In the chiropractic industry, there’s no overstating the importance of referrals. Patients who find your office via referral tend to arrive with a built-in sense of trust and commitment. Before your work even begins, there’s a level of personal connection that gets the relationship off to a strong start.
To win the referral game, view referral generation as an ongoing process. While providing great care will bring in some word-of-mouth business, a robust flow of referrals requires a concerted effort.
Fortunately, there are proven methods for building a vibrant, lasting referral network. In this guide, we’ll highlight your best opportunities for developing relationships that bring in a steady flow of high-quality patients.
Identifying Referral Sources and Building Relationships
Growing a strong referral network involves identifying potential sources of referrals and exploring opportunities for mutual benefit. Here are a few common referral sources that you should consider connecting with.
Referrals from doctors don’t always come as easily as they should, but that doesn’t mean this important source of business should be ignored. To cultivate referrals from local doctors and medical offices, compile a list of local primary care doctors and specialists.
To build your list, include a line on your intake forms for patients to identify the primary care doctor and specialists that they see. You can also use databases like ZocDoc. Once you’ve identified a list of doctors as potential referral partners, you can initiate a connection by sending an introductory letter about how you can help to co-manage shared patients.
With doctors who are receptive to building relationships, you may be able to foster a partnership that includes co-promotional events such as joint seminars or public speaking engagements.
Allied Health Professionals
Allied health professionals can be incredibly helpful referral partners. These professions include:
- Occupational therapists
- Athletic trainers
Many of these professionals value referrals just as much as you do and they’re eager to pursue a mutually beneficial relationship. To build these connections, consider ventures like mutual advertising or co-hosted community events.
Nobody can vouch for your care better than an existing patient. Without being pushy, it’s important to let patients know that you value referrals.
Along with verbally encouraging referrals, you can use referral cards. These are physical or digital cards that a patient can give to their friends, family, and colleagues. This type of card typically offers an incentive, such as a discounted first treatment session.
It’s important to let patients know that you appreciate their referrals, but be careful with monetary incentives that may send the wrong message. If you offer tangible rewards, keep them small and make sure that you aren’t violating any legal or ethical standards.
It always pays to have good relationships with your neighbors. If you share a building or shopping center with other professional tenants, develop a friendly rapport with the owners and staff. Co-tenant businesses offer exposure to potential patients who already visit your premises. There are often fruitful opportunities for reciprocal advertising in one another’s offices.
Fitness Centers and Massage Therapists
Consider reaching out to fitness centers, massage therapists, yoga studios, and other health & fitness businesses. There’s a high level of overlap between clients for these industries and chiropractic patients. Consider building relationships with these business owners that could lead to referrals or co-advertising agreements.
Not every chiropractor is a competitor. Rather, fellow practitioners can be your most valued referral partners. Reach out to chiropractors with non-overlapping specialties to establish referral connections. You can also connect with chiropractors in neighboring geographic ranges. Work with these chiropractors to exchange referrals for patients who change locations or who require care in multiple locations.
Maintaining a Referral Network
Once referrals start flowing, it’s important to devote time to maintaining the network you’ve built. To reinforce the connections you’ve fostered, try to give as many referrals as you receive.
Develop communication templates and procedures specifically for your referral partners. This may include newsletters or personalized thank-you notes.
With your best referral partners, consider setting up joint marketing efforts, such as co-authoring articles or running promotional campaigns together.
Utilizing Tools and Technologies
To wisely invest your referral generation efforts, track your referrals and their sources. A useful tool for organizing referral data is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. CRM software is used for managing your practice’s relationships with patients and potential patients. Some chiropractors find these systems to be useful for maintaining a focused approach to referrals.
Your practice’s online presence is another important set of tools for generating referrals. Always monitor online reviews and testimonials so that you can address concerns and highlight wins. Additionally, social media accounts are important assets for promoting your business and communicating with potential patients.
Get More Insights for Building Stronger Referral Networks
If you’re working on building a referral network and growing your practice, join the Aligned Mentoring for Chiropractors family. Contact AMC today to learn more.