Forging professional relationships with physicians, chiropractors, and other health professionals can help develop your credibility, increase your expertise, and increase the likelihood that clients in need find you.
1. Build your own referral list. This is a good first step in developing referral relationships. When you see a condition that requires medical attention, you should refer the client to a good physician or other primary health practitioner. Many practitioners also refer clients to other professionals when chronic conditions aren’t improving as quickly or completely as they would like.
Choose your list carefully. How good these practitioners are will reflect on you as much as it does on them. Of course, referring a client to someone else often results in referrals back to you.
2. Introduce yourself to other health professionals. Who else serves the groups of people you want to work with? For instance, do you do pregnancy massage? If so, network with OBGYNs, midwives, labor coaches, etc. Are you having success with fibromyalgia clients? Consider building alliances with pain clinics, and other wellness providers that specialize in chronic pain or autoimmune conditions. Do you enjoy working with athletes recovering from injuries? If so, get to know orthopedists, physical therapists, and athletic trainers. Make a plan to introduce yourself to these health professionals in person if you can.
4 MORE STEPS TO SUCCESS
3. Develop a friendly relationship with a physician or other mainstream medical professional, someone you can ask for advice or who’s name you can use when introducing yourself. If you don’t already have a friend or relative that fits the bill, an easy way to start is with your own doctor or other health practitioner. Tell them what you are trying to do, and ask if they would be comfortable helping you. Assure them you won’t need much time, and that you are doing this so that more people can get the benefits of your work.
Also ask clients, especially clients who are happy with their progress, to mention your name to the other practitioners they see. Make sure they have a few of your business cards to make this easy for them. Before long you will find someone socially or professionally you can approach and ask if you can talk about developing professional referrals.
4. When you begin to write letters (or introduce yourself in person, preferably), offer your services as an addition, not as a replacement. Physicians and other health professionals can be territorial; so don’t present yourself as if their patients will be better off getting your care and not theirs. Adopt a team approach.
5. Present your skills to other health practitioners as a solution for difficult-to-resolve patient complaints, like chronic pain or any condition where stress is a factor. In most cases, you’re really offering something different than they are. Tell them about your successes in helping certain kinds of clients feel better. Focus on how you’ll make their patients’ lives easier.
6. Be professional. Treat records and patient contacts with confidentiality, observe procedures, and provide organized reports.
(Originally published by Natural Touch Marketing on March 1st, revised and updated September 29th.)