The most familiar reason a new patient comes to your practice is because they are “new to the area.” That makes sense – people move and they need to find a new dentist. But investigate a little deeper and you find that their motivations are not necessarily so clear-cut.

According to a 2010 census report, about 12.5 percent of the population moved during the year. That is a lot of mobility. But here's what I find interesting: 70 percent of those people moved within the same county. Only 18 percent moved to a different county within the state, leaving just 12 percent moving out of state. So a lot of patients out there who are going to a new dentist because they've moved are really saying their previous dentist just wasn't providing a special enough experience to make it worth traveling a few miles farther.

Think about your own practice. You can probably point to quite a few loyal patients who drive a good distance to see you. But at the same time, how many have you lost because it was just easier for them to go to a new dentist who was a bit closer?

So when a patient comes to you because they're new to the neighborhood, ask them where they've moved from. If it wasn't that far away, they're telling you something. They're saying that something happened in the last practice they went to, or something didn't happen. Either way, they couldn't be bothered to keep going there. The practice just wasn't special. And that's good intelligence to have as you set out to give them an experience worth staying for. Be special.


Commenter's Profile Image John Redd
May 7th, 2012
So very true. I just forwarded this to my staff
Commenter's Profile Image Scott Greenhalgh, DDS
January 11th, 2013
Very true and well said. I remind my staff that all it takes is one disappointing or even just lack-luster experience and people start to consider other options. We have to deliver for our patients EVERY time we see them. Thanks for the article!
Commenter's Profile Image Galina
January 13th, 2013
Right on the money, Imtiaz, as always! This is an opportunity to open up a dialogue with a new patient about what is important to them in a dental office (and in life) and what they were / weren't receiving in the previous office. Then listen... listen... listen! Thanks for the article!