A strong, informed referral network can be the holy grail for generating qualified new business leads. Here’s how one business owner built her network.
“I never wanted to be a business owner. It never occurred to me that I would be practising for myself,” recalls Becky Dyer, the founder of Sydney-based clinic BB Pilates + Physio.
As Becky explains, the growth of the business has been entirely organic, based around her desire to avoid commuting long distances or have long days taking her away from family events. Referrals have been instrumental in helping her achieve this work-life balance.
“I started my practice in my house and was just seeing a tiny [number] of patients. Then I did a letter mail-out to all the local obstetricians, and I said ‘Help me help your patients. Send me some’,” she says.
“I visited a bunch of them, and then I've got two doctors from the [local private hospital] that really refer me a lot of patients, but that grew and grew.
“Now I have two other physios working for me … the business went from the house to an actual rented space, and we have a full studio pilates facility [and] we also have our physiotherapy practice as well.”
Yet despite building a solid client base founded on the referrals of those key local doctors, Becky says she was surprised to discover an even stronger source of referrals has now developed on its own, brought about by a strong commitment to service as well as having her practice within a friendly suburban setting.
“I actually … ran a report on my booking software the other day to find out where we were getting all of our patients from, because I was thinking we need to go out and market to these doctors a bit more. I actually found out that our biggest referral is word of mouth,” she says.
“What that boils down to is all of our patients and people taking classes are super happy with us, but they are local people.
“There's a really great website called North Shore Mums, and it's very well-visited. I just had a patient that I treated this morning, she said: ‘You are on North Shore Mums all the time. Did you know that? ... Every time somebody asks for a physio, they're like, 'Becky Dyer, Becky Dyer’.”
Becky adds: “I did not actively place it. It's just the mummy grapevine, word of mouth. It's awesome!”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.