Loyal referral sources are a primary goal of every home health agency and physical therapy practice, but have you ever stopped to consider the steps for transforming a doctor or discharge planner into a loyal referral source? Here we list the eight steps and discuss the implications these steps have on your marketing strategies.
- Build Name Recognition
- Build Trust
- Teach Your Value Proposition
- Close a Sale – Get the Referral
- Ensure Satisfaction with Service
- Educate About Additional Services
- Maintain Top-of-Mind Awareness (to get automatic referrals in the future)
- Continue Teaching Value Propositions to Maintain Loyalty
One of the strategy mistakes that agencies often make is requiring the sales reps (i.e. community liaisons, marketing reps, etc.) to do all this work on their own. Home health and physical therapy marketing require sales reps who are the upper echelon of the marketing industry. As such, effective sales reps command a good salary. The marketing impressions they make are usually the most expensive marketing impressions in your tool box. To get the highest return on the marketing investment in sales reps, agencies and practices should enable sales reps to focus most of their energy on the steps that only they can do well: namely steps four and five. Sales reps can focus more of their energy on steps four and five when agencies and practices use other, less expensive methods to advance the goals in steps one through three and six through eight. This is where home health newsletters, physical therapy newsletters, Facebook Referral Source Advertising, etc. come into play.
Home health agencies that do not have automatic programs in place to accomplish steps six through eight often find they are having to hustle for most of their referrals. They have more trouble achieving that goal of the automatic referral source.
When looking at these eight steps, take a moment to define and write down how your business accomplishes each step. Consider whether there are additional media or practices you can include in your marketing mix that would promote particular steps more efficiently.