How to improve your new patient conversion by 400% from today

That’s a catchy title for a blog post (always a good idea) and yet the answer is quite simple – be careful who you ask.

Yesterday we discussed the job specification for an internal social media evangelist.

Today we take a look at The Patient Evangelist.

Patient referrals are the least expensive and most effective way to grow your business – period.

There simply isn’t anything better than the third-party trust that sends a potential new patient to you with a huge seal of approval from a mutual friend.

The facts prove the point emphatically – I was recently researching what was happening to a cohort of my clients and took a look at conversion rate from enquiry to treatment plan taken up, based on source of enquiry:

  • GDP referral – 85% conversion;
  • patient referral – 66% conversion;
  • direct enquiry (searching for a local dentist) – 33% conversion;
  • direct enquiry (responding to digital advertising – Google or Facebook) – 17% conversion.

So, specialist referral practices apart, the simple fact is that a patient referral is almost 4 times more likely to proceed to treatment than someone responding to a digital advert.

To put it another way – if you invest in Google and Facebook advertising, you (more especially, your telephony and TCO team) had better be ready to kiss a lot of frogs – yuk.

We’ve already covered the ground on when to identify those patient evangelists (at The Daily Huddle) and how to approach them (The End of Treatment Protocol and the MRCREST list).

Let’s just remind ourselves this morning that those Patient Evangelists come in all shapes and sizes, from bouncy Millennials to unruffled Baby-Boomers, from any post-code in the area.

A tour of my client’s patient video testimonials proves the point, whether it’s the:

  • Bronze standard – a quick 60-second video captured on an iPhone in the surgery or TCO consult room;
  • Silver standard – a more formal 120-second video captured on a camera/tripod/light/mike set up in the TCO consult room;
  • Gold standard – a professionally produced 4-minute video, captured in the practice and in the patient’s home and/or place of work.

The Patient Evangelist is “up for it” and only needs to be asked.

They don’t have to have thousands of friends (Dunbar’s number will suffice).

What they have is an authentic story.

Marketing is storytelling.

The Patient Evangelist can answer 4 questions on video:

  • How did you hear about us? (not – how did you find us);
  • What brought you to us?
  • What is it like being our patient?
  • What difference has the treatment made?

There will be Patient Evangelists visiting your practice today – do you have the systems in place to identify them and the people in place to capture their recommendation?


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.