Where do most of your referrals come from? Dentists? Hygienists? Current patients? Hopefully all three. Most specialists, including myself, for years have focused marketing for new patients on general dentist offices. Now that we know that model is dying like yellow page advertising, it’s time to look to other sources. The go to source for our practice is now online. But what about something else? What about an area that is typically untapped in each community? I’m talking about MD’s. Do you have a specific campaign that targets them? Most of us don’t. Today, I’m going to share with you not only new ways we can get dental referrals from physicians, but also resources you can use as well.
Dental referrals from physicians
Put yourself in the shoes of a physician for a moment. What do you see? Most MD offices:
- Are busy seeing many patients a day
- Have large numbers of nurses for support
- Typically in group practices
- Are USED to referring to other specialists
Reread that last line.
One of the main differences between dentists and physicians is the referral model. Most MD’s are used to referring out to specialists. It would be impossible for them to become “experts” at everything as there are multiple specialties and sub-specialties now.
How can we tap into this untapped resource? Read on.
3 physician marketing strategies
1) Identify procedures
What do you want to do more of? Implants, recession procedures, gum disease treatment? Once you focus in on one or two areas, it makes it easier to put a plan together. Most physicians and nurse practitioners are aware of the link of many health conditions to the oral cavity such as:
- Heart disease
It’s your job to educate them further and also assist them on educating their own patients (more about that below). Once you identified what procedures you want to treat more of, it’s time to select your sources…
2) Select your target market
Here’s where most of us go wrong. We ONLY reach out to general practitioners or internists when first starting out. The MORE specific you can be, the better. For instance, I recently befriended a rep in my area that serviced MD offices with meds to treat diabetes. During our lunch, he informed me that the largest offices treating diabetics were run by nurse practitioners, NOT MD’s.
Actually, their clinic ONLY treated diabetic patients. He set up a meeting with the two of us plus the nurse that owned the clinic. She was very passionate about what she does and offered to have her video team come to my office to film us interacting with patients. She was in the process of creating a video to give to patients that they refer out so that they could see firsthand the kind of care that they would be receiving.
This is going to be a win for their office, our office and her patients.
Consider researching local clinics or doctor offices that treat diabetics. Also, consider meeting with them or other specialists such as:
- plastic surgeons
- ear, nose, throat specialists
- sleep specialists
Another area general dentist and physicians are different is the number you need to acquire. Typically, you only need a handful of physicians to keep you busy as they see many more patients than dentists. Spend most of your time researching the BEST ones to target, then do all you can to show them that you are the go-to expert.
3) Create referral materials
If you’ve followed me for a while, then you know about our new patient shock & awe package.
We made up several of these and brought them with us to the Diabetic Clinic for them to give to their patients. If you want to stand out, you MUST be different and packages like this allow you to do so.
One important feature to add is a letter to docs stating:
- who you are
- why you are different
- what their patients can expect when they see you
Trust me, nobody else is doing this.
Dental referrals from physicians is something that most specialists don’t typically get because they don’t take action. Remember, to decide on what types of procedures you’d like to do more of before targeting your local physicians.
Want more help with developing a game plan to market to physicians?