Pediatric offices are typically much busier than general practices. Pediatric dentists see a higher volume of patients. They have a larger team to manage. They also interact with parents and caregivers. Basically, pediatric dentists have a lot going on in their practices.

All this “busyness” can make it challenging to build and maintain strong relationships with your pediatric referrers. So what can you do? You don’t want to ignore your referring practices, but it can be frustrating when your outreach efforts consistently fall flat.

Here are 4 strategies for connecting with your pediatric referrers:

1) Get on their calendar early

Make plans today to do something three or four months from now. The busier your referring doctors are, the farther out you have to plan. Depending on the dentist, the timeline could be shorter or longer than that. But once you get on the calendar, have your marketing coordinator send out a monthly reminder via email or text. As the meeting approaches, contact the doctor a week before to make sure it’s still a go. Send out a final reminder 48 hours in advance.

2) Know your referrers

If one doctor likes to stop and grab a coffee at Starbucks before work, arrange to meet her there for a quick conversation. If another referrer has a standing appointment at a fast food restaurant every Wednesday, arrange to meet him there for a casual lunch. If your referring doctors are extremely busy, adjust your schedule so you can connect without inconveniencing them.

3) Find a point person

Your marketing coordinator needs a go-to person at the referring practice. It won’t be the pediatric dentist and it’s usually not the office manager. Often, it’s somebody on the front desk team. Once your practice finds out who that person is, send communications to her/him about your office, including e-newsletters, clinical updates, and practice events.

4) Make it special

If you’re having trouble connecting with a doctor and practice, hold an event for them. Offer to bring over some pizzas during lunch or after work. Set up a meet-and-greet happy hour at a local restaurant. Sponsor an outing at a ballpark or a bowling alley on the weekend. If the regular referral marketing activities aren’t working with a particular practice, you have to think outside the box. The more positive interactions you can have with a referring office, the stronger the relationship becomes.

Most pediatric practices are incredibly busy. The marketing activities that work with a general practice may not have much impact with a pediatric office. Use these four strategies to form better connections with your pediatric referrers.

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