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For Specialists - The A.B.C.’s of a Successful Outreach Program

When your outreach team visits dental offices, they should tailor their approach as follows, depending on whether the office is an A, B, or C level referrer.

A Referrers:

  • We appreciate your referrals.
  • Mention specific patient. (Example: Mrs. Jones was in last week and she did great!)
  • We try to streamline communication to save you time.
  • Is there anything we can do to make the process easier for everyone?

B Referrers:

  • We appreciate your referrals.
  • Why do you think certain patients hesitate to make an appointment in our specialty office after Doctor Smile makes a referral? (You want to help them close the loop and get the referred patient appointed in your office.)
  • Explain that you hear certain objections every day and you can deal with them. (Patients often ask their dentist about the cost of seeing a specialist or have questions about surgery. The office needs to reassure the patient that your office will take the time to listen to the patient’s concerns and answers those questions.)
  • Ask for agreement to contact patient for scheduling after the referral but before patient appoints.
  • Emphasize your commitment to communicate clearly.

C Referrers:

  • Which procedures do you like to do best? (You glean valuable information from the answer to this question. There is a big difference between the answer “We like to do full mouth reconstruction cases” and another practice that responds: “It depends on the patient’s insurance.”
  • What's your protocol for a new patient visit? (After the response, your outreach team can briefly describe the protocol for a new patient visit in your office.)
  • How does the doctor decide whether to refer a patient? (This question is key. Are they keeping many procedures in house? Referring mainly to someone else?)
  • Stress availability: we can schedule a patient within a reasonable amount of time.
  • We would welcome the opportunity to work with you.

These outreach visits should set the stage for the specialist to personally interact with the referring doctor, which can be an exchange of text messages, meeting in person for coffee or a meal, or a lunch and learn.

I teach teams in specialist’s office to run a successful outreach program. Contact me for details.