Question from Kelly, a reader:
I am taking a new business development job for a wellness and surgery center. We need doctors to refer their obese patients to us. Doctors seem so hard to get in front of, and they don’t like sales tricks. Do you have any new suggestions besides networking and dropping off literature?
Before you go looking for referrals, as yourself: HOW REFERABLE AM I? WHY WOULD SOMEONE REFER ME? Do you interview each patient after surgery or treatment to ask about his or her experience? How the doctor’s bedside manner was? What the administrative ease or pain was? Are you recording the interview? Is anyone posting on Facebook about their experience? Are you encouraging them to? You seem to be asking me for answers that your patients can give you – and can talk to their doctor about.
Once the patient has debriefed the doctor about how amazing their treatment was, you can film it, and referrals will be automatic. BEST IDEA: Meet with doctors who are already referring and ask them WHY they refer. That will help you understand your present status, and give you reasons to share with other doctors.
Kelly’s question begs more questions and a longer response, because referrals are the single best (and most profitable) source for new sales. They are also the least-used source. WHY? They require work. Hard work.
Most salespeople are not willing to do the hard work it takes to make selling easy.
Why are you still asking for referrals?
You haven’t EARNED them!
Salespeople and sales managers are always looking for the fast way out. Their two-word cry is: MORE NOW!
Maybe if I explained the one-word definition of the word referral – which is RISK – you’d get a better idea. Your customer is willing to risk their relationship with someone else, and refer them to you. That’s why they’re hesitant.
What could you do to win more referrals? I just gave you the answers! You probably thought I was talking to Kelly. No, I was making a universal challenge to you about referrals, and the strategy used to obtain them. Lots of them.
Think about your referrals:
How do you get them?
How should you get them?
Why are you still asking for them?
QUESTION: Do you really know, do you really understand, how a customer feels when you ask for a referral?