Marketing Your Therapy Practice: Part 1 – Building Relationships 04/05/2019 Marketing your therapy practice is a complex and multifaceted undertaking that requires research, interpersonal skills, tech-savvy, strong sales ability, innovation, persistence, and a bit of luck. Because of its complexity, I will be breaking down this blog down into multiple smaller blogs, which will allow for more focus and in-depth discussion of each of the particular facets of marketing your therapy practice. That brings us to part 1 of this blog series, building relationships. I truly believe that building solid relationships is the foundation of effectively marketing your therapy practice. Relationships with referral sources, including physicians and the people they employ, such as physician assistants, practice managers, and other ancillary office and clinical staff, are some of the most important relationships to build and maintain. This is especially important for therapy clinics that are located in states without direct access, which means patients cannot be treated by a therapist without a physician referral. So how do you effectively build and maintain relationships with physicians? This can be accomplished in several ways: Face-to-face meetings/luncheons Send marketing mailers Reciprocate patient referrals Be available and accessible Treat patients well and GET RESULTS Face-to-face meetings/luncheons The absolute best way to build strong and meaningful relationships with physicians and their staff is through face-to-face meetings, and in particular, meetings with food. It is a great way to get your foot in the door with a practice, because everybody has to eat! My advice is to be prepared with an elevator pitch with the services that your facility can uniquely provide. It is also a good idea to provide the physician and the office staff with a current list of accepted insurances that your clinic accepts. Send marketing mailers Our clinic frequently conducts Google searches for potential referral sources within a 20-30 mile radius of our facility. Marketing mailers are sent out weekly to these potential referral sources, and include items such as prescription pads, business cards, brochures, as well as personalized letter to each physician. Reciprocate patient referrals Another excellent way to build relationships with referring physicians is to be a referral source for them. Patient referrals from therapists are greatly appreciated by physicians, and in particular when those referrals are appropriate and specific to each physician’s specialty. I find that these referrals are often personal friends, family members, and acquaintances that are seeking help for a particular injury or condition and are seeking a referral from someone knowledgeable (someone like you, Adele). Be available and accessible Being available and accessible to physicians doesn’t mean being on call 24 hours a days… most therapists do not want to be on call, hence why we have chosen to become therapists instead of physicians! What this does mean, is responding quickly to physician requests, such as working in emergent walk-in or call-over patients. Assisting referral sources with these types of patients will quickly help you move to the top of list when physicians are looking for places to send their patients. Treat patients well and GET RESULTS The last, and maybe the most important, way to build solid relationships with your referral sources is to provide all of your patients with excellent care and achieve exceptional patient outcomes. This means providing patients with the most current and evidence-based therapy, as well as an outstanding overall customer service experience. Word of mouth goes a long way. Happy and healed patients will tell their physicians about the therapy services they were provided and share their stories of success. While building relationships with physicians is essential to establishing and growing your therapy practice, there are several other associations that are important as well. These relationships can be crucial to marketing your therapy practice: Medical suppliers and vendors Other therapists and therapy practices Patients and their families Therapy suppliers and vendors Relationships with therapy vendors and suppliers, such as VariGrip, can help your practice grow by assisting you with marketing your business through products. Something as simple as placing your business’s logo and information on therapy-related products, such as the co-branding program available through VariGrip, can assist you in marketing your clinic to a larger audience. Other therapists and therapy practices While this may seem a bit counterintuitive, establishing solid relationships with other local therapists and therapy clinics is an exceptional way to help you market and grow your practice. While those “other” therapy clinics provide you with competition, they can also be great referral sources. In particular, you should focus on developing relationships with therapy clinics that provide uniquely different services than yours. For example, our clinic is a specialty hand and upper extremity clinic, however we don’t treat backs or knees or hips. Although we opened our clinic in the same building as a general physical therapy clinic. Both of our clinics are able to coexist because of the relationship we have built between our facility. In fact, we often have patients that receive therapy at both of our therapy clinics. Patients and their families Providing patients and their love ones with high-quality care is the greatest way to create not only good, but also long-lasting, relationships. Successful and satisfied patients and their families will be your biggest supporters and your best marketers.