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How to Double Your Referrals 

The 4-step blueprint…

When it comes to the “quality” of new patients there is without a doubt one source that if given a choice most chiropractors would choose to ONLY work with. 


The problem with most people’s definition of a “referral” is that it is a “passive” “thing” that happens if we are “good”.

I absolutely believe that referrals are a natural consequence of “good”, or rather a natural consequence of “quality”… why is it that in some practices get a ton of referrals while in other practices they don’t? 

There is something “else” going on. 

If you want more referrals here are 4 key concepts one needs to embrace 

  1. Attitude. 

The single biggest killer of referrals is the incorrect attitude, more specifically “entitlement”. In fact, when it comes to both retention and referrals entitlement is a thief that rips the potential of both rights from under you. 

When a chiropractor does not “work” for referrals and simply moans about not getting enough, it usually indicates to me that deep down the chiropractor has a nagging “question” about why in the world patients wouldn’t be sending droves of people his way, usually followed by some sort of statement as follows “after all I’ve helped you {Fill in the blank}. And Right there, can you smell it? The Stench of E. (Entitlement). 

It’s exactly the same for retention. Deep down we have all had some level of the following happen in our practice. A miracle story that saw a patient arrive on day one of care with crutches they have not been able to live without for 10 years and within weeks stroll in with no crutches, smiling, smug, and singing your praises, only to have that same patient not continue with your maintenance recommendations. This is normally followed by a tinge of sadness mixed with frustration. But the stench of E has its role to play here also. “Don’t they remember what I did for them”.

They don’t “owe you” anything. That’s what they paid for.  

Getting great results is just not enough to ensure retention or referrals. In the case of referrals, you would be a damned fool if you honestly think that practices that get 25+ referrals a week by only “being good” or that PVA skyrockets simply by “getting great results”. Being good is an expectation and a “permission to play”.

Referrals are artfully created (in the next steps) but more importantly “artfully intentionally” created, here’s how…

  1. Seeds, Suggestions, and Demonstration

Everything matters. From the first telephone call where the CA says “Is this for you or your whole family”, to the clinic tour where the CA points out the family board because that’s what we do here , “we look after the entire family”, to the referrals demonstrations and suggestions in the reception area created by “thank you referral boards” and “thank you for your referrals” mentioned in the print monthly newsletter. That’s before they have even seen the doc. 

Then they fill out the intake form where there are purposeful seeds and suggestions in the form of tick boxes that say “YES,  would like to get my family a complimentary checkup”. Throughout the new patient exam there are multiple opportunities to mention “family postural tendencies” or traits that run in the family and other reasons why it is our policy it to check the whole family and then more opportunities in the ROF to reinforce those “family postural and dysfunctional tendencies” and show case studies of examples of this running in the family. Then consider the fact that once they have committed to a care plan, your “terms of acceptance or clinic policy” that they sign mentions the complimentary or discounted family exams again and the fact that the orientation class is normally attended with family members and asked who they will be bringing with them. This, all before a single adjustment has been made. 

Hopefully by now have surely illustrated that there is absolutely NOTHING happenstance about creating referrals.   

  1. Acknowledgment and Rewards 

In the brilliant book Marketing to the Affluent, Dan Kennedy references how he has lost count hearing a version of the following unhappy story- “I sent my friend/ client/neighbour to x and I never got so much as a thank-you.” Most of the time the person telling the story expresses deep resentment of not being shown an ounce of appreciation, and furthermore usually goes on to say how he will never recommend that business to anyone else again. 

I remember explaining the above to a group of practice owners at my recent platinum mastermind, which was followed by an echo of similar stories each and every participant had of their own. One chiropractor even went on to tell us, through gritted teeth, how it pissed him off that he has sent over 10 patients to a very well known chiropractor and that not once had he even acknowledged or thanked him. 

The moral of the story is that everyone underestimates just how much it irritates people to deserve appreciation but not get it. 

The good news is that recognition and rewards motivate more of the same behaviour. Just think about Pavlov’s dogs.

The best way to turn a first-time or occasional referrer into a frequent one is: recognition. 

We would send handwritten thank you cards with a Lotto ticket in it. It’s worth mentioning that the more “high profile” or long-standing the patient, the more “personal” the acknowledgment should be. The point is you CANNOT overdo it. 

A universal law states that one cannot have more until one appreciates what they already have. 

I honestly think that not acknowledging patients that refer, is not only business suicide but down right rude.

  1. Quantity through Quality 

Of course, no article on referrals could be written without acknowledging that  “sharpening one’s axe” is simply a must, not a nice to have. It just cannot be overstated that one needs to have a long hard look in the mirror if you’re simply not getting any “organic” referrals. 

Spend time building your own competence and patients will feel it and when they do and only when they “feel it” will they send people your way. There cannot be enough said for reading chiropractic literature. Read stories about BJ and his history. Go to events and spend time at adjustment courses. I promise it all matters and all makes a difference to how “attractive” you are as a being. Your self-concept will rise and there ain’t nothing more attractive than someone who is passionate about his craft.

I hope that helps give you direction on some simple steps one can implement to immediately put in motion the positive steps to proactively creating a flood of referrals in your practice. 

Love and light 


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