A Patient Advocate's View

The Rewards of Networking

My current client was referred to me by someone I only met once. I don’t know how to thank her, because I never had her card and I didn’t meet her at any official networking site or event. I met her through a client, who was using both of our services. It was just a chance meeting, actually more of an introduction, like “Caryn, this is so and so, so and so this is Caryn.” You can imagine my surprise when I got a call a week later saying that this person had highly recommended me.

I was more than surprised. I was stunned, since I spend hours every day networking online and at meetings and events.

This led me to wonder if other people I know from my networking were getting business from their efforts. I decided to put out a blast asking people if they would be interested in talking about networking. Here are the questions I asked:

1. Do you have occasions to refer clients to other professionals?

2. How do you include referrals in your regular work process?

3. How do you decide which referrals are appropriate for which client?

4. Do you get referrals from other professionals in return?

I thought this might make a good start for a series for the Patient Advocate Institute, where I write to help people who are learning to become Patient Advocates.

The first to answer me was Robert Israel, CLU, founder of Long Island Planning Group. “Making a decision about long term care planning is very difficult. Clients need to consult with attorneys, tax accountants, pension advisors and others. I am often asked for a referral to one or more professionals. I’ve developed a reputation as someone who is willing to answer questions, so most of my referrals come from current clients.” Bob explained in a phone conversation, “I go to networking events, so that I can keep up to date with my referral sources at least once a month.” Bob also has a Refer a Client button on his website.

Ellen Makofsky has been named among the Top 50 Women Superlawyers in the New York-Metro area. She invited me to her office, where we talked about the benefits of belonging to the Senior Umbrella Network, where I am a member and Ellen is President of the Board. Both of us agreed that SUN is one of the best networking groups around because the membership is so diverse and the directory is a tremendous resource. She made a statement that really brought home to me how attorney’s work with their clients. “Every client is unique. At Raskin & Makofsky, LLP, we take the time to get to know our clients and craft a strategy that best suits them. Our discussions with clients must include what they have done in every aspect of their lives and what they hope to achieve in their planning for the future. Our attorneys and staff believe that our duties go beyond tending to our clients’ legal needs to providing them with resources and referrals when necessary.”

David Taub of White Glove Consulting replied by email. “Yes, there are times that I would refer clients to other professionals, whether it be a home care agency, nursing home, assisted living facility or elder law attorney. Based on the situation of my client I determine what other services they are in need of or can benefit from and I would either give them that professionals contact information or complete a referral form and send it to the professional myself. Because of what we do and the type of services we provide, we do have dealings with other professionals on a daily basis and we cross reference clients to each other. We pretty much equally share our referrals with whomever we work together with but if there is a client with a specific situation that will benefit more from one professional over the other (whatever the reason may be) then we will refer them to the more beneficial one.
Our business does get referrals from other professionals as well. We establish referral sources by networking, and marketing our services to professionals that can benefit from them. After we send/receive a 1st referral to/from a professional or company and they experience the real benefit in working together with us, they usually become an established referral source.”

I’ve known Ron Fatoullah, Managing Partner of Ronald Fatoullah and Associates for many years. Most of what I know about elder law comes from Ron’s newsletters and the times I’ve heard him speak. He is a sponsor of Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn and until recently, I was a Board Member and still manage their website. We talked in his office in Great Neck. “We were never a jack of all trades. Our firm was founded as an elder law practice, before there was a term elder law.” Ron explained how he talks to clients, “Our initial consultation is over an hour and a half to two hours. We have to read between the lines of what the client is trying to tell us. We ask the client, would it help you to speak to an expert? We routinely refer to Patient Advocates, Geriatric Care Managers and Home Care Agencies to help people with their health care needs.” Ron shared that most of his referrals came from the lectures he gave, especially to other attorneys and to associations such as for nursing home administrators. “Professionals are comforted by knowing that they can get help with questions they have about their clients needs, especially about complicated issues like Medicaid Planning.”

Next, we will ask clients if they believe they received appropriate referrals and how satisfied they are with the referrals they have gotten.

Caryn Isaacs, Patient Advocate

Robert Israel, Long Island Planning Group
300 JerichoQuandrangle West, Suite 310
Jericho, NY 11753

Ellen G. Makofsky, Esq
Raskin & Makofsky, LLP
600 Old Country Road Suite 444
Garden City, NY 11530-2009
Phone: (516) 228-6522

David Taub
White Glove Consulting
1222 Avenue M Suite 409
Brooklyn, NY 11230
P. 718-878-3666 ext. 100

Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq
Ronald A Fatoullah and Associates
60 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 507
Great Neck, New York 11021
Telephone: 516-466-4422

December 12, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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