Home Care Marketing: Obtaining Referrals from Doctors, Hospitals and Other Sources

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Marketing your home care agency to the right medical professionals can provide a steady pipeline of new client referrals.

Like it the old fashioned way?

This month, we’ve focused on marketing your home care agency to professional referral sources. We’re concluding our discussion this week by offering some final advice about home care referrals from medical professionals. As we mentioned in last week’s blog, your clients should be your top focus for referrals, but home care business owners are also finding success with other referral sources throughout the communities they serve. Participants in the Home Care Benchmarking Study listed the following as their top referral sources: hospital discharge planners, home health agencies, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, state Medicaid waiver programs, Area Agency on Aging, case managers, and rehabilitation hospitals.

There are many professionals you can turn to for referrals. Erik Madsen, COO of Home Care Pulse, says, “When it comes to referrals, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket! We need to be focused on a variety of different referral sources, so we have potential referrals coming in from each source.” Yes, focus on client referrals, but also spend time developing professional relationships with others.

So how do you begin this process?

1. Create a list of professionals who are potential referral sources.

The first step is to brainstorm. Who, in your area, would be able and willing to send you referrals? Think of those on the list above, but also think of unique sources within your community, like senior centers, the Chamber of Commerce, clubs, churches, and organizations that work with the elderly. Consider networking with care managers, financial planners, long-term care agents and others.

2. Reach out to professional referral sources and educate them about your business.

Once you’ve listed the possibilities, you don’t need to reach out to everyone at once. In fact, if you try to reach out to too many sources at once, you may end up not impressing anyone. David Frey, CEO of Marking Best Practices, Inc. and author of How to Make It Rain Referrals, cautions, “It’s better to choose only one local family physician and become close friends with him than trying to be friends with ten physicians haphazardly.” Cultivating a good working relationship takes time, so to begin with, give yourself time to focus closely on just a few promising referral sources.

You can contact businesses via letters or emails, but that is impersonal—and not the best way to ask for referrals. It’s better to work face-to-face with someone. Let them get to know you and your business. Provide them with brochures that describe your expertise and the services you provide. Make sure they know why you are the best at what you do. Always keep them supplied with plenty of your business cards to hand out.

Frey recommends you “arm them with tools to help their customers (and your prospects).” Help your referral sources know how to help their customers. These professionals want to remain the trusted expert in the eyes of their customers, so if they are armed with specific information about your company, they can pass that on and possibly even resolve concerns and answer questions about your services. In the end, this all leads to a stronger referral for your company.

To get some great ideas on what to take with you when you visit your referral sources, download our Referral Source Portfolio Checklist.

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3. Make it a two-way street—benefit each other.

Frey points out that most of these referral sources are businesses that would appreciate your referrals in return. Professionals are much more likely to work with you if their business is gaining from it. Frey explains, “To be a great networker you must become ‘you’ centered rather than ‘me’ centered. Zig Ziglar, the famous sales trainer once said, ‘You can get everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.’” What problems can you help your potential referral sources solve? Make it all about taking care of their customers and the services you will provide them. And in return, you can also refer clients to their services when the need arises.

Work together to benefit all businesses involved. This works on a small scale, by doing things like passing out each other’s business cards or occasionally referring customers. Or it can be done on a larger scale, sharing booths at industry events or sharing advertising space. If the situation calls for it, work together to create a referral plan that benefits both businesses.

4. Update and communicate!

Working with a referral source is not a one-time occasion. This is a relationship that requires dedication and persistence. Check back with your referral sources on a regular basis. Make sure they have a steady supply of your business cards and brochures. Answer any questions or concerns they may have.

And once you start receiving referrals, always contact the referral source and thank them. Update them when a referral becomes a new client. Focus on the problems you are solving for your new client. This shows referral sources that you are reliable, trustworthy and dedicated—and they will be more likely to continue to send you referrals.

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Working with referral sources is an ongoing process that takes time, but with the right amount of effort, you will begin to network with other professionals who can send you referrals for new clients, helping your business to grow.

In reference to data from the Home Care Benchmarking Study, Erik Madsen points out, “The most statistically significant factor in growing annual revenue is the number of new clients who started service. The number of new clients added was more significant than billing rates, billable hours, number of inquiry calls and assessments, and payer sources used. Though these other factors are important to growing annual revenue, this analysis shows that more focus should be put on acquiring new clients.”

This is accomplished through your company’s reputation, the services you provide and through your marketing efforts. Analyze your current consumer and referral marketing methods. Create a plan today to refocus your marketing efforts on the strategies that work for home care businesses.

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  1. Cheryl Armstead December 18, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed your article and it is very helpful. I’m with a 3 yr home care agency and we are looking for more referrals. Thanks for the very helpful advice. I will be putting these into use.

  2. Matt January 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Just starting out and this is some very informative information. Thank you

    • Home Care Pulse June 25, 2015 at 11:52 am - Reply

      Hey Matt, we’re happy we could help. If you’re looking for more information on professional referrals, we’ve got some some great resources here: https://www.homecarepulse.com/proof-of-quality/

    • Marilyn Smith April 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Matt, I am nrein the assisted living business. I am out beating the bushes in search of clients. I am in the Mobile County Alabama area. Any suggestions? I would greatly appreciate any insight you can give me.

      Thanks in advance!!!

    • Constance October 3, 2018 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Yes, very thankful for this information. Would like to stay connected for new postings and ideas.

  3. April February 24, 2015 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    I am just starting up. I am a little afraid of going out to market, trying to over come my fear of marketing face to face. I have a limited amount of time to obtain 3 clients to prove I can run my business. I have put a lot of work in to get this far and don’t want to lose everything I work so hard for. This is my dream and I must caught it.

    • Keisha April 28, 2015 at 7:51 am - Reply

      How is it turning out? I’m facing the same dilemma. Fear of marketing.

    • Home Care Pulse June 25, 2015 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Hi April,
      How has it gone so far? I hope these ideas helped. Having to pitch your company to other professionals can be nerve-racking and stressful. Chris Marcum, our Marketing Director, recently gave a webinar on some more specific ways to reach out and obtain referrals. You can find it in our Resource Library. Hopefully it can be of help.

  4. Elaine March 2, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I have clients who are in need of home health care but I would like to start my business in finding them suitable care, where do I begin? I can be reach via email : [email protected]. I’m located in Michigan

    • Home Care Pulse June 25, 2015 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      Hey Elaine, Thanks for visiting our blog. One great resource for locating certified providers in your area is bestofhomecare.com. You could also contact agencies in your area and ask them to pitch their services to you to see which provider is best for your client’s needs.

  5. Samuel Philips March 16, 2015 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Great article -:) Allow me to be pro-active and ask you to send me referral resources in the Dallas Texas Metro area. I don’t want to neglect a single opportunity, as such if I have touched anyone in your office in terms of my zeal and desire to be successful, I want to capitalize on it. I am relatively new to the field and wish to learn and be as productive as I can be.

  6. kay March 19, 2015 at 6:31 am - Reply

    I am marketing Life Line Home Health in Lexington, Ky. I have a big luncheon with five Orthopedics in several weeks. My question is, they have used the same Home Health for many years. I am taking two of our best Physical Therapist with me, what is the best approach to get them to send a referral to us, when they are very happy with how they are using???

  7. Coprice Jones May 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    The information very helpful I gained a lot of knowledge from the reading.

    I am the owner and founder of Serenity Care Services located in the Chicago, Illinois area. Our company specializing in Alzheimer’s Dementia and End of Life Hospice Care. I am looking to network with doctors hospital nursing home retirement homes ect.
    SCS is one of the leaders in Home Care Services with very knowledgeable staff please visit our website or call us if you have any questions.

  8. latonya July 8, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Hello I’m also just getting started with my business and would like to know how to get referrals to my business. This has always been a passion to open a in home care business and help those who are in need of care. I have been in the medical field for over 15 years and would like to continues with my own business to help clients and their families.

  9. Teresa del carpio September 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    I Just got my license to start this new journey. We worked with passion, and love to decorate the Care Home. My passion is to take care of clients with memory impairment. I have the experience to do the day to day operation, however, marketing is a challenge!! no impossible. My Care Home is in Antioch California. Thank for your block, very interesting. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

  10. MRS. FRANCIS October 1, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    I works as a referral coordinator, i would like to start my own referral business. I have been googling how to start it up, what would my first steps be? I have not been able to find anything helpful on line, i have been in the medical field for 15yrs. do you have any advise that can help me get started?

    • Home Care Pulse October 2, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply

      I would recommend meeting with a business adviser in your area. They should know the ins and outs of getting started in your particular city and be able to help you navigate the legal and social stepping stones to setting up shop. Let us know how it goes!

    • Bunmi November 14, 2015 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      Hello, i just want to know which state you are because i really need referral for my Home Health Business.

    • evalyn phillips November 18, 2015 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      I want Mrs Francis contact Evalyn phillips via [email protected] I have good info for her looking forward to hearing from u

    • Channel J May 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      What city/state are you in?

  11. Johnson McGee November 6, 2015 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    I like how you said, “Working with a referral source is not a one-time occasion”. My mom used to work in a doctor’s office. She said that referrals are incredibly plentiful. For instance, one doctor gave 5 different referrals to the same patient. How often are referrals needed?

    • Home Care Pulse November 9, 2015 at 10:05 am - Reply

      It’s not that uncommon for some agencies to only work with referral sources – no outward advertising, just relationship building. Depending on where you live and the population, it’s possible to receive enough referrals to keep you growing consistently. That said, a good mix of advertising efforts is always advised, but I don’t think there’s a standard number of referrals you should be receiving. It’s all about your relationships with professionals, and how you consistently build that.

      • VAL FRAZIER June 25, 2019 at 1:38 pm


      • Connor Kunz June 26, 2019 at 11:38 am

        Hi Valerie! How long have you been working with these referral partners? A lot of times it will take 8-12 good visits before they start sending you clients, so you might need to just hang in there and keep trying.

  12. nemata kamara November 14, 2015 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Very helpful information. I just got my license for Virginia and maryland . I have no idea how or where to market. Your articles are very helpful..

  13. Sally February 22, 2016 at 11:02 am - Reply

    This article has been very helpful! My aunt is in need of Home health care, and we’ve heard Aster Home Health has a great reputation here in Illinois. From what I know they work with hospitals. But I wonder if anybody knows anything about this agency. Thank you again for the info.

  14. ciara March 28, 2016 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    hello I have a question is it best to gain clients and staff first or establish the whole business first

  15. Michelle April 6, 2016 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Hi , I am a Chinese HHA coordinator and I have difficulty to increase the cases right now, I need some suggestions of what can I do to increase my Chinese cases now. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks

  16. V April 7, 2016 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I have home care in new jersey need more clients. Need a recuiter to find cases for my business? Thx

  17. Marilyn Smith April 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Matt, I’m new in the assisted living in home care arena. I need clients like yesterday. I have been out searching but I think my techniques are all wrong. Can you give me insight on how I can recruit in a more effective way that will yield positive results?

    Thanks in advance!!!

  18. Kenneth Peyton April 22, 2016 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Good article. I agree that referrals are a mainstay of new and repeat business. Starting my own agency recently I have had a lot of success with online ads, Facebook, and postcard mailings. You quoted Erik Madsen as saying, “The most statistically significant factor in growing annual revenue is the number of new clients who started service. The number of new clients added was more significant than billing rates, billable hours, number of inquiry calls and assessments, and payer sources used. Though these other factors are important to growing annual revenue, this analysis shows that more focus should be put on acquiring new clients.” I couldn’t agree more.

    • Kim October 24, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

      Hi, I starting a new home health company. You mentioned online ads, Facebook & postcards helped gain clients. Would you mind being more specific on what you posted, etc via wording and more of possible? Any suggestions or examples will help. Thank you!

  19. shawna October 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Hi, my name is Shawna im in the Colorado area. Do you have any suggestions on setting up the office? Im a nurse and will be opening a non-medical home health, and im stumbling over the types of paperwork i will need for orientation and conducting in home assessments. Do you offer any webinars on this subject? Thanks the information was very helpful.

  20. Wesley Chapel Business News October 28, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    It’s remarkable to pay a visit this web site and reading the views of
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  21. […] you something to reference on your website or in marketing products to assist demonstrate your proficiency in the market. So we can all agree that cost-free attention for your nursing home is a wonderful point, yet just […]

  22. Marie Valerius January 5, 2017 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Hi, my name is Marie. I am looking to increase my home care referral. Can you help?

  23. Amy Selle January 10, 2017 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Another great way for home care agencies to form relationships with referral sources is to ask referral sources what questions they get asked most by their clients. Then create a written piece that answers those questions and put your agency’s logo and contact information on the printed material, near the end of the written material.

    Bringing something like this to a referral source (instead of always showing up with your brochure) shows you’ve listened to them and are interested in helping them do their jobs better and solving their clients’ problems.

    For more ideas like this and other tips on home care marketing, visit http://corecubed.com/blog

    • Home Care Pulse January 10, 2017 at 11:03 am - Reply

      This is a great idea, Amy. Thank you for your input!

  24. Junaid Shaikh April 24, 2017 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Great article! Usually, people avoid sharing such valuable tips.
    I am a registered Care Manager with CQC here in Birmingham, UK. To promote my home health care business, I did google advert, LinkedIn, Facebook and did flyer distribution in local doctors practices. I also left couple of leaflets with local opticians, dispensing chemist shops and other places were elderly people visits.
    Hope this help.

    • David Jani October 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Hi there how did you track your results to see what worked and what did not work?

  25. Channel J May 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Hello, I am a new Marking Director for an Assisted Living in the East Bay Area in California. I found this article/blog to be very inspirational and motivating. Thanks for providing such resourceful reading material. I would love to connect and network with any professionals in my area.

  26. Brian June 6, 2017 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Hello my name is Brian, my wife and I co-own a Homecare agency in New Jersey. We seem to be stuck in a rut in regards to obtaining new referrals/clients on a consistent basis. We market our company via Social media, and direct mailing list that we obtain from InfoUsa. Lately we have even committed a small budget to other referral companies to help us receive more referrals, so far it has been a slow process. A lot of it could be that we are in a market where there about 5 larger agencies that have already established relationships with the local hospitals, rehab centers, etc., in our area. Does have any advice that they can give that will help us get our company noticed by the referral sources, so we can start to see referrals on a steady basis. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

  27. Emma December 19, 2017 at 2:42 am - Reply

    This article was truly inspirational.I think the health of the elderly should be a serious concern.Last day I have gone through an article in which they have mentioned about Senior Living EHR Solution ,a technology which helps senior living to take care of the health electronically.

  28. Travis January 22, 2018 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Very great info posted here and is very encouraging to me to embark on me and my wife’s journey of an assisted living home care agency, I’m 33 yrs young and have been in this field for a couple years but love helping others, I know the ends and outs to operation, just thinking would health care professionals really talk to me about gaining clients, I have a speech problem so would they listen to me long enough, we are looking to gain clients just need to know how to go about it.

  29. shannon March 22, 2018 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    This is a great article. I am hoping someone can help me with a Question. I have a marketer who is going to ALF’s and sending back a face sheet to have us run the clients insurance before we even have an order or anything. We are in Ohio and i do not know if this is correct. My gut is saying we should not run this information with out an order from the doctor with what the need for the client is

    Can anyone help

    Thank you

  30. Charlette James August 28, 2018 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Hey I would like to thank you for this article. It help a lot just to know where to start. Im finna start my own personal caregiver business with just myself right now. I would like if you can give me more information on how to start off and what step to take with getting myself insured and how to get in with Medicare.

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  32. Best Elderly Home Care Services in NJ October 24, 2018 at 10:59 am - Reply

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  33. Mark November 5, 2018 at 7:38 am - Reply

    What is the key to marketing Hospital Case Managers , Social Workers and Discharge Planners. Most Hospitals prevent you from going on the floor, and these clinicians dont want to be bothered. Does anyone have some creative ways to market them?

    • Connor Kunz November 5, 2018 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Hi Mark,

      We’ll be publishing another article soon focused more specifically on getting referrals from hospitals. It should be published within a few weeks.

  34. Rouchell November 26, 2018 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I recently started my home care agency but getting clients is really difficult. As a small private business how do I approach these referrals who seem to already be working with other established agencies? Where else do I look?

  35. Penelope Smith November 27, 2018 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    This is some really good information about assisted living care. It is good to know that it would be smart to find a place that is good at communicating. That does seem like it would help you not worry too much about if your loved one is being taken care of.

  36. Evelyn C Rosa January 7, 2019 at 5:42 am - Reply

    I really like your article and it is very helpful for us..I’m with a 4 year home care agency now i am looking fr new referrals thanks for sharing with us

  37. Josephine March 21, 2019 at 2:03 am - Reply

    This article is really helpful i must say… i know a home health agency who has given skilled nursing care, and provider services to a friends mum over the years and that are one of the top best in town (SUGAR LAND/ HOUSTON/ RICHMOND and nearby in the state of TEXAS). I honestly do recommend them if your loved once have need for a home health agency. “INCARNATION HOME HEALTH AGENCY” located in sugar land texas zip code 77478

  38. telvin March 24, 2019 at 10:25 am - Reply

    This was really helpful.thanks alot.ready to run the race.

  39. Ramona Zambrano June 18, 2019 at 9:06 am - Reply

    I am part of a MLTC marketing group, our issue is that in New York, I really do not know if its in other states but we can not market outside, so all those marketers like home attendant agencies that sit in front of pharmacies, hospitals are lucky because when it comes to MLTC we can not do outside marketing.

  40. Dylan Lichter July 31, 2019 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Love the article
    From All of us here at
    Califonia Medical Caregiver Services
    Was wondering more info on marketing online to elderly or relatives.
    any info or suggestions would be appreciated
    Please email [email protected]

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