Want more referrals? This first blog in a series of 4 reveals the benefits of referrals as well as where you will find the best qualified referrals for your weight loss practice.
Who doesn’t love referrals? They are your greatest compliment! A potential new patient from a referral is more likely to desire your services and are also more likely ready to make a purchase. They are wonderful!
In this blog, we will address the benefits of a robust referral program and where your best referral sources exist. Then, in my next blog, we will talk about how to streamline your referral process so referrals are made on a regular basis. After that, we’ll talk about the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a referral program and wrap it up with whether or not you should reward those that refer patients to you. In fact, you can access a free resource with everything in one place at www.WeightLossPracticeBuilder.com/Free – as well as other valuable resources.
What are the benefits of a robust referral program? First, it is a low or no cost way to obtain referrals for your services and build your clientele. Second, it’s a win-win for everyone. The patient is happy that they were referred to someone who is known, trusted and has great outcomes. You are excited to help a friend or family member of one of your existing patients. The referral helps to build a stronger relationship before your potential new patient even walks through your door or contacts you online.
Where can you find your best referral source? I find that the best sources of referrals are from your existing patients. Some will automatically refer people to you and others don’t think of it until you ask. Unfortunately, you and your team may not feel comfortable asking for referrals. This is very common. As clinicians, we want to help patients by providing outstanding services and products. It is not usually a natural part of our DNA to ask for a referral. Next week, I’ll get into how to make that more of a ‘second-nature’ type of thing for your team (not necessarily for the physician). Bottom line, your happy patients really are your best referrals.
The second important referral source is physician referrals. This can get a little bit tricky because oftentimes referring physicians are a part of a larger medical group that you may not be affiliated with. As a result, they may be formally or informally required to refer within their group. However, you can become top of mind – especially through your ongoing communication regarding great outcomes with shared patients. No matter what, referrals are about your relationship with them initially and ongoing. You can do this in many ways such as visits from you/your team, mail/fax/e-mail/phone communication, online webinars or in person seminars for their patients and streamlining the referral process so it is really, really simple for them.
The reality is, a lot of primary care physicians are so busy they don’t have time to address weight loss yet they know that they have two-thirds of the population coming through their doors are overweight and they would love to have a great place that they know they can feel comfortable sending their patients. Also, if you are a medical weight loss specialist, you can build a relationship with a bariatric surgeon. In addition, all weight loss physicians and surgeons can do that same thing with plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, OB/GYN groups, among others. These groups are often looking for a reliable source that can help their patients successfully lose weight. Why not be that person? So, build those inroads. I will also talk about how to ‘grease the wheels’ for all referrals in my next blog and I work more in-depth with many practices through Bariatric Business Boss to set up their referral systems.
A third valuable source of new patient referrals is some of the local groups where you might be able to reach out to and do a presentation for either virtually or in-person. It could be a local women’s group, a Realtor’s group, civic groups, etc. There are many groups that are looking for education, particularly in the area of weight loss. So, you can be that preferred resource for them. Whether you’re doing that through presentations or via articles/blogs in their newsletter you remain top of mind and continue to develop good will.
Finally, another terrific (preferred) referral path is your online reviews. The key is to make this very, very easy for them to do and to request a referral when they are feeling their happiest. We get into the ‘how to’ in future blogs within this series. However, I recommend you have a link for Google and Facebook reviews readily available in your e-mail signatures, on your website, through your text messaging communication and on-site via a business card with a QR code or kiosk where they can submit it right there. It a great way for them to say “I love what this person provides and you need to go there if you seek the same or similar outcome I experienced.”
So, those are your best sources of referrals. I love referrals and I know you do too so why not increase those. It is a feel-good thing for everybody! There are a lot of different ways to streamline that and to make it easier. I’m going to go over that next week. Don’t forget to download your free guide at http://www.WeightLossPracticeBuilder.com/Free