It's not the number of referral sources in our data bank, it's the number of referral sources that actually refer that counts! Right? So why is it that so many of us spend countless hours each week knocking on doors that are never answered and nurturing relationships with professionals who can't/don't refer?
Believe it or not, as few as five "quality" referral relationships can keep a senior living community's lead pipeline full. But building quality relationships with referral sources - who refer - can be challenging.
Phew, now that we've admitted the problem, we can move on and discuss how to break through the challenge of building quality relationships. Here's our quick, 5-step formula, including some "Do's" and "Don'ts" for identifying and reaching those hard to reach, yet ideal referral sources.
1. Target Your Audience. 90% of Marketing Reps miss the boat on this one!
>Stick to the “same-old, same-old.” Health care, senior living and lead sources have changed and so must you!
>Try to squeeze blood from a turnip. If old referral sources no longer produce results OR refuse to meet with you, MOVE ON!
> Think Differently!
> Define, identify and record your ideal, perhaps hard to reach professional referral sources.
> Picture the perfect lead/prospect for your Community - then identify professionals who could refer that lead (are they are on your list)?
> Rank your list in order of potential then focus on the top 5 to 8 sources - your "Target Referral Sources."
2. Make Contact. Be present, be listening!
> Do what you’ve always done if you don’t get results.
> Drive by with cookies, coffee and trinkets and believe you are “in a relationship.”
> Believe the only place to connect is their place of business!
> Identify the best places to get in front of your target referral sources, show up and be present.
> Visit networking meetings and associations that your target referral sources attend.
> Hang out where they hang out and stick around to “listen.”
> Read what they read (professional journals, association newsletters, etc) to learn about their industry trends and challenges. Consider how can you help.
> Offer to speak or lead a presentation at their networking or professional group. Professional networks and organizations are always looking for good presenters.
> Reach out with a targeted mail campaign (contact us for a FREE targeted mail campaign idea)!
> Connect with Social Media:
>"Like" their business Facebook page
>Connect on Linked In
>Follow on Twitter/Pinterest/Google+, etc.
3. Be Consistent. The person who wins is the person who is consistent.
> Believe reaching out once a month is being consistent.
> Think of yourself as a “Pest.”
> Talk to your target referral sources at least one or more times per week with articles, blogs, newsletters, and your availability (judge appropriate level per audience).
> Follow up from each and every contact.
> Send hand-written correspondence.
> Dedicate time to make it happen.
4. Be A Resource. Becoming a resource is much more powerful than sales and marketing. Your referral sources will pay attention if they believe what you say and do has value.
> Be all about you.
> Be all about your community.
> Provide value!
> Give your referral sources everything they want and need about senior living, care, services, trends, and news.
> Be willing to give of yourself.
5. Provide What They Want. Determine your target referral sources’ wants and needs by listening.
> Drop off brochures and business cards and hope that helps.
> Offer services and support that you “believe” would be helpful to your referral sources.
> Listen and learn.
> Offer them only what they want and need.
> Make their lives easier.
> Provide the best way to reach you or your team for a fast referrals(weekends and evenings included).
> Conduct a survey: What overwhelms them? What are their road blocks? What do they need to make referrals to you easier?
> Provide scripts, FAQs, cost calculators, links to resources, etc.
> Deliver, Deliver, Deliver!