Ask yourself: “Who out there has my clients, and what can I do to keep in touch with those people so they can send me those clients?”
Finding customers isn’t always easy. However, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Many people make the mistake of putting their focus on reaching many potential referral sources; they go “broad”, but stay “shallow”. Allow me to explain…
There was a time when I would send out 50-100 flyers. I felt accomplished in doing that. I guess I figured I’d throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what would stick. I was relatively successful in doing that, in spite of myself.
Sure, everything boils down to numbers I guess. But when it comes to cultivating a solid referral base (“customers”), “narrow” beats out “broad” and “deep” will get you a lot more than “shallow”, time and time again.
Focusing your marketing efforts is smart business. Even smarter business is not to ignore the 3 easiest customers to get. Here they are…
#3 — Lost Customers. These are referral sources that have sent you clients in the past, but from whom you’ve not heard a peep in quite a while. New customers cost at least 5x more to attract than previous customers. Determine when a customer is “lost” (how often do you expect to get referrals from them?) Let them know that they have been missed. Find out how they got “lost” and FIX IT!
#2 — Referral Customers. This seems complicated but stick with me here. These are customers that have been referred by other customers. For example, I have several physicians who started referring to me because they heard about me from other physicians. These are folks that have ALREADY heard good things about you. Someone they know has already given them a testimonial for you. Don’t let these folks slip through your fingers.
#3 — Current Customers. These folks send you referrals on a regular basis. They are easy to take for granted. It’s not that you don’t appreciate them, but let’s face it — the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right?
Here are some tips for going “deep” with your 3 easiest customers…
- Develop and nurture your relationships with your customers
- find out who they are… what they need… how you can best help them
- keep an open dialogue with them — a monthly newsletter… a birthday card… thank you notes… STAY IN TOUCH
- invite them to your Open House — show them where you do what you do… let them picture you at work… feed them (breaking bread together is a great way to deepen relationships)
- Encourage a reciprocal relationship with your customers
- be a good collaborator — provide a copy of your initial assessment… send updates regarding shared clients
- offer to provide a service that is helpful/meaningful to them — run a group in their waiting room, develop an educational piece or training for their clients and/or staff, help to triage their clients into the community if you are not the best referral
- refer to them (if possible, ethical, and helpful to your clients)
- Provide VALUE to your customers
- see their referrals in a timely fashion
- do great work — make their job easier!
- take on the role of “expert” so they can turn to you with regard to any of their mental health questions or concerns
Find unique ways to continue developing your relationships with your customers. Think about it. The average physician can see 150+ patients a week. The average guidance counselor sees hundreds of kids and family members a year. The average pastor has hundreds of followers.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have several customers. Putting all of your eggs in one basket is never a good practice. But how many customers do you need? Well… that all depends on how many GOOD relationships you develop. And that’s up to you!