Almost every healthcare practitioner wants more referrals, whether from their peers or their patients. With spheres of influence that extend outward to their families, friends, co-workers and colleagues, your patients can be a potential goldmine of referrals. And to make soliciting referrals even easier, you often see them face-to-face regularly…
The single most effective way to increase referrals is to ask your current patients for them. If you are like most healthcare practitioners, you are uncomfortable with the notion of asking patients for referrals (AFR). You might even believe that asking makes you appear “needy” or “greedy” so you simply avoid it.
We want to help you avoid that “needy-greedy” feeling that prevents you from AFR. Why? AFR is a potentially huge source of revenue for your practice, not to mention goodwill between you and your patients.
You don’t have to “sell” anything.
First, you have to dispel the idea that you are trying to “sell” your patients on giving you referrals. In reality, you are not selling them anything. All you are trying to do is help them and as many other people as possible. That’s why you went into your healthcare field and private practice – whether you are an orthopedic surgeon, ob/gyn, dentist, orthodontist or physical therapist.
Timing is critical.
Of course, timing is critical. The best time to AFR is when a patient thanks you for fixing a broken bone, enhancing their smile, relieving their pain or helping them get back to their quality of life. At that moment, they’re giving you an open invitation to AFR. Instead of just smiling politely and thanking them, take this perfect opportunity to say something like:
“I really appreciate hearing that, Mrs./Miss/Mr. Jones. I joined this profession so I could help as many people as possible. If you know someone – a family member, friend, co-worker or business colleague – with a similar problem, please have them call my office so I can help them, too.”
It’s that simple. You have expressed your appreciation and enlisted their help in the patient-to-patient referral process. You have asked for a referral without appearing needy, greedy or unprofessional. And you’ve created additional goodwill between you and your valued patient.
What if the patient shares appreciation with your office staff instead of you?
If for some reason, the patient makes similar overt comments to a member of your staff, you might follow up with a personal note to the patient expressing the same sentiment as the quote above. Better yet, make sure every member of your staff is trained to AFR, too. They might say something like:
“I really appreciate hearing that, Mrs./Miss/Mr. Jones. Dr. Smith joined this profession so he could help as many people as possible. If you know someone – a family member, friend, co-worker or business colleague – with a similar problem, please have them call our office so
Dr. Smith can help them, too.”
AFR every chance you get and watch your patient-to-patient referrals add up quickly.
For more information on medical marketing contact Practice Builders at at 800.679.1262