Physician Relations Marketing: Breaking The Mold From “Sales” to Service

  • physician relations marketing healthcare marketing agency
Kelley Knott
CEO, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing

Physician liaison marketing has been used by hospital systems for years to strengthen the physician referral relationships for specialist and referring doctors in the community.

Seeing the value that a physician relations marketing program can provide a practice, privately owned medical practices and doctors have adopted the physician relations marketing model.

In order to build a successful physician relations marketing program for your practice, you need a highly skilled and trained physician liaison to serve as the practice ambassador and develop strong referral relationships with local referring doctors.

Developing a New Mindset

Implementing profitable physician liaison marketing involves developing strong genuine relationships with local referring physicians.

In order to create these genuine relationships with referring physicians you MUST develop real value for that referring physician and practice.

Instead of viewing your physician relations marketing program as a “sales” campaign to meet with referring physicians, to promote, advertise, and sell patient treatment services of your practice.  Develop a physician relations marketing program as a unique “service” your practice provides to referring physicians to help streamline referrals, establish direct communication, and enhance the referral relationships.

This means changing the mindset from “sales” to “service” and challenging you to dive deeper into your messaging, presentation, and the value you plan to provide.

What is the Difference between Pharmaceutical & Medical Sales Reps from a Physician Liaison?

Physician Liaisons

Employed By:

Physician specialist or Hospital systems


A physician liaison’s main goal is to convert patient referrals from local physicians and medical practices by building strong referral relationships.  A physician liaison will establish a relationship with referring doctors by developing strong touch points, delivering a message unique to their physicians and practice, and creating value for them and during the referral process.

Physician Relationships:

Based on patient referrals and physician to physician communication

Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Sales Representatives:

Employed By:

Medical device or pharmaceutical company


The goal is to meet with physicians about their products and ultimately increase product sales. These reps help influence them to prescribe the drugs to their patients or to use their products in patient treatment or care.

Physician Relationships:

Based on product sales

Differentiating Yourself 

physician liaison training webinarFor years physicians have interacted with pharmaceutical medical devices sales representatives. A Physician’s main propriety is patient care so when it comes to taking time from clinic to speak with an individual it needs to relevant and important.

Unfortunately, many physicians are burned out from taking time from clinic to speak because the number of medical and pharmaceutical sales rep that come by selling products. These experiences have redefined how individuals will get to speak with physicians and resistance from both doctors and staff.

The challenge a physician liaison faces is to create a memorable experience with the referring physician and practice and clearly communicating their role and importance to them a physician liaison and not a sales rep.

In order to be memorable and establish your role as a credible physician liaison and resource for the referring physician, you MUST differentiate yourself from the “sales” reps that are in the space.

Physician liaisons need to differentiate themselves from the competition and the interactions referring doctors have had in the past with reps looking to build relationships.


How are you presenting yourself to referring practices and doctors? Are your style and presentation memorable to your practice or are you being confused for a medical or pharmaceutical sales rep? Do you look disconnected from the practice you represent or like an outside sales professional brought in to drive sales?


Is your message specific to the needs and wants of the referring physician? Or is message built on promoting, advertising, and selling the physician and treatments of the practice you represent?


What is the value you are personally providing as a physician liaison to that referring physician or practice? Is your value simply self-promotion and one-sided?

A successful physician liaison understands that in order to create value you will need to focus on providing a service to referring physicians that the competition is not. You must differentiate yourself from the healthcare reps and other marketing and sales professionals they have encountered before. Get creative on how you can enhance referral relationships and remember always be GENUINE!

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