Dr. Sharp: Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Testing Psychologist podcast, the podcast where we talk all about the business and practice of psychological and neuropsychological assessment. I’m your host, Dr. Jeremy Sharp, licensed psychologist, group practice owner, and private practice coach.
This episode is brought to you by PAR. PAR has recently released the Feifer Assessment of Childhood Trauma or the FACT, the first and only comprehensive instrument measuring how stress and trauma can impact children in a school-based setting. You can learn more or purchase the FACT teacher form by visiting parinc.com\fact_teacher.
Okay, everybody. Hey, welcome back. Welcome back to Holiday Hope’s number two. If you missed the first one, definitely go back and check that out. Holiday Hopes is a seven-part series to carry you through the next few weeks, spanning several holidays with the idea that you might start the new year with some new practices in your practice.
Today’s topic is referrals, referrals sources to be more specific. I’ll be talking about ways you might update your means of getting referrals or your networking or marketing if you want to call it that.
Before I get to that, I think that we have one spot left in the beginner practice mastermind group. The intermediate practice group has set sail and we’re doing great, but the intermediate practice group, or sorry, the beginner practice group still has one spot, at least at the time that I’m recording this. The beginner practice group is for folks who are getting ready to launch or have just launched and need some support and coaching and accountability to make sure that you’re doing the right thing for your practice. So, if that’s interesting, you can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/beginner and schedule a pre-group call to see if it’s a good fit.
Okay. Let’s get to this discussion about referral sources.
Okay. So if you did not catch the first episode of holiday Hopes, the idea here is to just dig in and do a quick check-in, a quick discussion about a few topics that will help you at the beginning of the year if you choose to act on them and change these things in your practice.
The topic today, like I said, is referral sources. I’m just going to talk about in-person referrals or warm referrals. I’m not going to go into digital marketing today or Google Ads or anything like that. I think that’s a bigger topic. And to be honest, I have had so much more success with in-person referrals or warm relationships that I’d much rather talk about those.
Why is this important? Well, as I said, I have pretty much built our practice which is now about 30 folks and up to thousands of sessions each month based on in-person referrals primarily, and just cultivating strong relationships. The whole idea is that you get referrals from people who know, like, and trust you. You’ve heard that before. You have to have people who know, like, and trust you.
To do that, building relationships is super important. When I am talking to folks who are just launching their practices, we talk about how getting to know people and being out in the community is a primary focus for their practice. That basically is your job if you are just launching your practice unless you want to steer completely clear of warm relationships and go it alone on digital marketing or Google Ads or something like that, which is totally doable. Plenty of practices do that.
So if you are introverted to the point that it will cause more harm than good to go out and meet with people, then by all means put your energy into more digital means like Google Ads, Blogging, SEO, things like that. But if you can get out there and do it, I think in-person marketing or building relationships is huge. And it’s your job when you get started. But if it’s not at the point in your practice where you’ve just gotten started, and maybe you are just looking to increase your network of referrals, I think that’s totally viable as well. And that’s always something that I am thinking about.
At this point, being in practice for about 12 years, a little more here in the community, I’m noticing that my solid referral sources are still solid but there is a whole new cohort of practitioners around town that I would love to know and build relationships with. So, if you’re in the place where you’re turning over and trying to add to your existing referral sources, this will work for you as well.
The first thing is to figure out what kind of commitment are we talking about here? How many people are you actually interested in meeting with or how many people do you need to meet with? And the way that I think about that is if you can boil it down to how many new referral sources you might want. And there are any number of ways to think about that.
If you think about a low-quality referral source, it might be 1 to 5 referrals a month. If you think about more of a high-quality referral source, then it would be maybe 5, 10, 20 referrals a month depending on the size of your practice. But if you take that number and think about how many referrals you want to get, and then figure out how many referral sources you need, multiply that number by 10. And that’s a guideline for how many people you might need to meet with to actually “land” or build strong enough relationships that those folks would actually refer to you.
So, again, if you need 5 solid referral sources, let’s say, then I would multiply that by 10 to get 50 leads or 50 meetings, 50 folks that you might want to connect with. That sounds like a lot, right? But just in my experience with working with practice owners around the country and my own experience in my practice, the vast majority of folks that you meet with are not going to turn into high-quality referral sources. So that’s why we have that 10X factor to cast a wide net.
People ask, who do you meet with? And I have settled on this 4-quadrant approach to deciding who to reach out to. And here are the four quadrants.
You want to reach out to people that you would refer to after your evaluation is finished. The cool part about this is that you get to approach these meetings from a completely benevolent place because you’re not asking for their referrals at all. You are approaching these meetings and you’re able to say, I would love to be able to refer to you. Tell me about your work. So this puts you more in the position of learner than anything else. You don’t have to sell yourself if that feels hard, which it does for a lot of us. So the first one is people you would refer to.
The second one is people who see your clients and might refer to you. There’s often a lot of overlap between these first two quadrants, but sometimes they are distinct entities. So, you can make a list of who these folks might be. I, in fact, love the idea of creating a spreadsheet right from the get-go to keep track of all of these people you’re meeting with and put them into these quadrants because that’s going to serve a helpful role in your practice as time goes on because you’re just keeping track of the people in the community and who you want to stay in touch with or not. Okay, so the second quadrant is people who see your clients and might refer to you. So perhaps psychiatrists, therapists, school personnel, occupational therapists, and so forth.
The third quadrant is people who do exactly what you do. So other testing psychologists. Now, they don’t have to be… I’m going to go back and correct myself …they don’t have to be exactly what you do. So maybe it’s not a fellow pediatric neuropsychologist who specializes in autism. Maybe it’s just a pediatric neuropsychologist who does neurodevelopmental evaluations or ADHD, SLD, that sort of thing.
It sounds somewhat counterintuitive, but the idea is that folks who do exactly what you do, if they are good and you want to know them anyway, they’re going to be full and they always need quality referrals. So you can run into some competitiveness. That’s always out there of course, but hopefully, you live in a place where you can find at least a few folks who do what you do, who aren’t super competitive, who have more of an abundance mindset and would be willing to chat with you and share their experience.
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
And then the fourth quadrant is, I call it just like a catchall quadrant of folks who you just want to know because they seem cool. Maybe these are folks who have been around the community for a long time. They have a great reputation. They’re really like movers and shakers in the community, or just interesting, just people you would want to know.
And between those four quadrants, my hope is that you can get enough meetings to land some legitimate referral sources. Now, what happens after that?
It’s not just about getting the referrals. I think the second half of this equation is to be a good referral. And what that means is being kind. So treat clients well. Make sure it’s a positive client experience that includes doing good work and having good communication and a nice office. Make sure when people send clients to you that the clients have a good experience, but also be kind to the referral sources. So staying in touch, doing collateral interviews, sharing the report at the end if the client’s okay with it, just being conscientious and kind. Don’t just take the referral and run and never say anything. That’s a terrible way to build relationships.
With physicians, in particular, I love sending just a single page, face page, face sheet, cover sheet. That’s what it’s called. Fax cover sheet that just says Dr. So-and-so, thank you so much for the referral. I just started an evaluation with your client and I will be in touch with any updates. This is quick. It’s easy. Physicians don’t have to read it because they don’t have any time, but it gets your brand in front of the physician and helps create some of that brand recognition, and just shows that you are reaching out and doing as much as you can to coordinate care, which is huge.
That’s one of the number one things I hear from physicians is making sure that you are coordinating care and staying in touch. The second component of that is making sure that you send the evaluation report back to the physician or their referral source as long as the client is okay with it. Physicians really like getting those reports.
So, those are just a few tips to set the stage for building more in-person warm relationships in the new year. And like I said, you can figure out how many people you actually need in terms of referrals, referral sources, and cast a wide net. And then you’ll slowly see that list get paired down as folks start to send you referrals.
And you’ll start to recognize who the high-quality referral sources are. And then your job is just to nurture those relationships, but that’s a little way down the road.
So, I hope this is helpful for you. Like I said at the beginning, if you are a beginner practice owner and you’d like support with issues like this and any number of other things related to beginning your testing practice, getting it off the ground, making sure you don’t work yourself into a frenzy much, you might check out the beginner practice mastermind group. You can get more information at thetestingpsychologist.com/beginner and schedule a pre-group call to see if it’s a good fit. I would love to chat with you.
Okay, y’all. That is it for today. I hope you’re doing great. And we’ll catch you next time. Bye. Bye.
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