How to Expand and Nurture Professional Referrals with other Practitioners

How to Expand and Nurture Professional Referrals with other Practitioners

Want to generate more clients to your clinic?

Great!

Typically, Referred clients are more often, better clients. By that, we mean that they buy quicker and with less resistance, they buy more quantity and more frequently and they are more likely to refer more clients (Jay Abraham).

40% Professional Referrals
40% Client Referrals
20% Other Referrals (marketing & advertising)

In this article, we are going to focus on the 40% Professional Referrals.

It’s a relationship!

Nurturing Professional Referrals is all about relationship building. Any relationship is an opportunity to give! If you go into any relationship with the intention to just receive, it’s highly unlikely to thrive. However, when we speak with most practitioners, they all ask, how can I GET more referrals from the Doctors, medical specialists, massage therapists, podiatrists etc?
See how this question relates directly to “how can I receive in this relationship”…?!

As Gary Vaynerchuck says, it’s a “marathon not a sprint”. We are in it for the long run, so our actions need to reflect that. Therefore, let’s look at how we could give value upfront so that we position ourselves as a person of value and worth within their network.

We all do business with people we know, like and trust. Therefore, we need to establish this with our network before we can create a relationship that supports the growth of one another’s clients and clinic’s. How do we do that? We are going to add value to that person/clinic!

We need to position ourselves as someone who can contribute greatly to our networks life by offering them as much value as we can.

Reminder, this is not intended to be manipulative or in any way bribe another person. You’ll never develop a relationship based on transactional thinking like this. Instead, what you need to do is approach the people and businesses you believe have the greatest synergies with you and your client base so that you can work together.

How can I nurture my Network?

We need to provide personalized, upfront value. We do that by understanding everything about the referral practitioner that we can. That means the next 1-3 meetings you have needs to be strongly focused on them. You need to ask them as many questions about their practice, clinic, clients and personal life so that you fully understand who they are.

A quick search on social media and google will also tell you who they are, what they like, how they work etc. Also, you need to find out their needs, wants, and desires in a professional setting. Obviously, you will use your professional discretion about what’s relevant or not, however, like any relationship, we need to understand the person we’re connected with. The deeper that understanding, the greater likability, trust and rapport we can create.

As a guide here are 30 ways to provide value to a referral partner once you know how you could help them…

How to get the most out of this…

We suggest you ask, “How can I tailor this to ‘insert referral practitioner’ so that they get the most value from me. Literally, sit down and write a list before every meeting you have with someone so that you come from a place of giving.

How to create lasting results

The key for any relationship is consistency.

Frequent contact is required to nurture any relationship, so ensure you have a number of channels to stay connected and offer this value e.g. email, phone, social media, messaging apps like slack or WhatsApp, snail mail post etc.

Ensure you are connected and have their details in as many of these avenues as possible. This will allow you to stay top of mind!

Next…

You need to actually do it consistently. For consistency, you need three things:

  1. Trigger – a prompt to initiate the activity or use of the system (could be a note in the diary or task manager app like Asana or Wunderlist)
  2. System – a series of sequenced steps to help create the desired outcome (anyone should be able to follow it, it’s like a recipe, it’s replicable)
  3. Tracker – a way to measure if it has been done and/or how effectively the system was implemented/used (could be a table or spreadsheet to report on)

How to nurture existing referral practitioners

  1. Create a list of existing referral practitioners
  2. Reach out to them and offer them 1 piece of ‘value’ each week for 3 weeks
  3. Ask for a meeting on week 4
  4. Repeat

How to Expand into new referral networks

Step One – Create a list

Create a list of other health professionals and businesses you want to connect with that see and serve your ideal client;

  • New practitioners/businesses to the area/suburb/location
  • Practitioners/businesses in a complementary niche/practice/approach to you
  • Practitioners/businesses recommended by current practitioners in your network
  • Popular practitioners/businesses that also see a number of your current clients, ask your clients at every new client consultation who they see.
  • Search location based businesses on facebook, instagram, google e.g. Podiatrist Sydney Surry Hills, or Gym Surry Hills, or Cross fit surry Hills, or Surry Hills f45, or Healthy cafe Surry Hills

Step Two: Connect with them

  • Add and follow them on all social media channels. Do this for both the brand/company/business/clinic and the people behind it on their personal accounts, the owner/director/founder.
  • Find out what they post about and identify what their preferences are. There is a lot you can find out from observing their post behaviours and also what they have written on their profiles in their ‘bio’ section. Use this information to create rapport and connect with mutual interests.
  • For 3 weeks; like, comment and share all of their content. Be really engaged with them and show your support for what they are doing. Ask questions on their posts, reinforce their message, acknowledge the points they make if you agree and tag your friends, colleagues, team members and clients where appropriate.
  • Give them a shout out on your social media posts, tag them in your pictures and in the comments, post about their content and advise your community to follow them because of their content.
  • If you get engagement in return from them, then you can move forward yourself, with the intention to organise a meeting. Always refer back to the 30 ways to give value (table).
    • Give as much value as you can and then Ask for a meeting via direct message on social media or through email.
      • Hi, I’m really enjoying your posts and content. We see a number of clients that could benefit from the work that you do. Would you be able to meet up so that i could find out more about your approach and how i could refer clients to you?
    • If you do not get any engagement from them, then you can seek an introduction from an existing referrer to the new prospective connection (Step Three).

Step Three: Ask for an Introduction

Ask your current Referral connections if they have any connection and if they would introduce you to any of these networks that you have listed.

  • Subject: do you know these guys?
  • Hi ….. Im wondering if you have any connection to XYZ clinic…? If you don’t, then i suggest you check them out and connect with them on (instagram, facebook). I’ve been following them for a couple of weeks and they are producing a lot of interesting content, if nothing else, it’s good to see how they are approaching their marketing and social media. If you do have a connection, that’s awesome, you’ll be able to tell them that we’re on board with what they’re doing! On another note, what’s the best way to reach out to them so that we could connect personally and professionally, maybe in person…. Would you be willing to introduce me via email? Let me know what you think is best, because it would be great to connect.
    • If no, that’s alright, connect your existing referrer with the prospect online by telling them to follow them.
      • Ask your referral Network if they have any really great networks that you should get to know.
      • The more specific you are, the better your results will be
      • g. Hi ….. Im looking to connect with a really good local physiotherapist, or
      • g. Hi …. Im looking to connect with some sports therapists, like physio, podiatry and osteopathy…Do you have anyone that’s doing some great work with clients in this area…? I’d love to connect with them so that i could have somewhere to refer my clients to. I’m just looking to connect with one practitioner, let me know who you’d recommend. Talk soon

What’s in it for you?

At the end of the day, attracting more new clients to your clinic is great for business. However, It’s not the only benefit you can receive from a referral relationship!

Remember…

You still need to ask for referrals once you have enough credit with the referral partner. The key is to ask intelligently. That means be specific about your ideal client so that they know exactly who to send to you. Don’t say that you treat anyone or everyone… don’t be vanilla ice ice baby!

The other benefits of a strong referral partnership are:

  • Better nurturing and care for existing clients with better communication of the health care team
  • Access one another’s networks to amplify clinic growth through shared connections, either through other practitioners or businesses etc
  • Minimise expenses by combining business doings e.g. buyers group discounts with suppliers, marketing etc
  • Access greater knowledge on health and business with shared resources and trainings
  • Strengthen position in the community because of the collaboration (standout) e.g. co-branding, joint ventures etc

Don’t just think it’s about the transfer of clients, because you may not have most ideal client bases to share, however, you can lead one another to other sources of client generation while experiencing all of these other benefits!

In Summary

Always think about, what is in it for them. Do your best to make their life better and once you have a strong line of communication, ask specifically for their help in building your clientele and network.

To exchange more ideas with your peers on this topic, you are welcome to join the facebook group “Health Professional in Business. Simply request to join, answer the 3 questions before entering and dive into the discussions.

Until next time, continue to consult with passion and serve with care.

 

Opinions expressed by physiogramworld contributors are their own.

 

Ben Lynch

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