Marketing is a hot topic in dentistry. How much do you spend? What really works? How do you build a referral based practice?

Consistently scheduling 20-25 new patients per month per dentist is key to staying ahead of attrition. There is a need for external marketing such as hosting a great website and providing clear signage for your building. However, the need for internal marketing is even more important! Word of mouth referrals is the least expensive, most successful and most rewarding marketing strategy available. Team members can be coached to ask for referrals and reviews, but I’d like to challenge you to look at your marketing strategies in a different way:

  • Are you creating a, “referral worthy” experience for every patient, every time?
  • Is your new patient appointment specifically designed to, “Knock their socks off?”


It sounds like a simple enough strategy – you need to make each experience so good your patients will want to talk about you!

This can’t be a one-time endeavor as loyalty is only as good as the last experience. Your patients are savvy healthcare consumers that want to get the most out of their healthcare dollars. You may not be analyzing their experience every time, but please know they are! Score yourself on your patient experience. Better yet, take the score card to your next staff meeting and let the staff evaluate how effective your systems are.

Building a Referral Based Practice

Multiply your score by 2 to get a percentage based on a 100% perfect score. Low score on any section? It may be time to revisit strategies to make sure your practice will be built on patient experiences and internal referrals. You build rapport faster with a referred patient than with someone unfamiliar with your services. Trust is readily extended when referred from a friend or colleague. Leveraging the goodwill from your patient base is a powerful and inexpensive marketing tool.

You may be surprised to know that referral rewards, or gifts given to patients who refer their friends, are not generally necessary, and sometimes prohibited by state laws. An incentive such as a free movie pass or gift card has less value than a referral from a trusted friend when seeking a healthcare provider. When patients report a good experience, ask if they would be willing to repeat that on Google or Yelp for you. The ultimate marketing strategy focuses on creating an experience that makes your practice referral worthy.


Your success is our success. Please reach out to us anytime.
Learn more, visit the Practice Support Team page, call 1.800.665.5323 or email us at

Burkhart Dental Supply – Practice Support Team


Category: Practice Consulting

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