Endo Mastery

MARKETING FOCUS: FROM RELIEF PITCHER TO STARTING PITCHER

Summer is when you can get emergency referrals from GPs who don’t normally refer to you, but their regular endodontist is on vacation. Here’s how to go from being a relief pitcher for the referring office to being their preferred starting pitcher.

The starting pitcher is the star of baseball. They are the preferred choice and are entrusted to deliver the best results. As a dental specialist who relies on referrals, your goal is to be the starting pitcher for GP referrers: their preferred and trusted choice for all their endodontic referrals.

 

Relief pitchers are second choices, and they are brought in during the game when the starting pitcher needs to come off the field (if they are tired, injured, having a bad day, or for strategic reasons). Since your referrers need somewhere to refer patients (especially emergency patients), you might be their second-choice relief pitcher if their usual endodontist isn’t available … such as when they are away on vacation.

 

This is a marketing opportunity, but it’s a special one. Remember that your endodontic colleagues are not your competition. Don’t think that you are in a turf war with other endodontists for GPs in your area. When you’re called up as the relief endodontist, you don’t want to appear like you are actively campaigning to persuade the referrer and steal them from your colleague.

 

However, it is a moment to market passively, which comes down to providing a really great patient and referral experience, and then allowing the referring doctor to draw their own conclusions. You don’t have to push them in any way because if you offer an exceptional experience, the advantages of referring to your office become clear. Here are some of the ways that your office can shine:

  • Ensure your team’s communication with the referring office is warm, welcoming, professional and focused on making the referral process as easy as possible for the referrer and their patient.
  • Schedule emergency patients the same day they are referred.
  • Ensure patients have total financial clarity before they arrive so there are no surprises.
  • Provide patients an exceptionally smooth, efficient and comfortable experience so their feedback to referrers is overwhelmingly positive.
  • Speaking positively about the referring doctor to the patient.
  • Act as a clinical partner to the referring doctor in delivering quality care by reflecting the GPs treatment philosophy and supporting their treatment plan.
  • Ensure patients are appointed back in the GP office for restoration at the completion of treatment in your office.
  • Send reports, film and case documentation on a timely basis (i.e., the day the patient’s treatment is completed).
  • Obviously, provide clinically excellent care with a successful outcome.

These factors speak louder than any words or marketing ploy. Taken together, they define your brand and reputation as an endodontist. When achieved on a high and consistent basis, referrers will recognize and choose that level of quality. They will want you as their starting pitcher!

 

Your marketing coordinator should be scanning the schedule and referral reports for these kinds of patients and referrers. They should make your whole team aware so that everyone can make their best efforts when the patient arrives.

 

As a final note, one thing you can do as the doctor is find a reason to reach out to the referrer for a conversation … especially a clinical reason. Again, you don’t want to appear to be marketing, but you can begin the process of building a professional doctor-to-doctor relationship. That, ultimately, is the heart of any referral-based practice.