Referrals= new business.

Building a strong referral network is a critical aspect of ensuring your medical practice is a success. For most medical practices, the primary source of new patients is other health care providers. Building lasting relationships with community physicians through referral-based marketing is essential and has shown lasting results that have helped many practices drastically increase their new patient numbers. Referral-based marketing takes time, but is something that most definitely should not be ignored.

So once these referral relationships are initiated, they must be cultivated. Building and nurturing those relationships is vital to the success of your practice. So while there isn’t one “best” way to solidify your connections with referral sources, you can take a number of actions to build good will and credibility in these relationships. Here are 5 ways to ensure a steady stream of referrals:

1. Send a thank you card

A hand-written thank you card means more than you know. In this age of electronic communication, it leaves an impression that are truly appreciative of their referrals. Schedule in some time every week to write these thank yous.

2. Arrange a meeting

Meeting a referral source in person is an excellent opportunity to learn more about his or her practice and patients and to thank them and their staff for their trust in you.

3. Call a referral source

A personal phone call goes a long way. Touching base with those that keep your practice thriving is key– they will be glad to hear from you and keeping the referrer informed after seeing the patient shows the referring provider that you are thinking about the patient and that you care enough to keep them informed on a timely basis.

4. Return the favor

Offer your referral source a referral that might be useful. Perhaps a patient self-refers to you and doesn’t have a PCP. This is a great opportunity to make a recommendation and can help to solidify an existing referral relationship.

5. Ask for Feedback

Getting direct feedback from those referrers you depend on is crucial. You could send a physician liaison to have periodic face-to-face conversations or you could make the connection yourself. Those personal phone calls mentioned above – you may be surprised at what you learn on those. They may present an opportunity to learn how they feel about your services and the benefits you offer their patients. Plus, by asking for feedback and making necessary modifications you demonstrate your commitment to providing them and their patients the best experience possible.

Use these 5 tips to maintain and strengthen your referral relationships and you will see a direct return on your marketing investment and build a network that will provide a steady stream of patients for your practice for years to come.