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Spider or an Ant?

spider.jpgAs I was editing the previous entry about clutter, it occurred to me that most chiropractors probably don’t have a formal new patient lead generating system. Instead, most take a passive approach—like a spider, who spins its web and waits. This may produce the occasional meal for the spider, but it’s hardly a strategy for a thriving business. You could probably benefit from a formal lead generation system.

Many chiropractors fail to realize they are first a small business, with the need to attract and keep customers like any other small business. Getting on the “list” was supposed to solve this problem. In exchange for a lower fee, you were supposed to get a steady stream of appreciative new patients. Since that hasn’t worked out liked you had hoped, you need a lead generation system.

A contingent within chiropractic finds lead generating activities, well, beneath them. “I’m a doctor. I shouldn’t have to chase patients down the mall with a plastic spine.” Agreed. But let’s not confuse a particular tactic with the importance of having a multifaceted plan in place to constantly attract new patients. (Spinal screenings can be blessing or an unprofessional blight—just depends how they’re done.) Fortunately, plenty of other lead generating techniques allow you to maintain your dignity.

Lead generation is a collection of strategies designed to expose your business to potential customers. Think of ants, which roam the proximity of their hill, each one exploring and evaluating. Sometimes these efforts are rewarded with instant gratification. Others require long-term cultivation. Some require the investment of time, money or emotion. Others can be done for little or no cost.

If I worked in a chiropractic practice, tasked with the responsibility of attracting qualified prospects, here are some of the techniques I’d use:

Press releases to the media. Develop a list of relevant media outlets in your area and the contacts at each one. Get in the habit of submitting a press release each month that detail the results of a recent research project with positive chiropractic implications. You may or may not get them published, but soon you will be seen as the expert—the go to person for natural health care information.

Cultivate referrals from medical doctors. Simply ask patients if you can send a report about your findings and care recommendations to their primary physician. In time, as medical doctors in your community see that you’re rationale, consistent and respectful, referrals will start coming your way.

Speaking gigs for service clubs. Still the mainstay of growing practices. Develop a series of talk titles. Design your talk so that chiropractic is not the focus, but an obvious solution to the issues you raise. Consider using our Astonishing Dr. You lecture. Don’t worry about “the close.” Just tell the truth in a relevant and meaningful way.

Public seminars. Rent a meeting room at the Marriott hotel for an evening once a month. Team up with a different vitalistic practitioner. Charge admission. Promote it as a way to get information, ask questions and make an informed choice about different types of natural health care disciplines.

Company talks on wellness or ergonomics. Contact the Human Resource departments at some of the bigger employers in your area. Volunteer to do an ergonomic walk through. Instruct on proper lifting. Avoiding carpal tunnel problems. Promote your ability to help them reduce down time and injuries to their workers.

Website. Carve out a piece of cyberspace where you can reveal your chiropractic philosophy, procedures and specialties. Offer an electronic newsletter to cultivate relationships. Point to your website in virtually all your marketing overtures. (Naturally, I recommend Perfect Patients, our sister company’s website service.)

Newspaper column. Arrange to submit a 200-word article once a week about current health topics as seen through the lens of someone with a wellness or natural healing sensibility.

Direct mail. Mail information and an invitation to begin care to residents in a 3- to 5-mile radius of your practice. Feature the health complaints you enjoy seeing. Include an offer with a deadline to act.

These are not new ideas. The key is consistency. Implementing one or more approaches when your new patient numbers are down, and then abandoning them when you get busy, produces a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride. This is the curse of many small businesses as they try to wear the hats of the technician, manager and entrepreneur.

Each approach is proactive. Each one has a cost—either the emotional risk of public speaking or the financial cost of printing and postage. It’s not surprising that the greater the risk, the higher the potential return on your investment. Crossing your fingers, hoping that this important aspect of running your business will take care of itself, is naïve and selfish.

Selfish?

That’s right. By refusing to establish a presence and promote your availability, you sentence potential patients to dangerous, ineffective drugs or risky, irreversible surgery. By keeping chiropractic a secret, you doom many by reducing their choices.

Comments (4)

It seems so hard to be heard in this busy world. At times I feel like I am talking (marketing) but don't know if anyone is listening. I realize I have to talk more, claim my authority and trust that it has been heard.

Amber Runnerstrum, D. C.:

Thank you Bill,
That was a quick reminder of what to do and why. Keep doing what you are doing. We, chiropractors need you on our team.
God Bless

Tony Rusoo:

Hello Bill,
I don't know how I missed this one! Wow. That is the way to be successful in practice. This free one page recommendation will put a new graduate on the map. This is valuable stuff. This is the road map to a sucesful and fulfilling practice. A course in Patientology should be an integral part of every corriculum in Chiropractic School. I wish I had this information when I was in school. Because I was one of those, "good looks and charm will get me anywhere" kind of graduate. And I thought that people would be lining up my front door to have the privilege of being adjusted by me because of my new and improved technique. Man, that sure fell by the wayside.
Thanks again Bill,

Bernard W. Kaseman, D.C.:

Dear Bill,
It seems that you or me are getting fired up about marketing the good news of chiropractic, cash practice and telling our story for the needs of the many you are sick and need not be. At any rate, I believe we both have a burning desire to see chiropractic practices grow. Keep up your wonderful efforts.

I look forward every Sunday PM for Monday Morning Motivation. I need it and appreciate it. I just ordered tear off sheets of five ways to use chiropractic. I believe this focus will help patients stay, pay and refer as Dr. Jimmy Parker taught me so many years ago. I am on a growth cycle now and want it to continue and realize it does take extreme commitment and effort. It is worth it all to tell a patient to bring their sick child in suffering from sever tonsillitis with a threat to remove them by the M.D. Then, adjust the child one time and in days the condition is gone and doesn't return.

We chiropractors have something available to us no other doctor has and we are greater than we know, as Dr. Will Tickel put it many years ago. My plan now is to take action on this week’s challenge and make plans to visit BMW plant near me and offer to do a Carpal tunnel (cervical spine and extremity) review and offer to provide my service on a couple of their difficult work stations that results in CTS problems and needless surgery.

I will be ordering your brochures on this subject as I get this project underway. I am getting more excited about this as I write it down! I will copy and paste this to me desktop and as my son in law said recently - "get er done.”

I hope this encourages you Bill and also fellow chiropractors. I am a 1977 Palmer grad and still get excited to check a patient with a left short leg of 1 inch. Adjust and observe the legs return to even and the next visit the patient reports improvements. Then a few weeks later reports nearly all conditions 90-100% better and off most or all Rx drugs. Well you get the point. Let's have a Marvelous Monday and great week of setting the captives free to express health.

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From March 11, 2007 3:47 PM

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 11, 2007 3:47 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Clutter.

The next post in this blog is Monday Morning Motivation.

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