I spend quite a bit of time on beginning to build referral sources in my discussion "My 5 Best Tips" but I couldn't resist starting the discussion this week. I really mean it when I say that you are making friends for your practice. You will find that as you build these friendships and relationships with other professionals, that you will often refer people to them also. I will start with the obvious: physicians: general practice, family, pediatricians, neurologists, ENT's, and then depending on your target market even more specialists such as pulmonologists, and psychiatrists. You will see that your list could be very specific or very general.

One special note here: don't forget the dentists. Our practice has found that we have made a really good friend with our area pediatric dentist. We now are referring back and forth regularly. Next are the professionals I consider peers such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, counselors, psychologists, Dyslexia specialists and again, depending on your market, this could expand to agencies that might be mutual resources for your patient targets.

I would also add public schools. We get referrals from public school SLP's and other professionals in the public school domain. Be sure to also contact community colleges and universities that may not have a Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. Contacts here would be the speech and drama departments and also the tutoring programs at the college level.

The next level to consider are community groups. Think of your target patient group and generate this list to go with your group. For example, if you are going to focus on Pediatrics go for mother's groups, Autism support groups, Down Syndrome support groups, preschools, mothers' day out programs, and private schools.

Introducing yourself to make these new friends can be inexpensive and general so start out simple and then fine tune later. Networking can be very fun and invigorating but don't get ahead of yourself if you are not ready to see patients yet. Your malpractice insurance needs to be in place before that happens along with your business planning.

Get your list going and you will be amazed at how quickly it starts to add up!

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