6 Ways To Leverage Your Network To Grow Your Therapy Practice
Do you feel lost in the marketing maze and wonder if there’s an easier way to supercharge your practice growth? Would you like to streamline how you attract clients and speed up your expansion by using a dynamic approach? Or maybe you’re just hitting the ground — just starting out — and want to get on the front foot quickly?
Then it’s time to leverage your network!
See, people who’ve been referred to you from a trusted source already have a level of faith. They are more inclined to see you as the expert. More open to recommendations. More likely to accept care. You’ve no doubt experienced this already. That’s why word of mouth is so powerful.
Yet, wishing a client might tell others about you is a fraught enterprise. Being passive means you have no control. Instead, it’s time to focus on proactive cultivation. In reaching out to, and utilizing, your network.
Here are our top 6 ways to ethically leverage your network…
1. Ask your clients
There’s no better referral tool than your existing list. Your clients already know and trust you. They’ve experienced and benefitted from your expertise and care. Often, they know people who need therapy. They just may not have thought to refer.
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Think about the many times you’ve recommended a professional service to a friend or family member, and how many times they’ve returned the favor. The recommendation is liable to be received with consideration — consideration that is more likely to prompt action.
So, ask. Encourage others to refer via your social media and website. Place a message in your email signature. Let people know you run a practice that appreciates and values referrals; that they make a difference for your practice.
Remember: Clients don’t have to refer. Share a heartfelt thanks when they do.
2. Create online directory and community services entries
Have you signed up for any online directories or community service sites?
These resource-packed sites contain a multitude of blog posts that attract viewers searching for mental health insights. They build trust by sharing value and evidence-based tips. They also offer a list of therapists.
When a site has established rapport with its viewers, the professionals listed on it receive a reputation boost by proxy. In effect, these sites become a networking hub that virtually refers.
Examples of sites where you can create a listing include:
This is a great way to cultivate awareness as it’s often the first place potential clients look when considering therapy.
3. Produce enticing press releases
Have you considered producing press releases for your practice?
A press release is an official statement; a declaration, revelation, or announcement created specifically to share some kind of company news with the media, and others.
It’s a way to highlight news from your practice through a reputable source. For example, prominent industry publications.
In addition, there are many good-quality press release sites that will share your content… for a fee.
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Plus, an interesting, topical, or locally relevant release can pique the interest of local media and get you featured within your community; where it’s probable most of your potential clients live.
As with online directory and community services, the companies who share your releases can act as a referrer. Your name and practice — assuming you only choose good quality platforms to work with — receive a boost in credibility by virtue of the platform’s reputation. The distribution of press releases can be a potent way to put your practice on the map.
4. Nurture your professional connections
As a therapist, you will have memberships with certain professional organizations and associations. You’ll undertake trainings, attend conferences, and meet representatives from different groups. These establishments and people are part of your network.
So, keep in touch. Where appropriate, request their advice and listen. Ask how you can offer support. Could you pen an article about a topic within your area of expertise that they can share with their tribe? Can you become a speaker, in exchange for promotion? Could you join an executive board and widen your network?
These sources enable you to learn new and innovative ways to grow professionally, as well as boost the number and quality of your connections.
5. Engage with professional peer groups
While you might see your professional peers as competition, step back for a moment. This may not be true. In fact, this group may be a fount of untapped possibilities.
A combination of math and reality. One therapist:
- Cannot treat every client. There’s not enough time.
- Cannot specialize in all conditions. A client might need a particular expert for their specific condition.
- Won’t be the right fit for everyone. Not all potential or current clients will gel with, or receive benefit from, you or another therapist. Whether due to personality, approach, or that special *something* just not being present.
By maintaining a healthy relationship with folks who have similar training and perspectives to yours, you can cross-refer. You might be the perfect solution when an established therapist’s caseloads fill. Or if they decide to focus on only a certain niche.
Sign up for our free email course to learn how you can expand your reach by transitioning from a solo to a group practice in 6 easy-to-follow steps.
Even better, when your professional peer group is diverse in training, background, specialty, fees, location, etc, you can improve your level of care. How? By connecting a client who’s not the right fit for your practice with an expert who is able to support them. This process should flow both ways.
To attract referrals, ensure your peers know where your specialties lie, what supplementary training you’ve completed, and what additional achievements you’ve accomplished. In short, why they should refer to you.
Note: Cross-referral can provide “good optics” for your practice. It shows you prioritize a client-first approach. Share this on your website and with your tribe. When a client knows that you’ll refer, if needed, they’ll feel more confident with your care.
Tip: In episode 191 of The Therapist Experience Podcast, Mike Vaughn — a licensed clinical mental health counselor supervisor — shares why connecting with fellow therapists can be a great way to grow your private practice.
6. Build complementary partnerships
Building complementary partnerships is a wonderful way to expand your mutually beneficial referral network. This can be done in several ways.
First, connect with practitioners who work in different professions. For example, medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, naturopaths, personal trainers, and coaches. This opens up two possibilities:
- You can send and receive referrals from fellow health experts in a way that improves outcomes as a client consults with the professional they need, and
- You are able to work in a complementary manner; to provide more integrated, collaborative, and holistic care.
Second, connect with those in different local industries. If you consult offline, seek referral opportunities and relationships with these businesses. Become immersed in your community. There are many smart businesses that build countless connections. This creates a virtual hub. If someone within this hub — or one of their contacts — needs a therapist, you’re at the top of the referral list.
Remember: You need to be proactive and engaged. The people who refer to you need to trust you. Get involved, see how you can help others, and demonstrate your worth.
Tip: Want to learn additional ways to build a robust community of refers? Read our article, How to Build a Strong Referral Network to Grow Your Practice.
Creating and nurturing your network is an important step in practice growth. Especially when you’re just starting out or you’re looking to supercharge results.
Think broadly. Your potential and current networks are wider than you imagine. Ask your clients, create online directory and community services entries, produce enticing press releases, nurture your professional and peer connections, and build complementary partnerships.
Add value whenever you can, refer to your network when appropriate, and, of course, take great care of the clients referred to you. Your connections truly can transform your practice and your life.
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