How to Build Relationships with Referral Sources that Actually Lead to Getting Clients | FP 53

How to Build Relationships with Referral Sources that Actually Lead to Getting Clients | FP 53

What are some top tips on how to foster a good connection in order to send and receive referrals? How can you maintain a successful referral system? What are some important things that you should do once you have received a referral?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks about how to build relationships with referral sources that actually lead to getting clients.

In This Podcast

  • Where is your ideal client spending their time?
  • Consider working with warm connections
  • What do you say when making a connection?
  • What to say when you meet?
  • The importance of showing gratitude for the referrals that you receive

Where is your ideal client spending their time?

This could be a physical place such as a restaurant, library, or park or it could be in a digital place such as specific websites or an online hub.

  • Make a list of 5 to 10 different places where this person spends their time.

If your ideal client is an anxious mother, consider the places she would go, perhaps at local schools, yoga studios, the doctor’s office, and so forth.

  • Now, identify the actual places, such as three specific locations within your town.
  • Also identify places that connect with your practice such as insurance-based practices that have similar structures to yours.

Consider working with warm connections

Instead of cold calls, warm connections are made through friends and colleagues where the specific connection that binds you to the ideal client is either them, or you, and your friend can actually introduce you to the person.

Everything can be a connection for your practice. You need to always be telling people about the work that you do because people need to know about it.

Warm connections will get you far. It may feel intimidating at first, instigating that connection and asking, however with practice this becomes easier.

Make it natural and do not feel that you have to be professional and tense all the time throughout the initial meeting, because it is like any other conversation – you are simply getting to know somebody else to, and making a connection.

If you are not able to make a warm connection, then there are other options you can try:

  • You can look them up on online, find their email address, and pop them an email
  • Reach out to somebody over social media
  • You can reach out to people over the phone as well

Do the natural thing that works for you.

What do you say when making the first contact?

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Let the referral know that you would just like to get to know them. Making it about the connection with them instead of just the business aspect first.
  • Tell them you want to be able to refer clients to their organization. Some people will say ‘yes’ and some people may not respond, but keep reaching out and trying your best regardless. Make it about caring for them as well as fostering a relationship for them to help your business too.
  • When someone responds positively, you offer to get to know them more such as meeting in person, taking a walk together, and so forth.

Get creative in getting to know somebody during COVID.

What to say when you meet?

  • Be yourself, get to know them. Ask about what they do. It is good to give more than you take in these relationships.
  • When they ask about you, respond sincerely and talk about your practice, your passion.
  • Consider how you can provide guidance to this person.
  • Be creative if you can – if they are sharing a struggle with you, offer a solution in the long-term of how you could be able to them.
  • It is important that once you form a relationship, try to keep it going. You can keep building the relationship over-time, every three to six months pop them an email or meet with them.
  • It is a battle at the beginning but over time as people come to know the work you do, they will send through referrals.

Once you have a new patient and you know where the referral came from, phone up the person who referred them and thank them for the referral.

The importance of showing gratitude for the referrals that you receive

When appropriate, follow up with your referral source and get into contact with them to show your appreciation.

When you show gratitude, do not make it all about yourself, make it about them. You can also consider a small gift. Not a big gift per referral either, just something small every now and then to show that you appreciate them and your mutual work relationship.

Useful Links:

Meet Whitney Owens

Photo of Christian therapist Whitney Owens. Whitney helps other christian counselors grow faith based private practices!Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

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Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to

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