If you are holding off on your marketing efforts because you feel you haven’t found THE (magical) thing that will get you noticed, here’s some good news…
This isn’t rocket science!
Granted, it is imperative to continually find ways to get your name and face in the minds of those with access to and influence over your ideal clients. It’s also necessary to find ways to prove your value to your referral sources. Those are activities that occur over time. There are, however, day-to-day procedures that can make a huge impact on the reputation you develop in the community.
You’d be surprised by the (simple) things that really make a difference to your referral sources (including your clients who can be a great source of word-of-mouth referrals). I try to really listen to what my clients and referral sources say to me, especially when it comes to feedback about why they send me referrals over and over again. I hope that you do too.
Here’s what I’ve learned by listening to my “tribe”. Do these things and (believe it or not) you’ll be head and shoulders above others in your market (because not many people are doing them).
- If you can’t take the referral for any reason (insurance issues, expertise issues, etc.), provide alternatives to your referral source (or to the client they sent to you). Your resourcefulness will be noted, and your efforts will be appreciated
- When you get a referral from a medical professional, have the client sign a release and then send a thank you note and a copy of your initial assessment to the collaborating physician for their chart
- Find out when your shared client will next be seeing the psychiatrist/medical doc, and send over a copy of your last couple of notes to assist in collaboration of care
- Return phone calls in a timely manner. I can no longer keep track of how many new clients tell me that they called several clinicians when they first called me, and I was the only one to return their call. I don’t care how busy you are — check your voice mail every day, and have the courtesy to let people know whether or not you can see them
- Keep up with your paperwork. When you get a request for clinical information (from social security disability, an attorney, etc.), take the time to honor the request as soon as possible. Don’t put your client in the uncomfortable position of hearing from someone else that you dropped the ball on them
- Drop the “competition”. Quit worrying about how many new clients your colleagues are getting. Be happy for them; develop and express an honest appreciation for others’ success and let go any jealousy you may have. Successful therapists are always looking for good referrals for their overflow
- Use your downtime (empty slots in your schedule) to check in with your referral sources. Find out what you can do to help out your local psychiatric hospital’s discharge planner; ask your school district’s guidance department what services or groups they are in need of in the community; offer to do depression screenings at a local health fair. These things will keep you from grumbling about the holes in your schedule, and push you forward in your efforts to serve more clients