When it comes to receiving business from physician offices so often I hear counselors & other mental health professionals say, ‘I dropped off my cards, my flyers, and mailed a letter to my local area doctors but I haven’t received any referrals’, & most likely you will not. Physician offices are inundated with all types of businesses trying to sell something: pharmaceutical representatives, lab companies, copying & shredding services, other healthcare professionals. There is typically a gatekeeper that filters all of that information from getting to the doctor that they deem to be most important. So how do you as a either a solo practitioner or group practice owner get referrals from physicians?
If you are new to practice you may be intimidated by walking into a doctor office & ask to speak with the physician. If you have been in practice for several years you likely already know the basics of marketing, but may want to learn more about integrated healthcare & how to enhance & position your practice in this growing arena. I have found that in recent years many of us are doing more marketing online and through social media and it is necessary. However, if you want to develop relationships and collaborate with physicians and other types of healthcare professionals they are likely not networking online in the same spaces that you are or even looking for your services online. This is where good old-fashioned face to face networking, relationship development, & ultimately collaboration come into play. Consider this, most large companies now have an online presence and social media team, but most still have community relations or sales representatives that are in the field & tasked with developing relationships with their customers. As solo or group practice business owners we need to do the same.
If you are not convinced another way to think about it is that if your marketing only targets clients directly you are likely missing a significant group of professionals that can also provide a steady stream of referrals to your practice. Your practice maybe doing fine marketing directly to clients and if so that’s great! However. I am sure there is some component of your practice that could benefit from collaborating with physicians. And honestly they need us, but most likely they won’t reach out to us. We have to show them that they need us. If you are not where you want to be in your practice a hard realization might be that a significant part of your job as a private practice owner will be marketing. As healthcare begins to move toward integrated healthcare let’s not be left out of this trend.