Where Do Your Referrals Come From?

Dec 13, 2022

Referrals are a wonderful way to grow your practice.  All too often though, the process of obtaining referrals, processing referrals, thanking referrals, and nurturing your best referral sources gets put on the back burner (or taken for granted).  It is easy to get too busy with the day-to-day operations of your practice or get overwhelmed with creating an efficient referral system.  It is easier to simply accept whatever referrals you get instead of actively seeking additional quality referrals.  If this is you, you are not alone, and this post will help you and your team kick it into high gear when it comes to attaining more referrals and growing your weight loss practice.

For those that know me, I am a numbers girl for sure!  In our practice, referrals account for about 60% of our patients who either have weight loss surgery or purchase one of our medical weight loss programs.  It is even higher for our retail sales.  The other 40% is from our organic marketing.  You may be saying – “But Karol, what about your paid advertising?” which would be an appropriate question.  However, truthfully, in 2020 we spent zero dollars on paid advertising and even with the pandemic and being closed for surgery for 2 months and the office reduced to being open only 2 days/week for 4 months, we experienced just a slight decrease in the volume of surgeries as well as program and product sales when compared to the prior year.  Now, there are many other things that went into that besides referrals (a real team effort), but we will continue with a referral focus for this post. 


Benefits of a Strong Referral Program

A strong referral program – one that your team happily manages – creates a continuous stream of potential new patients and additional stability/predictability in your business.  Even better is the fact that a referral program can be created with little cost and results in a win for everyone involved.

When properly set up, you benefit from a stream of new patients who specifically want to work with you.  Referring physicians benefit from a patient who appreciated being referred, experienced success, and improved their health.  Referring patients benefit from sharing their success (added accountability), sometimes a bit of notoriety and a reward of some type (not necessarily monetary) if that is an optional part of your referral program.


Best Referral Sources

Below are the most common patient referral sources for weight loss practices.  There are more but we will focus our attention on these four.  I encourage you to review your referral sources for new patients and identify what percentage of referrals come from each of these sources.  If you are not closely tracking this then guestimate what you believe the percentage to be (and then begin tracking this with every new patient). This will help guide your efforts for reinforcing current patterns, identifying opportunities for additional success, and creating your plan for increasing referrals to you and your practice.

  1. Your Patients (Current _______%):  A referral from a patient is one of the best compliments you can receive. They are happy, they trust you and they likely have other friends/family members that can benefit from your services and products as well. 
  2. Local Physicians/Health Systems (Current ________%): Most primary care practitioners do not have the time to focus on weight loss even though 2/3 or their patients need what you offer.  You want to be top of mind (and easy to refer to) when they are seeing these patients. Some of the best physician/physician group referrals for weight loss tend to come from primary care physicians, plastic surgeons, OB/GYN and orthopedics. Nurture these relationships and provide succinct feedback regarding their patients’ progress.
  3. Local Groups/Businesses (Current ________%):  Local groups and businesses are often looking for written content and presentations that would benefit their members/team.  This is the case for your local media outlets as well.  Create your ‘signature presentation’ and get yourself in front of their audience virtually or in person. 
  4. Online Reviews (Current ________%): The public is often wary of advertisements but dive deep into online reviews.  Having up-to-date reviews from your happy patients can make a big difference as your ideal patients are contemplating their options for weight loss services and products.

What other referral sources can you identify?  _____________________________________________




Referrals are a great way to grow your practice.  It is also rewarding for everyone involved and can be a lot of fun! Watch for next week's blog post for more tips on creating your own well-oiled referral system or download the complete report!  If you have questions, please reach out to me at [email protected]  

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