Vetting A Referral Source

I recently messaged a client with a surgeon recommendation, and I pasted some links with the instructions: Please use these links to help you vet Dr. So&So.
When she saw me next, she told me she had to look up what “vet” meant, we got a kick out of it.
And now it’s ironic as I go back into my list of unfinished article, we see the word “vet” again in reference to how can trainers go about finding a great health care provider or manual therapist to help them do the things that they know the client needs, but they can not perform because of skill sets, scope, or downright legality.

Some good things to look for in any resource

1) Shop the resources.  In retail or service sales culture, there is a term calling “shopping” your competitors.  This means someone from one business acts like a customer and calls up or goes into the competitor’s facility acting like a customer.  They are really there to knock off their competitor’s pricing, sales scripts, layout of the facility, whatever they think they need to get a leg up.
So one can argue the ethics of this practice, but at the very least on the surface it seems pretty shady.
So why would I suggest you do something shady?
It’s not shady when you, as a trainer, go to a PT or Chiro or sports med doc, and actually pay for their services.  Yes, with your money or insurance.  And then you get to write it off as a health care expense or even as marketing.  Many of us have something him/herself that needs some work, so there are multiple victories.
If you are the right trainer, and if you’ve gotten this far in vetting a referral source, will know very, very quickly if this is someone that you’d like to refer to or someone that will have you do 10 minute warmups on the arm bike followed by yellow rubber band strength training.

2) How do people find you?  I’m sure a lot of clients are referred to you by other people.  These other people are often times better than your marketing because your new clients already trust their friends and colleagues.
Let’s use this process for you to find a new PT or Chiro.  Ask people you already trust.  And then try what they say.  If you trust the person, you probably share some core values, and there’s a good chance their recommendation will be useful.
Another way to ask someone you don’t know but you do trust.  Just about anyone who is a “known” resource on the Internet will respond to your message.  Message them with your location, and if you trust the individual on the Internet, they will give you a solution if they have one.

3) Invite them to you.  This won’t always be a terribly successful exercise, but when the PT or Chiro sees you as a potential referral source, they may be quite ready to spend some time with you to talk shop or learn some things.

4) Just try to send them people.  Build communication off of that.  If they don’t communicate with you, these aren’t good people anyway.
We have lost some equity with the client that we used as bait for the relationship, so hopefully the experience wasn’t too disgraceful.  The worst thing that happened is that the person didn’t get better as hoped.  Reinvest in that client somehow to make up for any lost equity.

Try just being better than everybody, and people will find you and pay whatever you say. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

  • November 13, 2014

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