In today’s world, it’s easier than it has ever been before to harness the potential for growth, especially when it comes to marketing a home care agency.
One of the most popular methods is to embrace professional referral services that helps agencies gain traction and provide them with a more valuable return on investment.
In this guide, you’ll be able to explore the referral process deeper and know what the best ways are when it comes to getting the most from this marketing channel.
How to Identify Professional Referral Sources
In order to be able to harness referral sources to gain a stream of potential clients, you must be able to identify referral opportunities. Discovery is the first step to any marketing tactic, because it allows one to enter the scene with an educated approach. Below are 3 steps to identify referral partners for home care agencies and assisted living facilities.
1. Create a list of referral sources for initial assessment that could be valuable assets.
This is where you want to take time to think outside of the box about who can provide referrals to your home care agency due to their line of work.
They may already have a plethora of people who you’re looking to target (including those seeking post-acute caring) and that may be needing your services. Some of the types of professions that can generate customers includes churches, clubs, financial planners, senior citizen organizations, and long-term care agents.
Below you’ll find the most common referral partners for assisted living facilities as well as home health care agencies. Most of the time this is where the word spreads for those offering post-acute caring. It’s important to keep in mind that while these are the most common, there are always more opportunities that can be uncovered along the way.
· Assisted Living Facilities
· Continuing Care Retirement Communities
· Discharge Planners
· Hospice Providers
· Independent Living Facilities
· Inpatient Rehab Centers
· Medical Specialists
· Outpatient Rehab Centers
· Skilled Nursing Facilities
· Veteran’s Administration
· Worker’s Comp Case Managers
2. Closed mouths don’t get fed, it’s time to speak up.
Once you’ve got your initial assessment of opportunities take care of, it’s time for the next step in referral marketing. You can either embrace the opportunity to work with a professional agency that has experience in this area or do-it-yourself if you have the time and willpower to do so. In order to get referrals, you must speak up and let others know about your offerings. Reach out top them via e-mail, networking events, social media, and other forms of communication where you can acquire the opportunity to connect with referral sources and tell them about your agency.
3. Understand the referral process works both ways, it’s not a one-way street.
It is truly a give and take relationship, so be prepared to help your referrers just as they help you. Send them potential clients as well to ensure your appreciation is seen by them. In the end they’ll be more willing to give you the best stream of referrals over someone else if you return the favor of helping their organization grow as well.
Being Prepared to Win with Referral Sources
Whether you’re getting referrals from case managers, discharge planners, or another healthcare company/organization, you want to show up well-prepared. After all, this is the only way that you’ll take home the win with referral marketing. Here’s some solid marketing tips to give you a good start.
Put a Referral Packet at Your Disposal
This is exactly how you’ll make yourself more memorable than the competition. An effort can always be seen, especially within the healthcare industry. Take the time to put together a referral packet that you’ll give out to those you want to get recommendations from. You’ll not only impress them, but you’ll also begin building trust right out of the gate.
Here’s what you should include in your referral packet:
o 3rd Party Reports of Satisfaction
o Any Awards Received
o Biography of Each Agency Employee
o Map of the Service Area You Cover
o Onboarding Process Overview
o Overview of Services Offered
o Testimonials from Clients & Their Families
o The Story of Your Agency
Be Ready to Keep Interactions Consistent & Effective
Only the most positive and upbeat people attract the attention of a referral source. Nobody wants to send their acquaintances/clients somewhere the mood is low, and the attitude gives off a negative feel. Make sure you know how you’ll be portraying yourself as well as your agency in discussions. Always keep it happy, positive, and professional. If you need to practice this to ensure you get it down before you blow a potential opportunity, take the time to do so (social media is good practice that also helps build one’s professional image).
Make Referrers Happy to Help You Grow
This is commonly referred to as creating a mutual benefit. You want to understand what the referring party needs for their own organization, why they should choose to send people your way instead of somewhere else, and the ways the partnership will benefit them over time.
Be Different & Stand Out from Competing Agencies
It’s too easy to get stuck in the rat race and portray your agency just as many other agencies have portrayed themselves. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it’s hazardous!
You may think it’s going to be difficult to illustrate the uniqueness you have among the competition, but it’s not. A benchmarking study is one of the most common tasks for any agency looking to spur further growth. The culture and level of care (palliative care is a great advantage if you provide it) that your home care agency provides is a starting point of how you’re different.
Below you’ll see some questions you can answer to finish understanding how you can help the world see the difference:
- Are there extra steps taken to make the most out of a client’s experience?
- Are there unique programs offerings that others don’t offer?
- Are you able to provide palliative care?
- Do you have care centers available that expands your capabilities?
- Opinion is everything, how do clients truly feel about your home care agency?
- What’s the most common reason you get referrals from others?
- Why do clients choose to work with you and why do they continue?
Now that you have those things in mind, think about how this can allow you to position yourself in the market. Use the knowledge you gained to craft a benchmarking study, this will help you see where you stand in the industry when compared to other agencies.
Tracking Your Referral Marketing Results Is Critical
You can’t see how well your marketing efforts are really doing unless you have a way to track the results that they produce.
With that in mind, find a way to track where each referral comes from and then have something that can show you which sources are the strongest and which ones are the weakest.
From website analytics to implanting this information in the onboarding process, there are many ways to track your referrals. Take this data, keep it handy to reference as you grow, and use it to refine your process to make the number of customers from each source increase. It’s that easy!
Don’t Forget Your Clients Are People Too
This is by far one of the most important aspects regardless of what industry you may be in, and the power it has when it comes to boosting one’s marketing efforts is truly priceless. Too many times it’s often forgotten that on the other end of a marketing campaign is a human being, someone just like you.
When this happens, the approach starts to seem robotic and rather than benefiting its targeted audience it often discourages them. Take the time to put yourself in the shoes of those your marketing might reach. Then embrace the approach you think would be the most valuable, and don’t forget to let it be shown that there’s a face to your brand so the level of comfort with your audience is maximized.
Consistency Pays, Giving Up Is Not an Option
You’ve obviously made it this far because you value success and want the best outcome possible from your efforts. Crafting a strategy or plan of action and following it through regardless of difficulty is the only way to successfully grow any company, and it’s no different with home health care agencies. If you give up early in the process, you’ll never know if one of the biggest breakthroughs was awaiting you.