Once a year, Russell Stover’s, Hallmark, and your local flower shop make enough money to stay above the red for the rest of the year. Valentine’s Day. It’s a great holiday as love is the greatest of human emotions. However, for those of us dedicated to an ever-expanding waistline, the few days after Valentine’s Day are the real holiday. Sure, I’ll buy my wife and kids a small heart or some chocolates, but just a few days after the holiday, I’m bringing a calorie explosion that will cement my place as the key provider of sweet treats for my family.
In retail, how you follow up a great holiday is almost as important as the holiday itself. There are folks who go in to buy goods and folks who are willing to comb the store for clearance, discounts, and deals. Just like that, how you follow up with a patient, client, or resident is vital to keeping your referral source interested, even after the initial event (Event = Referral).
So, how do you follow up with a referral source?
Here are the most common responses:
- I drop of a little “thank you” gift for working with me
- After I get a referral, I have the nurse call and share all the key info from the admission or fax over our findings
- I go back the next day and thank them for referring to us.
- I send them a handwritten card to thank them for the referral
Any of the above follow-ups sound familiar? Those are the most common responses and they will all work, but there is a slightly better way. We teach all the ins and outs in our High Performance Sales Academy, but I’ll give you some pointers here.
The Referral is a Person and you are benefiting their life
Your referral source needs to hear about the benefits of your services. There is no better time than as a follow up to a referral. Consider the following example:
Thank you for referring “Mrs. Referral” to us a few days ago. I wanted to let you know that she is getting around much better since we admitted her. She has her medications sorted and managed in compartments that her daughter is helping her set up. Additionally, we worked with to color code her meal plans so that she can easily get the right meals each day. We are helping her get used to it, now. With a few changes in her home, we’ve made it easier and safer to get around and I think this will keep her from falling again.
Know that every patient is potentially JUST LIKE another patient (or a few patients)
Did you know that many of your patients/clients have symptoms just like other patients/clients? That’s right. When you receive a referral then you already know the referral source knows how to identify that patient as eligible for your services. It stands to reason that another patient with the same diagnosis and issues would be a candidate for your services. Without bringing a similar patient to their attention and the kind of benefit they will receive, they will most likely not identify the opportunity to refer unless it is blatantly obvious.
How you choose to do this is up to you, but making sure you are looking for similar patients will help them to identify referral sources.
Don’t stop dating…you ain’t married yet!
Many sales reps actually back off after they get a referral. I don’t know what the psychology of this is, but it happens. If you just received a referral, it doesn’t mean the floodgates have opened to all the referrals. You have to continue to pursue this referral source with great info and engagement. In this industry, there are 1000 ways something can go wrong between your office staff, field staff, salespeople, the client/patient, and the referral source. This mean you are most likely only as good as your last great experience. Make sure you are always creating new great experiences so they can continue to let you serve their patients.
Offer additional supporting info
Ever notice that you may get just ONE heart failure patient when you think you should open the flood gates after your first patient. You may think it’s cause they were not impressed. However, there is a good chance that you are not providing them with supporting info to follow up with other HF patients. Actually providing referral sources with key diagnosis info (especially effective if you are non-medical as it shows you are different than all the other agencies who avoid clinical info) will help them to know that YOU know what to do for the patient and help identify the right time to call you for a referral.
I’m sure you are thinking this: How will I educate a doctor? Well, your doctors are smart and educated, but the curriculum on home-based services is virtually non-existent. Additionally, over 50% of the time the referral source isn’t even the doctor but a member of his/her staff who doesn’t have all the education that he/she has.
Side Note: We offer this clinical information for Home Health, Hospice, and Non-Medical Home Care agencies in our Roadmap to Referrals program. It comes with monthly training, handouts branded with your company info, and quick reference guides about each diagnosis and unique topic. Want to learn how this can transform your process to gain more referrals? Email email@example.com for more info.
There is nothing like getting the first referral from an account, but if you take the right steps, it can be first of many.
About the Author:
Jason Lewallen is Vice President of Marketing
for Home Care Sales
He can be reached at:
PS: Might want to consider…
If you are a home health, hospice, or private duty agency who struggles with:
- educating your referral sources
- not having professional handouts with the correct clinical/treatment info
- not knowing what to say to drive referrals
- not having time to train your sales team about diagnosis specific info
…then the Roadmap to Referrals program is the answer you have been looking for. Agencies are using this methodology to gain more referrals and position their entire sales team as experts.
It’s a plan for every week of the year and can lead to double and triple the referrals you are currently getting. The investment is a mere $500 per month. That’s less than a fraction of a referral!