You’ve got a real live potential new client on the phone… you dive right in and begin asking questions, letting them answer, listening carefully, taking copious notes… a good start, right?
The potential new client seems very ready to speak with you. He seems to know just how to answer your questions. He seems pretty savvy about what the advocate-patient relationship might look like.
What a joy!
Or…. is it?
New advocates are often surprised to hear the advice, “Never transport a patient yourself.”
At first it seems like transportation would be a great service to provide, especially to seniors who may no longer want to, or be able to, drive themselves. How convenient for their patient advocate to provide transportation!
But let’s examine the idea for a moment, and you’ll see why transporting a client is a bad idea.
A website is not a field of dreams! Just because you’ve got one, doesn’t mean anyone can find it – or you.
The higher you rank in a web search engine, the more apt you are to be found by potential clients. That’s more business, and more income! So spending a few minutes to help yourself rank higher is definitely a good use of your time.
There are many fairly simple ways you can improve your ranking in search engines. They include using specific keywords and phrases, and other SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics. (APHA members can find good SEO information here.)
But one of them is frequently overlooked and takes only a few minutes of your time each week. It’s called Creating Authority.
As advocates, we often hear from “friends”:
“My friend really needs help! Her health is deteriorating and she has trouble getting to the doctor. Will you help her?”
“My sister can’t handle her medical bills and they are piling up. I need an advocate who can help her organize them and get them paid.”
“My boyfriend has chronic pain and gets so frustrated with his doctor because he won’t help him. I need you to talk to his doctor.”
… and so forth…
As a professional, you should be using a professional email address, not a personal or shared email address.
Good to use: firstname.lastname@example.org
Not good to use: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Further, whenever possible, use an email address that associates with your advocacy or care management website (like “janesadvocacy.com” found above) rather than using an email address available to anyone and everyone.