Are you actively marketing? Do you have staff meeting with referral sources and providing valuable information besides brochures, post-its, and pens? If you do have staff marketing, are they asking referral sources what their problems and issues are? If a meeting with a referral source is solely about your agency, you are missing a big opportunity.
At any sales call, you need to find out what it is that the referral source needs or has problems with. Then you need to legally and legitimately offer a solution as to how your agency will address those problems and issues.
Offering quality, compassionate care should be the standard for any agency. The differentiation is how you offer that care – what makes your agency unique and how do you quantify your ability to go above and beyond?
Star ratings are a big factor when dealing with referral sources now. In order to attract the best referrals from a hospital system, you will need to have a four or five star rating. But for agencies that don’t – do you have a good idea as to why you are a 2-3 star rated agency?
You should know why your agency is rated at the level it is. It likely isn’t that you are a bad agency. It is more likely based on the fact that your agency is taking many of the patients that other agencies do not want to admit. Your patients are the patients who have long term acute needs and are likely to be admitted for multiple episodes.
Agencies that have a four or five star rating are known for heavy therapy and quick turnover of patients. But not all agencies have that ability. You and your marketing staff need to be able to explain this concept. If done well, it will help you earn new referral sources for your honesty and your ability to actually provide care that is necessary for many residents in your service area.
For the many agencies that have strong relationships with referral sources – these should never be taken for granted. These relationships should always be nurtured and strengthened. Nurturing doesn’t mean bribing – that should be clear – and for some agencies, the line between legal, ethical marketing and buying referral sources is blurred.
We’ve said this before and it is a good rule to follow for agencies – owners are the best marketers! Whether you have one marketing staff member or a team, the agency owner is still the best marketer. Having that ability to present yourself as someone who makes the final decision and taking the time to meet with a referral source makes a very good impression and will likely produce a referral or two.