Today's blog post comes from WebPT copywriters Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen.
Referrals = new business. And who doesn’t want a little more of that? But the key to boosting referrals isn’t throwing advertising dollars around. It’s about building lasting relationships, both with your patients and community physicians. And how do you do that? Position yourself as an expert, an educator, and most importantly, a person. In short, demonstrate your (and your profession’s) worth.
Think about the great chefs on television: Emeril, Julia Child, and Mario Batali. They all do more than just cook. They have drive. They have stories to share. They have purpose. The same applies to you. As a physical therapist, you’re more than what is on your resume. Prove it.
Talk about what you do; show your passion; educate and inspire through your experiences, and you’ll prove to your patients, referring physicians, and community that you’re more than an expert; you’re a pillar—the true value. Embrace this, and you’ll employ the most engaging, intimate, and effective form of marketing available.
Be Valuable to Physicians
How can you be valuable to physicians? Save them time. Increase referrals from physicians by simplifying the referral process. It’ll garner you more than points; it’ll earn you respect. Here are some tips:
- Make sure your contact information (on your website, business cards, and social media accounts) is current. It may seem like a duh!, but trust us, it’s crucial.
- If you have a website, consider creating an easy-to-fill-out patient referral form for physicians. Include this form’s page URL on your business cards and marketing materials. Google Docs can assist you with form-making.
- You can also add a dedicated referral phone line for physicians. Create a free account with Google Voice and record a custom greeting. The beauty of Google Voice? It will transcribe your voicemail to text, so your front office staff can take referral information right from your email and place it into your documentation software.
- Take one day every three to six months to visit a handful of the largest physician groups near your clinic. Stop in and introduce yourself—a friendly smile can go a long way. You never know; they may have a patient who needs therapy that day and you want to be top of mind.
Be Valuable to Patients
You pride yourself on exceptional patient care, and it shows. That’s why you have loyal patients, and those loyal patients are your biggest opportunity to increase referrals. They know and like you, so keep business cards handy. Your patients may just grab a few extra to hand out to friends or family. (Want to spruce up your business cards? Log in to the WebPT Member Network to learn more about our Members-only partnership with high-quality printer, MOO.)
Be Valuable to Partners
There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but people seem to appreciate them anyways. Take a local athletic trainer, yoga instructor, or massage therapist out to lunch and find out what makes them tick. Build these relationships. Listen; educate; help fellow practitioners achieve their goals, and they’ll return the favor. Be valuable through reciprocity. (Want to extend your value in the community into the stratosphere—or at least online? Check out our Therapist’s Guide to Social Media.)
Increasing your referrals comes from building strong relationships. Whether patients, partners, or physicians, bring value; demonstrate the worth of your practice, your profession, and yourself. And once you receive referrals, make sure you say “thank you,” and if possible, return the favor. Make everything cyclical (and reciprocal), and you’ll only strengthen these relationships for the long haul.
How do you make yourself valuable? Do you employ relationship marketing? What best practices do you have for increasing referrals?