How can I increase my referrals?

What can I expect from Zencare?

We specialize in creating beautiful, professional online presences for outstanding clinicians and helping you reaching prospective clients who are searching online.

Therapists who take insurance receive between 30 - 50 referrals per year, with the exact number varying based on location, specialties, populations treated, availability, and accepted insurances. Therapists who do not accept insurances typically have fewer, but more profitable referrals. Most Zencare referrals turn into long-term clients because clients are empowered to choose the right provider for them; for the majority of Zencare clinicians, the estimated return on investment ranges from $6,000 to $20,000 per year. If you receive only two client referrals and see both for 8 sessions, you will have already doubled your annual investment while seeing clients who are the right fit for your practice.

Please remember, however, that by nature, referrals ebb and flow. We find that some clinicians receive a flood of referrals one month and then referrals slow the next month, for no identifiable reason.

What can I do?

There is a lot you can do to make the most out of your Zencare profile. Here are some tips for increasing referrals through your page.

  • Share your profile with referral agents so they know you have an online presence: Have you shared your profile with the 20 colleagues you used to work with at the hospital, university, or agency? Is your Zencare link in your email signature, business card, and/or personal website? If the people who want to refer to you know that you have an online presence, they will be more likely to share your link with prospective clients and those clients will be more inclined to reach out to you as informed consumers.
  • Share your profile to increase SEO: Google search rankings (also known as 'search engine optimization,' or SEO) depend heavily on the number of page views your page receives. Having more visitors to your page helps your page move up on search rankings!
  • Let the Zencare community know that you are in private practice: Feel free to email the Zencare listserv,, to reach other Zencare clinicians in private practice. Make sure to highlight your specialty so people know who to refer to you (and how you are different from their practice)!
  • Increase your phone consultation times: If you are only offering one hour time slots for phone consultations, it may help to add a morning and evening time. Feel free to request this in your availability update here.

We have also learned that sometimes, clinicians receive referrals through Zencare but they don't turn into long-term clients. Here are some tips on ensuring your clients have a great experience with you and you're able to build a client base:

  • Ace your phone consults: Read more about how to leave a lasting impact on clients from that first phone call with them here.
  • Lower cancellation and no-show rates: Confirm appointments with clients after your phone consult by text or email, and again 24 hours before the appointment.
  • Give your clients a great experience: It goes without saying that word-of-mouth is a fantastic way to grow your practice, especially coupled with a great online presence to reach a different audience and help prospective clients be informed consumers. Clients who have great experiences will tell their friends and family members, as well as their psychiatrist, hospital case manager, and/or university referral coordinator. Make sure every client feels heard and understood, and every referral agent feel appreciated for working with you.

Final thoughts

Finally, time is a funny thing and we receive emails from therapists who ask about low referral numbers that month when actually, they received a handful of referrals, which would, in total, amount to hundreds of dollars in session fees. It's easy to feel a sense of panic (to use a psychology term, "catastrophizing") when you have a slow period of even a week, but it's important to keep things in perspective.

If you are a private pay only clinician, we understand how that can affect referral numbers; but we also understand you're also private pay only for a reason -- you're good at what you do and offer a unique service!

We're happy to work with you to review your profile, whether to check your referral numbers together or to revisit your video or professional statement. Please feel free to reach out to us at!