Chances are if you are reading this you are curious about how to get new patients into your practice. Did you ever wonder why it seems so easy for some, and yet from time to time you tend to struggle with this issue? Are you curious if other chiropractors have some magic formula for attracting patients or are just darned lucky?
You will find it interesting to know that when it comes to chiropractic marketing, there isn’t such thing as luck. For any chiropractor to be good at getting patients requires tenacity, patience, and the mindset to become the leader of a tribe. Chiropractic marketing requires chiropractors to create enough visibility that allows them to create community. As prospective patients familiarize themselves with current patients, they speak to each other. This creates a level of trust, respect, and excitement. As the enthusiasm develops, it creates patient attraction much like your attraction to a brand.
In principle this sounds like an easy enough task, but there is much work that is required. Before I establish the secrets to attracting new clients, it is important for those reading this just beginning their careers that chiropractic marketing starts now. For young and old alike, you are all in the marketing business, and the sooner you create this mindset the more patients you create. Therefore, it is required that you all become actively engaged in your communities. Everywhere you go and each establishment you visit should know you by your first and last name. Neighbors, parishioners, and potential patients should all know of your passion/profession so that you become the “go-to doctor.”
Take David for example. David has been a chiropractor for well over six years. He was struggling to see just 20 patients per week. Then he decided to become involved with his community. David became engaged with sports teams, the police, and his local church. Within just five months, and with his interaction in these groups, his patient volume increased by 202 percent because the more people he met the more wanted to visit with him. He now has a sustainable and thriving practice.
So you are probably chomping at the bit to do the same. Here is how it is done:
- Community Involvement - There are numerous ways to become involved within the local community. This includes the local Chambers of Commerce to volunteering at sporting events (coaching, striping fields, etc.) to community and association watches. The key here is to become intimately involved so that neighbors get to know you. The emphasis here should be on interaction. There are many groups that seek volunteers or desire member fees, and these will suck your time and your wallet. You must have two goals: 1) constantly engaging with others and 2) paying it forward. When you make it all about you, no one will want to interact, so you need to be of the mindset to give and then receive. Most importantly, do not rush this endeavor. This will take some time to develop.
- Think Like The Leader of a Tribe - For you to develop community to engage new patients you need to think about who your perfect patient is. In other words, from a demographic perspective, who are the people that you treat? Where do they go? Where do they shop? What social and business groups do they belong to? Once you have this down on paper, begin to match those places with those of interest to you. For example if you treat mostly men ages 45 to 63 that are physically active, might you find them at the Elks, Rotary or Lions Club. Do they exercise in a specific park or fitness center? Once you determine the location, begin to visit where they are or ask a current patient to invite you. If you want to lead the community, you need to visit the members.
- Remember the Referrals - The most underused business tool is referrals. Referrals are your current patient’s method of illustrating their admiration for your value. Think of your new iPhone or iPad (and if not, your new Android phone). Once you learned to use it and love it, you wanted to shout out to the world. Chiropractic care works similarly. Your current patients will want to tell others of your service but you need to constantly ask them. Simply state, “As you know, the bedrock of every business is the admiration and support from clients like you. Business is built on the foundation of clients who appreciate the value that we provide. I would like to ask you for the names of three to five friends, colleagues, or peers who might be in need and appreciative of the value that I can provide to their organization.” The sweetest sound a chiropractor will ever hear is a happy patient informing a new one of your value.
- Visual Value - The more visible you are, the more others will see you. In addition to networking, this will require you to engage in public speaking appearances or even article writing. Clubs, associations and external activities are constantly seeking local leaders to speak on a myriad of topics. One might choose something about stress during the holidays, yard cleanup, raking leaves, etc. The topic is not as important as getting in front of the group illustrating your intellectual flair for healing. And you can do the same for regional and association periodicals. However, in each you will need three things: 1) the perfect audience, so you will need to research your demographics, 2) a topic congruent with the audience’s needs and 3) the tenacity when you are speaking to collect as many business cards as possible. And if writing a regional article, never forget a good byline to direct patients to your website or telephone number.
- Marketing Foibles - Since you are reading this you must really want new patients, but if you do, you must avoid the pitfalls. First, always (and I mean always) carry business cards. I recently facilitated a practice management workshop and was flabbergasted to see that less then 40% of attendees carried cards. Never avoid the obvious. Second, your customer service must be impeccable. Therefore you must follow up when you promise you will, and you must hire great staff to greet all patients and schedule their next visit as well as handle every patient, no matter how difficult! Finally, ensure your website and telephone systems represent the greatest in professionalism.
- Marketing Foibles (Part Two) - If there are two things that can gravely impact your methods for getting new patients, it is communication and social media. First, for you to become the magnet desired to attract new patients, it is imperative that you communicate often. For example, hardcopy and electronic newsletters, new product/care announcements, and other such items to illustrate your value are tremendous for business growth. These trinkets become valuable tools to not only remind existing patients but to also be forwarded to prospective ones. And, in your communication, keeping track of birthdays, anniversaries, and other important patient dates greatly enhance your service quality.
In addition, when it comes to communication, there is nothing faster than electronic. Yet there are many organizations that have created a panacea for chiropractors because there is a notion that social media is the easiest and best form for chiropractic marketing. While there are a myriad of opinions, here is the question that you must address: “Where are your patients?” If you struggle with the location, the service, the technology etc., then there is little reason to focus on social media. This can work like the old Yellow Pages©, much money in advertising with little or no return! Yet if there is cause for your practice to develop relationships through social media platforms, then engage with new patients as suggested above. Yet do note, chiropractic is a personal business that uses individual bonding and time. Therefore focus your energy where your investments in developing bonds are beneficial.
As you can see, the largest aspect for any thriving practice is the number of relationships that develop into patients. Think of your practice like a farmer; you survey the land to determine where to develop crop, you cultivate this crop each day by nurturing it and getting to know what is required, and then after so much time it matures. Your efforts will work similarly. Each day will require meeting new people, developing new while maintain old alliances, and finally gaining the trust and admiration for others to understand your value. When this occurs, you have a strong community that appreciates your value and continually helps to bring new individuals to you. Not only will you work smarter not harder, but you will develop the thriving practice you always desired.
©Drew Stevens PhD. All rights Reserved.
Drew Stevens, PhD works with chiropractors that struggle with patient volume. Dr. Drew creates methods that dramatically accelerate revenue. For a free 30-minute, no-obligation assessment, call today at 877-391-6821 or visit www.stevensconsultinggroup.com.