The term “Marketing” is often associated with external advertising, or activities aimed at attracting new patients to the practice, and while this is certainly an important part of the marketing process, it doesn’t paint the entire picture. In fact, to start growing your practice, you may not have to look any further than your current patient base. When working with my clients, there’s a common piece of advice I always give: Don’t forget about internal marketing!
Internal marketing is the art of establishing relationships with current patients so that they decide to become ambassadors for your practice, referring friends and family to you. Internal marketing drives word of mouth and while it doesn’t cost a lot of money, it can pay off big time in the form of short-term practice viability and long-term sustainability.
I sometimes hear from my clients that asking their patients for referrals (or online reviews) can be intimidating or even uncomfortable. But when you have the right mindset – what I call the “Marketing Mindset” – asking for referrals and reviews becomes an easy and natural part of the day. And remember – while internal marketing isn’t difficult, it does require training on the parts of the doctors and staff. We all have to remember that verbal skills like asking patients for referrals do not necessarily come naturally, but need to be taught – and that just as with clinical skills, practice makes perfect!
With some practice, asking for referrals will no longer feel awkward or “sales-y”, but instead will become a habit…and a good habit, at that.