If you’re a dermatologist (or any specialty medical provider, for that matter), your goal is for your practice to grow, and growth means new patients. Marketing and advertising can be expensive, however, and as busy as you are, overly time-consuming.
Enter referrals. While you can use marketing and advertising, a big part of getting new patients should include getting them through referrals – it’s a much easier way to get new business than finding new clients through other means.
Here are a few tips for boosting your medical practice with referrals.
As a dermatologist, you might see someone with skin cancer, but perhaps you don’t do surgery, so your skin cancer patient needs a referral. Who are you more likely to refer them to – someone you know, or someone you don’t know? Since it’s unlikely you said “someone I don’t know,” you can probably guess that it works the same for other doctors. And that’s why you need to spend time getting to know your fellow physicians – the more you know about them and what they do, the more likely you are to refer them and vice versa. No one can refer you dermatology patients if they aren’t aware that your specialty is dermatology.
As a doctor, you’re busy, and probably tired, and you may just feel like you have neither the time nor the energy nor the inclination for offline networking. Luckily for you, we live in the age of the internet. Social media is a great place to get to know other physicians and even their patients. It’s also an excellent way to make yourself known. Find other local physicians, dermatologists or otherwise, on various social media platforms, and interact with them. If you do this right – by retweeting interesting tweets, sharing thought-provoking Facebook posts, etc., and offering your own (intelligent) opinions – your reputation and chances of getting referrals will grow. Bonus: you’ll know who to refer your patients to when they need something outside the scope of your practice.
Maintain a Positive Relationship with Your Current Patients
You don’t have to rely on referrals solely from other physicians – your current patients are already talking about you. If I have a friend who needs a new dermatologist, and you’re my dermatologist and I love working with you, I’m eager for my friend to have as good of an experience as I did. (If I'm so happy, by the way, I'd probably be willing to do a testimonial for you.) If I didn’t like you, though, I’ll be quick to warn her away from your practice and if you’re really bad, I probably already wrote a scathing review on Angie’s List, Yelp, etc.
And please remember that your office is also a reflection of you. No matter how nice you are or how good of a doctor you are, I probably won’t recommend you if your receptionist was rude to me, if your waiting room was really dirty, or if you kept me waiting and didn’t apologize. (Most patients are aware that you’re behind because of the patients in front of us, but we like to hear you’re sorry for us having to wait so long anyway.)
Make a Good Impression on New Patients
When you get a new patient based on a referral – either from another doctor or a current patient – treat them right. If I referred my friend to you and she had a horrible experience you can bet I’ll hesitate before referring you again, and you know she won’t be referring you at all.It really boils down to this: getting referrals is easiest when you’re good at your job. BUT it also never hurts to be more proactive, so if you’re looking for more referrals, contact us – we can help!