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Tools for Tracking Your Client Sources

by Corporate Relations and Business Strategy Staff

This article offers guidance for tracking your client sources, concluding with tools you may download to assist with this important process.

Keeping track of how clients reach your practice provides vital data that can help guide marketing efforts to help you build a successful practice. A lot depends on your primary source(s) of clients:

  • If most of your referrals come via recommendations from current or former clients, you may want to find ways to facilitate those connections — such as continued contact with clients through print or electronic newsletters and making your promotional materials easily accessible by placing them in your waiting room. 

  • If your referral stream comes primarily from colleagues or other professionals, make sure you keep in regular contact with those sources. 

  • If you have placed advertisements in local media, handed out practice brochures, or taken out a listing in the yellow pages or other directory, be sure to keep track of which ones get results.

Similarly, identify any potential referral streams you are not tapping into — such as contacts made through public speaking engagements, community involvement or professional associations. Consider bolstering your efforts in those areas.

Some Tips on Tracking

A few more tips to help you track and manage your referrals effectively:
  • During your initial contact with new clients, collect data about how they found out about you. This can be as simple as adding one question to your intake form or just asking. 

  • Organize and summarize the data. You can track this manually, or use practice management software, a database or a spreadsheet to automate the process. This summary will be a valuable tool when you are working on your business plan, evaluating and refining your marketing efforts or creating an advertising plan to help you reach new clients who could benefit from your services.

  • Review your overall referral patterns. If more than 20 percent of your referrals come from one category, make sure you are actively working to build and maintain this source. You might also consider diversifying your referral streams to protect yourself from any major changes that could adversely affect your revenues.

Tools You Can Use

Download the following tool to track your referrals. You can print the pdf version and use it to keep a handwritten record of your referral sources, or you can download the Excel version, which will automatically calculate and graph the percentages for each category.

The content of these tools is based in part on an earlier version of this material contained in the APA Practice Directorate publication, "Business strategies for a caring profession."

Date created: 2005