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Is the Opening to Your Practice Too Small?

Do chiropractic patients self-qualify for care?If you don’t have at least a few patients choosing not to begin chiropractic care at the conclusion of your consultation, you’re probably not casting your net wide enough. If your new patient lead generation system (do you have one?) produce prospects who all begin care, you may be playing it too safe. Without a rejection or two on a regular basis, it means people in your community are prequalifying themselves before showing up. This probably means your new patient numbers are down, and the ones showing up are largely those with neuromuscular-skeletal complaints. If you want a wellness practice; if you want to see more visceral complaints; if you want to see more miracles—you’ll want to create a larger opening to your practice.

When you allow the public’s notion of chiropractic to become the criteria for entering your practice, you reduce the variety of cases you see. Worse, you’ve chosen to compete against medical referrals to physical therapists, a feel-good massage or over-the-counter medications that are more convenient and frankly, cheaper. By remaining holed up in your office, waiting, allowing the public’s perceptions of chiropractic to dictate who shows up, you’ve surrendered to the critics and have made the opening to your practice needlessly constrained.

But more fundamentally, it means you’re not broadcasting enough “new patient seeds.” You’re probably not encountering many strangers, explaining the chiropractic story about their self-healing qualities, the supremacy of their nervous systems and the distinction between “diets” of sick care symptom relief and lifestyle habits of well-being and optimization. Too bad. Where do you think people in your community are going to learn about these truths? How do you think a parent with a colicky infant, a youngster with asthma or “growing pains” is going to think of you? How do you imagine chiropractic will even be on the radar screen for an adult with allergies, menstrual problems or chronic fatigue?

Your job is to merely tell the story and point to the story (not necessarily your practice) and offer a new meaning for their health challenge. Those interested will show up in your office. You can’t control who does or doesn’t. So your job is to merely expose as many to the chiropractic story as possible. That’s not self-serving. In fact, it is the epitome of public service!

Perhaps you’ve forgotten that the chiropractic model of health remains a secret. With the mainstream media drunk on the advertising money from the medical-pharmaceutical-industrial complex, expecting the media to help champion the underdog in this modern day David and Goliath story is a pipe dream.

If you’ve had your head down, you may have overlooked the battle raging on around you, not only in chiropractic, but in the world. It’s a battle between mechanism (we’re merely a collection of our parts and chemical reactions producing a finite number of cellular replications and then we die) and vitalism (we’re greater than the sum of our parts, we’re self-regulating, self-healing, we have a soul, and our thoughts, both our attention and intention have power). It’s surprising that the old, linear, Newtonian view still gets traction in an era of quantum physics, movies like What the Bleep Do We Know? and the buzz created by the soul-quenching truths expressed in The Secret. All this cultural affirmation, yet many chiropractors are afraid to tell the truth about chiropractic!

Tarry, and I fear that the little cultural authority chiropractic has acquired will be lost. Get to a Toastmasters group. Relieve a burdened elementary school teacher and teach the systems of the body, giving the nervous system its due. Tell the chiropractic story to the growing numbers who want natural rather than artificial. Make some waves. Become a bit more outrageous and politically incorrect. Encounter more strangers!

Is there a solution that I’m overlooking? Please let me know.

Comments (3)

I sat down and asked myself this same question phrased a different way, last night. "If I was seeing twice as many patients today and I did yesterday, what would I have to do differently"?
This was short sighted in a way, focused on procedure. I need to ask "how do I generate excitement in myself and others for the miracle of chiropractic?"

Dr. Bill Tickel:

Thanks Bill for the "Spider or an Ant" article. Having sold my Ohio practice and starting a new one in NC, your article serves as a reminder of the things that I have done in the past to build my practice as well as the things that I need to implement.

Julie Seymour:

Bravo Bill!!

I attended a Speed Leads networking event last week, after not networking much for a very long time. This format makes networking exciting, challenging, and fun ~ you sit across a table from one person for 5 minutes, then a timer rings and everyone moves, round-robin style until you've all talked to about 12 different people.

With 2 1/2 minutes to make an impression, there's no time to be safe or timid....... Adjustments for pain? You bet! But let's also talk about care during pregnancy, care for colic, infant reflux, and ear infections. How much does your child's backpack weigh, and what is it doing to his spine? How about care that might actually get you off of those purples pills that you count one so much? Do I think that there is an alternative to the flu shot?.......I shared as much as I could and didn't worry about what each person's ideas of chiropractic might have been ~ only what new ideas I might be able to give them.

Energizing! I can't wait for the next event.

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From April 8, 2007 12:06 PM

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