Patient Attraction Episode 057: The One About You Have to Give a Little to Get a Lot

Patient Attraction Episode 057: The One About You Have to Give a Little to Get a Lot

Colin Receveur here today. It’s Thursday, February 6th and I’m going to dive into the first principle of persuasion. The question I have for you is are you willing to give in order to receive?

Reciprocity is the first of Cialdini’s principles, his powers of persuasion if you will, and it simply means that if you do a favor for somebody first, they will in turn be more likely to do a favor for you.

They will feel obligated to return a favor for you.

Cialdini did a very interesting study. He had two separate groups of people and he offered the first group $50 if they filled out a short survey. He offered the second group of people $5, no matter if they completed the survey or not, he gave them $5 right up front. The results of his survey were very interesting. 23% of those that were told that if you fill this survey out we’ll give you $50, 23% of those actually did it. They filled out the survey to get the $50. Of the people that just received $5, no matter if they filled out the survey or not, 52% of that group filled out the survey.

That’s very interesting. The same survey, everything’s the same except one, the cash payout, you’re offering people $50 to complete a survey versus just giving everybody $5 as you hand them the survey, “here, this is yours whether you complete the survey or not.”

Applications to a dental practice; we see a lot of dental offices that have a draw-in or they offer a reward for a referral. Whether your dental board likes it or not, the guys are doing it out there in your market right now. Maybe instead of offering a reward for a referral, maybe you simply offer everybody a small gift, every time they come in to your office, using that as a giveaway rather than trying to gift them. That really sparks a different discussion.

Do your patients really want a reward for giving you a referral, or do they just want to be thanked and be appreciated?

I see a lot of doctors that give $100 or $150 coupon or gift certificate to a patient that gives them a referral. I think that on some level patients want to be thanked and rewarded for their effort, but I think there’s a fine line somewhere in that monetary value, that you’re missing the point of why they’re giving you a referral. Patients are referring somebody to you not because they want $100, they’re referring somebody to you because they feel good about what you’ve done for them, and they want to pass a compliment along.

You don’t give somebody a compliment because you’re expecting a compliment back. You give somebody a compliment because if makes them feel good and it makes you feel good about what you’ve done there. If you listen to Simon Sinek at all, you’ll see him talk about the physiology of how people interact. He was an archeologist that turned into a motivational speaker and he talks a lot about the physiological reactions that we have between us humans and how we interact and why certain chemicals get released when we do certain things.

There’s an interesting correlation between when you give somebody a compliment, not only do they have a chemical reaction going on in their brain that makes them feel good, but the giver of that compliment also gets a shot of dopamine in their brain from giving the compliment. Something that Simon found in his study was that even somebody witnessing an act of kindness gets a shot of dopamine released in his brain to feel good. It’s a very symbiotic interesting concept.

I don’t want to get off too much on a tangent here from Cialdini’s six principles, but going back to how you can implement the principle of reciprocity in your practice, provide simple follow-up emails, personalized follow-up emails to keep your name in front of your prospects at all times. Not just a newsletter, but something that you’re in front of them on a weekly basis. You don’t want to overwhelm them, but you certainly don’t want to wait a month, I don’t think, in between touches. Maybe it’s an email, maybe it’s a postcard, maybe it’s a letter in the mail, who knows what it is, but some way that you can keep your name in front of people, and show them that you appreciate them until, if they’re a prospect until they’re ready to buy. If they’re a patient, until their next appointment and beyond.

Another way that you can give forward is video. Allow people to get to meet you.

Twenty years ago before the days of the internet, patients would have to schedule an appointment to come into your office, and they would have to sit down with you, have a consult, get to meet you, see if they like you. They would probably do that five or six times before they would choose a dentist.

Nowadays, patients want to sit at home, probably in their underwear on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, and they want to browse the web.

Patients today have what I call Digital Attention Deficit Disorder.

They want to be able to access information right now and be delivered that on their iPad, on their phone, on whatever kind of device that they’re using. They want to be able to retrieve the information enough to make a decision, and make a decision right now. They don’t want to come in for a consult and sit down with you. A lot of dentists still offer free consults, and I think the power of the free consult is diminished in value compared to what it was five or ten or twenty years ago, because patients don’t even want to come in for a consult. They want to make a decision on who is right for them before they ever make a phone call to set up the consult.

Of course, if they get in there and they don’t like you they’re not going to move forward with treatment, but they want to do that research phase that in the past, they had to come in for the consult, they want to do that in advance. They’re going to look at your reviews online, they’re going to look at all these things online.

I would look at delivering something of value to get them in the door.

Make sure you’re entering the conversation that’s going on in their head, how they’re thinking. You might think they want a free consult. I content that I don’t think that’s what patients really want these days as more free.

You also have to think about when you offer free things what are you attracting? You’re attracting a patient that wants something free. Of course you want to get your face in front of them, but are there other ways to get in front of your patients, without giving away your time and services. There are free services versus free offers, which is the topic of another podcast. But make sure you understand what your patients really want. And if you can pay it forward and give them something of value before they step into your office, let them get to meet you, let them meet your patients online through video, through testimonials. All these things are going to warm you up to them, let them get to know you and start that relationship.

Stay tuned for the next podcast.


If you’re ready to begin getting the only result that matters from your marketing-more and better patients in your chairs - get started today and schedule your Practice Discovery Session™. They’re free to serious dentists who want to see a Patient Attraction System™ that can double or even triple their practice.