The Three Step Formula For Patient Referrals | Nitin 360

The Three Step Formula For Patient Referrals

In this special training, I’m going to teach you about the exact system for getting internal-patient referrals. For most private practices, patients represent an untapped avenue of getting new referrals, and this training will help you to take advantage of the ‘low hanging fruit’ in your practice, and the most powerful source of referrals – your existing patients.

You can get a lot of referrals from your existing patients by following 3 simple steps. 

  • The 1st step is conditioning existing patients for referrals
  • The 2nd step is precise timing of the referral request.
  • The 3rd step is the script you use when you ask for the referrals

If you want to increase referrals to your clinic:

  • Condition patients for referrals the moment they step into your clinic
 Don’t make it seem that referrals a bonus or an after-thought for patients. Simply tell patients, 
“We are a small business and we don’t do expensive advertising, we don’t do expensive marketing. We depend on referrals from valued patients like you to grow our practice. We are never too busy for your referrals, and the best way you can thank us is by referring your friends and family over to us”
In this manner, you condition patients for referrals right from the beginning, the moment they step into your clinic.

Prominently display your testimonials that tell everyone how happy patients have been with your clinic. You can do this in several ways. Use a digital photo frame displaying pictures of happy patients or a letter from a patient framed in your waiting room, so other patients who are waiting to see you are ‘pre-framed’ about your expertise even before they see you. Social proof from other individuals is more powerful than certifications and licenses, which don’t mean much to most patients.

So basically, make it seem to patients as if their referrals, their testimonials are expected. Condition patients  to refer to  give testimonials  right from the beginning, the moment they step into your clinic. You can do this in a subtle, yet authentic manner using some of these strategies.

  • The timing of the referral request
When is the best time to ask for a referral?

As soon as the patient has had a good treatment session, where they got over a lot of pain relief, when they feel better, when they feel stronger, when they actually tell you they feel an improvement in their condition, that’s the best time to ask patients to ask patients for referrals.

This is the time when you use the “patient referral script”.

  • The ‘referral script’ for your referrals
I already shared my main patient referral script above. I like the “I’m never too busy for your referrals” and the ” We are a small business and we don’t do expensive advertising, we depend on referrals from valued patients like you to grow our business” hooks.

Whether you realize it or not, patients assume you are too busy to see other patients, which kills your chances of patient referrals. On top of that, people instinctively respond to the word ‘depend’. When you know someone is depending on you for something, you are more likely to respond and take the necessary action so you don’t ‘let that person down’. In this case, when the patient knows that you are depending on him or her for referrals, he or she will take the necessary action (refer friends and family to you) as long as you have done a good job treating the patient.

So there you have it – the THREE step system to increase internal patients referrals.

Condition patients about the referrals from the beginning, make sure to time the referral request, and use the right script.

I hope you can start using these methods to grow your practice, to increase patients in your practice. I’m heading back to my office now to finish up the final aspects of my presentation for the sold-out Private Practice Retreat this weekend. Hope to see you in Vegas!


  • Matt says:

    You really know the ins and outs of private practice, Nitin, since this is happening to me. This 1 2 3 formula is also easy as A B C. I wish I could attend the Private Practice Retreat this weekend. Keep us informed of your upcoming events. Hopefully, I would be able to attend those.

  • Wilfred says:

    I hate asking favors from my patients because they might view it negatively. These 3-step formula you gave is a smooth quid pro quo. It's logical and effortless. Come to think of it, conditioning is really the crux of the matter here. It's like a simple behavior modification and I'm sure it will work. It's so simple that I wonder why I have not thought of that before.

    Thanks Nitin. You are always ahead of the pack when it come to strategies in growing our private practice.

  • Sam says:

    Common sense sometimes are not common.

    These 3 simple steps you discussed have always been there and yet nobody I know has put it as succinctly as you did.

    The steps are simple and direct that there is no room for errors.

    I'll immediately use them.

  • Byron says:

    This discussion is a bit of an awakening for me. My marketing efforts are always using advertising and asking doctors for referral.

    I just assume that since I provide good service and judging from the feedback of my patients, that they will unhesitatingly refer me to their friends and family.

    Now, I now better. To actively involve my patients as referral resources would be additional bost to my marketing approach.

    It really pays to follow experts like you.

  • Sue says:

    Hi Nitin, you always make perfect sense. I always ask for referrals from my best patients.
    But I hesitate in asking for referrals on other patients but I will try your three step formula!
    Thanks and keep those great ideas flowing.

  • Mar says:

    I just read one of your blogs about integrated approach of marketing such as strengthening our online presence through our website, emailmarketing and social networking.

    In today's advances in technology, we tend to focus on online marketing that we tend to lose sight of the significance of our personal interaction with patients.With this 3-step formula, this referral resources will be doubly significant.

    Thanks for reminding us Nitin that our patients are the lifeblood of our practice.

  • Nathan says:

    Hi there! I find it awkward to ask for referrals from my patients. It makes me feel like I am asking them for favors especially when they give out names. But as I watch your video, you make it sound so easy and so effortless. Like it is just part of your conversation. Maybe the problem is my mindset and I need to change it. I need to condition myself first and then I can start applying your three step formula.

    Thank you!

  • Tom says:

    Hi Nitin,

    This is a fantastic idea. Are you going to discuss this during the PPR2012 event?
    I always learn something new from your blogs. Keep those ideas coming!
    Thank you!

  • Melina Lopez says:

    Wonderful advices

  • vinod says:

    it really works

  • Joe says:

    Hi Nitin, I've always been a big fan of your site. Your videos are very helpful to those in need. I always refer client's practices to your website for a great resource on growing their practice. Thanks for all your great work.

  • […] you are at it, why not increase patient referrals by asking them to refer friends and family and educate patients about (integrated) services that […]

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