How to Increase Referrals to Your Practice
How to Increase Referrals to Your Practice
Referrals are a compliment to you and your practice. You might feel humbled or elated (or both) when you get one. Word-of-mouth is the best kind of marketing, but you don’t have control over that . . . or do you? You can indeed have a strategy for generating referrals.
Why Do You Want Referrals?
The reasons you want referrals to your practice might be obvious, but we’ll review them anyhow:
Referrals have a superior return on investment (ROI): By the very nature of referrals, it costs much less to attract a new patient. The same marketing dollar that attracted the referrer in the first place has done double duty!
Referrals generate better patients: If you have ideal patients already, they generally refer others just like them. These patients value what you do and pay you what you’re worth. If you have less-than-ideal patients (you know who they are), you’ll likely get more of those.
Referrals don’t require you to sell: If selling is outside your comfort zone, referral-generating strategies should be at the top of your marketing plan. Many business owners are shy or deathly afraid of selling anything, so referral building is more palatable to them.
Referrals will happen without any effort on your part (besides providing awesome service) but it’s worth putting effort into helping the process along. You must actively cultivate referrals if you want to attract more ideal patients.
Sources of Referrals: Your Existing Patients
Your existing patients are likely your greatest source of referrals. If you help them solve their problems, they are likely to refer family members, friends, co-workers and other people they know. So, the question to ask is: How do I make it even easier to generate referrals from this group? Here are some ideas:
Double-Duty Marketing: Promote all the products and services you offer in your office. Your current patients may only be aware of the services they are enjoying, but don’t necessarily know about all that you offer. Their friends and families may have different issues you can help them with, but if they don’t know you offer solutions, they can’t refer you! This does not have to be a hard sell—only awareness is necessary for patients who already love and trust you!
Make sure you promote all your products and services on your website. Sales sheets or brochures in your waiting room can also help with awareness. Using your monthly newsletter to feature what you offer and writing an article about each can be educational and profitable.
If you are a ChiroTV Network subscriber, make sure to take advantage of your ability to create custom content and queue that up in your mix! (Yes, this is our shameless plug. And might we also add that ChiroTV Network is one of the most cost-effective ways of generating awareness for all your product and service offerings? Just sayin’!)
Your Patients’ Networks: How many of your patients own businesses themselves? If they care about the morale and health of their employees, they might like to partner with your practice. Find out who might like to provide special health perks to their employees. Maybe your office could provide chair massage, health screenings, or informational talks on particular subjects of interest. Their employees might be so delighted by their experience at work that they post on social media about it! This is good for your reputation and your patient’s business.
Events could even be cross-promoted by you and your patient. If you both have email lists, you can open up information events to the public, generating additional awareness of both your businesses. This is a great way to introduce a new product or service, once you have launched.
Sources of Referrals: Networking Groups
You can attend networking groups to acquaint yourself with other local business owners and generate referrals. To make best use of your time, it’s best to find an exclusive group, one that allows only one member per profession. BNI is an example of a national networking group franchise that is structured in this way. Groups such as this require a commitment of money (there are membership fees) and time (attendance requirements if you wish to hold your category). The structure of these groups is built specifically around giving referrals and you must be prepared to “teach” the members about your practice and ideal patients.
It’s not absolutely necessary to join an exclusive group, but mind how you spend your time. Non-exclusive groups may be more informal and there might be competing chiropractors in attendance. Informal groups can sometimes be little more than people exchanging business cards with each other. Just keep an eye on how much time and money you spend and make sure you’re getting new patients as a result of participating. If you’re good at succinctly stating what makes your practice unique and the type of patient you’re looking for, you can still generate referrals.
Sources of Referrals: Strategic Partners
Both current patients and networking groups can also help you establish strategic partners with whom you can cross-promote. Handpick other non-competing business owners who share your ideal patient, values and business style. You must have no reservations about referring your best patients to these partners.
As a chiropractor, your strategic partners can be other holistic health modalities such as massage therapists, neurofeedback technicians, acupuncturists, occupational therapists and others. You can partner with health-conscious restaurants or “green” retailers such as organic mattresses. Use some creativity!
Again, educate each of your strategic partners about your ideal clients. Devise ways to work together in order to increase business for everyone. Here are some ways to utilize your strategic partner network:
- Educational workshops: Each partner should have an educational talk ready to present and you can also work on each addressing a different angle of the same theme. For example, you can talk about better posture to avoid pain while your strategic partner (a health coach) talks about an anti-inflammatory diet. Invite each other’s customer lists to the workshop and share the costs.
- Joint marketing: Distribute each other’s marketing materials at your places of business. Automatically present special offers from one business to another. For example, a massage therapist can offer a free posture analysis with your business, especially for clients who have recurring injuries. The massage therapist can offer your patients a special introductory rate for their first massage.
- Guest blogging: Partners sharing content not only allows you to establish yourselves as experts with a whole new audience, it gives each partner a break from thinking up new content. Start with writing blogs about the products and services you most want to be known for in your area. It can be as easy as an FAQ or transcribed interview with your partner!
As you can see, there is no end to the ways you can generate referrals to your practice. With a little creative thought and follow-through, you can have new referrals knocking on your door in no time!