Referrals. Every business owner’s dream new-business generator.
But, have you got a consistent system for generating them?
If not, then this complementary article to the ‘How To Build A Thriving Clinic Through A Simple Yet Effective Patient Referral System’ podcast shares Dr. Tracy Board’s incredibly successful strategy that’s now responsible for generating nearly 80% of all new patients to her clinic.
And the good news is that any private practice owner can replicate it.
Step #1: Getting The Basics Right
Like with any good marketing strategy, it usually takes a few rounds of refinement before you hit the jackpot, and this was certainly the case for Dr Tracy Board from Audicles Hearing Services.
When she realized how important referrals could be to her business, she started out with a really simple concept, which was a business card that said “this card entitles you to a complimentary consultation” to which she handed out to patients with the hope they would then pass them on.
Although this didn’t have a huge success rate, it at least created some new business for Audicles.
“At first it was very awkward handing people the cards and then asking them to pass them on, so we realized we needed to be smarter with it”
Step #2: Refining The Process
As a practice committed to keeping good customer relations, Audicles always sent out thank you cards to every patient, which Dr. Tracy saw as the perfect opportunity to also include the referral cards, as well as including them in the printed newsletter drop too.
One of the other smart things they did was to acknowledge that it was in fact a referral card and not a referral card disguised as something else.
This was made clear by including the line: This is how we grow our business. Thank you for your help”
It immediately cast an air of transparency, which avoided any smoke and mirrors type tactics, and it reminded the patient that should they want to pass the card on to someone else, by doing so they were helping a small, local business.
This in turn meant people would keep the cards in their purses and bring them out whenever prompted.
Step #3 Be Absolutely Everywhere
Once Dr. Tracy saw how successful the referral cards were, she thought it wise to ensure there were multiple touchpoints throughout the clinic where they could be shared, including at the front desks and audiologists’ desks, which, in addition to the newsletter and thank you cards, means most bases are covered.
“We try to make a concerted effort to hand everyone those cards!”
Step #4 Keep It Up
Of course, it goes without saying that consistency is everything in referral systems – you’ve got to keep turning the cog for the machine to pump out the goods.
But, in addition to that, it’s also smart to keep it pumping alongside other marketing methods too.
“Of course we do marketing. Of course we have a person who’s going out talking to physicians and of course we do all the things that everyone else does, but for us, this referral system is still the best new-business generator”.
Low cost and highly effective, the ROI on printing is a total no-brainer.
What To Say When Asking For Referrals
One of the hardest things for business owners to get their heads around is how they actually ask for the referral – in fact, for some, it can be quite anxiety-inducing.
The key here is to remember that you’re not selling, you’re helping.
If you know you offer good service and people leave your practice better than when they came in, then offering that experience to other people is, as stated before, a gesture of help.
“Audiologissts as a whole are not driven to be salespeople, but you’ve got to get that out of your mind. Be unabashedly proud of your services and of your office. Know that if you’re doing everything you can for that client then they’re likely to feel that too and want to share it with the loved ones in their life”.
Here’s a basic script to use when handing out a referral card to someone who you have just provided excellent service to and fitted them with their new hearing aids.
“I’m so happy that you’re happy with your new hearing aids. We’ve loved being on this journey with you. It really is such a privilege. Please, if there’s anybody in your life that I can help in a similar way to you, please give them this card and ensure them that we can help them too with a complimentary hearing assessment. For complete transparency, this is how I grow my business, and it’s through working with people like you that we’re able to absolutely love what we do”
So, are you ready to adopt this knock-out referral system into your business?
To listen to the whole podcast, click HERE.