Are your patients proud of you? Do patients see their own reputations enhanced by revealing their relationship with you? What is it about you that would prompt patients to vouch for you or your practice?
If you think patient referrals come solely from the great results that chiropractic is famous for producing, then you’re simply not enjoying the new patient referrals you deserve. That would be like an airline assuming that transporting you safely from Point A to Point B should alone be sufficient to garner your loyalty and gratitude!
No, great results, like safe transportation, is on the “Expected” side of the ledger. In the minds of patients, results, along with all the other technical stuff most chiropractors hold in such high regard, merely gets you to zero. Practices that enjoy a constant flow of new patient referrals know this. They also know what it takes to inspire patients to become persuasive advocates.
Putting your eggs in the “results” basket is risky. While most chiropractors produce consistent results, results are not guaranteed, nor are their timing. Patients may have unreasonable expectations. They can choose to ignore your recommendations or sabotage your intentions by behaving in ways outside your office that impedes their recovery.
If you’re willing to hang your hat on something more other than results, may I suggest that you direct your attention to the patients themselves? Specifically, by communicating your...
Acceptance. We all want to belong and be accepted. Often, patient education overtures conflict with a patient’s beliefs. Your determination to get them to embrace your philosophy can be misinterpreted as rejection. (It’s rarely what you do, but how you do it.) By catching yourself judging patients, you can become more accepting. By expressing your curiosity, rather than your disapproval, you will be seen as an interested partner rather than a critic.
Respect. Each of us is at a different place in our journey towards wisdom and understanding. Look for and affirm their “bigness” or attractive quality that they often can’t see in themselves, whether it be their untapped potential, their inborn ability to heal or their dreams for a better life. Want for them what they want for themselves—even if it isn’t what you want.
Safety. Create the circumstances in your environment, your procedures and your personality that put patients at ease. Provide the reassurance they need to be unafraid of an inappropriate touch, an unwelcomed glance while gowned, the fear that they will be judged or that you would break a confidence. By your integrity and consideration, help every patient know that they could trust you with their deepest, darkest secret.
Do these three things and patients will drag everyone they know in to see you. They’ll invent persuasive language and they’ll successfully overcome skeptics, cynics and doubters. Because like airlines, whose reputations are formed by the encounters passengers have with airline employees, your character and who you show up as, are critical dimensions affecting a patient’s motivation to tell others.
Some are inclined to think that patient referrals result from something they say or do. But as Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar and other success gurus have observed, you get what you want only by first helping others get what they want. And while most patients show up wanting their physical symptoms relieved, emotionally they want more. They’ll never ask for it. In fact, they wouldn’t even know how. Yet, it’s something they secretly crave. Your ability to deliver it will determine whether you must rely on self-effort to build your practice, or enjoy the fruits of hundreds of referral ambassadors talking you up to everyone they know.