6. Ensure that you’re ready to staff the clients they send your way.
This is probably a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. Staffing issues and other challenges are causing many agencies to turn away clients, even if growth is one of their top priorities. While caregiver turnover can be a tough nut to crack, you’ll need to ensure that you’re ready to staff new clients. After you turn away a few clients, the referral source is likely to start turning to other agencies first.
Of course, there may always be isolated times when you’re unable to staff a client or when it wouldn’t be productive to do so. You can mitigate this problem by clearly establishing the types of shifts your caregivers can fill (for instance, the minimum number of hours required for a shift) and giving your staff a script to clearly reiterate and explain the policy if it becomes an issue during a call with a referral source.
7. Do your homework on the referral source so that you can ask educated questions.
Your top priority should be understanding their needs and communicating to them that you can help make their work easier. To this end, you should do as much research as possible beforehand: talk with any contacts you have ahead of the formal visit, familiarize yourself with your website, and talk to other care providers in the area. The more you can understand their circumstances and unique challenges before you visit, the better-placed you’ll be to demonstrate that your agency is equipped to help them.
Once you’ve done your homework, consider the right questions to ask. Beyond logistical questions, you need to ask questions that will help you understand what is most important to them and what their frustrations are. If you can pinpoint what frustrations they might have currently with agencies they’re already working with, you have an clear route to explain to them how your agency can benefit them.
Hopefully you’ve noticed a clear undercurrent to this article: the most effective referral networking is focused on delivering wins for both the home care agency and the referral source. When talking to professional referral sources, you should focus much more on how you can help them than how they can help you.
Don’t misunderstand; you’ll still benefit from doing this. But by focusing on their needs rather than yours, you’ll be setting the stage for a strong, positive partnership that will serve the interests of both sides.
What have you found to be most useful to do before you meet with a referral source? Let us know in the comments below!
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