We’ve shared the statistic that typically 75-80% of new patients come from referrals. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy referral program!
Get Over It!
Asking for a referral is certainly not negative or an act of desperation. Rather, it’s cultivating positive relationships with patients that are a good fit with your practice. The first step is to inform your current patients and prospects that you’re seeking referrals. You could also simply state it in your marketing materials and on your website such as “We Love Referrals.”
Scratch Their Back, Too!
Help your clients who own businesses with referrals; reciprocity is key. For example, if you have a patient with a lawn care business who’s seeking clients, and another patient that is gearing up for some new landscaping, help them connect!
When a new customer comes in, ask them how they found your practice. If they say that a current patient referred them, it’s important to send a hand-written thank you note to the referring patient. They’ll remember your thoughtfulness and be more likely to continue to refer new patients!
Take Advantage of the Honeymoon Phase!
When a patient is relatively new to your practice, there’s almost a palpable excitement and noticeable energy. The likelihood of getting a referral from them at this time is higher than even a loyal customer of ten years.
Everyone Loves Free Stuff!
Offer an incentive like a discount, an upgrade or a free item. For example, you could work with a local business for a $5.00 coffee coupon, or buy gift cards in bulk. Each referral should get something and potentially enter to win a larger prize each month.
Test offers to find out what type of incentive works best. Communicate the detailed referral program to your customers through your blog, newsletter, email or mailing. Be sure they know that just giving you a name and email isn’t enough… the referred person must actually take action and follow through with an appointment. Try to make it creative and fun!
Give Something Tangible!
Give clients your business cards or coupons to hand out to the people they’re referring. This will make your contact information readily available and reinforce the referral. On your website or email messages, you could have a “tell a friend” button. If you don’t already, be sure to have social media icons or widgets that directs customers and prospects to your Facebook, Twitter, blog pages, etc. This makes it easier for them to “Like,” re-tweet, or share information about your practice with their friends.
Manage It Consistently!
Designate a staff person to manage social media to be aware of reviews and which clients are helping you market your practice. Thank people publicly for mentioning you and your practice. Engage with customers on a regular basis and respond to comments in a timely manner. Unfortunately, reviews on Yelp, Google Business and social media platforms can be negative at times. It’s best to respond quickly and make efforts to resolve the complaints!
Design With Them in Mind!
Direct your referrals to a specific landing page on your website. Use language that speaks directly to your prospective client, and that clearly calls them to take action!