What is the most effective way to become known and to start connecting with potential clients?

By building a referral network with Allied Health professionals. Here’s how to get started so you can get a steady stream of referrals and build your sales pipeline.

When I work with coaches who are starting their coaching business, the first question they ask is ‘how do I get clients?’ I want to talk about the most effective way to become known and to start connecting with potential clients – by building a referral network with Allied Health professionals.

When you start a business, the first thing you need to do is start marketing.

But what is the best place and way to START marketing?

To answer that, let’s acknowledge that there are three main parts to marketing your business:

  1. Becoming known
  2. Connecting and engaging, and
  3. Making offers

Working in an industry where quality and credibility are essential, Health and Wellness Coaches can gain a huge advantage when starting their businesses by networking with allied health practitioners.

It takes time to build rapport and relationship in allied health, but these specific relationships will help you to build the most meaningful connections.

And if you start building your networks when you start your business, you will more easily build qualified referrals and fill your sales pipeline.

In my local coaching business, I networked with GP’s in the startup phase of my business and involved them in the development of my program approach, and within 2 years was being listed on GP care plans and was referred clients on a regular basis.

Let’s take a step back and explore what all this means and involves, so you can start building your own relationships with allied health practitioners.

It Starts with Trust

Even when someone is ready, willing and able to get help with their health and wellbeing, they will generally only buy from someone they know, like and trust.

As a new business owner, you may not yet have that trust and connection, and that’s why a referral network is so important.

As a new business owner, you may not yet have that trust and connection, and that’s why a referral network is so important.

Further, consider how much more weight an Allied Health Practitioner’s referral has, compared with a referral from a friend or family member.

People see medical and health professionals as trustworthy and reliable, and that sentiment transfers to you as a referral partner.

It therefore makes sense to start building Allied Health relationships early on in your business, so you can position your business as credible, professional and reputable.

 

Referrals Build Referrals

An easy way to get referrals from Allied Health practitioners is to meet and network with them and refer people you know to them.

Even if you don’t have any clients, you can become their client, or refer people you know to certain practitioners.

Do this and they will get to know you and will more likely want to reciprocate.

Which local practitioners could you use the service of and refer people to?

Networks Build Collective Knowledge

When you maintain your professional networks and relationships, you enjoy an added benefit of keeping your finger on the pulse with developments in your area, and in the health industry more generally.

For example, I recall a Medicare Local meeting that I attended in my Shire.

I had the chance to network with Allied Health professionals I knew, meet new practitioners in the area, learn about some of the common problems our sector was facing generally in terms of funding, information sharing gaps and key client issues (some of which I could help with) and, I was able to make a couple of useful contributions to this meeting.

I learned very quickly that these sorts of events were worth attending and helped me to support other practitioners while also building trust in my network and identifying new business opportunities.

In addition, as Allied Health practitioners came to know me better, they understood how I helped people, and could send clients to me that were the right kind of client for my niche with the exact problem I helped to solve.

As they say in marketing, I was getting pre-qualified client referrals who were suited to my program and to my way of working.

The impact of this was to increase my sales conversion rate such that around 90 – 95% of all enquiries would buy from me.

The credibility and respect attached to Allied Health referrals may be as good or greater than referrals from the general public and, they are likely to be qualified leads.

How to Build a Referral Network With Allied Health Professionals

Here are five steps to getting started with your Allied Health Network.

  1. Get professional business cards printed with contact details and website/social media links (ideally LinkedIn)
  2. Develop your professional identity and a clear, simple elevator pitch-style overview of who you help, what you do, and how you deliver that (see the Coaching Success Accelerator, Unit 1, for a step-by-step process)
  3. Visit www.healthdirect.gov.au/Australian-health-services to identify health services in your local area and make a list of those relevant to your services and niche.
  4. Decide on how you will approach Allied Health professionals to make contact – for example, would you:
  •   send a letter,
  •   phone to request an in person meeting,
  •   book an appointment as a client
  •   attend an Allied Health event, or
  •   approach a chronic disease organisation that relates to your niche?

5.  Start scheduling appointments and reaching out to those professionals to introduce yourself and discuss a referral process that suits you both.  They may have something in place that they use, or you could develop something together.

Summary

Referrals are a great way to start and build your business.

The credibility and respect attached to Allied Health referrals may be as good or greater than referrals from the general public and, they are likely to be qualified leads.

If you start building your networks when you start your business, you will more easily build qualified referrals and fill your sales pipeline

That means you can convert a higher percentage of enquiries to sales.

Further, you get to keep your finger on the local and industry pulse and help other practitioners, plus identify business opportunities.

What are you waiting for?

It’s time to follow a simple, five-step process to building your referral network so you can generate a steady stream of enquiries to fill your programs and sales pipeline.

Ready to build networks with Allied Health professionals?

 Give your business the head start it deserves! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

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