Home care is not an isolated industry. It is interwoven with a large network of healthcare and senior care professionals. This network is expansive, and each touchpoint between home care providers and other care professionals marks a point for potential client referrals. Home care providers can easily and successfully tap into this wealth of referral sources as they learn to identify and foster relationships with these three referral types:
Professionals You Know
The best place to start your search for referrals is among the professionals you already know. Especially if you’ve worked in home care for a while, you probably already have a small network of contacts in healthcare, government, and senior care. These contacts are already familiar with your work. They know you personally, and they trust you, which makes them the most likely to send referrals.
The key to turning these contacts into referral sources may be as simple as asking them. If they work nearby, schedule a lunch or give them a call. Since they’re already familiar with your work, they won’t mind being a referrals source. Ask them if they know anyone who could benefit from your services, and give them a referral packet with all the materials and information they need to refer clients easily. If you’re familiar with their work, offer to do the same and send clients their way whenever possible.
Professionals Who Know of You
Even if you don’t know certain professionals, they may know of you. Especially if you specialize in a particular service or you’ve received a Best of Home Care award or other distinction, you may already have a reputation for providing quality care. Social media and online activity can also help boost your reputation among professionals. By posting quality content on your company blog and social media sites, other professionals in related fields will come to value the information your provide, and you’ll establish yourself as a local authority in home care.
To connect with these potential referrals, start by knowing your strengths. If you have a specialty, like Alzheimer’s care, then actively participate in both online and community forums and activities related to that specialty. When professionals approach you in person or online, train yourself to end conversations by asking for referrals simply and directly. Whether or not they have someone to refer, offer them your business card or a referral packet to use when they do. As you participate in discussions online, feel free to message the more vocal participants. Get to know them, and if it seems like you could help each other, set up a meeting. Train your staff to do the same when a doctor or government worker mentions that they’ve heard of your services. Creating a referral culture in your office will keep your staff engaged and make referrals more consistent.
Professionals You Know Of
This third source of referrals requires the most work. They’re sources that do not know about you or your services, which means you’ll need to do some research to find out who they are and how they relate to your company.
With these sources, you may want to start small by connecting on social media. You can add them on LinkedIn or make thoughtful comments on their blog or social media posts. You can also reach out to them through email by sending useful resources or even passing along a referral. These small acts build their trust and make them more willing and likely to work with you. After you make an initial contact, build from there by calling to schedule a meeting or by sending your marketing rep to their office. Since these professionals may not know much about you, they may not be willing to give you their time. In these cases, don’t be pushy. Be prepared to give a quick pitch about how you could help each other, offer your services, and leave a packet or business card behind. By following up, you can build these contacts into stronger relationships and eventually cultivate quality referral sources.
As you work to expand your client base, don’t forget to work with professional referral sources. By taking the time to identify and contact potential sources, you can open up your business to a wider range of clients and a steadier stream of quality referrals.
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