Hi folks, Steve, “The Hurricane” here, and for today’s episode of “A Drink With The Hurricane” we are going to talk about the importance of following up when you receive that first referral. So raise your glass and let’s cheers to your success. Cheers. 

This is “A Drink With The Hurricane”, the talk show discussing all things growing your home care business. This video is sponsored by Home Care Evolution, where we help home care agencies adapt to changing circumstances, transform their business so that they can thrive for years to come. 

So folks, this is a topic that I’ve spoken about so many times. So instead, what I’d like to do is turn this over to Ms. Meghan Smith, who is not only a coach but she’s a former client of mine. And Meghan is by far the master of following up on referrals. And she’s got three great tips to share with you. So take it away, Meghan.

Hey guys, my name is Meghan Smith and I’m one of the coaches with Hurricane Evolution. And today I wanna talk to you a little bit about the importance of following up. The follow up runs through so many aspects of your business. A lot of times when we hear the follow up, we think about referrals and yes, that is absolutely so important. And we’re gonna talk a little bit about that too, but I want you to realize that the follow up is so important through so many different stages in your business for so many different positions of your employees in your business. 

So starting off with referrals. Yes, oh my gosh. Yes. Did you finally get that first referral from one of your referral sources? That is great! Great job. Celebrate that, but we wanna make sure that we’re turning that first referral into consistent steady referrals. So I want you to keep something in mind first of all. When we get that first referral from that referral source, we are doing whatever we have to do to win that first case. This is your test. They typically don’t send the best referral as the first referral. So this is where we have to prove ourselves, okay? Do whatever you have to do to win that first referral and then follow up. 

In the instance that they send you someone who isn’t for you. Let’s say they were looking more for those skilled home health types of services. That’s okay. We can still take care of this. Don’t just tell the person that they sent to you like, “Oh sorry, we don’t do that. That goes beyond the line of what we can handle. We can’t do wound cleaning or administer medications. We can do reminders, whatever that is, but here’s a card, call this company.” No, we are making that direct referral. We’re gonna have the conversation. “Unfortunately, these are not the services that we provide but I know who does, is it okay if I give them a call and have them reach out to you directly?” And then you follow up with that home health that you sent them to or if it was more of a hospice referral, whatever that may be, follow that progress because you can still go back to that discharge planner and let them know what is going on with that particular patient that they sent you. This is also a time for re-education. “Unfortunately, we cannot do wound cleaning or changing of dressings or whatever that may have been. But here’s what I was able to do. I sent them to ABC Home Health. I spoke with Jenna and they are meeting today to bring this patient on board. I will be following up and I will let you know how the progress of that is going”, but it’s all in the follow up. 

Even if you do start the case, handwritten thank you notes. Guys, people don’t get handwritten anything anymore. It’s a small thing that makes a huge impact. And I really, really, really want you to keep this in mind, keep a stack of them in your car. It takes two minutes tops to write out a thank you. “Thank you so much for sending Mr. Smith to us.” Or you can just do initials for HIPAA purposes. “Look forward to working with you more in the future.”

 Here’s what I want you to keep in mind. This is part of what can set you apart from those competitors out there, not even as a competitor, but also for just the mass amount of marketers that walk in every day to these discharge planners to your director of nursing, to your administrators. They pretty much have a steady parade of people coming in and out of their office. I want them to remember you. It’s unfortunate, but we see a lot of times that people come in, they get that referral and then they disappear until there’s another referral. That follow up, letting them know what I am doing. My team is doing all of the things that we told you we would do to get you to send me this referral in the first place. Follow up. Reeducate. Never make the assumption that they know everything that you do. Reeducate. Ask specifically for those referrals that you’re looking for. And when you have the success with that first referral as you’re bringing in those updates, it is such a perfect opportunity to bridge that conversation into asking for your next referral. So for instance, “Jenna, thank you so much for sending Mr. Smith. He is doing really great. Our caregivers are ensuring that he is continuing to do those exercises so that he stays strong. He hasn’t had any issues with walking around the house. He’s doing great. Our caregiver is always right there beside him just to make sure, it’s wonderful. His progress is great and he just loves, loves, loves his caregivers.” This is going to start a conversation. “Oh, I’m so happy to hear that. Thank you so much for telling me, perfect.” This is your time to segway into asking for that next referral and being specific. 

So if it was fall prevention that you did your in service over to get this first referral, stick with that, okay? “Yeah, so I’m super happy we were able to help Mr. Smith. He really is such a pleasure. So Jenna, who else do you have that’s going to be discharging within the next week or two that you know is also at a risk for a fall that would benefit from these same services?” If you just brought in a positive update to that referral source about how well care is going for this fall risk patient that they sent you, why wouldn’t they want to continue sending you those fall risk patients? The follow up is key here. It’s how you build relationships. It’s how you establish that trust. There are so many marketers who come in and they say all the right things and then give up and don’t come back or make a mistake and not own up to it. The follow up is so, so, so important in this. 

Alright. We’ve all heard it. I’m sure most of us, if not all, have experienced it. We know that caregivers are tough to come by right now. So you’ve done all the things, adjusted the ads. Make sure that you are coming up on the first or at the very least the second page of a job search. You’re doing all of the right things. The applicants are finally starting to come in. That is fantastic, congratulations. I love that for you. But we’ve gotta make sure that we are converting those applicants into interviews and even better, into new employees. This comes with follow up as well. Okay, so days of technology. Been working with clients who are saying, “You know, I’m getting applicants in, I’m reaching out to them and they’re not responding.” Okay, so some of that we’re gonna expect, that’s just gonna go along with the territory. Okay, we know that some applicants are legitimately just applying for qualifications, maybe for unemployment or whatever that may be. But the other side of this, my first question is always, “How often are you checking the applicants coming in? And how quickly are you reaching out to them?” I did a search on Indeed with one of my clients the other day for a caregiver. And it returned over 2,500 returns for job searches that match the word caregiver. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of competition. If they’re applying with you, guaranteed they are applying with multiple agencies. So you’ve gotta be quick in this. Follow up on those postings that you’re putting out there. Make sure that we are reaching out to those applicants quickly. 

The second question that I ask is, “Did you reach out to them just through the job search engine?” So we’ll use Indeed as the example here. I know it has a chat feature. Guys, I’m gonna be real honest. Where I live, I love it. It’s peaceful. We’re off the beaten path. It comes with some challenges, such as the internet. There are times that my phone does not go off with notifications or if it does, it is not until way later, that’s one reason it could happen. We also have to understand that some of our caregivers are not as tech savvy. Some of our best caregivers were in their forties and fifties, okay? They’re not tech savvy. They may not have constant access to the app, to that device, whether it be a phone, computer, whatever or smartphone. Call them. Call them. Don’t just use that as your only form of communication, if you’re not getting a response back. Follow up, follow up, okay? Keep at this. Don’t let them slip away. Don’t take your time getting back to them and use all forms of communication that they have listed on their application. That may be three different ways. How bad do you want caregivers? Now, I’m not telling you to hire just anyone. Make sure that they’re qualified, but give that applicant a chance. 

Alright. We talked a little bit about referrals, just a few minutes ago. About getting that first referral. Well, to get that first referral, we need to do an inservice and during that inservice, we are asking for the buy-in. We are asking them to trust us, to have your words, that now that you know that I have a program specifically designed around these needs, that you’ll circle my name, when you have a patient who has a need for this particular service. You get that buy-in. They’re like, “Yes, yes, Meghan we love this. Stroke recovery care. That is a pain point for us. Once we discharge them home to keep up with those exercises. If you can help improve our outcomes with your program, we absolutely want to use you.” Yes, great job. Great job, getting the buy-in. But guys, that’s not where it stops. We have to follow up with these referral sources to make sure that that buy-in converts to actually getting the referral. It’s not, I wish it was, as easy as them going, “Yes, this is amazing.” Maybe that was one person. Maybe that was your administrator within that inservice who was telling you absolutely. We’re gonna make this happen. We’re using you, but your social worker wasn’t quite on board with that. Don’t just make the assumption that because that one individual said yes, we’re gonna use you, that that’s gonna translate to that referral. It can, but it takes the follow up. If you are still not getting referred, here is a little something to keep in your mind. That administrator doesn’t always know who, when, or where their social worker or discharge planner is referring to, if at all. Follow up. If you’ve got the buy in and you’re not getting the referrals, walk in, ask them. “Did you have any additional questions about our program? I know you were so excited to be able to take advantage of the stroke recovery care that we do. You know, I can’t show you that I can do all of these things until you send me that first referral, right?” And they’re going “Well, what do you mean? Have we not been referring to you?” “No, I haven’t received a referral yet.” And watch the magic unfold. 

I’ve legitimately had an administrator walk me over to the social worker’s office and ask, “Why are we not using Meghan? Why are we not taking advantage of the stroke recovery care program? Who do we have that is in our facility right now that has had a stroke? I want Meghan to be up to date with this.” It’s in the follow up guys. You are laying the groundwork for all of these things. You have to make sure that you’re following through with it. That in itself makes you a memorable marketer, makes you a memorable owner. It sounds simple. It sounds like, of course I need to follow up. It will blow your mind how many of these marketers don’t ever follow up. They feel like they’re not getting the referral as quickly as they want and they give up, they don’t come back. That’s what these accounts are used to. Don’t be the typical marketer. Be the marketer who follows up. 

Alright. Inquiries coming in. Your phone is starting to ring. You’ve got prospects. Maybe they’re not ready to start just yet. That’s okay. That is absolutely okay. Maybe they’re saying, “Oh, you know we really have to look at finances. Mom’s on a limited budget. We wanna make sure that this is gonna last her. We need to make decisions on if she’s going to end up going into the long term care side of a skilled nursing facility.” There are many, many reasons. Again, it’s in the follow up. We need to think about this. If I am searching for someone to care for one of my loved ones and I call five agencies and I tell them, “I’m not ready just yet, we’re just getting started. Mom hasn’t even moved down here yet.” Whatever that reason may be. There are so many agencies that are like, “Ah okay, they’ll call back if they decide to use us.” Wrong answer. This should be something that you follow up on as well. Put it as a task in your calendar. Check back with them in a week, check back with them in two weeks, make sure that you are telling them this, asking them this when you’re on the call with them. “Would it be okay if I reach out in two weeks just to see how progress is going?” and then follow through with that, put it on a task. Don’t forget about them. Because if there is one agency out of the five who calls me back to check up on me, maybe that’s every two weeks for, I don’t know, a month and a half. That’s who I’m going with. This is a person or agency that is making me feel like I am important to them. That they don’t just want my money, that they truly wanna take care of me and my loved one and whatever those needs are. This is also that you are creating a pipeline of future clients as well. Are all of them going to convert? No, but are there some? Yes. And is it worth it to follow up with each and every one of them so that you’re not taking the, “Yes, I wanna go with you” completely off the table never following up? It’s so important guys. Like I said, you’re doing all of the hard work. You’re laying the foundation. You’re putting in the time, you’re putting in the effort. Don’t let all of that go to waste, follow up, follow through and you will dominate your area. You’ve got this guys. Thank you so much, until next time. Bye.

Wow, Meghan, that was great information. Thank you so much. And so folks, all of you out there if you wanna grow your home care business and you’re struggling in any area of it, do yourself a favor, click the link below and register for the next homecare evolution conference so that we can give you three days of training on everything you need to blow away the competition.