Chiropractic practices heavily rely on patient referrals. Patients that are referred in by your existing patients are also typically your best new patients. Patients who receive a referral are primed for chiropractic care and trust that it will be beneficial.
Every single patient that you see has the potential to be a referral machine. Their network of people that they know is a lot larger than you think. There are going to be people within their circle of influence that can use chiropractic care today. And there are likely going to be more opportunities in the future within their circle: injuries, pregnancies, family members going through health problems, etc.
So how do you turn your existing patients into raving fans that refer their circle to you? We outline several key components to building a referral machine at your practice.
1. Ask For The Referral
This is the step that most chiropractic practices skip. They assume patients are going to think of referrals on their own and don’t bother asking. Patients do not know that you want referrals. They are not even thinking about it because they are focused on their own problems. So the first step is to ask. Communicate with your patients about referring and it will start to happen. And you can ask for referrals in a way that doesn’t damage your relationship with them or your reputation as a Doctor.
Position your referral request in a way that you’re trying to help people. Using phrases like “if you know anyone that is struggling or could use some help” sets the tone that you’re not just trying to get more business but instead genuinely want to be helpful for people that are suffering. You don’t want to sound desperate for business. Instead, focus on a tone that shows that you actually want to help people.
Here are some great ways to promote the idea of patient referrals:
Patient Referral Cards
Using a referral card is a great way to ask for referrals. It’s a physical takeaway that the patient walks out with that can act as a “coupon” with an offer on it that can be redeemed. Your patient will be able to hand someone this card and that new person can bring it in to redeem that new patient offer.
Also, your patient physically has to do something with that card. After they leave, they’re going to have the card in their hand and will either need to find someone to give it to or make the decision to toss it. This puts them in a position where they have to think about and consider referring someone while they are outside your office.
You can either have this conversation with the patient directly, or your staff can take care of this during the check-in / check-out process.
Hi (PATIENT NAME)... I have a few of these referral cards to give you today. You can give these to anyone you care about that you feel would benefit from care here. It gives them a chance to come in to see if we can help them.
I'm just going to write a date on here for you. Whoever you give the cards to just needs to come in before this date.
If you want to order some patient referral cards for your practice, check out our Patient Referral Cards program that you can order right online.
Patient Referral Email Blasts
You should be collecting your patient’s email addresses and storing them on their file. Having their email address lets you do all sorts of email marketing and staying in touch with them even beyond their initial care plans. One powerful email marketing campaign is to ask for referrals. Send out an email to all your patients and let them ask if they know anyone in their circle that is dealing with any pain or health issue. State that you’d love to see if you can help them.
There are all sorts of email marketing platforms out there. Simply sign up for one, upload your patient list, and create a simple campaign blast that asks for any referrals from your list. You can even set up the campaign to repeat itself every few months so that it sends out automatically once in a while as a reminder to your patients.
Digital Patient Referral Forms
Another great way to ask for referrals is to have a form on your website that patients can fill out. It allows you to collect the referral information right away from your patient and reach out to them yourself to start a dialogue. Being proactive is going to yield much better results than being passive and waiting for referrals to contact you. Life happens and it slows down the process.
The best part about this method is it can be completely automated.
You can use marketing software to text your patients after their appointments automatically giving them the link to your online referral form.
Once a patient fills it out with a referral’s information, you can automatically contact the referral and send them information. All of this happens without you lifting a finger.
2. Incentivize Chiropractic Patient Referrals
If you’re looking to ramp up the number of referrals, you can try incentivizing your patients to participate. There are lots of different ways to provide an incentive to patients that does not break the bank but still gets them excited and thinking about referral opportunities.
Gift cards – Give out an Amazon gift card or a local restaurant gift card for each referred patient that signs up for care.
Raffles / Giveaways – Do a drawing to give away a prize like an Apple TV, Amazon Alexa, or something else that’s fun for patients.
Free adjustments – Reward your patients with free care options when they refer in a new patient.
Communicate this incentive with your patients in multiple ways. In the office with signs and banners, in their inbox with emails, and via text message after their appointments. Patients won’t participate if they don’t know about your incentives, so communicate it with them so they know!
Remember, you might have to be careful what types of incentives you provide if there are regulations in your state.
3. Plant The Seed Early
When a patient comes in for their first appointment, start planting the seed for referrals right away. Let them know that your goal as a provider is to help make them feel so good and healthy that they’ll want to refer their friends and family members in. Assure them that you’re there to help them feel better than ever.
Use your education to explain that everyone can use chiropractic care because it has a huge impact on so many areas of the body. This type of language will help spark thoughts on the massive impact of chiropractic care, enough so that they could be having these conversations with their circle of influence outside your office without you even having to ask.
These conversations will pave the way for when you ask for a referral further along in your relationship with them.
4. Acknowledge & Thank Referrers
If you receive a referral, make sure to thank whoever it was that made the referral. Picking up the phone and calling to thank them, or handwriting a thank you card will go a long way in showing your appreciation as well as strongly encouraging that behavior if more opportunities come up for referrals to take place.
That positive reinforcement is likely to drive in even more referrals from the same patient.
This is also different that helps you stand out and further build that patient relationship. When’s the last time you received a personal call or even a handwritten note from your Doctor?
Actions like this will form a stronger bond and loyalty to you and your practice.
5. Be a Great Doctor
You can do all the tactics and methods perfectly to promote strong patient referrals, but all that activity has to be backed up with excellent care and treatment. Be personable, build relationships, spend the extra time with your patients, and be an amazing Doctor. Going the extra mile to make them feel important and that their problems matter is the foundation to building a successful practice where patients keep coming back and referrals happen naturally.
Show patients that you actually care and go above and beyond to make them the center of the universe while they’re in your office. Providing excellent care is going to go a long way in the long-term success of your practice and the volume of referrals you receive from your patients.
With the right activities, you can have a major impact on the volume of referrals you get in. Don’t be passive with your referral program. Taking the right action and communicating with your patients will spark significant referral volume for you and your practice. Stay consistent, execute, and watch your patient referral numbers grow.