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How to Get Referrals Like Crazy, Be Seen as an Expert + Retain Patients for Life Without Marketing

Bold statement, huh? Basically all the things you want in your practice….anddd without marketing.

Possible? Definitely.

And I’ll share exactly how.

But first let me give you a quick-o background on what I’m talking about.

If every month it feels like a struggle just to get to a baseline “survival level” income or see growth in overall bookings, chances are your issue isn’t getting new patients. It’s retaining them.

Retention is the area of your practice that will have the greatest impact on your success.

If your re-booking and retention rates are low you are going to constantly be on the hamster wheel of hustling for new business. When you focus on increasing retention on the bookings you ALREADY have and turning those people into amazing referral sources not only would you grow your practice faster, you would do it with a lot less stress and worry.

So now – let’s talk about HOW you improve your retention so you get those referrals, keep those loyal clients and gain the expert status you deserve (yes you deserve it).

It’s simple: be exceptional.

Yep – Service the sh*t out of them. Be absolutely so damn exceptional people can’t help but gush about you to their friends, hang onto your every word and wait months to see if you (and that doesn’t just mean you know the latest research and cutting edge techniques).

It’s about becoming focused on getting people results like it’s your job…because it is.

Your job is not to “perform XYZ test or treatment” it is to help people achieve their specific health goals by using XYZ test or treatment. WHAT you do is just the vehicle for how you help people and understanding the ways in which you can truly help people beyond WHAT you do is how you stand out as an exceptional practitioner in your field, even if you’re just starting out.

Because the reality is, it’s actually way easier than it may seem to be an exceptional practitioner because most practitioners are not willing to put in the effort you are (just by the fact that you’re HERE shows me you’re willing to do what it takes for both you and your patients to live their best life).

Here is how you become an exceptional practitioner:


Most people are so used to being passed over quickly by the healthcare world when all they want is to have someone really hear them. Validate them.

HOW: LISTEN to people. Hear what they’re saying but also what they really mean and want. Take the time to understand your community whether by listening to them directly or doing some research.

ACTION: Ask pointed questions in your initial sessions that delve deeper than just the problem so you understand their true motivations. Questions like:

- “in what ways is it impacting your life”?

- “why is this important to you”?

- “on a scale of 1-10 how important is it that you achieve/stop XYZ”


Like they actually matter to you and aren’t just another patient in your roster or block in your schedule

HOW: Stay in touch with everyone. Aim to forget about no one (even if they have).

ACTION: Follow-up with past bookings whether it’s by blocking off specific time each week, scheduling automated follow-ups or connecting quarterly.

Other Helpful Resources:


That means make people feel confident that YOU are the right practitioner, that they made the right choice (because there’s a lot of practitioners out there) and that THEY can see positive changes in their health.

HOW: Show people what they need: results and outcomes they are hoping for (that you can help them achieve) and answer questions before they even think of them. This is where focusing on serving a specific community or condition becomes really important because you don’t need to know everything just the things YOUR people need.

ACTION: Use testimonials, reviews and case studies (where and however possible based on your board regulations) to build trust and confidence. Then based on what you learn about your community from #1 USE that to create regular content (via email, social media, in-clinic resources etc) that answers their common questions and debunks common beliefs.


With the process so they understand what’s going on and can take some ownership of their health. People like processes and plans. It helps them feel secure and like you’re moving in a forward direction.

HOW: Explain the process every step of the way. Tell people what’s next and what they need to do to continue on with the plan. 

ACTION: Create formalized treatment plans, protocols and programs so you can show people the step by step process you take them through.


You know this: when people are sick or in pain, they’re vulnerable, scared and often frustrated. Show them you are here to help them. Like they have a true mentor and guide in this health journey.

HOW: Go the extra mile. Find additional research or resources to keep people accountable, to make sure they stay on top of the process and get the results they want.

ACTION: Make a list of all the reasons your patients don’t get optimal results as well as myths, questions and beliefs (see #1). Answer them with regular emails or follow-ups.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

You’ll notice that to be exceptional, it’s not what you do or the approach you use.

It all comes down to how you make people FEEL.

And when you get focused on helping people get better results and how you make them feel, you’ll see your patient retention skyrocket, the referrals pour in and this whole practice building thing get a lot easier!




I'm Kate Matheson

Clinic owner and business coach helping you build a thriving, fully booked health + wellness practice without burning out.

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