Every physician wants a schedule full of patients they can help.

Many physicians do not understand the importance of marketing in today’s new healthcare economy. Generating business MUST be on the minds of every physician, otherwise they may find themselves out of a job.

When you’re a specialist, marketing to potential patients via Internet and social media is a small part of your marketing strategy. The big part? REFERRING PHYSICIANS. It’s time to get your brand in front of medical providers that refer patients to your specialty. THIS is how smart physicians build successful practices.

To that end, here are 4 things you must do to build your referral network

1. Be someone they know

Less than 10% of physicians routinely refer to physicians they don’t know and about 40% say they know something specific about the specialists’ outcomes or quality records. The more well-known you are in your community, the greater your opportunity for referrals from other medical providers (namely PCPs).  No time for this? Hire a physician liaison to make connections on your behalf. This is a very effective model that has shown time and time again to help specialty practices build patient pipelines that ensure long term success.

2. Create a blog

Give referring medical providers a chance to get to know you, the scope of your practice, your expertise and your passions. The more they get to know you, they more they trust you. The more they trust you, the more comfortable they are sending their patients to you. Your blog is a platform that you can personally customize to help other physicians get to know more about you and your specialty. Short, newsy pieces with clinical information that PCPs can use are a great way to win points. Think carefully about what your referral sources need to know. Then give it to them in brief. Post to your website and social media sites and invite referring medical providers to follow it. Again, a physician liaison can help with this.

3. Make referring to you EASY

Help referring providers EASILY make a referral to your office. Get them the codes they need. Provide their office with a Referral Form that they MAY use if it makes their jobs easier. Instruct your staff to be kind, friendly and helpful with staff calling from referring physicians’ offices. Make sure your people know who the VIPs are and treat them as such.

4. ALWAYS acknowledge the first referral from a new source.

A call, a thank you note (a hired physician liaison can help with this too), an email. SOMETHING. An example: “I am so pleased I am able to help you with Mrs. Smith. Thank you for your trust and the opportunity.”

Referrals are earned one patient at a time and many times they result from lasting relationships with very satisfied referring physicians. Attracting more referrals starts with earning the trust of referring medical providers in your community. When they DO send a referral, deliver exceptional, reliable care and THANK THEM for their referral. Physicians who have a positive experience with you as a medical provider and receive good feedback from their patients, will likely refer to you again and again.