There are a lot of strategies for getting patients to invite friends and family to your practice. When you get right down to it, everything you and your team do in your interaction with a patient becomes an advertisement—good or bad—for your way of doing things. But there is one really simple thing every practice should be doing to increase invitations.
Ask for them.
Yes, it really is that simple. How many potential ambassadors are walking out the door keeping their rave reviews to themselves—people who would be happy to offer a written testimonial or would readily promise to mention you to their friends—if they were only asked?
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 in a way that shows that this is a fundamental part of your practice culture. Don’t just put a sign at the front desk saying that you welcome invitations (although that is a good reminder to have in place). Use every opportunity to reinforce the invitation mindset in the interactions you have with the patient. For instance, consider these conversation starters:
- “Who invited you to our practice?” Asking this of new patients establishes right away that invitations are the foundation of your business. 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 new patients know right 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…?” Capture the moment when it happens. After a particularly successful appointment, have a team member ask the patient for their thoughts on how things went. When they respond favorably and effusively, 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, and over time you’ll begin to notice an exciting phenomenon taking shape: the quality of each “generation” of invited new patients keeps getting better. They arrive more mind-ready, better prepared to appreciate your value, and primed for ideal care. Appointments are honored. Case acceptance rates escalate. Collections become automatic. That’s because you and your team and your patients are developing the brand, and incrementally raising the bar, with each successive invitation.
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.