Building relationships with MD's are similar to many others that we build. They are multi-layered, successful, unsuccessful, and filled with many nuances, variables, personalities and quirks that come with the territory. They can evolve into meaningful exchanges and respect between two providers and they can also crumble when not tended to. It adds another challenge to your marketing efforts and reminds us that approaching physicians is like any other relationship in that we must have enough rapport to have a meaningful exchange of words and for those that we value, we must spend time maintaining them.
The relationships that we build will result in patient referrals. However, there are variances as to how many you might see. There is no magic number. I have heard many of you mention that you see only 2 to 3 MD referrals a month, and others reporting upwards of 3 to 5 a day.
I am often asked, how long will it take to begin seeing referrals? That's a harder answer but I would say I would be surprised if with good effort you weren't seeing them within 6 months and hopefully much sooner. There are other variances to consider from local hospital politics, insurance issues and of course how busy of an MD office that you target can all play a role. For established relationships there is always the opportunity to expand upon the physicians knowledge of your services to expand the number of referrals you are seeing from one particular MD.
One benefit of a conversational approach is that you can continue to build upon your relationship. Conversations about other conditions that you can treat can be introduced to build upon the foundation you have already laid. Respect and understanding for each others clinical approach can be appreciated when conversations are steered in the right direction. Another benefit is the ability to trouble shoot and ask pointed questions that yield information, needs and objections.
This week our membership blog focuses on this last point. What can you do if you think you are having positive conversations but you aren't seeing any referrals? How can you improve the number of referrals an occasional referring doctor is providing you? How do you handle a doctor who has been referring but suddenly stops or drastically slows down?
I speak a lot about relationships with MDs, how to reach out, how to build them and how to maintain them because as mentioned above without tending to them, they can go away. You spend a lot of time trying to get them started it's important to keep them going.
My tip for all readers this week is to setup a tracking system that allows you to see where you need to spend the time, how long it's been and importantly what are the results. If you have good medical relationships but you aren't pleased with your results consider joining us in the membership blog.