ACA Blog

Deb Legge
Feb 07, 2011

Becoming A Preferred Referral Source In Your Community

One of the questions I get in my work as a Private Practice Mentor is “How do I make sure the referrals keep coming in?” Actually it is one of my favorite questions to answer. Those who know me know that I’m all about providing VALUE. I want to be a valuable resource to my clients (in my private practice and in my mentoring practice) and my customers (referral sources). So I answer that question with a question – “How can you become a valuable resource to your potential customers?

One way you can make sure the referrals keep coming in is to look past your goal of “more clients” and set your sites on a goal of being helpful and valuable to your referral sources. Keep looking for ways to provide helpful services or products or materials to your referral sources. Find ways to make them WANT to do business with you.

Try not to get caught up in a “scarcity” mindset. There are plenty of clients to go around. You just need to let folks know what you can do for them. Once they know what you can do and how you can do that in a way that is advantageous to them, you will get all of the referrals you need.

I remember a time when I wanted to become a preferred referral source to a primary care practice in town. I knew that they had thousands of patients and that mental health issues were seen every day by their practitioners. So, I called and set up a breakfast for the office.

Now, you might say that’s not unique or unusual. After all, pharmaceutical companies probably provide lunches for that practice most days of the week. But I made this breakfast a bit different.

I didn’t go there to tell them what I had to “sell” or even what I could do for them. I went there to speak to anyone who came into the room (including the office staff) and ask what they needed with regard to mental health services for their practice.

I left there with lots of ideas and I got back to them with lots of solutions for their concerns. Some of those solutions had to do with me, and some did not. In any case, I got plenty of referrals out of that mission. That was almost 20 years ago and they are still one of my greatest sources of referral.

Try it. Forget about what you need and find out what they need. You can check out my 3-step strategy for getting your foot in the door on my website blog. Check it out at

Deborah Legge is a counselor, an assistant professor, specializes in coaching counselors in private practice, and is the founder of

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1 Comment

  1. 1 stephanie 03 Dec
    I am new to the Galt, CA area. I am in charge of a Outpatient Drug and Alcohol treatment facility I would like to know how do I let the community and surrounding areas know we exist and are ready to accommodate their needs in this area.


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