Teach Your practice to market itself with a referral based system

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Teaching Your Practice to Market Itself

Some surgeons with a “one and done” mindset spend a fortune advertising for new patients.

And their staff spends immense amounts of time working on those “leads” to find the one in a million patient who is ready to move forward with surgery.

Other surgeons realize it’s smarter, easier, cheaper, and faster to create a well-structured patient experience.

They connect with their patients, who eagerly refer them to their friends and families, that also become their patients.

Teaching Your Practice to Market Itself With a Referral Based System


There is no one way to grow a successful practice; however, setting up a referral based system helps your practice to market itself.

That way, you energize your staff, attract more of your ideal patients, deepen your patients’ engagement with you and solidify your own commitment to build a practice worth talking about.

Referred Patients = Steadily-Growing Practice

The efficiency and success of your practice can be gauged by one simple factor –
how many of your patients refer you to
other people.

If you don’t know the answer, pull a “revenues by referral source report” 

I have surveyed top cosmetic practices all over the US, and the average mature practice gets 45% – 70% of its revenues from referrals.

That’s good to know and tells you where to spend your time, money, and efforts proportionate to external advertising efforts.

And, if your percentage is less than 45%, that means you spend a lot more time, money, and effort attracting new patients to replace these “one and done” patients who are NOT bragging about you.

But here’s what we know… referred prospective patients are more likely to convert to paid procedures and are more willing to pay a premium for the added social proof of a referral.

That leads to lower advertising costs and labor costs since these are highly qualified leads that convert, leading to increased staff satisfaction and morale.

Here are the 9 key strategies to help you grow your referral-based practice:

Develop a Referral Mindset

Everything starts with YOU. Your staff treats your patients the same way you treat your staff. And, if you have a customer service mentality, then your team will likely adopt one as well.

Consider how your everyday behavior might affect your practice’s ability to generate referrals and adopt this mindset, “The surgeon takes care of the staff, the staff takes care of the patients, the patients take care of the practice”.

Create A ”Braggable” Service

This starts with the right team, and everyone in your practice should be a part of  customer service. This idea must be a part of everything you and your staff do, think, and say. 

Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill

You can train someone to do the tasks required; however, you can’t train them to be naturally friendly, kind, and compassionate. Hire people with these innate characteristics and people skills.

Continual, Never-Ending Improvement

Regularly meet with your staff to remind them of your vision and the standards of behavior you expect.

You must show them how important customer service is to your practice’s success. Have them read your reviews, both good and bad, review before/after photos of great results and make a big deal out of “thank you” gifts, cards, reviews and social media posts you get from your happy patients.

Adapt a “Give to Get” Mentality

Focus on the question, “How can we serve our patients?” This question makes your mind think of how you can add value to your patients’ lives, and that changes everything. Find ways to empower your team to create, deliver, mend, and extend the total patient experience.

Exceed Expectations

Identify every potential touch point of a patient’s journey with your practice. Do a patient walkthrough with one staff person focused on visual, another on smell, a third on auditory, and a fourth on kinesthetics. Then, brainstorm how to make the patient’s experience even better.

Surprise & Delight

Everyone loves surprises (at least the good ones). So, how could you make them a part of your practice?

For example, when a patient puts down their deposit for surgery, thank them with a “goody bag” full of pre-surgery products to help with scarring and/or faster recovery.

Be Different to Stand Out

Look at what your competitors are doing and do the opposite. Examples include:
“No wait or Starbucks is on us,” “We want you happy” guarantee, give patients the morphed computer printouts, and anything else you can think of that would differentiate you.

Get Social to Get Referrals

You should highlight all your efforts above on social media since this is engaging
and authentic content worth sharing and can grow your reach exponentially.

Interact with your audience and encourage them to participate by asking them questions, getting feedback, and inviting them to share their thoughts and selfies!

Use these strategies to set up a systematic approach to generate word-of-mouth referrals, so your cosmetic patients voluntarily participate in your marketing and attract new patients for your practice.

Get ready-made “Swipe and Deploy” files from the Cosmetic Practice Vault to get thousands of referred patients for your practice who are eager to say “Yes” to you!

Cosmetic Practice Vault







catherine-maley-book- 1


A Complete Guide to Understanding Your Aesthetic Patient and Growing Your Aesthetic Practice. Catherine Maley, MBA went straight to the aesthetic patient to get the answers you need to succeed with your patients.


Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.

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