4 18 Thursday

Thursday Troubleshooter: How do I tell my referral sources I'm not retiring?

April 18, 2013
The deal with my associate dentist did not work out

QUESTION: I’m a specialist who’s had a thriving oral surgery practice for over 30 years. I had an associate who was going to purchase the practice, but the deal did not go through and the person is leaving the practice. My concern is that the word got out to my referral sources (general dentists) that I was selling my practice and retiring. Once this happened, referrals declined from some of my loyal sources. I’ve decided not to sell my practice, nor retire soon. What is the best way to notify the general dentists that I am NOT retiring and that I’m the only dentist in our practice who will be treating their patients?

ANSWER FROM TANYA BROWN, DMD, The Center for Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry:
As a specialist, the lifeblood of your practice is referrals. Unfortunately, practice transitions can fall apart and leave both parties vulnerable. You should be proud of your longstanding service to your patients, community, and referring doctors. I would certainly let your referring doctors know your intentions and renewed vision for your practice. I would also reassure them that their patients will continue to be well cared for. They will likely understand your situation and start sending referrals back to your office. I would highly recommend that you approach this directly and call them, meet for lunch, as well as send a letter to their offices. You will regain these referrals in no time, and hopefully find a partner that will be a better fit in the future when you decide to retire.

ANSWER FROM ROBIN MORRISON, Dental Consultant Connection:
Since you’re making a commitment to stay in your practice and be the sole provider, it is important to get this message out to the dental community (your current and potential referral sources). I recommend sending a letter to them immediately that explains your plans to remain in practice for several years. In this letter, be sure to encourage them to reach out to you with any concerns they may have. The next step is for you to personally call or visit your current referral sources. I’m sure they’ll be more than pleased to know you will be available to treat their patients for many more years. Having worked in a general dental practice for 16 years, I know how important the general dentist and specialist relationship is. We had a wonderful relationship with each specialist we worked with, and a great deal of confidence in referring our patients to them. Once you let them know you’re still available, the referrals will increase and things will get back to normal for your practice.

THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER:Our boss makes us feel guilty for wanting to attend our children's functions
The dental office manager plays favorites
How do I stop cell phone use in the dental office?

Do YOU have a tough issue in your dental office that you would like addressed?

Send your questions for the experts to answer. Responses will come from various consultants associated with Speaking Consulting Network and Dental Consultant Connection. Their members will take turns fielding your questions on DentistryIQ, because they are very familiar with addressing the tough issues. Hey, it's their job.

Send your questions to [email protected]. All inquiries will be answered anonymously every Thursday here on DIQ.