I don’t usually do this, but let’s get theoretical for a second. Every satisfied patient should bring you more patients, right? Ideally word-of-mouth would do all the work – your happy patients would refer their friends and family, who in turn would become patients.

But what if you’re not quite at that stage? What if you have no internal referral system set up, and no follow-up with existing patients that gets them to pay, stay, and refer? That’s when the next best thing needs to happen – every happy patient can influence potential patients.

Short of having your patients deliver more patients to your door, the best thing is for your current patients to sway potential ones by writing great reviews about your practice. Without online reviews, it’s hard for people to pick you over your competitors. Plus, without reviews you’re far less likely to outrank your competitors on Google.

The bottom line is you need to ask each and every happy patient for an online review. But how do you do it without being a pest?

This is often where even the smartest practice owners, the ones who know how important online reviews are, get stuck. They’re not sure how to ask patients or how to show them what to do, so the 5-Star reviews never get posted. Fortunately, you’ve got options – 13 of them.

I know of 13 ways you can get reviews that patients either write directly on your Google Places page (aka Google reviews), or write through third-party sites such as Yelp and CitySearch. It doesn’t matter how much time you have, or how many patients you have, or how computer-savvy your patients are, at least some of these methods will work for your practice.

13 ways to get online reviews

  1. Organic method – Make sure your practice is listed on as many third-party sites as possible so that patients can find you if they feel like writing a review.
  2. Links or clickable images on your site – This is something patients can click on at your website in order to write reviews.
  3. Single-page handouts – A sheet of instructions you can hand to patients that walks them through how to post a review.
  4. Personal email – A simple email with a polite request and a link. But for Pete’s sake, personalize it. None of that “Dear Valued Patient” garbage. You can also do this with your email signature. Instead of a bunch of fluff at the bottom of your emails, include a little link where patients can dash off a quick review.
  5. Autoresponder email – If you have patients on an email list through a service such as DemandForce or Smile Reminders, you can have an email request go out automatically.
  6. Snail-mail request/instructions – People generally pay more attention to snail-mail, especially if it’s personalized and from a practice they know and like. This method is a bit of work, but you’ll probably do well if you choose to use it.
  7. Video – A short walk-through for patients who you think would rather watch a quick video than follow other types of instructions.
  8. Social media – In particular, Facebook. What’s nice is that patients can write CitySearch reviews using their Facebook username.
  9. QR code on a postcard – Give patients a little postcard that asks them to review you by scanning a QR code with their smartphones. The QR code contains a link to your Google Places page, your InsiderPages listing, or elsewhere.
  10. QR code as a sticker or decal – The sticker or decal can go anywhere in your office or store, and patients can scan it with their smartphones to review you on the spot.
  11. Phone call – This is a bit old-fashioned but effective with the right kind of patient.
  12. A little gift for patients – A fridge magnet, or a free pad of paper with your logo and phone number on it with a request to leave you a quick review can work wonders. The gift has to be something people will actually use, keep on their desk, and see every day. It’s a subtle but persistent reminder.
  13. Ask reviewers to write through a variety of sites – If you know for a fact a patient wrote you a Yelp review, ask the person to also write you an InsiderPages review. There are no rules against it. In fact, the review sites themselves share reviews. I suggest you  do this only with really close, loyal patients who don’t mind spreading the good word.

These methods are not mutually exclusive, nor do you have to pick one or just a few. You can use as many of these ideas as you’d like. In fact, it’s best if you use a variety of these ideas so that you get reviews on a variety of sites, and so you can determine what works best for you and your patients.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get 5-Star Google reviews and protect your practice and your hard-earned revenue go to http://localsearchfordentists.co/

Graig Presti is founder and CEO of Local Search For Dentists, he has been recognized as one of the world’s top market leaders in the dentistry world, and he has led the marketing and PR campaigns that have driven more than 10,000 dental practices to record years. Graig’s Google patient review attraction ‘’cheat sheet” system has been seen in The Wall St. Journal, Newsweek, Inc. Magazine, and Inc. 500, as well as on CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, and CBS markets across the nation. To get a free copy of the cheat sheets go to LocalSearchForDentists.com or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNxxh5-m0lY

 

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With an increasing amount of patients turning to online resources to research potential dental care providers, it’s becoming essential for dentists and practices to not only increase their online visibility, but also ensure that their online reputation is in good standing. A new program launched by LocalSearchForDentists.com is helping dental professionals across the nation establish more credibility online and increase their number of patients because of it.

“So many patients now go online to research dentists in their area before scheduling an appointment, and Google patient reviews have a big impact on that decision,” said Graig Presti, CEO of Local Search for Dentists. “Sadly, we’ve found that just one false negative review from a disgruntled patient or former employee can be detrimental to dentists’ credibility online. This program helps dentists create an online reputation that accurately portrays their level of care and trust with patients.”

Every new patient comes from Internet dental marketing. It doesn’t matter if dentists advertise using radio, direct mail, billboards, television, or internal referral campaigns. What is the first thing a patient is going to do when they are referred to a practice or see an advertisement for the practice? Patients are going to Google the dentist’s name and the name of the dental practice. Patients are going to figure out if they are legitimate and if anyone has anything good or bad to say about the practice. Patients are going to read the online reviews, and will look at any videos related to the practice, and will read what others say about the practice. Patients want to feel cozy and warm before they pick up that phone to call for an appointment. The bottom line is, if dentists don’t have good presence on the internet, the dental practice is not going to get a bump from their advertising campaign. All advertising campaigns need to be done in conjunction with a strong internet presence. The internet impacts every portion of a dental practice. The Internet holds the ‘keys to the kingdom.’

Graig Presti’s team who specializes in marketing for dental offices uses a combination of press releases, SEO, and strategies to accumulate authentic Google patient reviews in this new reputation management program. The program is designed to work both re-actively and proactively meaning it's effective for both those who need to repair a tarnished reputation, or those who want to build credibility to lessen the impact of negative reviews in the future.

Unlike other online marketing companies, LocalSearchForDentists.com doesn't fabricate reviews to inflate reputation. Rather, they focus on building mentions and authentic reviews of the dentist or practice to diminish the visibility of harmful reviews.

Reviews of this reputation management have been outstanding, with many dentists and dental practices seeing drastic improvement after suffering from detrimental negative reviews.

"I had an angry patient go on to PissedConsumer.com and leave a nasty review, but LocalSearchForDentists.com removed it page 1, which was really a game changer," said Dr. Larry Stroud, a client of LocalSearchForDentists.com. "Bottom line is that no one knows the internet like LocalSearchforDentists.com. I've been using this company for 3 years now and listen to everything they have to say because it works."

According to Presti, now is the time for dental practices to get their business listed and take advantage of the growing numbers of people using local search to find dental care and services. Presti states, “Statistics show that somewhere in the neighborhood of 86% of households does some kind of search for a local product or service on a daily basis. As a business, dentists need to go where the customers are looking and buying. There is clear evidence that the internet has turned local. Statistically, 80% of Americans’ income is being spent within fifty miles of their homes and a successful local internet marketing strategy is imperative to a business’ success.” Presti has proven countless times that he has discovered the recipe for success to getting dental practices to rank highly on local searches in their area.

In addition to their reputation management services, LocalSearchForDentists.com also offer others resources for dentists wanting to improve their marketing and grow their practice. They recently launched a dental marketing radio program that is free and available live or via podcast. Graig Presti, founder and CEO of LocalSearchForDentists.com, reviews and is a leading marketing authority who works with dental practices around the world, helping them leverage the Internet so they can generate more phone calls, more new patients, and more profit into their practice consistently, month after month. Presti specializes in helping dental practices dominate their local area by using proven local Internet dental marketing techniques. He has mastered the art of generating a flood of new patients into dental offices by helping them dominate the top local search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Presti contends, if a dental practice is not on the search engine’s first page for all of the cities a practice serves, dentists are missing out on business, and just as important, their competitors are getting new business every day that could be theirs.

For more information about LocalSearchForDentists.com and their reputation marketing for dental practices, please visit http://www.LocalSearchforDentists.com

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What Is The Diagnosis and Treatment Plan for Your Practice? -By Monetta Reyes As dentist you understand and have great value for the process of providing care for your patient.  There is a system for treating the patient that ends with great results. In order to meet or exceed the patient’s expectations you must have an understanding of what they are seeking for their long term dental care and why they want it.   As a dentist and business owner, the same principles of diagnosis and treatment plan apply to you and the success of your practice.  I am currently seeing a large number of doctors who are interested in transitioning their practices.  Most all of them do not have a plan.  I have not met one dentist that had a diagnosis and treatment plan written for their practice.  It reminds me of the shoemaker’s son…..never having shoes.  As technicians, most dentists enjoy the art of dentistry and caring for their patients.  As a rule, most dread team management and wish they all had more time to focus on the practice rather than in the practice.  A fine established line of balance, and many boundaries are required to achieve the dream and maintaining a sense of priorities.

This past week I had conversations with two dentists, both struggling to find great team members.  Each dentist, their desk was piled high with paper’s to review, documents to process and signatures to be made.  Both are very successful clinicians and production goals are being met.  We revisit every month to see if we are on target with the vision.  I watch as some dentists struggle to stay afloat because of the inability to say “No” and mean it with their feet.  Boundaries with team members can be very challenging!   Most all of the senior doctors, I would say 60% do not have technology in the practice. There is still a film processor and paper charts.  The younger dentists do not have an understanding of a practice that operates without technology.  What I have found in many of the successful transitions, there are certain technologies that the senior dentist has purchased, with a plan to move forward when a new associate transitions into the practice.  That way the learning curve, and the new challenges that come from technology, will be minimized for the senior dentist.

If you are thinking about your own practice, the way you think of a patients’ mouth, what does the current situation look like and what do x-rays reveal?  You probably are like the typical patient in the fact that you think you know but until someone shows you ….you really don’t know. I believe the best place to begin is with the exam is in the clinical area of your practice.  The clinical area is exactly like the occlusal shot from an x-ray perspective.  In certain cases the occulsal view is very important to have. So are photographs, serial / model numbers and inventory of equipment in established dental practices. There is a system in processing a patient through the office. If a “cusp” is fractured, and patient is pain is without pain it still will become a priority over whitening for the dentist…..maybe not the patient.  Put this same type of situation into your hands doctor with a 25 year old compressor. When parts are no longer available and it is working fine but the potential….crack is there.   Having it not start on the morning of a $25K case that is seated in your reception area, is not something you want to discover at that time.  This past weekend, I received a call on Saturday morning, the compressor would not turn on.  The total production that had to be rescheduled was $15k.  We cannot afford to have a ‘cracked cusp’ on our compressor. Thankfully, I had an exam, study models, photographs and treatment plan for the office.  I had several months before advised the dentist of the potential challenge that he was faced with.  As fate would have it, I used a scenario of being open on a Saturday and having to reschedule patients because we do not have access to qualified technical support.

So what should a dentist do to receive a diagnostic exam and treatment plan for their practice?  As with everything in this life…. it begins with a relationship.  Hopefully, if you are an established practitioner, you have had a relationship for years with your merchandise and equipment supplier.  This person should have an in depth understanding of you and your practice.  The long term vision for your practice is the key to everything that your supplier does with regards to serving you.  They should know you like a book.  To be able to anticipate your needs is the one of their greatest assets.  You as a dentist truly understand the power of your team members being able to anticipate.   If you are interested in a list of questions used to interview this “relationship” for diagnosing “The Dental Practice”, please contact me.  There is one thing I can tell you for sure that this person is not, and that is a salesman.  This person should be a mirror reflection of you.  They will be with you, as you are with your patients. The treatment plan that you recommend is hopefully always in the best interest of the person being served. You will be searching for that provider of service that is looking at you as a patient for life.

The beginning of a great clinical exam for your practice begins with x-rays (photos). Over the years, after viewing the photos of the dental practice, the comments from the doctors are amazing.  Very similar to the same response patient have with intra oral cameras.  “Oh wow….I didn’t realize how that looked!”  “”I wonder how long that tile in the ceiling has been spotted?” The areas in the reception area that are out dated or worn.  Comments like these are what I hear the most.  The doctor gets to see the practice from the eyes of his/her patients.  It is a most informative experience.  The cabinet clutter, the cords that hang everywhere.  We become so comfortable with the familiar in where we work that we really don’t see things the way our patients do.     I am a constantly looking, listening, smelling, sensing….how does this practice appear to the patient.  If my success is totally dependent upon the success of the dentist, which it is, then I should be very concerned about the patient experience.  The dentist can buy cotton rolls, dental chairs and units from me but if he/she cannot pay for the purchase….. we both loose.  Each dentist must be successful in their own vision.     So after the photos of all equipment and work surfaces have been taken as well as documentation of treatment rooms (1,2,3 etc.), we will need an inventory.  An inventory of all equipment, serial numbers, model numbers, age etc. as well as what kind of condition the equipment is in.  Are there parts available?  Does it function well but esthetically maybe it communicates to the patient that we really might not be the one for making great looking veneers?    It is so sad that patients judge you, the doctor, by the décor of your practice, the team members you have hired and the diplomas on the wall. Unfortunately, in that order as well.   In the book “Broken Windows, Broken Business”, there is a chapter in this book that actually uses a dental office to create an analogy.  The author talks about the patient signing in at the front desk.  Because the patient had to wait, he had the opportunity to look around the reception area.  The new patient notices that the carpet is torn and worn in the reception area by the sign in window.  The patient then starts to wonder in his mind….. if the dentist has old carpet in the reception area….I wonder how sharp his/her instruments are?  In his mind the patient has started to look for reasons “not to trust” this dentist.  All because of the worn carpet and the fact he was given this opportunity because he had to wait!   When we are a cosmetically focused practice and teaching our patients about the value of quality, we cannot give away something that we do not have!  If you try to do this, patients sense that something is not what you say it is and it makes it harder for them to trust.  If your fees are premium and the patient experience is not premium, then you earn a reputation of being too expensive or all about money.

Today I would like to acknowledge one of the best clinicians and leaders within our industry, Dr. Kyle McCrea of Richmond, Texas.  Dr. McCrea sat down with me four years ago and allowed me to do a complete exam, x-ray (photos), diagnosis and treatment plan for his practice.  We examined his current situation by doing a complete inventory and evaluation of all equipment, serial numbers, model numbers and condition of equipment.  We took photographs of all equipment. With our findings, we diagnosed and presented solutions for a treatment plan that reflected his long-term goals and vision. In doing this we now have an extraordinary tool, not only diagnosing his practice but a document for taxes and records, God forbidding a fire or disaster as many of the dentist in Houston have recently faced over the past 5 years.   Dr. McCrea wanted to be able to provide the best care possible for his patients.  He also wanted to maintain that small “home town” feeling. Technology was very important purchase to him however, so was the patient’s experience. Dr. McCrea really enjoys, and is very good at limited orthodontics.    The remodel would have to include room for expansion and growth in order to bring in an associate to help Dr. McCrea. We continue to focus on the vision and treatment plan so that he remains able to have his dream become a reality.  Dr. McCrea very carefully evaluated the equipment for his practice as well as the cost.  We looked at what we could keep and what had to change in the remodel and expansion.  He now has a finished product without regrets.  He planned well and is trusting by doing his part the vision will now take on form.  The colors that he and his wife, Beth, chose for the practice are warm, confident and inviting.  My favorite is the fireplace in the reception area.  It really makes this office cozy.  Congratulations Dr. McCrea on a job well done! The town of Richmond Texas, all of your current patients and the ones that are to come…thank you!  We appreciate you taking the time to plan and explore the best options and environment for delivering dental care to us! We trust you!

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Preventing Embezzlement In Your Dental Practice

February 12, 2012

Tweet Preventing Embezzlement in Your Dental Practice! –Monetta Reyes, Patterson Dental, Territory Representative Here are the ” how to’s ” for prevention in your dental practice. As you review the detailed information…remember, it is never to late to start forming a habit. Not because you do not trust others. It is simply good business to […]

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For What Purpose

January 24, 2011

Tweet WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE? At first, you'd think I was asking some deep metaphysical, why do we exist, consequence-to-the-world kind of question.  Rather than go there, let's simplify it to more about meaning or motivation for an action; but, not as simple as an end result, an aim or a clear vision of a […]

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2010

Tweet MERRY CHRISTMAS !  It's Christmas and it has me feeling grateful for the many gifts I've received this year.  New friends, clients, mentors and a renewed direction in my purpose and business.  I'm committed to "highlighting professionals who truly care for their patients and operate with integrity".  I will continue to seek for new […]

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Dental Office Marketing, Mentoring and Coaching

November 17, 2010

Tweet Check out my new promotional video:

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Guest Post: How Local Dentists Can Be Found Online

November 8, 2010

Tweet     Local Dentists & Dental Practices – Are You Being Found By Your Patients Online? By: Patrick Whitson   "Am I being found online by my target patients?" should be a question that every dental practice needs to be asking – especially in today's economic downturn. The truth is, most experts are predicting […]

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Do Your Patients Trust You?

November 4, 2010

Tweet    Susan Becolay (a fellow dental blogger) asked a question on LinkedIn the other day that had me thinking: "How would you characterize the transition that has occurred in the profession in the last 20 years? What has it gained? What has it lost? Where is it headed? How do you feel about it?"    […]

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Commitment

October 28, 2010

Tweet Early in my career when I was building my practice, I remember how important building a team was in the growth process. I understood that in order to build an efficient and effective team, expressing my vision for the practice was critically important.  Deciding on the rules for how we (as a team) would […]

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