This week in our membership we have been exploring the topic of getting more referrals. It is a common thing that I hear from many allied health practice owners – how to get more GP referrals? Over the years we have run various online resources about how to communicate to referrers and build a relationship, but I really believe BEFORE you get to that point you need to go back and start at the beginning…….. and ask yourself these questions
- Can your practice cope with an influx of referrals? Two things to consider here. Firstly does this match with your vision and your values. If you grow too quickly, can you hang onto those great values you may have already created and that wonderful feel your clients get when they experience your service? Sometimes (but not always) when we get more clients, we end up busier and little things that used to be important, start to fall off. Secondly, can your practice accommodate the work that more clients will bring? It will often mean more admin time, more appointment times needed, more letter writing, more reports and just more of most things. This is good – not a bad thing, but what I want you to consider is the systems you have in place RIGHT now and those you would need to create to cope with more clients. Make a list and prioritise the things in order of what you need to put in place to manage the increase of work.
- Do you have the capacity? Capacity is a measure that I think you should track monthly. It helps you to work out if you have the room to fit more clients in. Before you start your marketing to referrers, you need to make sure you have the capacity to take more on. To do this, you need to work out the
amountof hours you are available, and divide this by the total number of booked up time (where you are billing)….. and to get a percentage of your capacity you times the answer by 100. If you get 60%, it means your practice is running at 60% capacity and likely can easily take on new clients. If you are running at 98% capacity, it is unlikely it will work well unless you offload some admin time so you have more spots free, or put on more staff to see the new clients that will come in.
- What is your goal? So good to set a goal…. something to work towards going forward. Set something for the upcoming 6 months (because developing a relationship with a referrer takes time, you can’t expect them to have time to ‘see’ you straight away – they are busy people too. Make sure you write down a goal that you can measure – for example… “In the next 6 months, I will increase referrals to my practice from local GPs by 20%”.
Don’t rush ahead before doing the above. Having a think and a plan will help you save time and money on your marketing….. and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed if you are not ready for an influx of new clients.
Here’s to your healthy practice!