By Allen B. Ury
Medical transcription can be a wonderful work-at-home career… if you’re able to create and maintain a strong client base. Accumulating the kind of steady work you need to generate a comfortable income is admittedly challenging and it can take time. The good news is, once you have a stable of regular clients, the sales aspect of your career can take a backseat to the job you actually want to do: transcribing medical reports.
So how do you get started in the medical transcription business?
Here are some proven strategies for starting and growing a client list:
Decide if you want to freelance or work for a service.
If you freelance, you get to set your own prices and keep all the income you produce. On the flip side, you’ll be responsible for prospecting for work, billing (and collecting) your fees and handling all other aspects of your enterprise. If you work for a service, you won’t have to worry about sales, but your hourly income will likely be significantly less. (After all, the service is going to want to take a sizeable cut.) So determine your priorities and proceed accordingly.
Create a solid resume.
This resume should include references to your educational background and where you got your medical transcription training. Any other relevant information, such as membership in any professional organizations or societies, should also be noted. You can use this resume to solicit individual clients or apply to a transcription service.
Put together a one-page marketing piece.
If you are going to freelance, marketing is essential to starting your business. At minimum, you need a one-page ad that can work either as an email attachment or a printed flyer. The ad should contain the name of your business, a list of the services you offer (e.g. “Expert medical transcription/Competitive prices.”) and your contact information, including your address, email and phone number. Enlist the help of a friend who is good with graphics (or hire a professional) to make your piece as impressive as possible.
Identify physicians in your area.
This can be done through a simple Internet search using general keywords like “doctor,” “physician,” “surgeon” and “chiropractor” and specialized terms like “obstetrician,” “internist,” “gastroenterologist,” etc., along with your city name and/or ZIP code to limit the search. Copy and paste the listings onto a central document. This becomes your “prospect list.”
Email your marketing piece to your prospect list.
Although sending out “batch” emails to dozens of prospects at once is an attractive time saver, it can also get your email marked as “spam,” which is never a good thing. Either send your inquiries out one at a time (time-consuming) or invest in a commercial email service like iContact, SendInBlue, or Constant Contact. Having such a service can be very useful when it comes to sending out newsletters and other marketing pieces that can help grow your business in the future.
Drop your marketing piece off in person.
Sometimes the “personal touch” is what it takes to make a sale. Spend a few hours each week visiting local doctors’ offices, introducing yourself and dropping off copies of your flyer. Most of these offices will likely already have someone doing transcription for them. But a few will likely be between services, and these are the opportunities you’re looking for.
Now let’s assume you have two or three clients for whom you’re working regularly. How do you keep these clients – and find new ones? Here are a few suggestions:
Deliver a quality product.
All a client wants is perfection. In this field, that means accurate transcriptions with proper spelling, punctuation and formatting. You may never achieve 100-percent perfection, but minimizing errors will help keep your clients happy.
Keep your promises.
Try to maintain your pickup and delivery schedules. If you have problems with the work or are in danger of falling behind, let your affected clients know as quickly as possible. You want to establish a reputation as being honest, trustworthy and accountable.
Ask for referrals.
After enough time has elapsed for your clients to get to know you, ask for referrals. Make it known that you’re looking for new business. A recommendation from one doctor to another is a very effective way to get new business. Once you have a good reputation and a steady client base, finding and maintaining accounts will become less and less difficult. In time, you may even find that doctors come looking for you. That’s the best of all possible positions to be in and the one to which we all aspire.
Allen B. Ury writes for Everest Continuing Education, which offers Medical Transcriptionist training online. His wife ran a successful home-based medical transcription business.
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