How To Build Your Health Coaching Business With Referrals

April 25, 2018

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-entrepreneur and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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As a health coach, would you like to figure out how to get MDs to refer their patients to you? How would your coaching business change if you didn’t have to wonder where your next clients were coming from…because they were coming to you? It would change everything, right?

Well, there are three critical things you need to know before you can begin approaching MDs for referrals — all of which I discuss in my recent YouTube video, which you can check out below.

I’ve also put together a guide, a step-by-step blueprint that you can use right away, if you’re keen to get started getting referrals from MDs. To grab that free guide, click on the thumbnail below:

But for now, let’s take a look at the THREE CRUCIAL things you need to know in order to get MDs to refer their patients to you.

If you’re new around here, it may be helpful to know that I’m both a doctor (M.D.) and a coach, and a big part of what I do is support other health coaches on their journey to building a career and a life they love. And, having spent more than 18 years on the front lines of health care as a family physician, I have a unique perspective to help health coaches figure out how to make those connections and begin collaborating with doctors.

So if you’re interested in the idea of getting doctors to refer their patients to you, but have NO IDEA how to get it set up — keep reading, because I’m here to help.

(Or watch the video if you prefer to learn that way!)


Now, before you can even begin to think about approaching doctors for referrals, there are a few things you need to know.

Fact #1: Doctors need you.

This is a critical mindset flip you need to make. Most health coaches I work with have the mindset that they NEED doctors to help them. Worst-case-scenario, they sometimes approach doctors from a perspective of: please help me grow my business and get more clients. But the truth is: doctors need you. They may just not realize it yet.

Here’s the situation: it’s no secret that doctors are run off their feet trying to meet patient demand. Many doctors have long waiting lists, chock-full schedules, and packed waiting rooms. They have precious little time with patients. They CERTAINLY don’t have enough time to counsel patients on preventive and lifestyle issues with their patients. And that’s if they even HAVE the skills and knowledge in those issues — which, I have to say, many don’t.

At the same time, it’s no secret that chronic illnesses are on the rise. Preventable illnesses, like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. People are struggling more than ever to lose weight, manage their stress, and find true wellness. So we’ve got frazzled doctors and frustrated patients with unmet needs.

Which is exactly where you, the health coach, comes in.

If you can come in and offload some of the burden from doctors, some of them will be all over that. If they can confidently hand some of their patients over to you, the ones who need more individualized support and coaching to lose weight, work on their digestive issues, manage their chronic migraines…whatever it is…that is a win-win-win for everyone.

So it sounds great, but this leads me directly into the NEXT important thing you need to know, which is…

Fact #2: Doctors have no idea who you are.

Truth is, most doctors have no idea you exist–they haven’t heard of health coaching, or if they have, they won’t really understand what a health coach is. Remember, health coaching is a relatively new profession, and unless a doctor has had direct contact with a health coach–perhaps through a personal contact, a friend, or MAYBE if they have a personal interest in the wellness industry, it is likely that they don’t have any real understanding–or awareness–of health coaches.

So it’s up to you to help them understand. Explaining what a health coach is, clearly, concisely, and confidently, is an important part of the process of collaborating with doctors.

But…as you get ready to start approaching doctors, as you’re putting together your package and your pitch, there’s another thing it’s important to keep in mind:

Fact #3: A “YES” is unlikely at the beginning.

I want you to bear in mind that it’s unlikely you’ll get a positive response after your first point of contact. Just like ANYTHING that has to do with marketing, a person has to “know, like, and trust” you before they would consider buying anything from you. And although a doctor isn’t “buying” anything from you per se, they ARE entrusting you with their patients, if you’re looking to set up referrals. And, like I said, if they don’t even know what a health coach does, at the beginning, it’s unlikely that they’re going to jump at your offer of collaboration right off the bat.

But that’s okay. Because you are going to BUILD that relationship. Continue to reach out, provide value, nurture the connection…until they have a solid understanding of how you can help them, and what you can do for their patients.

I say this because I see a lot of coaches give up after a single attempt. And that’s sad, because I really feel like that’s giving up too soon. You need to thicken up that skin and try again.

Okay, so let’s recap.

Three things that are crucial to keep in mind:

  1. Doctors need you (even if they don’t realize it).
  2. Most doctors have no understanding of the role a health coach can play.
  3. Don’t expect a “YES” right away.

Now, the things I’ve talked about in this video are just the tip of the iceberg, of course. There’s an art to approaching doctors with a view to collaborating with them…but there is so much benefit — not just for your business, but for doctors, AND –most importantly perhaps– for the people you’re in a position to help.

Like I said above, if you’re keen to learn more about this strategy, to really dig into how to make this work, I’ve created a free guide that unpacks this topic even more, walking you stepwise through what you need to do if you want to get referrals from MDs. Just go ahead and click on the thumbnail below to grab that PDF guide for free!



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