Today we are going to talk about “how to attract more patients to your private office”. That is the most frequent question faced by any professional that decides to open a private office. Some professionals search for sales-specialist “gurus” who promise to teach them the miraculous formula that will make their appointment book overflow with little effort. Unfortunately, I do not have good news. No success is built upon unrealistic techniques or without a sweat. There is only one way, and it is a hard one, which has to be taken to the end. That way is to become known!
Becoming known is being remembered one someone needs a referral. It is what originates the word of mouth recommendations. It is the confidence the patient feels when he or she talks about you to a relative or friend.
I remember too well. The equipment was all assembled and working, the materials were all neatly placed and me, there, butterflies in my stomach, waiting for the first patient so that I would finally begin to work.
Let us imagine that you opened a dental office in a place where you are not known. However, the place is easily accessible, in a very busy area of a town; the building looks nice, clean and cozy. Then, what is missing is just become known in the neighborhood. For that, you will have to visit all the local business to introduce yourself and take some business cards. Invite them to stop by for a coffee. Talk about your equipment and specialties. In addition, by the way, if you have a specialty, do not forget to visit other dental offices that do not have that specialty, to offer your services. Talk to the dentist in charge of the clinic. Do not forget to leave some business cards in case a patient needs a referral. Maybe they will remember you.
Probably, in the first weeks, there will be very little movement at your office. So, take the free time to do volunteer work at schools, teaching children about the right way to brush. In churches, guide the elderly about prostheses and implants. At the local gym, raise awareness for the importance of mouth guards for physical activities. The more volunteer work you do, the earlier you will begin to be remembered as the local dentist and will start to have patients.
Technology at your favor:
Take advantage of the use of the new Technologies to become known. Search the Social Media, groups of people from your town or even neighborhood. Interact with them and share hints and knowledge that might interest them. Facebook and Instagram may be used as free marketing tools with great reach. Alternatively, if you prefer, put up paid ads and do not forget to create your fan page or even your website. Do not forget to include your office on the map. Many customers begin to search for services on Google Maps. Work on your image in a professional manner and never forget to follow the orientations our category Code of Ethics, not to incur in illegal practices among your colleagues.
Now, the most useful hint I have ever received: always share as much knowledge as you can. This is the best way to become relevant and to earn credibility. Those are qualities the patients look for in a dentist.
Author: Dr. Maria Paula Borghi