Dear Bill | Asking For Referrals

Posted by Bill Esteb on Jun 29th 2023

Dear Bill,

"I don’t ask for patient referrals as I probably should because it makes me feel self-conscious. Is there a way to encourage referrals without it feeling so self-serving?"

It’s not surprising that asking patients to send more business your way feels self-serving.

Perhaps if you framed your request to be more beneficial to the patient it would make it easier and increase the likelihood of your request being acted upon.

Maybe something like this.

Let's say a patient mentions their improvement or in some way reveals their satisfaction with the decision to pursue chiropractic care. A classic invitation to ask for a referral.

You: “Do you remember who originally encouraged you to see us?”

Patient: “Mary.”

You: “That’s right. May I tell you something about Mary that she won’t mind me telling you?”

Patient: “Sure.”

You: “When Mary recommended that you see us, and you acted on her referral, it gave her a pleasurable, feel-good sensation that comes from helping others. You can get that same feeling by paying it forward and inspiring someone you know who you think chiropractic could help.”

It’s a way to make the referral process more about them, rather than you. (Modified from email #21 in the 50 Patient Emails download.)

To further prove that this overture isn’t about you trying to drum up more business, you could always add,

You: “And if they live in a different town, we can consult our directory and make sure they get a great chiropractor.”

Most patients would appreciate a way to thank you beyond saying "Thank you." And referring others often doesn't occur to them. After all, they see patients coming and going and are clueless that you have the interest (and capacity) in helping more people.

Referrals, when a patient risks their reputation on yours, is the ultimate compliment. But you want to make sure you also have a steady stream of positive online patient reviews. You might adapt the scripting above:

You: “Do you remember the apprehension you felt when you were contemplating seeking chiropractic care?”

Patient: “I was a little nervous.”

You: “One of the ways you could help someone like yourself who might be a little nervous about trying chiropractic is to leave a positive review on [Google]. It’s a great way to give someone hope and pay it forward.”

Be prepared to give them a handout describing the step-by-step procedure of how to leave a review, whether it’s Google, Facebook, Yelp or some other platform. Because many of us who don't regularly leave reviews may not know how.

Today, social proof is more important than ever. More and more people won’t try a new restaurant, hotel, a whitewater rafting trip, or buy a product on Amazon without scrutinizing the reviews. It's an essential strategy for growing your practice in the 21st century.

Hope that helps.

Ask Bill your question.

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