Drive Your Success with Effective Networking!
Lets face it, like any successful business, the more people you meet, the bigger your potential pool of patients. The keys to being rewarded from your networking efforts are making sure your time and energy actually produce results. And in practice this ultimately means traffic to your office.
Here are some things I have found over the years really benefit private practices the most.
Rule Number One: always be able to give an effective 30-second “elevator speech” (who-what where-this is how I can help you). You need to be able to quickly and succinctly state why someone should invest time with you, first.
Now, it makes no difference if this is in person, on the phone or on-line. You must look the part, express energy, and communicate. Effective, concise communication takes work, and time to develop. It can also take thick skin.
Not everyone will respond in kind to you and your services. That’s quite all right. Just never stop pushing yourself forward, or dwell on the negative.
I think it was Jeffrey Lent the marketing guru who called this unabashed self-promotion.
Remember, this is a who-you-know business as much as any other.
I am also reminded of an associate doctor I briefly employed who literally thought he would graduate as a doctor, and automatically the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ’ would magically appear. Those were his words. Of course, the pot of gold is a huge practice, just for having a graduate degree, with patients thinking he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. This is not the reality of private practice! With rare exception, you have to continuously move yourself to the pot of gold, one step at a time before you can take from it.
When you behave and express yourself in this way professionally and effectively, it gets noticed. People will want to have their friends, family and co-workers meet you too. Otherwise, from another persons perspective you might be seen, especially by busy people as a time-trap or worse yet a complete waste of time.
Harsh words? You bet. But ignore this time-tested advice at your own peril.
Make sure you understand these most important principles as the primary rules to remember. Refine and sharpen your skill presenting your 30 second speech. Be polite. Be professional and evermore effective as time passes.
The next principle is that of reciprocity. Once rapport with someone else is established, there should be an exchange of materials. Business cards, URLs, flyers, etc.
Now admittedly, some relationships will take time to nurture, but with practice and these types of business contacts, mutual sharing helps get the most results. Always be discrete and professional, especially with other professionals, or if you should encounter someone not quite on top of their game that day.
The next question you’ve got to answer is what about participating in business and networking groups? This is a decision you need to make early on, because most doctors will be invited to join one or more. In my experience, early in practice they can be very valuable. If there are lots of people moving through, it might be a good idea to be there every meeting. Just be very careful of accepting an officer’s post because the time involvement can be way more than you ever imagined.
The next area receiving lots of attention is Social or on-line networking. If you question its effectiveness, just look at the 2016 USA Presidential Election. The Trump and Clinton camps are everywhere, penetrating Facebook, Twitter and tons of sponsored on and offline ads.
Social networking is something you should be engaged in. The rules are surprisingly similar to face-to-face networking. Be polite, time effective and professional. Just realize right upfront that your reach on-line is enormous, potentially worldwide and gives you tremendous exposure to just about anyone. With all the social networking you may do, whether its Twitter, and Facebook most especially, it’s very important to be real though. Share something of yourself. Let potential patients see you are human. Post some neat photos too. Invite patients to join you too.
Do this right, post things of value, such as a linked blog post, and you are building your network, and your practice, on-line.
One area that I really think doctors are grossly under-utilizing is using Linkedin. I encourage anyone reading this to get your Linkedin account up, and get linked to our and your patients networks ASAP. Literally, you could be introduced to hundreds of potential patients in very short order.
Herein lies the real benefit of social networking and your practice. Access to enormous numbers of people, and if your good, viral marketing at its finest!
This can have huge benefits in terms of information sharing, and most especially practice building. I have already seen cross professional referrals, from professionals who are also patients. And this was from just a few initial professional contacts we started with.
Hopefully from this brief introduction you recognize how powerful networking can be. If you’re late to the social networking arena, so be it. But, you can change it all within a couple of hours.
So, what are you waiting for?
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Have a great day!