Want LTC Referral Relationships With Agents? Follow The Etiquette
To become a trusted long term care specialist who receives referrals from primary agents, a specialist needs to follow some very good rules of relationships with referring agents. In the profession, this is termed the “referring etiquette.”
If there is anything I have learned about long term care insurance, it is that although agents always should include discussion of care needs with their clients, many dont recognize that they should stop at the discussion of need and do a hand-off to a trusted LTC specialist.
What does this mean? To make a comparison, if your doctor, upon examining you, discovers you have a problem that is out of his or her field, the ethics of patient management indicate that the doctor would refer the patient to a specialist. The specialist, in turn, would practice good referral etiquette.
Lets examine what good referral etiquette looks like. First and foremost, the specialist would keep the referring doctor informed of the progress of the patient management. While doing this, the specialist would take the opportunity to thank the referring doctor for the referral.
The specialist also should make a point to support the primary doctor-patient relationshipthat is, make the patient feel good about that relationship. People like to be reassured that their decisions have been good ones.
The most important factor in this good referral etiquette among doctors, however, is that the specialist sends the patient back to the primary doctor once the referring problem has been managed.
Even if the specialist could manage another small problem that the patient hassay, a problem of a different naturethe specialist should not provide this service without first obtaining the advice and consent of the referring physician.
Without following these simple rules, the specialist will have no patient basebecause the primary care doctors will generally not make referrals to such a specialist.
How does this translate into recognition of the referring relationship between the long term care insurance specialist and the referring agent? The question comes up, because financial services agents are often uncertain about the results of referring to a specialist in the same financial field.