Guest author: Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC
If you are holding off on your marketing efforts because you feel you haven’t found that “MAGICAL” thing that will get you noticed, here’s a secret you should know…
“Magic” comes in many forms!
As a mental health clinician in private practice, it is imperative to continually find ways to get your name and face in the minds of those with access to and influence over your ideal clients. It’s also necessary to find ways to prove your value to your referrers. These activities occur over time.
There are, however, day-to-day things you can do that can make a huge impact on the reputation you develop in the community. You’d be surprised by the (simple) things that really make a difference to your referrers (including those clients who are a great source of word-of-mouth referrals). I try to really listen to what my clients and referral sources say to me, especially when it comes to feedback about why they send me referrals over and over again. I hope that you do, too.
Here’s what I’ve learned by listening to my “tribe”. Do these things and you’ll be ‘head and shoulders’ above others in your market (because many people simply aren’t doing them).
- If you can’t take the referral for any reason (insurance issues, expertise issues, etc.), provide alternatives to your referrer (or to the client they sent to you). Your resourcefulness will be noted, and your efforts will be appreciated.
- Thank your referral sources. When you get a referral from a medical professional, have the client sign a release and then send a thank you note and a copy of your initial assessment to the collaborating physician for their chart.
- Maintain communication with the involved physician(s). Find out when your shared client will next be seeing the psychiatrist/medical doc, and send over a copy of your last couple of notes to assist in collaboration of care.
- Return phone calls in a timely manner. I can no longer keep track of how many new clients tell me that they called several clinicians when they first called me, and I was the only one to return their call. I don’t care how busy you are — check your voice mail every day, and have the courtesy to let people know whether or not you can see them.
- Keep up with your paperwork. When you get a request for clinical information (from social security disability, an attorney, etc.), take the time to honor the request as soon as possible. Don’t put your client in the uncomfortable position of hearing from someone else that you dropped the ball on them.
- Forget about the “competition”. Quit worrying about how many new clients your colleagues are getting. Be happy for them; develop and express an honest appreciation for others’ success and let go any jealousy you may have. Successful therapists are always looking for good referrals for their overflow.
- Use your downtime (empty slots in your schedule) to check in with your referrers. Find out what you can do to help out your local psychiatric hospital’s discharge planner; ask your school district’s guidance department what services or groups they are in need of in the community; offer to do depression screenings at a local health fair. These things will keep you from grumbling about the holes in your schedule, and push you forward in your efforts to serve more clients.
Bottom line, a little bit of effort goes a long way to increase your credibility in the community. People will only do business with you to the extent they trust you —
GIVE THEM REASONS TO TRUST THAT YOU ARE THEIR BEST CHOICE!
Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC, works in private practice in Buffalo, NY. She also specializes in helping entrepreneurial therapists get ‘unstuck’ and grow their practices, including a focus on how to create growth with private pay clients. She recently provided a training on this topic at our 2017 Buffalo Niagara Summer Institute. Her coaching practice has helped thousands of clinicians fill their appointment books using her proven success strategies. Dr. Legge is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress from AAETS. Her private practice, located at The Counselor’s Corner, focuses on individuals with chronic anxiety and mood disorders, PTSD and other trauma-related issues, borderline personality disorder, life transition, and grief and loss. In addition to her private clinical practice, she is the founder of Influential Insider’s Circle — the world’s first social learning platform for mental health professionals in private practice.
You can gain access to Dr. Legge’s soon-to-be-released, FREE training:
How to Fill Your Book with Private Pay Clients… And End Your Insurance Struggles for Good, at www.PrivatePayPractice.com
Dr. Legge’s websites: