It's All In The Beginning
Referral source relationships....
If you had to pick a key juncture in this (or any) relationship...what would it be?
For me the answer is simple....the beginning. What I've found in my years in this industry is this....the way any relationship starts is the way it usually continues....
That holds true for home care, and for your personal relationships. Imagine you meet someone new and begin talking. What you find is this person only talks about themselves.....they never ask about you....you are in the conversation merely to listen to all of their issues, dramas, and successes. If you do this a few times, you will probably find out that this is the way EVERY conversation and interaction will go.....and guess what, it's your fault. You have empowered and allowed this type of behavior...in essence you have made it ok by accepting it.
The same holds true for your referral relationships. If the relationship begins with the referral source calling all the shots, setting all the rules, and making all the determinations then that's what you are in for in the future. If you don't help establish some patterns of behavior in the relationship (such as, asking for referrals each time you see them, or getting access to them when you have critical information to share), then the relationship will never change and it will be your fault.
There are things on your side of the relationship that you do that will hurt you as well. If you begin ONLY be being social...."Hi, howya doing today?" or "What did you do this weekend" and there is no exchange of valuable information, that is what your referral source will come to expect from you....a professional friend....and will treat you as such. If you present yourself as a professional representative of your agency.....they will then see you that way. Many reps tell me "I want to build a relationship with them before I ask them for business".....
To that I say "What?!" The relationship IS about asking for business....it's not about making friends. Sure, you can be friendly with your contacts, but I would advise you to steer clear of relationships that span beyond the office in these cases. I have seen too many times when two people became so familiar with each other that they were never able to work together.
As yourself the next time you meet someone new (or even...someone you have known for years)...."What am I trying to accomplish with this relationship? Am I truly moving closer to that goal? What proofs do I have that I am?"
I see this challenge all the time with sales reps I work with and it can be a difficult pattern to break when it has been established for months or even years. The good news is....with proper coaching and guidance, you can reestablish many of the these relationships on solid footing and make them work better (read, more referrals) in the future. Yes, it will be hard work....but it's better having a solid list of referral sources than having a solid list of professional friends that never refer.
Take back control of your relationships....turn them into something of value for yourself, your agency, and your referral sources....and watch them change right before your eyes.