Yesterday I was invited to Skype into a grad class called Clinical Entrepreneurship at UNC Greensboro, with Dr. Scott Young.
What a blast it was talking to these young, energetic grad students who are already preparing to take the Leap of Faith into private practice as soon as they are able.
Of course, a big concern was “how am I going to get people to refer to me?”
One of the themes to our conversation was that of service and value. I explained that the key to great referral sources and word of mouth referrals from clients is to provide value and to have an authentic desire to help others.
Those things come easy when it comes to clients. Providing good “service” and wanting to help our clients is just how we are built.
Most folks falter however, when it comes to generalizing those things to their “customers” (referral sources). When you meet a potential referral source the first thing out of your mouth SHOULD NOT be “Please send me some referrals”.
They don’t know you well enough yet!!!
The first thing that should come through are things like…
- I’m a mental health professional. How can I be of service to you and your clients/patients/students/employees?
- What types of services might be helpful to you?
- How can I make your life easier with regard to mental health for your clients/patients/students/employees?
- Would a mental health newsletter in your waiting room benefit your patients?
- Can I assist you in finding options for mental health treatment for your clients?
The best question you can ask your potential referral sources is:
“HOW CAN I HELP YOU?”
Once you get to know your referral sources (including colleagues) by finding out how you can help them, you will be on the top of the list of people they will call when they need something else… like a solid referral!
Where did I learn this? Check out this 5 minute video. It’s not a related field, but the message rings true for us too. AND… it is my way of shamelessly showing you how proud I am of my son Jason 🙂
Do you have any suggestions for students nearing graduation that need to get an internship set up? (preferably a paid one)?
Dianne, I would encourage you to think of Internship as a “job”. Market yourself just as you would for a job. Have a great resume that includes all of your related experience to date (even if it is volunteer work). Show enthusiasm; follow up. Paid Internships are rare in our area, but if they exist in your town you’ll have to position yourself to be the best candidate. Good luck to you.