January 28th, 2010 | Scott Elkin, Technical Director

I am amazed at how elusive the most affluent source of business gets treated like dirt. Actually, lower than dirt.

We all know, almost to the point of being being banal, that referrals are the best types of clients. They usually spend more and they last longer. Moreover, they tend to be easier to service. Supposedly, we all know this and we learned this datum way before college. In fact it is a truism, that in reality, goes unnoticed as an immediate and inexpensive way to boom sales and profits.

Example: I am talking to a doctor who is actually one of the more savvy businessmen I have ever met. He can say words like “SEO”, “optimization” and even “Google ad sense.” He was talking to me to expand his marketing efforts to drive in NEW business. In fact, he was already doing well, but being a highly intelligent and driven individual, he wanted more. Love to work with those types.

I asked him, “How many clientele have you already serviced? How many do you have in your files?” He comes the scary part: Mr. smarty pants had no clue. I was shocked. Here we are talking about intense marketing strategy and he does absolutely ZERO to contact or activate past patients as a referral source to drive in the very NEW business that he was seeking. Here we were talking about newfangeled technolgy and there sat right in the middle of his clinic his biggest untapped resource for new sales and profits. I then found out he had an estimated 20,000 past patients that were not being contacted.

By the way, studies show that past clients are THREE times easier to sell than new people. The advice I gave him is what I will tell you.

1. Download all these names of past clientele/patients into a data base, with address, e-mail, etc.

2. Start mailing simple postcards, reminding them who you are, what you do and some type of “Call to action.” In other words, “If you call before the end of the month, we will knock off $75 on your next visit.”

3. In that same postcard, ask your past patients to join your fan club on Facebook and follow you on Twitter for upcoming specials.

4. Do this regularly, at least every quarter, but monthly is the most optimum.

Actively pursue your past client and not only will you see them again, you will see many more referrals.

Best, Edwin Dearborn