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Listen to our latest podcast episode: #39: How To Improve Patient Touch Points For New Patient Conversion

#38: How to Maximise Your Existing Patient Referrals To Your Practice

Podcast 38 How To Get More Existing Patient Referrals For Your Practice

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Information Explored in this Podcast:

The following is just some of the information that we’ve covered in this podcast, in case you wanted to skip ahead and explore a specific topic.

  • The Easiest Way to Getting Patient Referrals [1:36]
  • Who Should Ask for A Referral? [2:51]
  • The Best Time To Ask For A Referral [3:42]
  • Do Your Patients Know What Services You Offer? [5:32]
  • How To Use New Patient Offers [9:51]

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Links Mentioned in the Podcast:

Podcast #34: The Importance of Using Story to Set Your Practice Apart From Others

Podcast #20 How to Use foot-in-the-Door Offer to Get More Patients

https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com.au/podcast/foot-in-the-door-offers/

Guide: 20 Foot In The Door Offer Ideas To Attract New Patients

https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com.au/fitd-offers/

ONLINE MARKETING FOR DOCTORS WEBINAR COURSE

https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com.au/webinar-marketing-system/

online course

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Huyen: In our various podcast episodes, interviews and ebooks we talked about how to increase doctor referrals to your practice. But what about existing patient referrals? How can we maximise those? In this very podcast we are going to give you 3 effective ways for obtaining more existing patient referrals?

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Podcast Intro

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Steve: Hello and welcome to another episode of Online Marketing For Doctors podcast. If you are new to this podcast channel, this channel is all about providing strategies and tactics that you can use to grow your practice fast. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast by hitting that little bell button (Ding Sound), so you never miss out on a future episode.

Huyen: Back to today’s topic…  We’d like to walk you through three remarkably easy-and highly effective-ways to encourage patients to refer family, friends and colleagues to your practice. The cost for doing these is almost nothing, so your Return On Investment (ROI) is through the roof. This is the closest thing you’ll find to guaranteed success with internal marketing, and with a little practice and persistence, it’s almost effortless to generate patient referrals.  The only tough part is making the commitment and doing it.

Steve: The first and easiest way get more referrals is to ASK PATIENTS FOR REFERRALS

Yes, you really do have to ask. That’s the slightly obvious but frequently overlooked rule #1 of getting more patient referrals. It is possible that you already look too busy to the patient and they aren’t thinking you need referrals. Brochures or signs around the practice are passive-helpful as reinforcement tools, but they don’t engage or inspire the patient to take action directly.

More than half of the doctors we talk to, have heard of “asking for referrals,” but- here’s the tough part… many shy away…embarrassed, uncomfortable, or afraid they’ll look needy, when in reality, most patients would happily refer you, and would love to be asked.

Consider the patient’s perspective. If they are pleased with your professional services, they are grateful, appreciative and naturally ready to say “thanks” in return. So ask. Not asking is more than an omission, it’s a costly mistake and a golden opportunity lost.

Here’s how to get beyond the stage fright (or other excuses) and get into the habit.

Huyen: First up… Let The Doctor Talk. It’s best if the doctor does the asking because that’s the highest level connecting point for the patient, and the most direct channel for appreciation. But if you do think that patients often have the best relationships with staff members, then you can ask them to do it on your behalf. In order to give your staff some motivation, you can host a small competition amongst your staff to see who has managed to get the most patient referrals to your practice.

Regardless of who does, you should also ensure that someone is accountable for tracking the number of referrals requested against the number coming in, as well as any other metrics relevant to your practice.

Steve: Moving right along to the second component of asking for referrals, which is that Timing is Important. Pick a moment when you know the patient is happy and when you’ve achieved great results. (ie… Not when they are in pain from surgery) Ask a “checking” question or two to make sure that they’re up high on the satisfaction curve: “Did we do a good job for you today?” or “Are you looking forward to showing off those new pearly whites at your sister’s wedding?” Or when a patient volunteers a compliment: “I’m so glad you took care of that for me!”

Huyen: Next… sometimes you just need to Script it. Rehearse it. Keep it short and sincere. With a little preparation, you will not need the script, but for some of you who are either a little shy or just trying it out, it will help you focus your message.

One of the best we’ve heard is to sincerely say to the individual that you like having them as a patient, and that you would love it if they’d send their friends too because you know they’d be great patients as well.

Steve: And finally…Make it a habit too …Look for opportunities to ask for referrals and do so often, everyday as part of your regular routine. If you have one person, or multiple people handling the asking, mark down on a chart who has been asked, so that you (or your staff) only ask each patient once… (otherwise, you may look needy).

Huyen: Okay… back the main topic, and our second effective tip for getting more existing patient referrals, is to GIVE PATIENTS A ONE MINUTE COMMERCIAL. What is that? You might be asking?

Contrary to what you might think, the typical patient knows very little about all of what you do in your practice. They know what you did for them, but that’s just about it. You see and know your big picture, but unless the patient has a need, there’s no reason for them to be aware of the full range of services in your practice.

So, find a way to tell them just a little bit more about the practice and the full services that you offer. Maybe reserve a minute near the end of each patient visit, and present a short, informative “commercial” about ways you help other patients in the practice. Make your message brief, conversational, informal-but focused on something you’d like to promote.

An anecdotal approach is casual and effective: simply tell a story about how you helped a patient recently, or how a procedure or approach you use is successful, or that your practice now provides something new that many other patients have requested.  Something where the tone of the conversation feels more natural and conversational, rather than sales and heavy-handed.

Speaking of commercials…

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Webinar Promo

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Steve: You love inserting that webinar commercial don’t you?!

Huyen: I do, but mainly just because I’m so excited for it… it will be big… and help a lot of practices grow and scale their business.

Steve: Agreed… it is going to be big! But let’s get back to show.  I believe we were talking about using a more anecdotal or storied approach as means of providing a “commercial” to patients for inspiring more patient referrals from them. In podcast #34, we talked about the importance of using stories to set your practice apart from others and how you can use the story telling technique across different communication channels, including; website content, social media, emails and even through verbal communications with patients. We left the link to this podcast in the show notes below so please check it out before leaving the podcast.

If you still aren’t sure about what a story approach would sound like… here’s an example of an approach a doctor could use with one of their patients… “Oh, and by the way, I’d like to make you aware of something important. One of my patients dropped in to the practice with her son the other day, and upon check out I noticed that he was wearing a neck brace. I asked him how he was doing and she said, ‘Not very well.’ Now it turns out his mother had been coming to our office for years, but she didn’t know that we not only treat neck pain, but in fact, we have a specialist expertise in that area. I’m telling you this just in case you ever run into someone who is struggling with neck pain problems, because if so, chances are we can really help them. We’d take extra special care of anyone you’d be interested in referring to us.”

Huyen: I do like the power of storytelling. When done right, it can be very powerful and emotional. Moving on to our third and final tip for today on getting more existing patient referrals, which is to introduce NEW PATIENT OFFERS.

Why new patients offers? Well, the idea behind new patient offers is that you are trying to encourage the prospects to have a taste of your services, and then after they start to get to know and like you, you can move them further along into your sales funnel by offering your higher value or core services.

This same approach can also help with your existing patients to refer their contacts more easily because the patient now has an irresistible offer for them to pass along.

Steve: We’ve mentioned in several podcasts the importance of having foot in the door offers for attracting new patients, specifically with podcast #20 How to Use foot-in-the-Door Offer to Get More Patients and our guide of 20 Ideas for Foot In the Door Offers. In that guide specifically, we outlined some general types of foot in the door offers that work for different types of practices, and in different markets of both extremely affluent and lower income prospects, that make the engagement process easier. So please check the links to those content pieces in our show notes below.

Huyen: Well, we have come to the end of today’s podcast. Unfortunately we have to say goodbye for now. But I’m curious and would like to hear from you too…what is your key takeaway from today’s episode that you would like to take some time over the next few days to start implementing? Or have you tried a different approach to gaining more patient referrals and it has worked well for you?  Our healthcare professional community would love and appreciate your input. Add your comments below, or send us an email with your thoughts.

Steve: Be sure to keep in touch with us so we can continue to bring you the best marketing strategies and tactics to grow and scale your practice.  And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast channel, so you never miss another one! We’ve got more great content planned for future shows so you won’t want to miss them.

We look forward to seeing you next time!

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Show Note

Podcast #34: The Importance of Using Story to Set Your Practice Apart From Others

Podcast #20 How to Use foot-in-the-Door Offer to Get More Patients

Guide: 20 Foot In The Door Offer Ideas To Attract New Patients https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com.au/fitd-offers/

Webinar Marketing System https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com.au/webinar-marketing-system/

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