There is nothing more satisfying than having one of your patients send you a family member or friend to get care.
It comes with a deep sense of connection, and knowing that somewhere down the course of care with this person, you did something right. A gratification for all the work that went in.
So how do you get patients to refer in more people? My original thought on this, when I was first starting, was that if I did a good job, the patients would automatically be lining up at the door waiting for me. * long silent pause *. For any of you that have actually been in practice, you know that this is not the case. While it does happen sometimes, that is not the main way that I have gotten referrals from my patients.
- Ask them – hands down the best way that I have found in my 3 years of practice is to simply ask people to send in friends/family. It is amazing. I used to be afraid to do this, thinking that it would make me look desperate or something, but you know what really happened when I asked patients to send people in? They did. Minimal work involved.
- When they mention someone else’s problem, talk about it- Heres another one that seems too simple, something that everyone must do already right? Well I didn’t at first. I found myself being very general about answering people’s questions about different conditions, or not answering at all. So if someone made a statement about their fathers shoulder pain, I would say “oh” and let them talk. Somehow I started actually going deeper with people on these topics, and telling them what could happen if it wasn’t taken care of, or what things that I could do to help, usually not directly asking them to come in. It’s about educating people. Educating them, turns out, helps them trust you more, and more trust means more referrals. Minimal work involved.
- Give them more than they expect- other than providing quality care, follow up with them, get to know their lives, show interest in the things they are passionate about, open up to them, give them something from you. Make your patients feel special, feel passionate about coming in the office and they will start to send their friends in. Moderate work involved.
- Deliver high quality care- I have to put this one on here. Because it is true as well. If you do a good job, you will get referrals from that as well. But as I said above, definitely not my main way of getting patients. Moderate- High work involved.
I am not an expert in patient marketing and retention yet, all I can give you is my experience. And with my experience, the treatment is only a small part of what makes patients open up to you and want to send other people to you. Of course if you are a terrible therapist, it won’t help you keep patients. And the emotional connection that people get from you and the experience of being in the office plays a huge part as well.
3 of the 4 things listed above were more about me overcoming my preconceptions and/or fears associated with patient care, rather than anything to do with the quality of treatment I am capable of giving. Remember when I said that you would learn more about yourself being in practice?! Heres another example. Connect with people and they will be fiercely loyal to you.