In Part 6 of our series on creating a referral machine out of any local business, you will begin to discover one of the most powerful marketing tools ever invented - the project’s “Three Tiers of New Patient Referrals.”
You have hopefully begun to implement the guerilla marketing strategy outlined in the last five parts of this series. Once you get your “New Patient Machine” rolling, you can expect three different levels or tiers of new patient referrals coming your way:
1. Your target establishments’ team members.
This one’s pretty straightforward. You lavished these team members with great gifts of luscious food for a few months. Then you gave them free offers of various services and incentives (with specific stated values and deadlines motivating immediate action).
It doesn’t take much at all to begin to see a stream of new patients from the “Tier 1” referrals. As with any other “loss leader,” your special offers bring them into your office. It’s up to you to take it from there. Help them help themselves to accept more and potentially different services than they might initially think they need or want.
The amazing thing is that since you have already built a nice initial relationship with them during your first meetings at their place of business, it’s not like meeting and trying to establish a relationship with a new patient for the very first time! Some of these folks will undoubtedly become terrific long-term patients.
2. Clients, customers, and patients of your target establishments.
After a few monthly visits to their place of business - and subsequently their trips to your office - you’ll find other new patients coming your way through word of mouth from their team members. For smaller establishments, the manager or owner may also become an occasional referral source at some point along the way.
It’s pure math. If you’ve followed my advice and created your list of 40 or more targets, then it doesn’t take much activity from any one location to give you a significant and sustainable increase in new patient flow.
For example, let’s say that only 20 percent of the places you targeted end up routinely referring anyone to your practice - and at that, these businesses only do so every other month. That’s still .20 x 40 = 8 businesses x 6 per year = 48 or almost 50 new patients a year from Tier 2 referrals.
Of course, we hope these Tier 2 referral sources will refer even more patients, but even that number can be a very powerful addition to your practice. If you had a fairly low lifetime average value of a patient - say, $1,500 - the Tier 2 referrals could be responsible for a $75,000 plus bump each year.
3. “Joint Ventures” - The Holy Grail.
If you have followed and implemented my “Brazilian Project” marketing system as described to this point, you might anticipate enjoying a $100,000 or more annual increase in profits, based upon the first and second tier of new patient referrals.
However, to stop here would be like coming in second in the $100,000,000 lottery ... you had five numbers instead of six and won the $50,000 second prize! That’s not bad, but nowhere near what you might have enjoyed if you only knew that other number!
The neat thing here is that we do know the sixth and winning number! It’s all in harnessing the power of the “Joint Venture” or “JV.” This doesn’t represent joint venture in the corporate sense of the word, where you merge with or acquire another company. It is nothing that complicated. This “JV” simply describes a mutually beneficial referral relationship between two businesses.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could get the plastic surgeon, dermatologist, high-end health spa or some other complimentary business in your city to send you 10 or 20 patients next week? You can!
Getting the Tier 3 referrals is truly a simple process. It’s just a matter of getting enough folks on your side and in your corner to make it happen. Don’t miss next month’s column, the conclusion of “The Brazilian Project,” where I’ll reveal, step by step, how to access the “mother lode” of unlimited new patient flow!
Dr. Tom Orent, the “Gems Guy,” is a founding member and past president of the New England Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. His “1000 Gems Seminars™” span five countries and 48 U.S. states. He is the author of five books and hundreds of articles on practice management, TMJ, and “Extreme Customer Service.” To receive a free half-year subscription to Dr. Orent’s “Independent Dentist Newsletter” (normally $297 per year), mention Dental Economics® and send your request with doctor’s name, address, e-mail, and a major credit card number and expiration date (to pay for the one--time $5.95 shipping and handling charge) to Tom@1000gems.com or fax to (508) 861-1550.