’Tis the season for GIFTS and appreciation! In the industry of orthodontics and dental specialty, this means deciding what to gift other practices that send you referrals as a thank you and to continue to strengthen your relationship with them. If you have ever been into the break room of a general dentist in the mid-December weeks, you would see a crammed series of tables set up in the break room, full of tempting treats and indulgences from every specialist in the area. So how can YOUR office stand out amongst the chaos? Think through a few of these items as you begin your holiday visit plans. You do not want to be caught scrambling at the last minute to put gifts together. Here are some recommendations to help!
MAKE CERTAIN YOUR GIFT IS WELL BRANDED
With such a large amount of offices needing that “holiday touch” for the season, you may find yourself opting for an easy option that is mass-produced by another vendor. Some of these items might be coffee baskets, pastries by a local bakery, popcorn baskets, or candles. In the event you choose a gift like this for the upcoming season, make sure you have your LOGO and practice information CLEARLY displayed on the item in a way that cannot be missed. If you simply write a thoughtful greeting card to accompany your item, it WILL BE separated from the gift as it moves to the final “resting place” with the other gifts. Consider a large label that might be placed on or inside a box of treats or maybe individual sized portions with a business card attached. Avoid all opportunities to promote a brand OTHER than your own and create as little confusion for the referral source as possible.
SET OUT TO HAVE INTENTIONAL CONVERSATIONS
Approaching a referral source contains dynamics that are challenging for most. Sadly, during the holiday season, the gift you have prepared for an office is likely going to end up in the sea of gifting options from other businesses and specialists. Even more critically is the expectation from the offices that you are coming and what will they “get”. It is in these moments that your average office personnel would be tempted to simply “drop off” with a holiday greeting and smile, or would resort to easy small talk to pass the time. In these awkward moments, you MUST find ways to press in and make strong statements to all those you are allowed to speak. Make eye contact and consider statements like the following:
1. Thank you so much for your referrals all year long, they mean so much to us.
2. What can we do to see more of your patients?
3. We need your support this coming year for our practice.
Whatever statement you make, press into the difficult places and create a lasting impact for this practice relationship. Resist the urge to give them what they are expecting and walk away. You can do it!
DELAY YOUR GIFTING TO THE NEW YEAR
If you are finding yourself scrambling for your holiday gifts or that one item you want to order is out of stock, heavily consider waiting until the New Year to gift your referrals. In all the quantity of the gifting, most offices will rarely miss the absence of your gift prior to the end of December. Why not “stand out” and start the NEW YEAR off with a referral gift? Consider customized bottles of champagne with your logo on them? (We can help!) Maybe gift healthy options for New Year diets like fruits or smoothie gift cards? Whatever you decide to gift, this time of year will be less cluttered and you will have more of a chance to be noticed among your referrals. This will also allow you to mention your need for their referrals in this New Year. Start a NEW tradition for your office!
FIND WAYS TO IMPACT THE ENTIRE STAFF IN YOUR GIFTING
Oftentimes, we see the lead doctors in offices as our most powerful referrals for our services. Because of this inclination, we tend to gift to them alone and the rest of the team remains unaffected by our efforts. This could be event tickets like a concert or sports game, bottles of wine, or even gift certificates. As you prepare your gift this year, try to have a “reach” to the entire team. Honoring the impact that the ‘word-of-mouth’ within these offices can sometimes have an even greater impact to your referrals. The front desk team, dental assistants, and hygiene specialists are the ones with a larger opportunity for conversation with your potential referral. Gifting them in a way that is memorable and individual (while well branded) is the key. One example of this might be large fragrant candles for the season, designed with a custom label of yours, and delivered with enough for everyone to take one home. Your logo would be BURNING into their memory and senses for weeks to come. It is these types of considerate efforts that will give you a reach far beyond the effort of the sole practice owner or specialist.
Consider these thoughts as you begin the process of delivery and referral relationship building. No matter how successful you are in this area of gifting, there is always room for improvement and evaluation. If you find your have a need for this extra boost in referral gifting or you simply want to take things to the next level…we are here to help! Let us know how we can assist you in this process for this or future referral visits. You know what a gift your referrals are to your practice and this is your time to SHINE and SHARE that gift with them!