Opening your own medical practice after years of training is absolutely thrilling. And nerve-wracking. On the one hand, there’s nothing better than working for yourself and defining your future with your own efforts. You’ll be determining your own earning potential and building a business that will benefit the community. On the other hand is the fear of the blank appointment slots, the empty lobby, and an idle staff. To make it, you need patients. Building a solid customer base involves some smart moves. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to build up that customer base quickly.
Referrals from Patients.
Take good care of the patients you have. It’s much harder to get new clients than it is to retain the clients you already have. While this advice seems trite, the reality is you’ll become tired and impatient at some point. Will you have the self-control to always be professional, courteous, and do as much as you can to provide the patients you are seeing with a good experience? Though you interact with patients all day every day, their interaction with you is typically the only one. It’s going to be a lot more memorable for them than it is for you. You’ve heard a lot about bedside manner, I’m sure, but it truly is the best way to build your business. Be genuine in your interactions, treat people well, and be clear in your communication.
Referrals from Other Doctors.
The family doctor I am with now was referred to me by a doctor who had too much business. (Seriously.) The established, busy doctor wouldn’t be able to see me for a matter of months. They referred me to a doctor who was very good, but still establishing her business. I could be seen the next day. I made my appointment and have been with that new doctor ever since. She now has enough referrals from her own patients to hire two other doctors, a host of PAs, and an army of medical assistants. Want to know the best part? That busy doctor was not the only doctor to recommend her. I tried calling another family doctor after that first one was unavailable, and they gave me nearly the same message. We’re busy, we can’t see you this week, but we know someone who can. In short, networking with other doctors in your area can help you build a great customer base.
Build a presence online that includes a website, social media channels, paid advertising, and SEO. If you’re not online, you’re losing business. Additionally, when patients are looking for a new doctor, over 75 percent look up their symptoms online before calling a doctor. By utilizing SEO, your practice can have your name in the results of symptom searches or even in a paid ad. After they’ve read about what they think they have, your name will be right there to call.
Volunteer Your Skills.
This is such a great way not only to serve members of your community, but also to get your name out there. You can volunteer your medical services at a race. Every weekend there’s some kind of race (5K, marathon, fun run, etc.), and if you have a water booth with your clinic’s name and logo up every week, people are going to notice. You could also volunteer by teaching a class. BLS, PALS, AMLS, ACLS recertification all need instructors. The people taking these courses are people who can refer others your way. Teach a course and get your name out there.
Ask for Reviews.
A whopping 54 percent of millennials look at reviews of doctors before choosing one. If you don’t actively ask for reviews, most of the ones you’re going to get will be negative. If you ask for reviews from all your patients, you’re going to get a wider spectrum of opinion that will more accurately reflect your practice.
Building a customer base takes time, but with some key moves, you can get your name out in the community and prepare yourself for more business.