2. Visit the top sources first
The best way to keep the energy behind referral marketing is to start with some wins. Focus your energy early on with your top 4 and 5 rated referral sources. Write down unique aspects about each and the best strategy to approach them. Most professional referral sources prefer scheduled appointments as opposed to simply dropping by. If possible, have a recurring, brief appointment setup with your top referral sources.
These appointments are most productive when you discuss the following:
- Updating them on the progress of any referrals they have sent you.
- Identifying ways you can help them do their job easier. For example, if you meet with a Home Health Intake Coordinator, they might be struggling with getting people who call them to schedule an assessment. Perhaps your agency has developed some solid intake strategies that you could share with this Coordinator that would be helpful in their jobs. If your company has found something that works that would be helpful for certain referral sources, type/design it up and leave those ideas with them. This approach to helping your referral sources scores big points and the next time they have someone in need of your services, you will become more top of mind.
- Leave each appointment with a decision on next actions. For example, when you will stop in next, a commitment to send an email with details about a client they sent you, or promise to share best practices they’ve asked you about. Just make sure that at least one follow-up action is set and understood.
3. Get personal
When visiting your referral sources, get to know them on a personal level. Take notes. Review those notes before each meeting to help you remember important information you’ve learned throughout your relationship that might be meaningful and important to them – birthdates, anniversaries, family events, etc. Every time they send you a referral, send them a unique thank you card that represents your culture. As an example, when I had my home care business, every time I received a referral, they would immediately receive a personalized thank you card that had wild flower seeds attached to it that they could plant. I had one referral source who posted my unique cards to her office board every time she received them. Within a year, she had several cards and a large garden box full of beautiful flowers. A simple and unique gesture of appreciation became something she loved and could continue enjoying.
This last year, in our surveys for the 2017 Home Care Benchmarking Study, 33.3% of participants felt improved relationships with referral sources would be their top opportunity for growth. While various means can be deployed in a marketing strategy, it was great to see how one with such a personal touch still remains highly effective and is a priority for so many home care businesses. I hope you attend this month’s CORE Webinar or take advantage of our services and other resources in order to continue improving your success in improving and growing your business.
Aaron Marcum, CEO | Home Care Pulse
Aaron Marcum is the founder and CEO of Home Care Pulse, the leader in research, quality satisfaction and performance benchmarking for the private duty home care industry. He is also the creator of the annual Home Care Benchmarking Study. Before starting Home Care Pulse, Aaron owned and managed his own successful private duty home care business in Salt Lake City, Utah. Aaron has a passion for helping this industry grow, and is well-known for his leadership among entrepreneurs in home care.