Your practice or business won’t grow without new patients or customers. But finding them can be time-consuming, if not expensive.
That’s why referrals matter. Asking existing clients for referrals is a time-tested way to attract newbies your way. What’s more, those who are referred by friends and family are more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction with your services than those who find you on their own.
Given your hectic daily schedule, it can be easy to forget to ask for referrals. But by focusing on your best patients or customers, you not only increase your chances of getting a referral but you also ensure that your conversation will be comfortable.
Here’s how to ask the ‘right’ people to refer their friends and family your way.
Make a List
Like attracts like, so spend time identifying those favorites who visit you regularly and pay on time. To focus your efforts, list your top 200 clients. Ask for referrals from those you have a good relationship with and who personify your vision and values.
Try this: “We’re always happy to see more patients/customers like you. If it’s ok, I’d like to give you a few referral cards to share with your family and friends.”
Ask in Person
While it’s fine to include a referral request in your quarterly newsletter or on your Facebook page, don’t forget about the power of being personal. There’s no bigger impact than having one of your team members ask for a referral in person.
This tendency isn’t surprising. After all, when someone makes a personal request of you, you’re more likely to remember and follow through. Each member of your team should practice their referral approach until it feels comfortable.
Try this: “It’s always a pleasure to have you visit us. It’s people like you who make our job rewarding. Do you have any friends or family we can serve as well?”
Pick Your Time
Before you ask for a referral, pick a moment when you know the patient or customer is happy and when you’ve achieved great results. Research has shown that when customers have an experience that exceeds expectations, they are naturally going to tell 25 other people about the experience. Harness that positive energy!
Here’s an example of striking while the iron is hot. To check a patient’s attitude ask, “Did we do a good job for you?” or “Are you looking forward to showing off that brilliant smile?”
When a patient or customer volunteers a compliment like, “I’m so glad you took care of that for me!” Seize the moment.
Try this: “We don’t want to keep our practice a secret. Do you know anyone else who would love our services?”
Offer Thanks Promptly
Some offices offer small gifts (e.g., discounts or small gift certificates) to those who refer, but a gift isn’t always necessary. Most people just appreciate a little gratitude for sending a friend your way.
Get in the habit of noting who referred your new patients or customers, and then write a short handwritten thank-you note. This approach shows your thoughtfulness and sets the stage for even more referrals in the future.
Try this: “We loved visiting with your friend in our office last week. Thanks so much for sending her our way!”
Keep Careful Records
After asking for referrals, mark your charts or other in-house records so that your staff waits some time before asking again. No need to come off as desperate or overly aggressive.
In summary, remember: instead of targeting all of your clients for referrals, focus on the ones you have a great relationship with. They trust you and can vouch for your work. With their help, you’ll receive not only more but better quality referrals to build your business.
What’s your favorite way to ask for referrals? Drop us a line and share your great ideas with us.