We can’t emphasize enough how the importance of building relationships through referral-based marketing. Whether it’s an existing staff member, marketing representative or themselves, getting out there and meeting potential referring offices has shown stellar results and helped many practices drastically increase their new patient numbers. Like other things, it does take time and can sometimes be a dreaded task, but referral-based marketing is something that most definitely should not be ignored. Whether you’re going out for the first time or you just haven’t been out in a while, read below for some ideas for connecting with potential referring offices.
1. EDUCATIONAL EVENTS
Educational events are a fantastic way to get in front of referring physicians and staff without being overly ‘salesy’. Also, please don’t confuse this with a traditional lunch-and-learn; while lunch-and-learns can sometimes be the only way to get face time with a practice, we have found many practices are limiting or banning them. Schedule an event with a potential referring office and get a chance to meet their TEAM, chat with the physicians and even give a brief presentation about how your practice can help provide comprehensive care to their patients. Already did a lunch or event with the providers in the past? Consider offering to do a presentation direct to their patients- this type of value-added presentation to patients is leveraged by offices that like to keep their patients engaged and filling their waiting rooms.
2. INSURANCE & SYMPTOM LIST
Don’t show up empty-handed. Remember that a simple insurance list can be a powerful tool to help the referral process. Include all your practice information as well as your Tax ID and NPI #’s and any other information that will make for an easy referral process. Include your value proposition – if we’re providing physician liaison representation, we ALWAYS include your value proposition on leave-behind collateral marketing material.
We also highly recommend a symptom checklist if you are specifically trying to grow a certain service line. Pain assessment checklists, sleep disorder risk lists, etc- they can all be used by the potential referral source to help determine if their patient would benefit from your care.
3. STOP IN FOR A FOLLOW UP
Whether it’s an office that has referred in the past or a brand new office, stop in immediately after they send over a referral. No need to do this each and every time, but stopping in to follow up can be a great excuse to get you in the door, say thanks, and drop off more business cards and an insurance list. Sending a staff member or physician liaison? Send them with a hand-written thank you note for an added touch or mention that you happen to be in the area and figured you’d hand-deliver a consult note.
4. DON’T BE A STRANGER
Again, persistence is key with referral-based marketing. On average, it takes 3 points of contact before a new potential referral source begins to trust you enough to send referrals your way. Staying top of mind is key, and will help them pinpoint when your ideal patient comes through. Physician liaison marketing is consistent and requires these follow-ups to be effective. Even if not often, make sure you don’t go for months at a time where you don’t stop in. This could very well open up an opportunity for another practice to get in there. Drop-in for a brief visit to say hello, say thanks, chitchat with the staff, or drop off some afternoon coffee and munchkins. Just remember to leave some more cards, referral pads, and insurance lists!