Yes, it really is that simple. If you're like most dentists, you probably have a lot of potential ambassadors who are walking out the door keeping their rave reviews to themselves. These same people would readily promise to mention you to their friend – if only someone asked them. This isn't a difficult thing to do. Most people are flattered to know that you value their opinions and their endorsement so highly, but you need to do it in a way that shows that this is a fundamental part of your practice culture.
For instance, consider these conversation starters:
“Who invited you to our practice?” Asking new patients this establishes right away that this is an invitation-driven practice. If the answer is "nobody," express surprise and point out that most of your new patients come on the recommendation of others.
“We'll earn the right to your invitation.” Let patients know up front that your goal with them is to provide the kind of care and service that will make them want to tell others. They will be impressed with your declaration to that commitment and they start thinking along those lines right away.
“We keep family charts together.” This is an easy introduction to asking if there are any others in their family you will be seeing. If they hadn't thought of it before, they will now. And it's also a great opportunity to learn more about the patient's family and make a personal connection.
“Would you mind writing that down?” After a particularly successful appointment, have a team member ask the patient for their thoughts on how things went. If they respond favorably, tell the patient you would love to share that with the rest of the team and with others who are considering joining the practice. Then give them a card and a moment to commit their thoughts to paper. Using this strategy, it won't take long to amass an impressive portfolio of rave reviews.
If you employ these basic strategies comprehensively and consistently, invitations will become a natural occurrence. Over time you'll begin to notice that the quality of each "generation" of invited new patients keeps getting better. This is how you build that practice with the high-value, private club feel. Or rather, this is how your patients help you build that practice. It's a powerful psychological need to want others we care about to share in the things that we like. It isn't hard to leverage that fundamental human impulse, and build a community of patients who are just as proud of your practice as you are.