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January 2008 Archives
I'm kicking off the New Year by adding another category for blog posts called Chiropractic Marketing. Many of the chiropractors I meet turn their nose up at marketing, confusing it with advertising. And while advertising is a subset of marketing, marketing is so much more. In fact, I think it's probably best if you consider marketing without using advertising.
What is marketing? It's everything from your practice location and front desk telephone skills, to your fee structure and tableside manner. It’s virtually anything that affects patient perceptions, ability and willingness to refer and patient loyalty. This is the business part of chiropractic that many chiropractors disdain in favor of new adjusting techniques or enhanced healing skills. Yet, great results rarely grow practices. It's practically a cliche that those whom you save from surgery or who witness miracle results rarely become the referral source you’d expect.
Here are the seven most common chiropractic marketing mistakes that chiropractors make:
Continue reading "Chiropractic Marketing" »
You may have heard the old adage, "Dig your well before you're thirsty." Part of the challenge many chiropractors face is being taken off guard by low volume and having to immediately scrounge for new patients. Like the homeless who scavenge for food in dumpsters, manifesting new patients in a matter of days or weeks is not only stressful, it prompts many to lower their standards and resort to, well, humbling techniques that are accompanied by an odor of desperateness.
Most chiropractors lack a reliable new patient or "lead generation" strategy. Other small businesses have strategies in place to produce new customers. At Patient Media we use catalogs, speaking gigs, direct mail, convention exhibitions, Monday Morning Motivation emails, article submissions to chiropractic magazines, this website and a few other proprietary approaches. Many chiropractors unwisely rely on great results, a charming personality and what they think is a superior adjusting technique. While these, along with a few patient referrals may keep your doors open, it won't produce the abundance and affluence you deserve.
That's because most chiropractors don't know where new patients come from.
Continue reading "Getting New Patients in 2015" »
What types of questions do you ask?
Who questions involve people, usually others.
How questions reveal methodology and procedure.
What questions are used to clarify.
When questions focus on past, present or future.
Why questions explore cause and purpose.
As you work with patients, "why" questions can be helpful.
"Why do you think that is?"
"Why do you suppose parents bring their children to our office?"
"Why do so many drugs require a prescription?"
"Why do I adjust your lower back when the symptom is in your neck?"
"Why does chiropractic work?"
"Why do we ask so many questions?"
The quality of your practice (and your life) is the result of the quality of questions you ask. Ask poor questions and the answers are sure to be equally unhelpful. Of the five types, the least helpful questions are the ones that are never asked--either by you or by patients.
Things that are scarce are considered more precious than things that are found in abundance. Thus, gold is more precious than sand; diamonds more precious than glass. Is this why new patients are so precious? Because they seem scarce?
But this principle also applies to your patient communications, especially the spoken word. The more words you speak, the less valuable (and less potent) your words become. Chatterboxes who mint words with abandon are seen as less powerful—little people. Those of few words and interestingly, short sentences, are seen as more commanding and authorative. The more you speak the more likely you over-explain, reveal insecurities and create a fragrance of defensiveness or the room-clearing stench of doubt.
Continue reading "Do You Hog the Ball?" »
Who awakens in the morning and proclaims, "Today, I want to be less significant. I want to be less important. I want to play a smaller role on the stage of life!"
No. For most of us, the reverse is true. We want a larger business. We want to play a more significant role in the lives of others. We desire greater impact, more influence and to contribute in more meaningful ways to those we touch.
Then why are some chiropractors so bent on minimizing chiropractic? Why are so many willing to reduce chiropractic to a localized therapy to improve spinal biomechanics? Why do so many decry the value of chiropractic for whole body health? Or its value for children? Or its use by those who are asymptomatic?
Why do they desire to make chiropractic small?
Continue reading "Let's Get Small" »
Rather than confining, a boundary can be liberating.
For example. Each week this message runs about 150 words, plus or minus. Without such a boundary, these messages could become long and unwieldy, losing their focus. Forced brevity, while more difficult, is a far better taskmaster than your attention span.
Same in your practice. Having razor sharp edges identifying what is your responsibility and what is a patient's responsibility, grants you tremendous freedom. It helps you avoid taking certain patient choices or behaviors personally. It reduces the burdensome need to micro-manage patients. It gives you greater discretion to apply your energy and attention where they can have the most impact.
You must have clear boundaries if you wish to help more people. In under performing practices, it appears as if you can afford to meddle in the lives of patients. Busier practitioners know better. That's one reason they're so busy.
If you follow these posts at all, you know that I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin. His last book, The Dip, has been topped (so-to-speak) by his most recent installment, Meatball Sundae. As an entrepreneur with one foot in atoms (Patient Media) and the other in bits (Perfect Patients) I find his insights to be especially relevant. It’s the first book in which he mentions chiropractic by name! It appears on page 45. “I could go on, of course. I could talk about how the millions of full- and part-time real-estate brokers are facing an uncertain future. How everyone from chiropractors to worker’s-comp agencies are facing a challenge in getting new business. But I won’t.”
Actually he does. He explains why most advertising doesn’t work. And the 14 trends affecting you, me, your patients and your future.
The title? It comes from the notion of adding whipped cream and toppings (the Internet) to what is already there—the pedestrian meatball (adjusting) that pays the bills. You gotta read this! Or you’ll be stuck with your version of paneling, shag carpet and wishing for the ‘good old days.’
Take some time to reflect about your life and your practice.
Since so many of us obtain our esteem and self-image by what we do, we often risk becoming human doings rather than human beings! In the heat of battle, doing it, doing it, doing it, we can lose our bearings. As we fight the crocodiles of running a business we forget our mission was to drain the swamp.
Turn off the television. Ignore the newspaper. Turn inward and listen for that wee little voice that so often gets ignored. Listen for the whisperings of your heart. Not the impending symptoms of a heart attack (although I’m guessing it’s a related), but the yearnings and achings that offer clues whether you’re being mindful of, and honoring your purpose. That voice.
Your purpose isn’t to adjust patients. It probably helps advance your purpose, but it’s not your purpose. Do you know what it is? You may find these two resources helpful. Being On Purpose. The Conversation.
With chiropractic critics ramping up their fear mongering campaign, this new research out of Canada should serve as a breath of fresh air.
Published this past Saturday in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper, the headline reads, “Chiropractors don’t raise stroke risk, study says.”
Turns out, when they looked at the 818 patients in the stroke study, comparing those who sought chiropractic care versus medical treatment, there was no significant difference. Patients were no more likely to suffer a stroke following a visit to a chiropractor than they would after visiting their family MD.
My guess is that his won’t prompt the Neck911USA folks to temper their “educational” campaign. Nor will it produce a flood of new patients, who have been holding off consulting your practice because of this common superstition. However, it's good news just the same.
If I were in practice, I’d have this article handy for those occasional few who refuse the most effective part of their care, the cervical adjustment. (Thanks Dr. Ron Nusbaum for the early heads up!)
What a thrill to meet two people I have admired for some time yesterday. Both were speakers at the New Beginnings Philosophy Weekend in Eatontown, NJ. Three times a year Dr. Jim Dubel and his crew put on a homespun celebration of chiropractic philosophy. When I accepted the speaking gig last year, I didn’t know that Dr. Dean DiPice and Dr. Kevin Donka would also be on the agenda.
A couple of months ago, an interview on CLA’s On Purpose introduced me to DiPice and his coaching program. What I heard was not only refreshing, but also stimulating. Dean and I had breakfast yesterday morning. I can see why his coaching program has taken off. He asks great questions.
Later, after I did my thing, I got to sit next to Dr. Kevin Donka at lunch. I’ve been a subscriber to ChiroThots for years. (To subscribe send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the word "subscribe.") Each week Kevin shares a one-page essay about some facet of chiropractic philosophy. I enjoy how he takes the philosophical and turns it into a practical, down to earth handout for patients. We talked about writing and getting ideas. Unlike me, who stockpiles content for Monday Morning Motivation in advance, Scott spends about an hour each Monday morning crafting his message! (Be watching for his upcoming riff on “It’s a No Brainer.”)
Astute marketers know that what a new product or service is named can have a profound effect on sales. It wasn’t “The Promise to America,” it was “The Contract With America.” It’s not called death insurance, but life insurance. Who would disagree with an estate tax? That’s why opponents call it the death tax. Instead of “unwanted” effects, they’re called “side” effects, as if they were a bonus or something.
The importance of naming especially struck me this morning when I sat down to eat breakfast and was asked if I wanted my “pills” brought over to the table. I had forgotten my fish oil, acidophilious capsule and five Standard Process Catalyn supplements on the counter.
Pills. Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of them as pills.
Continue reading "Drugs, Pills and Medicine" »
Do you have the habit of making patients wrong?
Even if justified as "patient education," attempts at correcting patients are often done in ways that make patients feel wrong. Or stupid.
How can you educate patients without making them wrong? Become more agreeable.
Patient: "My husband thinks chiropractors are quacks." You: "I've heard that too." Patient: "Will I have to come for the rest of my life?" You: Of course not. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Patient: "I still have some pain." You: "I'm sorry to hear that. Why do you think that is?" Patient: "I won't be able to make it in on Friday." You: "I understand. Let's hope that won't interrupt the progress we're making."
Like trying to create a conversation with a skittish teenager, try to affirm and ask questions while avoiding the inclination to become defensive or impose your will.
This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in January 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.
December 2007 is the previous archive.
February 2008 is the next archive.
Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.