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How to Increase Doctor Referrals to Your Office: The importance of a strong start

As a practice that focuses on specific medical specialties, referrals from general doctors, internists, and family practitioners should make up for a large chunk of your revenue.

The number of referrals you receive from other medical offices in your locality is directly proportionate to the cliche story of ?networking,? or ?relationship building,? with other doctors in your region. But, just like any other marketing method, which can be manipulated, relationship building can also be manipulated by a doctor and his or her staff to maximize the number of referrals and increase their frequency.

Generating referrals from other practices can be as simple as calling the doctor directly; and, with no existing personal relationship this referral relationship can be established randomly while at a wine tasting event or even an event at your kid’s school. Nevertheless, how classy is it to call your fellow medical colleague to ask for referrals? Although one can argue that a simple phone call is enough to build a quick relationship – that’s all you’re going to get, the equivalent of a “one night stand,” in the referral world, at best a couple weeks of referrals. This referral relationship with your colleague is not going to last very long because it wasn’t set up properly.

Beyond any doubt, during my numerous referral generation sessions for other doctors, which I started conducting four years ago, I had many doctors expressing a huge amount of interest but never referred any patients…or at best only referred for a week or two and then forgot about the doctor I was representing. In fact, it really depends on the level of?commitment?a doctor has towards referring patients to your direct competition, and it can be as simple as a lack of time the referring doctor has available to direct new referrals to you. These realizations pushed me to consider the referral generation program as a means towards building a traditional relationship, one that requires nurturing of the relationship on many levels, with different activities and considerations.

It is a relationship, and just like any other one, you need to spend time to dedicate attention towards constantly reminding your spouse how much you love him/her. Buy flowers every now and then and set up special dinner arrangements, and more, to keep the relationship going strong. Nevertheless, all relationships have a starting point. A date, a meeting, an eye-to-eye attraction, smiles, and sparks right after. I am sure most married or committed couples can strongly say that their first date was unforgettable.

What I am trying to say is that for a doctor to send you referrals, you need to have that first visit, presentation, call, meeting or any other arrangement to be unforgettable, and then you will have a a few initial weeks of referrals coming from that doctor. Soon after, you’ll have to keep it interesting and move from first base, to the second, and third, and finally to a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship between your offices.

I have included all the tips for that first meeting with another office or doctor in our Referral Generation Kit. In addition, I will be writing a lot about these topics and will guide you through building this relationship on this very blog.

About the Author:
Behzad Riazi is the founder of NOVA Advertising and NOVA MedMarket. He is a marketing graduate from the Washington, DC area. Behzad started the Referral Generation program for medical offices local to the Northern Virginia area, in Fairfax VA, which brought an unprecedented amount of success to the doctors who started this program with NOVA. In 2012, Behzad opened NOVA?s second office in Los Angeles and currently resides in there. NOVA MedMarket is a Medical Marketing firm with two offices.

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