Monday, April 30, 2007

Q. How do we increase the volume of patient referrals from an existing referral source?
A. First, you want to make sure you have a very good relationship with all of your existing referral sources. If they feel neglected, you can bet your competition is just waiting to take better care of them. You should be visiting your existing referral sources at least once a week. Even if they have known you for years, they can still be taught how to refer even more patients to you.
Remember this basic rule: Never take an existing referral source for granted. It's much easier to get business from someone who knows you versus someone who has never heard of you before. Don't assume that your existing referral sources are giving you all the business they can. There is always room for improvement and you should never take these relationships lightly if you want to receive more referrals from them.
It's not uncommon for a referral source to say, "I didn't know you guys provided wheelchairs. Just yesterday I referred a patient to another company that does." This is a sign that this referral source requires more of your attention until they clearly know your entire product line.
Some HME companies say they are happy to just get a piece of the pie from a referral source. I say there is nothing wrong with getting the entire pie. Some of your referral sources can refer much more than others. This is especially true with family practice, general practice and internal medicine physician referral sources. These types of referral sources have patients with a variety of needs.
Successful companies provide their referral sources with protocols or clinical pathways to identify patients for all of their products. If your referral sources are educated about how to identify patients with needs that you can fulfill, you will have a great deal of success increasing the volume of patient referrals from them. hme
Bill Kleiman is the author of "Success Made Easy in DME Sales." Reach him at 800-460-1967 or log onto his Web site,