.
Within that perspective are two keys to effective patient communication.
- Communicating something of value so you’re heard above-the-noise
- Listening strategically so you know what to communicate that will be heard above-the-noise
Communication happens with “words” (strategy) and the ears (engagement).
New patients will be attracted to your practice(s) when they believe they’re being heard relative to their pain, problem, fears, health goals, etc.
- Evaluate your “language” and narrative across every department. Confirm that you’re communicating “with” every patient…not “at” them – on the phone, in person, and online.
- Allow for push-back on appointment availability, case presentations, and financial discussions. Let your patients know that you hear them, and you’re not merely attempting to “sell” dentistry.
- Welcome and request feedback through online reviews, surveys, and social media comments.
2. Start building the relationship on your first encounter
You’ve heard that “you get one chance to make a first impression.” Managing the impression you make on new patients is about ongoing engagement.
Keep in mind that today’s first encounters with your practice(s) is most likely online. Digital first impressions are key to attracting new patients and building a long-term relationship with them.
- Tour your website(s) from the perspective a new patient. Is it current/up-to-date? Is it easy to navigate? Is it mobile responsive? Is it optimized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
- Train your team(s) on their tone, vibe, etiquette, responsiveness to questions/problems, courtesy, and kindness. These might seem reflexive but to make an outstanding first impression will require some additional training.
- Utilize patient-facing features of your project management software if you can. Letting patients complete forms and schedule appointments online is part of making their first impression with your…