I’m often asked by dentists: ‘how can I get more patients?’
It would seem a reasonable question from a dentist looking for practice growth and increased financial success.
But in my opinion, it’s not ideal. It infers patients can be acquired as you would a commodity which is bought or sold.
I propose this is a more useful question to ask yourself:
‘If I were a potential new patient I’d really like to come to my practice, what would encourage me to visit?’
You can sense how turning around your thinking in this way opens up an interesting thought process. It encourages a paradigm shift.
I therefore urge you to spend some time with your team working on this question (and yes, you should also discuss what might currently be putting off potential patients).
Here are three suggestions on what appeals to potential patients to get you going:
1. A sense of the emotional difference you make to your patients
Your patients can’t judge your clinical skills and therefore have to trust these are in place. What they can connect with is how what you do makes your patients feel and creates a difference to them.
So ask permission to share your patient stories.
Make sure these stories have an emotional context. You can do this by asking a few questions of patients after finishing a course of treatment or when they have seen a notable improvement in their dental health. Ask them how they felt before, during and after their treatment.
You care about your patients. Make sure potential new patients appreciate this.
2. An appreciation of how you are remarkable
It’s worth repeating that in order to be remarked upon, you need to be remarkable.
So consider how can you enhance the experience your patients have. Where can you provide more or do something the patient wouldn’t expect?
What can you do to deliver a more remarkable experience which goes beyond the patient simply sitting in an average waiting room, being called through, hearing the dentist relay lots of information they can’t understand to the nurse as they lie in the chair, before making their next appointment and leaving?
Patients, like customers of any business, appreciate small, thoughtful touches. You can focus on these without needing to make grand, expensive gestures.
3. What your existing ‘ideal’ patients value
You know the patients you like to see and who rates your practice. You want more of these types of patients. So seek to understand and learn from these people.
Ask them what matters to them about visiting their dentist. What they value about you. How you could do better to create a difference to them.
You can do this informally or via a patient survey which goes beyond simply asking whether they were able to park easily and whether they like your waiting room. These points matter of course but are part of a much bigger, emotional picture.
Seek to understand your ‘ideal’ patients and you will have an insight into how you can attract more patients of their ilk.
Comments or queries? Simply leave them in the box below and I’ll get right back to you, or call me on 01249 712074. I’d love to speak to you.