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 practicing for myself,” recalls Becky Dyer, the founder of Sydney-based clinic BB Pilates + Physio.
Ms Dyer says the growth of her business has been entirely organic, based on her desire to avoid commuting long distances and have long workdays, 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 got two doctors from the [local private hospital] that referred 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.”
Despite building a solid client base from the referrals of those local doctors, Ms Dyer says she was surprised to discover an even stronger source of referrals.
“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’.”
Ms Dyer says the “mummy grapevine” has been “awesome” for her business.