So, you’re leaving your dental practice and emotions are running high. You’ve invested your time, money, and resources into your practice and have had your fair share of sleepless nights, too much coffee, and pounding headaches.
With the stressful times, however, also came good times. You created strong relationships and lasting memories with your patients and staff. But now it’s time for that next step in your life and career.
[Need any help writing your letter to patients? Click here to download the sample letter template.]
There’s a lot to think about. How will your patients feel about your leaving? How will your staff react? Retiring or changing dental practices is never easy. However, there are tactics that can make your transition easier.
That’s why having a dental practice transition plan is so important. A part of your transition plan is having a “doctor leaving practice” letter to send to patients.
How will the patients be transferred over to the new owner? The goodwill of your practice is one of its most important assets, which is why an effective notification letter cannot be overlooked.
Here are some important tips on writing your sample letter to patients following the sale of a dental practice, along with a few examples.
1. State that you’re leaving the dental practice
At the beginning of your letter to patients, there are a few main elements to include:
- Grab your patients’ attention and THEN dive into the details. Get straight to the point when telling your patients that you are leaving the practice. If you don’t, many patients won’t continue reading the letter.
- Ensure that you are telling a story. You’ve taken care of these patients for a long time, so make sure your notification letter is personal. This means adding components that your patients can relate to. How long have you lived in the city? How long have you worked at the practice? Do you have friends, colleagues, and relatives that currently go to the practice? Mention how difficult this decision has been and how hard it is to leave.
PRO TIP: Be careful with your language. You don’t want to use words like, “I regret to tell you.” It starts the letter out with negativity.
2. Explain why you are leaving the practice
Be sure not to ramble on and on about why you are leaving. This shouldn’t be a long section, one or two sentences should suffice. Your patients are now more concerned about the credentials of the new doctor, and how this change will impact their dental health.
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3. Introduce the new doctor
Introducing the new doctor is a key element of your letter to patients about leaving the practice.
Your goal is to “sell” the new doctor. Remember to be honest, and genuinely talk about why you chose this doctor to run the practice. This is critical for patient retention. You must trust this new doctor - you wouldn’t be selling it to him or her if you didn’t. Tell your patients why.
What should you say about the new doctor? Here are a few questions to answer in your letter to patients:
- When you met the buying doctor, what impressed you?
- Let them know you found someone you can trust and the aspects of the new doctor that made you feel comfortable with them. Your patients trust your judgement, and in turn, it will help them trust the new doctor.
- What’s the doctor’s name?
- What are the best, genuine adjectives to describe him/her?
- How long has he/she been practicing?
- What education does the doctor have? What school? What makes him or her qualified? Do they offer a wider range of treatment options?
- Does the doctor have a family? A wife? Husband? How many kids? A dog?
- Where is the dentist from?
Adding these details might sound silly, but trust us. Introducing the new doctor will help your patients better understand the transition and provide peace of mind going into their next appointment.
PRO TIP: Your patient letter should be customized and printed on the seller's letterhead.
4. Express your appreciation and gratitude
Your patients want to feel like they mean something to you. Make sure to tell them how grateful you are to have such wonderful patients and to have formed relationships with them.
5. Set your patient’s expectations about your presence at the office
Your patients may want to say good-bye, especially those who have been with you for a long time. If you have negotiated a transition period with the new owner, where you will be working an abbreviated schedule to ease the transition it may help patients and staff feel comfortable with the change.
In your letter to patients, make sure to tell them that you intend to be present to help in any way you can until the transition is complete.
If you will not be staying on for a transition period at your office, be sure to let your patients know in your letter that you appreciate them and their trust that they placed in you for many years.
PRO TIP: Your staff should know about the dental practice sale BEFORE letters are sent to patients, but AFTER the completion of the sell.
Example letters to patients following the sale of a dental practice:
- “Dear Valued Friends,
I have come to a very difficult decision to step away from my dental practice and my beloved Cavity County. I have lived in Cavity County for 55 years, and I set up my dental office here in 1975. I have enjoyed treating each and every one of you, and I have treated three generations of some families. Many of my high school friends seek treatment with us. It is very hard to say goodbye. I have to think of what is best for my family, as I have many things I want to do and see. I have opportunities and education to pursue in Western Alaska that I cannot pass up…” (Wtplaw).
- “Dear Patient,
After practicing dentistry for 35 years, I have decided to announce my retirement. It has been my singular honor to be your dentist. In some cases, I have treated three generations of your family. Each of you has become a valued friend” (Dental Economics).
Need any help writing your letter to patients? Click here to download the sample letter template.
Sample letter to patients after a dental practice sale is crucial
In enhancing the practice’s goodwill, a notification letter to patients about the dental practice sale is a must. Creating a stellar letter to your patients should not only explain why you’re leaving, and who the new doctor will be, but it will make them feel comfortable that their dental health is in good hands.