With over 7.6 billion people in the world, there are bound to be people whom you instantly gel with while others will simply irritate you by their very nature, behaviour, or habits. As a busy dentist you undoubtedly see both ends of the spectrum; and while keeping a professional persona means that you treat everyone with the same caring manner, you’ve got to admit that you probably feel more happy about seeing some patients than others.
So what makes your ideal patient?
Are they ones that always keep appointments, pay on time, or refer others to your practice? Or are they simply patients who you have a great rapport with, or patients that have remained loyal to you for many years?
Whatever the reason, I’m guessing that they’re not people who don’t return for treatments, never pay on time, or who make it all too obvious that they’d rather be anywhere else other than sat in your dental practice. Let’s face it – too many of these type of patients and it’s likely to have a negative impact on your day!
The question is…how do you find more of your ‘ideal’ patients so that you can choose to have less of the above? Let’s take a closer look…
Finding a common denominator
You might be surprised to know that many of your favourite patients have something in common. It could be that they come from the same area, are roughly the same age, have a family, or support the local community. It might even be that they’re all genuine, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth types. Whatever that something is, there is usually a common denominator that links them together. Once you have this common factor, it’s a great starting point because it allows you to really focus your marketing efforts.
Be where you can attract them
Doing all this initial detective work is great, but chances are that it will all go to waste if you don’t place yourself right where you can attract them. So how do you do that? Here’s an example….
Let’s say that you discovered that a great percentage of your ‘favourite’ type of patients lived within your area and owned their own business. This being the case a great starting point would be your local Chamber of Commerce. For a small monthly fee, you should have access to a whole host of members who own their own business. Many hold networking events and breakfast meetings, but in addition, many will also provide important contact information through business directories. These are a great source of information if you don’t have the time to attend in person.
Alternatively, what about if many of your favourite patients currently own dogs? Then how about leaflet dropping some of your local pet grooming parlours. Or what about if your practice is in a rural farming area? Then take a look at the National Association Of Agricultural Contractors… you get the picture. Whatever the common link, explore ways of getting access to places where it becomes easier to attract them.
Tailor your marketing message
The final step is to tailor your marketing message and the key here is ‘personalisation’. Research shows that if done right, 73% of potential patients will take some type of action. Whether that’s checking out your dental website, making an enquiry about the services you offer, or booking a consultation, you should see an uptake in results.
We’re not talking about personalised subject lines because these have been done to death. Instead what’s even better is a ‘welcome to the area’ email, if you know they’ve recently moved in. Lists of new homeowners are usually available from a wide range of sources. Or how about an email giving special check-up rates to local farmers if you happen to be in a farming community. Alternatively, for busy mums, what about an email offering early-bird appointments. Whatever the common denominators within your ‘ideal patient’ market, leverage those in order to tailor your marketing message. Remember the more personal you are, the more success you’ll have.
So who do you really enjoy treating? By asking yourself this question, identifying the key common denominators that make-up your ideal patient, finding out where they hang out; and building marketing systems that appeal directly to them, it makes it an easier task to attract the type of patient that you really want to your dental practice. Once you have a good system in place, then it’s becomes pretty easy to rinse and repeat. Remember your ideal patients are out there, all you need to do is to go out and find them!