When it comes to growing your dental practice, it can be easy to slip into the mindset of attracting new patients at all costs, and to believe that any new patient on the schedule is the patient you’ve been waiting for to help you hit your goals.
But we’re willing to bet that if you’d stop and think about it for a second you might second guess that initial instinct. Have you ever had a new patient come for their first appointment only to be rude to you or another member of your team? Or set up a new patient appointment only to have their appointment times come and go—and the exam room you reserved for them empty and unproductive?
Yeah, let’s be real. Those new patients—while technically acquired—are not helpful to achieving the goals you have for your practice. In fact, they’re a drain on your time and resources that can hinder a practice from reaching its full potential.
So what can you do to get out of the “all new patients are the best patients” mentality?
- Understand what traits you value in an ideal patient
- Design your marketing efforts around that patient
If you create a new customer acquisition strategy around these two ideals you will have a much better chance of acquiring the right patients for your practice.
What’s your ideal patient?
Think about your current customers for a moment. Are there one or two that immediately come to mind? If so—and if they came to mind for positive reasons—what made you think of them?
Perhaps you thought of the patient who’s never missed an appointment without giving you advanced notice. Or it was a couple patients who clearly take your in-office advice and have become much better at keeping up their dental care at home. Or maybe it was simply a patient who adds warmth and friendship to your practice—one who you’ve come to appreciate as much more than a dental patient and more as a friend.
Do any of those sound familiar?
While no two practices will have exactly the same ideal patient there are probably a few traits most dental professionals could agree on:
- Openness to advice
- Appreciation for the importance of dental care
- Personal responsibility
- Positive attitude
Additionally, based on where your practice is located (country or city, warm or cold climate, etc.) there will also be some demographics to consider when targeting potential patients. If you find that mothers and children often seem to be your top patients, consider how you can use that in your marketing and community outreach. Or if you live in a town with an aging population consider how to connect with senior patients. It’s all part of the process of making the most of your patient acquisition efforts.
We know your time is precious so we’ll end this article now and next week we’ll provide insights into marketing to your ideal patient(s).