Referral Source Management



E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2013

You’ve worked hard to get colleagues and other professionals to refer patients to you, but are they continuing to do so? If yes, congratulations. If not, how well are you managing these relationships? They are vital to the long term success of your practice, so take care to manage them well.

  • Identify the Source of Your Referrals

Though it seems obvious, take time to systematically track how business is finding its way to you. Don’t just leave it to chance or to your memory to ask patients how they were referred to you. Request this information in your pre-screening contact — even if you determine that the patient needs to be referred on to someone else. Ask again on one of your intake forms and obtain consent to follow-up — especially when the patient has been sent to you for consultation or collateral services.

  • Say “Thanks!”

Many otherwise well-mannered practitioners forget basic etiquette and neglect to thank referral sources for recommending patients to them. This is a recipe for failure. Your colleagues and other professionals have many practitioners they can refer patients to, so take the time to express your gratitude. This doesn’t mean that you must make direct contact or play telephone tag for weeks. A phone message will do. Or send a letter or handwritten thank you on your practice note cards. Some referral sources prefer to receive brief feedback on your contact with the patient. Just be sure you have gotten the patient’s signed consent. And, though less personal, generic “Thank You for Your Referral” post cards can work to express appreciation when there are no “fill in patient name” blanks since such mail will not be confidential. But be sure to use some portion of the card to handwrite a note and your signature. Whatever choice works best for you, just do it. There’s no such thing as too much thanking.

  • Add Value

Over the course of time, you will note trends in the patterns of referrals you receive. Make it your routine to evaluate these patterns to confirm steady trends. Use the information to increase your understanding of the needs of your referral sources and send solutions-oriented messages, fact sheets, newsletters, patient education tools, or other material that showcases your expertise. This helps your referral sources understand your practice better and how you help the people they send to you.

Referrals are the lifeblood of your business. Remember your manners and express appreciation to those who help you keep your doors open.

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About the Author:

Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,

The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at or call 954.797.9766.

E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317

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