One of the things therapists and counselors new to private practice want to know, is “how many referral sources do I need to have to fill my practice?”

People are often under the impression they need to be knocking on doors endlessly, cold-calling, passing out hundreds or even thousands of brochures in order to fill their practice. 

Here’s the thing, if you have dedicated clients who attend therapy regularly (i.e. every week or every second week), you really only need about 30-35 clients on your caseload in order to have a full practice. 

Assuming you only need 30-35 clients, why do you need dozens of referral sources and hundreds or thousands of pamphlets and flyers? 

The short answer … you don’t!

Start with what’s working

You really only need ONE good referral source to get your practice going, and 2 or 3 (okay, maybe 4) to fill and maintain it. If you have 3 great referral sources, and they each send you 5 clients, that’s 15 already!

Once you get established and start seeing clients, your current and former clients will automatically become a word-of-mouth referral source for you (provided you do a good job!). 

Something I share with everyone I mentor is, before you start branching out and looking for new referral sources, make sure you nurture the referral sources you have!

Ideally, you are tracking every new client who comes into your practice and asking them how they found you. Chances are, that it will be a shortlist of only 3 or 4 places where the majority of your clients come from. 

Let’s say, that after surveying 10 new clients, they tell you that they found you through Psychology Today, your website, a colleague of yours, and your chiropractor whose office you left some business cards after your last visit. 

Most people in this situation would now start looking elsewhere for new referral sources … big mistake!!! If your Psychology Today ad, your website, your colleague and your chiropractor are working for you – START THERE! 

Why re-invent the wheel when you can just oil the system and make it work more efficiently for you? 

Invest in quality lead sources

Invest some time and energy (and possibly a bit of money) into making sure you have the BEST Psychology Today ad, including professional photos, a great website, and well-written copy. (Check out my recent article on making your Psychology Today profile work for you, here).

As for your colleague and your chiropractor, return the favor! Start sending referrals to them as well, take them out for lunch and let them know how much you appreciate the referral!

Investing in sources that are already working for you is a better use of your time, money, and energy than following cold leads to try and create new sources. Not that you can’t do that or that it doesn’t work, it just takes a lot more effort!

For more ideas on marketing and getting new clients, you can read my article on how to get your first 10 clients here.

If you’d like personalized support for your business, you can book a free 20-minute business mentorship consultation here.

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