Hiking has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I love being out in nature and experiencing the quiet beauty, and the birds and animals while getting some exercise and fresh air at the same time. On my most recent hiking adventure, my thoughts drifted towards my business as I panted and puffed to the top of a particularly steep section of the trail. The topic of referrals came to mind, and an interesting comparison began to form – hiking, just like the way I receive referrals from dentists and orthodontists can be an quite an uphill battle!
I’m not trying to be negative by any means – I believe it’s important to identify any bottlenecks and problem areas in my practice in order to keep things running smoothly. Any entrepreneur – from the hair salon owner across the street, to a Fortune 500 CEO –will tell you that the key to success for any business is to generate new leads and increase sales. This is true in the dental office as well. We all understand the importance of “production” and the scheduling priority that is often placed on a “New Patient Exam”.
In my case, my new business leads are patient referrals, so I depend a great deal on the doctors and dental offices that I work with. Without them, Faceology cannot exist. So yes, it can be an uphill battle!
The thing is, I’ve learned over the past five years that it doesn’t have to be that way. Just like hiking, with a little research beforehand, a map, or maybe even an app on your smartphone, you can choose the paths that are flatter and easier to navigate, so that you don’t end up sweaty and exhausted by the end.
Here are three strategies that I have developed to stay on the easy path when it comes to getting referrals:
1. Do the work for them. Every hygienist knows how busy a dental practice can get! I put together mini information packets that the dentist or a front office person can simply hand to their patients. The pack has everything they need to know about me and what I do. I like to include a brochure, a referral form, and a questionnaire so that the patient has easy access to the information, even if there isn’t time to explain everything in the dental chair.
2. The front office is your friend – these ladies are just as important as the dentist. If you aren’t on the same page as them, the dentist and patients may not even know you exist. I try to keep them in the loop with my latest patient information, business cards, and referral pads. These relationships are more valuable than you know!
3. Keep doctors up to date with the latest research on myofunctional therapy. Dentists and doctors are busy, and they may not have time to read all the new studies on everything that’s happening in the entire dental field, so help them out a little. I like to keep it casual by sending articles via email and saying something like, “Hi Dr. Smith, I thought you may enjoy reading this – it looks like myofunctional therapy can help with snoring”.
The path to getting referrals doesn't have to be steep and difficult. It’s my goal to make referring easier for the doctors I work with, so that things are easier for me as well. It doesn't have to be difficult for you either if you just build your network and work on your relationships with key people. I cover the referral process, and many more tips on how to be successful in this area in much greater detail in my mentoring programs.