These past couple of weeks, I have been sharing pictures with you in regards to conditions of the Nails and Skin on the Feet.  I hope they have helped you recognize the need to familiarize yourself with what you may encounter on a daily basis.  Remember, the Nail Technician “we” are many times the first responders.

However, a question I get asked many times and speak about in almost all my classes is “how do I form a partnership with a Dr. to refer to?”  this is a great question and not as easy as it sounds (I’m being honest here).  Finding that Dr. is challenging, it takes time and perseverance and it takes persistance.

The first thing you want to do, is find a group of Dr’s you “want” to do business with.  I recommend you seek out a Podiatrist or Medically licensed Pedologist.  I also recommend you seek out a Dermatologist and a Medical Dr or Internist.  All three of these Professions will be helpful associates.

The question is how do you find these Dr’s.  Referral is the best practice.  Kinda ironic huh?  But seriously, ask your clients, your family and your friends first.  Second, look in the newspaper, read local medical blogs, ask anyone you know involved in the Medical field.

Once you’ve obtained a list of names, do your research.  Google their names and see what comes up.  Go to their website and look at reviews.  You have to feel confident the Dr. you are referring to has great credentials and happy clients.

Once you have your three names, it’s time now to “ask” for their referrals.

My first recommendation is a letter.  Dr’s will not answer your phone call. A letter is the best first approach outside of scheduling an appointment with them…..and that in itself is not a bad idea.

I have a sample letter i’m happy to share, but the one thing to remember about Dr’s is their Ego!  Telling them they are GREAT, is a good way to approach them.

They also don’t really give a hoot about what your qualifications are.  It can make them feel intimidated.  You don’t want them to feel like you are better then them nor that you plan to take all their business away.

Therefore, the best approach is to tell them what you seek, by letting them know upfront……you NEVER want to go out of the limits of your license or as they would say “out of your scope of practice”  Which, is why you NEED them.

After you have stroked their ego and made your reasons clear, then you can state your qualifications.  Keep it simple and you don’t have to list the entire kitchen sink.  Also, express to them it is because of your qualifications or education that you recognize the need and the importance of a referral connection.

Finally, invite them into your facility.  Offering a Pedicure is the best approach.  However, you best make sure your sanitary procedures are over par and you are confident with the work you do.  Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.  It doesn’t hurt either, to invite their staff for a service from your facility as well.

Now you have the letter complete, what do you do?  Mail it, fax it, email it….all of the above.  Several times!  That’s right……Several times is what it will take before you get a response.  You have to work through the Receptionist, the Office manager, the Nurse Practitioner and the Wife or Husband.  It takes many times and different venues before you may even be acknowledged.  Follow up with a phone call if necessary, but stay persistent and persevere.

Am I trying to scare you away?  Absolutely not.  I’m being realistic.  I’ve been in this industry a long time.  If I were to start a Salon again, finding Dr. referrals would happen before I even open.  In this day and age, it’s a necessity…..not a luxury.

Next week we’ll talk about referral slips and how the referral process actually works.

Feel free to email me for my recommendation on how to word a Dr. Referral seeking letter!  cj@centreforbeauty.com