How to Get Referrals for Your Psychology Practice
One of the top ways to get new clients into your private practice is through physician referrals. Patients going through mental distress will often turn to their family practitioner first, who can certainly prescribe medicine but is not trained to provide psychological treatment. These doctors are the ones who, if you’ve established credibility with them, will recommend your services to the patients coming to them for help.
Identify Your Core Patient Pool
What types of patients do you specialize in? Are they younger, elderly? Is your niche with patients experiencing abuse or trauma? The key to deciding the types of doctors’ offices to target for referrals is to first identify the types of patients you’re trying to capture. This will narrow down the offices you pitch to and enable the doctors within these practices to provide more targeted recommendations to their patients. As an expert in a niche market, you’ll likely get more patients through physician referrals than if you were to go at it alone.
The Elevator Pitch
Marketing your business is not a cake walk if you don’t have a background in sales. You studied therapy, so no one is really expecting you to have an elevator pitch in mind. The Balance Careers defines an elevator pitch as “…a way to share your expertise and credentials quickly and effectively with people who don’t know you.” If you want to get your foot in the office door of a physician, it’s important that your pitch is perfect. Doctors have very little time to devote to anything other than their patients. Keep your pitch short and sweet. Avoid psychology jargon that a family physician might not be familiar with. And really drive home what makes your practice unique—and worth recommending. Doctors are not likely seeing many outside reps while we’re still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, so face-to-face interaction might not be possible. This means your pitch really needs to stand apart from the pack. Consider doing a video conference. Put together a visually appealing presentation to walk through that highlights the benefits of your practice.
Much like a retailer would have a pool of direct mail campaigns, emails, and social posts in their marketing arsenal, you should too. A website, business cards, and informational pamphlets are all key pieces of collateral to invest time and money into. Having trouble getting in touch with a doctor you’d like to pitch? Drop off your marketing materials so they can look through when time allows. Had a great in-person meeting with someone? Show how serious you are about your practice by leaving them with a business card and brochure. You want these materials to be engaging, informative, and high-quality. Something that’s going to stand out from the sea of marketing materials doctors are swimming in each day.
Build Your Relationships
Whether you meet doctors at conferences or through community events, it’s important to nurture the relationship you’re establishing. Be sure to stay in touch—either through regular phone calls, perhaps even a lunch outing. Thank these people for referring clients to you as soon as you see a new patient on the schedule. And remember, this is a 2-way street: if you are seeing a client who is looking for another doctor, provide a referral. This will help build credibility and trust with the other doctors in your community.
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