What Happened to Your Referrals?

How to Increase Your Study Club / Association Membership and Get More Referrals!

Dentistry is in transition and the status quo is unsustainable.

The changing nature of dental patients and their providers, along with altering patterns of demographics are significantly impacting the ways we practice and our membership dynamics.

Proactively setting a new strategy will influence your referral potential.

To get clear picture of the industry challenges, let’s reveal several of the current dynamics that are occurring.

Aging population

As dental problems begin to escalate, many of our patients are retiring and losing their dental benefits.

  • Traditionalist and Baby Boomer (BB) patient pool is shrinking, which means less patients to refer
  • Less frequent appointments in these categories as well

Association/ Study Club Impact

As dentist retire, so do the leaders of the traditional associations and study clubs.

If we ignore the shifting landscape, the future of our study clubs will be unpredictable and unsustainable. A succession plan is imperative for membership growth.

Diversity and Needs

According to a study conducted by the Hispanic Dental Association together with Proctor and Gamble, the Hispanic population is the fastest growing in the US.

  • 45% lack dental coverage and are dependent on community dental clinics

Consider the value of Spanish-speaking dental professionals and Spanish marketing materials.

  • Invite the Hispanic dental professionals to participate in your membership by speaking their language in your marketing

The other major ethnic shift taking place is with Asian‐Americans. They are >6% of the US population, affluent, well educated, and tech savvy.

  • 40% geographically concentrated: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York

To broaden diversity in your membership, focus your marketing on this demographic if you practice in the concentrated areas.

Gen Z are entering the dental professional workforce. They are more likely to forgo solo practices for joint, group, or corporate practices. These types of practices often keep referrals in-house and provide study club environments.

More women in the field who are restructuring traditional dental practice patterns, with many working part time. This will influence the availability to attend traditional SC events. Consider adjusting your standard event agenda:

  • Offer childcare during meetings
  • Breakfast or lunch meetings
  • Record live and virtual events
  • Varied event lengths

Dental Insurance

The variety of dental insurance plans and payments are shifting and slowly evolving.

Commercial

Using highly selective networks

Demanding more evidence / data

Pressuring providers to reduce fees

Public

Demanding increased accountability from providers

Memberships – plans vary per state and are becoming more popular

Personal

Out of Pocket fee for service

Dental Tourism

Patients are traveling abroad to receive dental treatment at a reduced cost.  The four countries leading the movement are:  Mexico, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe and Asia.

  • The younger the generation, the more likely they are to investigate this option

To keep your dentistry in-house and have a larger referral pool, emphasize the safety / infection control standards in the U.S. Highlight that convenient follow up is included in the fee post procedurally. And of course, advertise your high standard of care and professionalism.

Continual adaptation to the new dynamics of dentistry will keep your practice, study club and association cutting edge. New members will be enthusiastic and loyal. The referrals will grow from the relationships you are building and nurturing.

Leave a Reply