*Warning: This blog post contains truth that some will not want to hear. If you are struggling to get referrals in your market, you probably need this article…but you also may not like it. Read at your own discretion.
Success is not defined by effort.
You can try with all of your might to empty the Mississippi River with a bucket and never come close to seeing dry sand. Effort is a key ingredient, but cannot wholly get you the resulting gains you need to maintain success and growth.
Success is not always determined by knowledge, either.
In principle, you may know how to build a house, but without the developed skills that an experienced home builder has obtained from many years of construction, you are most likely going to struggle. Knowledge is good and often a great deal of knowledge can land you a great career opportunity, but the knowledge is useless unless put into practice.
So, what is my point? That the formula for goal-shattering, career-sustaining success is better defined like this:
Success = Effort + Knowledge
Without both of those elements, you will fail. That also illustrates a solid point. If you believe that outside forces such as other competitors, regulatory issues, lack of insurances you take, or illegal practices are causing your agency to fail – you are most likely wrong.
Yes, I said it and some of you may have ruffled feathers, but it is the truth. All of those issues can be overcome with knowledge and effort. These two elements may take you to places you don’t like. Such places where you don’t feel “comfortable” are most likely exactly where you need to go to overcome your challenges.
I’m not going to spend the rest of this post explaining the above formula or defending my stance. I’m going to show you how to start on a path to create referral gains in your market. I’m going to show you real life opportunity that is not a magic wand or instant success, but continuous growth.
What you need to do today:
Define your work day and commit yourself to it
How many hours are you going to work? 8-5? 9-4? 7-7? Whatever that number looks like, you need to answer it honestly. This may seem pointless, but with great freedom comes the opportunity to indulge in that freedom. A kids game on a Friday? – Sure, that’s understandable. Ending your day early cause you already got a referral or because you just aren’t feeling it? – not acceptable.
You didn’t get into this to be a sub-par, makes minimums kind of sales person. You want to be a rockstar. Your name should be associated with a job well done and all of your referral sources should know it. It all starts with discipline. Set your day and walk that day out. Don’t let your freedom be the noose you hang your career with.
Get steady to unlock consistent referral sources
One of the biggest mistakes agency owners (especially in private duty) and sales reps make is to be un-reliable with their outreach. If you go somewhere different every day, every week to get your message out, then you are doing it wrong. It may seem like a good idea to get your name out to as many folks as possible, but that is a mistake.
Here is what you need to do:
Make a list of the key people who can refer to you enough to be worthy of your time. This is your account list.
Now, break your accounts up into a list based on frequency of visits. Most of your accounts should be weekly or bi-weekly and only a few rare exceptions should be monthly or less.
Every week you should be visiting your accounts. EVERY WEEK. Not whenever I am that way or sometimes/occasionally. To get the desired result of consistent referrals, you have to be consistent yourself.
At that point you can follow your sales process. If you don’t have one, reach out to me and we will show you a demo of our sales process, which you can purchase access to.
Plan ahead to push ahead
You should always have a plan and a goal before you conduct a sales call. Additionally, you should always leave with a follow up plan and write it down somewhere for reference. If you are old school, go by a dedicated pad of paper and write your notes. If you are more tech savvy, consider a CRM or a spreadsheet to manage your information.
At Home Care Sales, we use a 52 Week Roadmap to talk about specific diagnosis or programs each week. This increases the odds that you will be driving the patient types you want and not just taking whatever referral they send your way.
Be the Expert
Are you friends with any physicians? If so, simply ask them how much time they spent being educated on your business line. Either Home Health, Hospice, or Private Duty goes with little to no education during Med School. Furthermore, the “blind-leading-the-blind” really applies to this scenario. Other physicians that are also lacking education of the benefits you can provide have probably been taught not to leverage your services due to misunderstanding.
As an expert, you have to really UNDERSTAND what you do. Once you understand, you can leverage a mixture of patient stories, diagnosis-specific identifiers, and benefit-driven education about the services you provide to drive new referral opportunities. If you don’t know what is required to obtain and place a patient in your agency’s care, you need to find out today and be the expert!
You are almost NEVER rejected, so quit acting like it
You are not alway going to get referrals. Even if a referral source has been unable to refer to you or has simply chosen not to…it’s not rejection. Something is keeping them from referring, sure, but if you cannot keep from taking it personal this may not be a good job for you.
Let me give you a scenario to consider:
Dr. Refersalot has committed to sending you a patient, but hasn’t seen fit to send one yet. After many weeks of this behavior, you finally start to feel like you are getting the run-around. What would you do?
- Stop visiting Dr. Refersalot since it seems to be a waste of your time.
- Leave company info for her everyday until she finally refers.
- Schedule an in-service lunch to further educate
- Pay the Doc a $100 for her next patient
- Ask why you haven’t been able to show her the improvement her patients will experience in your care
Seems to me that the answer is obvious, but (rhetorically answer your true answer) if you are like most people, you will avoid the problem and the referral source. Worse yet, you may try to wait her out…constantly going back without getting any referrals.
The trick is actually part of our High Performance Sales Academy’s Reveal Visit. You’ve got to find out WHY the referral source hasn’t referred. If you are not bringing this to her attention or requesting her to share the reason she won’t work with your agency, there may not be any sense of referring urgency. She will send you a referral whenever she gets around to it…maybe.
Once you uncover the reason you haven’t gotten a referral, you can address it. If the reason ultimately makes it seem that you are not likely to get a referral, you can stop visiting or visit less for a time and hope for a new opportunity down the road.
Finally, remember who you are fighting for
Y0u work everyday for your family and your livelihood. In our industry, you also work for the well-being of others. You serve as an incredible influence to the lives of many. Each referral is a patient who may get to avoid a hospital stay or recover quicker so that they can go see their grand daughter’s dance recital. They are patients whose families are trying to make their own way, but need a little help. They are patients who are trying to say goodbye to those they love with dignity.
We have to meet our own needs, but it’s a huge blessing to be able to help others live a better life in the homes that their years of hard work have earned them. Remember who we are fighting for and don’t give up.
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!