How to Build a Strong Referral Network to Grow Your Practice
A lot goes into building a business, and that’s exactly what your private practice is; a business.
The difference between your business and most others is, rather than selling a product, you’re selling a service to your customers. And this particular type of sales – even more so when you’re in the healthcare industry – is heavily reliant on building a trusting and lasting connection with your clients. This means, in a lot of ways, building a growth plan or strategy for your therapy practice may not be as clear as it is for other businesses.
Building a successful private practice relies heavily on building a strong referral network and leveraging your connections to grow and fill your client list. Even in the unprecedented time of COVID, building your client referrals is still important, and still possible! Personal referrals and networking are some of the most effective ways to build a successful private practice.
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Growing your practice through referrals is one of the best ways to maintain a constant stream of clients flowing into your practice. When it comes to expanding your client list, there’s just nothing faster than leveraging human connection.
In this blog post, we’re going to walk through the steps you can take to increase your client referrals through networking and further grow your private practice.
Find Your Niche & Identify Your Ideal Client
We have mentioned before why it’s so important to identify your ideal client and how you can do that.
One of the best reasons to build a private practice around a specific niche is to use your specialty to gain more referrals. When you cater to a specific client base, you can be more intentional about asking for referrals from your past or current clients or others in your professional networks.
Specializing in a niche builds your reputation as an expert in that area, and people love to refer to an expert who they know, like, and trust; not just a generalist who may or may not be able to help with their particular problem.
Specializing is a great way to increase referral traffic from other therapists too. When you specialize in a specific niche, other general therapists are more likely to refer clients to you if they can’t accommodate them.
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Talk With Other Therapists
Talking to and meeting with other therapists is a great way to unlock a new potential referral source. Therapists who have a mature practice receive many clients they cannot (or choose not to) take on for several reasons, but one being that the client does fit into their specialty. During COIVD Times although it not ideal, Zoom and other video conferencing technology have made meeting with other Therapists easy and achievable.
When they have a client who is ill-fitted for their practice, they will want to pass along to other therapists whose practices are better suited to help. It’s also important to be mindful that you are also acting as a referral source for other therapists. This encourages other therapists to refer you in return, and it also helps build trust with clients, making them more likely to refer you in the future.
Listen to our recent podcast with Mike Vaughn to learn how he unlocked a new referral source by meeting with other therapists.
Talk With People in Your Community
People who already know, like, and trust you are much more likely to refer to you to their own friends and family. That is why you want to make sure the people in your community know about your passion for working with and helping your clients. You also want to make sure they understand your unique skill-set, specialties, and ability to help connect someone with the right therapist – whether it’s you or someone else.
Talk and network with the local doctors, lawyers, physical therapists, psychiatrists, and other medical professionals, you know whether that be over zoom, or simple just a phone call. Also, talk with your close friends, acquaintances, family members, and extended family members. You want to make sure that you have made people aware of the fact that you are open and you do offer telehealth services.
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Get Involved in Your Community
Along with talking to the people in your local community, it’s also a great idea to get involved in your community. Because your local community is where your clients come from. Check-in with your local community. During COVID, we have all seen our communities and the people in them, hurt a little bit. It’s important you check in with people, see how those around you are doing, let your community know you offer telehealth services, and make it known you are there as resources to them. Also, look to see if there are online events happening that you can be a part of.
During normal Non-COVID times, volunteer to speak at schools, libraries, or other community events to gain exposure, increase brand recognition, and build trust with your community. Volunteering for fundraisers or events that could align with your specialty to show your community that you are dedicated and care about their success. For more details, check out our post The Private Practice Guide to Networking Events. While volunteering and speaking at events might not be possible currently, it’s still important to note as it is a strong way to build referrals- when normalcy returns.
Join an Online Network
Private practice networking occurs both on and offline, so attend digital events and connect with other professionals online. Use the Internet to extend your reach beyond your local advertising efforts.
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It is best if you are listed on these sites because they act as strong referral networks, and they require little work to maintain on your end. Although many referral sites are not free, when you compare your membership costs to how much you’ll receive from a referred client, your return will be well worth it. Networks to consider include:
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