Ask Joe: How do I network to get more referrals? | POP 716

Image of Joe Sanok is captured. On this therapist podcast, Joe Sanok, podcaster, consultant and author, talk about how to network for more referrals.

Do you want to polish up your networking skills? How does one network with sincerity? Why should you network both inside and outside of your niche?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how to network to get more referrals.

Podcast Sponsor: BiOptimizers

An image of the Practice of the Practice podcast sponsor, BiOptimizers, is captured. BiOptimizers is a magnesium supplement for reducing stress and improving sleep.

 

The last two years have been crazy. We’ve never experienced anything like it in our lifetimes. We never experienced such an effect on our mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, a lot of us have been beaten down by anxiety, stress, and poor sleep due to all the uncertainty in the world. And if you’re a working parent, you’ve had the extra difficulty of keeping your kids occupied 24/7 while trying to work from home… not an easy task. So if you feel exhausted and burnt out, you’re not alone. There are tens of thousands of people in a similar place right now. The question is, what can we do to enhance our mental wellness and recapture our zest for life?

One critical thing I’m advising all of my family and friends to do is take Magnesium Breakthrough daily. Here’s why…

Stress and anxiety deplete your magnesium levels. Low magnesium levels then contribute to more anxiety! It’s a vicious cycle. By supplementing with Magnesium Breakthrough, you can break that cycle. Because you’ll be getting 7 unique forms of organic full-spectrum magnesium for stress relief and better sleep, all in one bottle. Taking Magnesium Breakthrough will help you to experience: more energy, stronger bones, healthy blood pressure, less irritability, a calmer mood, reduced muscle cramping, even fewer migraines. And because it supports mental wellness, Magnesium Breakthrough can help you to finally feel yourself again. Simply take two capsules before you go to bed and you’ll be amazed by the improvements in your mood and energy levels. And how much more rested you feel when you wake up!

For an exclusive offer for my listeners go to magbreakthrough.com/practice and use practice during checkout to save 10% and get free shipping.

In This Podcast

  • What is networking?
  • Find therapists who are already in your niche
  • Look for parallels
  • How to network

What is networking?

Networking is just having conversations. So, you’re doing what you already do all of the time when you are networking. (Joe Sanok)

You already have the skills to network, even if you have not explicitly done it before because networking is about forming connections with people outside of your practice with whom you share an overlap.

Networking is not about passing out your business card and trying to get everyone to know who you are. It is more about forming a connection and nurturing a business relationship.

Find therapists who are already in your niche

Scope out your community and see which mental health providers are in your area and also work within your same niche.

Connect with them because they may get full, and need to refer out. If you are top of their mind and they know you work with their niche as well, the chances are that you will receive referrals from them.

Look for parallels

  • Connect with therapists who see people in your niche
  • Connect with therapists who work with people in a similar niche where there is overlap
  • Create connections with like-structured practice owners. For example, if you only take insurance, then connect with other practices that are also only insurance-based.

How to network

I would start with an Excel spreadsheet so that you can stay organized as to who you’ve reached out [to], when you reached out to them, and how that conversation went. (Joe Sanok)

1 – General introduction email

2 – Send 20 introductions to get five responses to get three meetings to get one solid referral source.

3 – Improve your outcomes: send a polite follow-up email to the 15 people that did not respond first off.

[Networking] is not that big of a deal, especially if you just view them as conversations, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, just view it as a conversation with people, learning about them and not pushing your business, and it will naturally unfold for you as well. (Joe Sanok)

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

  • For an exclusive offer for my listeners go to magbreakthrough.com/practice and use practice during checkout to save 10% and get free shipping.

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 716.

Well, I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I hope your day and practice is going amazing. We’ve been doing a series all about starting a practice. This is the third in this series, started a couple weeks ago where I talked about, should I start a private practice on Wednesdays with the Ask Joe show and then how do I start a website was what I covered last time today. We’re talking about how to network for referrals. In the next show we’ll be talking about how to market a practice, and then lastly, we’ll bring it all together in one big super plan of starting a private practice.

So if you want some additional resources in starting a practice, you can go to pillarsofpractice.com and get all sorts of extra videos, trainings, downloads that will keep you organized in starting your practice. Again, that’s pillars of practice.com. Also there if you have a group practice, we have a whole different free e-course all about that as well. So tons of resources for you that are totally free that you can download over at pillarsofpractice.com.

Well, so as we think about referrals and networking, I remember early on I had coffee with this guy, Nick who owned a counseling practice. I had noticed that our website, it was like Psychology Today, Mental Wellness Counseling, and then Nick’s website. Sometimes Nick would outrank me for certain terms and sometimes Psychology Today, we could both outrank and it was like those three websites were constantly going up and down in regards to the rankings in Traverse City around certain keywords.

I met Nick at an LPCs of Northern Michigan networking meeting. We hit it off. He’s a great guy. We actually went to ACA together and he went more the education PhD. route, and I went more of the clinical private practice route. But when he had his private practice we went out for coffee and he told me about Psychology Today. I had never really thought about this was 2010 probably and he said I get probably a referral a week from Psychology Today. There’s just not many people that are out there and they’re doing so much to rank in Google. It’s totally worth the 29 bucks a month or whatever it was at the time. So I signed up and in my first week, I got three new referrals. I was just like, Nick, thank you so much for that referral and idea for growing my practice.

That’s really, to me, the spirit of collaboration that makes people successful with networking compared to those that aren’t successful, those that go into it saying what, there’s plenty of work to go around. There are plenty of clients. There are so many people that need to get paired. And sometimes there’s going to be people that they’re just not a good fit for me, but they might be a great fit for you. That’s the spirit of networking that I think really gets you farther. So if we just start with having an openness, an abundance mentality, a way of thinking, there’s not limited work here, when we think about it is everyone that needs counseling getting counseling? No. So if anything, there’s an education thing of, if we educate people on how awesome counseling is we’re going to have a lot more clients. So the more that we can be connected the better.

So let’s just start with networking is just having conversations. You’re doing what you already do all the time when you’re networking. When you’re actually just having conversations with people, learning about what they do, understanding who they are as people outside of just the counseling world, you’re just creating connections with people and you happen to also have some overlap where you might want to refer to each other. So you already have the skills to do this. Even if you’re like, I’m an introvert, I don’t want to be out there, I don’t want to be past my business cards, okay. The image of you walking into a young professional’s meeting and be like, I am Joe, and I’m going to help you with counseling, that doesn’t work anyway.

If you feel like that feels icky, good. It is icky. Nobody likes that person that’s always like passing out their business card. I went to this one training once it was so ridiculous. I was at this young professionals training and there’s all these people that were more experienced in business that we’re training. I went to this networking meeting and I thought it was just going to be networking. It mostly was, but this guy said, okay, this is what I want you to do when you’re giving your business card to these people, say what you do first, then say your name. So it was like therapist, helping at risk kids, Joe Sanok. I was like, what, how weird does that sound? So we’re all doing this we’re all looking at each other, like, what the heck? This is ridiculous.

So there there’s this old school way of thinking where it’s just transactional. That’s just, if that feels icky good, that is icky. So really we’re having conversations. We’re connecting with people, that’s it, that’s all networking is. We’re just finding the right people to connect with. So first let’s think about people that are in your niche already. When I had my counseling practice before I sold it one of my big niches was angry kids, mostly teen boys probably ages 12 to 19. It was usually the mom that would call. Yes, I was marketing to teen boys, but mostly I was marketing to moms that were frustrated with their teen boys, so who do I network with? I network with other people that help teen boys because they might get full and say I need to refer out. I don’t have any spots for your angry son.

Who do I want them to think of as having openings? Me. Then we want to think about who’s linked to your ideal client? Maybe therapists that help teen girls, that help with eating issues or anger issues or ADHD or anxiety or whatever. Teen girls often have siblings that are teen boys or close to teen boys. It may be working with some marriage therapists that are frustrated and then part of that frustration with their kids is that the marriage isn’t going great because I’m so sick of our son just losing his mind every day, over video games. That marriage counselor’s not going to see that son and they may not have many people to refer to.

So thinking about who are the people that are doing the actual niche of you, because they might get full and need to refer out who are the people that are linked to these folks. That could be actual clinicians I’d start there. But then also thinking about ancillary folks. If you don’t take insurance, you’re going to want to focus on other folks that don’t take insurance. So if you go to a bunch of doctor’s offices, they’re going to say, well, all our people have insurance and want to use insurance. So if you’re private pay, that’s probably not going to be the best referral source compared to what types of services are people paying for, so gyms, yoga, studios, Reiki, massage, naturopathic medicine. Those are all out-of-pocket expenses. They’re connected to people that are connected to those that can pay. So even just thinking through that and saying, hey I want to, I want to learn more about Reiki and potentially referring to you, could I swing by with some kombuchas and learn more about your office?
[MAGNESIUM BREAKTHROUGH] The last two years have been crazy. We’ve never experienced anything like it in our lifetimes. We never experienced such an effect on our mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, a lot of us have been beaten down by anxiety, stress and poor sleep due to all the uncertainty in the world, let alone our clients. If you’re a working parent, you’ve had the extra difficulty of keeping your kids occupied 24/7 while trying to work from home, not an easy task. So if you’re feeling exhausted and burned out, you’re not alone. There are tens of thousands of people in a similar place right now. The question is what can we do to enhance our mental wellness and recapture our zest for life?

One critical thing that I’m advising all my family and friends to do is to take Magnesium Breakthrough daily. Here’s why. Stress and anxiety deplete your magnesium levels and low magnesium levels contribute to more anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle. By supplementing with Magnesium Breakthrough, you can break that cycle because you’re getting seven unique forms of organic full spectrum, magnesium for stress relief and better sleep all in one bottle. Taking Magnesium Breakthrough will help you experience more energy, stronger bones, healthy blood pressure, less irritability, a calmer mood, reduced muscle cramping, even fewer migraines. Because it supports mental wellness, Magnesium Breakthrough can help you finally feel yourself again. Simply take two capsules before you go to bed and you’ll be amazed by the improvements in your mood and energy levels and how much more rested you feel when you wake up. For an exclusive offer for my listeners, go to magbreakthrough.com/practice and use [PRACTICE] during checkout to save 10% and get free shipping.
[JOE SANOK] So let’s walk through what that actually even looks like when you’re reaching out to people. So I would start with actually an Excel spreadsheet so that you can stay organized as to who you’ve reached out with when you reached out to them and then how that conversation went so that you can stay really organized and not lose track of people. First start with a general introduction email. This is not three paragraphs of introduction. This is, “Hi Janet. My name’s Joe Sanok. I opened a counseling practice in town where I help angry teen boys and their families.” Period. “I see that you have a massage therapy practice that is aimed at families and women in transition. I think that a lot of these families may be interested in massage that I work with and would love to swing by your office and meet you and hear more about your business. Would you be up for me swinging by sometime? I’ll bring us coffees or kombucha. Hope you have a great day. Joe. Here’s my cell phone if it’s easier to connect via text.” So it’s super simple, super basic.

And we want to look at the numbers. So maybe you send 20 of these emails in a day, then figuring out, well, how many people respond to this? So maybe you get five responses for every 20 emails and of those five responses you go meet with say three of them and of those three, you get one solid referral source. Now you know that you need to send 20 emails to get five responses, to get three meetings, to get one solid referral source. Now at each level we can improve your outcomes by saying, okay, if we do 20, is there something that we can do to get more than five responses?

Maybe we do a follow up email to the 15 people that didn’t respond and say, “Hey, just wanted to check in on you.” So now instead of five, maybe we have 10 responses. Of those 10, now how do we get more than just three out of five to have a meeting? So instead of having six out of 10 say, would you rather meet somewhere or swing by your office or come by my office? Then maybe we improve that, oh, we got seven meetings. Then of those seven, how do we foster that connection to get more than one or two referrals? Maybe we want to try to shoot for half of them being solid referrals. So at each level we can improve our outcomes to get more referral sources from the numbers because sometimes people personalize it and say, oh, I sent all these emails and they all ignored me and they must think that I’m a terrible therapist. No they’re just busy. They’re just bad at email. They’re just bad at logistics. They aren’t prioritizing you as something that’s going to help them. So the more you can position yourself as someone that wants to see them succeed, the more likely they are to respond.

All right. So when you’re in the actual meetings, get to know the people, ask them how they started their practice. Why are you into integrative medicine? How’d you get into massage? How long have you been in the area? Just like if it was a first date or you were meeting someone at a potluck, have a regular conversation with them. And they’re naturally going to ask you some of those same questions. So then afterwards you want to do some sort of follow up like an email, “Hey, it was great meeting yesterday for coffee. Really enjoyed our conversation. From our conversation I had, say this book, here’s a link to that book, if there’s any follow up items.”

Then if they want extra say marketing materials, if they want rack cards, business cards, make sure you mail those or drop those off quickly afterwards. Then I would follow up about a month later and just say, “Hey, just wanted to check in, see how your massage therapy practice is going. Had a great time having coffee a month ago. I sent a couple people your way. Hope everything’s going great.” Then I would put in your calendar probably quarterly or every six months to just have a marketing and networking day that you send follow up emails, follow up text messages, “Hey, just wanted to check in, see how you’re doing, hope you’re doing awesome.” That can then create that ongoing long-term relationship.

That’s really what you’re looking for. That’s what a referral actually is, is a long-term relationship saying, I trust this person. You can do it, like honestly you can do it. You have these skills inside of you. These skills, they don’t take much you know how to have conversations with people and doing intake where you go from just meeting someone to them pouring out their deepest, darkest secrets. Yes, that’s a counseling relationship, but you have these skills inside of you. I know a lot of people freak out over networking, but it’s really not that big of a deal, especially if you just view it as conversations. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, just view it as a conversation with people learning about them, not that you’re pushing your business and it will naturally unfold for you as well.

We couldn’t do this show without our sponsors, especially our newer sponsors BiOptimizers. This has been just such a great new sponsor. I have never been a person that likes supplements or push supplements or any of that. It’s always felt like a really slimy field and to just interview the founder of BiOptimizers and to hear how it was his own personal journey of looking at gut health, honestly the mental health connection to gut health is remarkable when you look at the research. And this Magnesium Breakthrough can help you break the cycle of anxiety or help your clients break the cycle of anxiety.

What I love about BiOptimizers is if the product doesn’t work, you send it back and they give you all your money back, even if you’re like far into the pills. I’m not a medical professional, but because you’ll be getting seven unique forms of organic full spectrum magnesium, it’s going to help with stress relief, better sleep, all in one bottle. If you want to check this out, head it over to magbreakthrough.com/practice and use code [PRACTICE] at checkout to save 10% and get free shipping. Again, that’s magbreakthrough.com/practice and use [PRACTICE] during checkout to get that 10% off and free shipping.

Thank you so much for letting me into ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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