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.
Simply put, new patients come from telling the chiropractic story to as many strangers as possible. There are many ways to do that, but all depend on one thing: you have to know the chiropractic story before you can ever tell the chiropractic story!
"What do you mean by story?" I can almost hear you ask. After all, you're a chiropractor. If any should know what chiropractic is, it's a chiropractor.
And you'd be correct. However, the operative word here is "should." Chiropractors should know what chiropractic is, but sadly, many do not. Oh, they know how to thrust on the spine at opportune places and most patients delight in the results, but when asked to describe chiropractic in a compelling way, they sound tentative and unsure; as if they were making it up on the spot. Because they often are. They have rarely articulated their explanations.
But it's not just about telling the chiropractic story in a relevant and meaningful way. For far too many chiropractors it's accompanied by the idea that their job is to "close" the sale. To convert skeptics into believers. And to harvest a crop of new patients. Naturally, if you wait until things are desperate before getting out of your office to encounter strangers, there is considerable pressure to bring home the bacon, setting many chiropractors up for failure, resenting having to conduct screenings and lectures, while tainting the public's perception of chiropractic in the process.
Explain chiropractic principles, pointing to the inborn healing ability of their body, not your practice. Bring consciousness to their potential to be healthy, not the importance of beginning care in your office now. Your job is to tell the story without expectation. Not to close. Not to coerce. Not to manipulate, scare or seduce them into care. Just tell the story. Broadcast the seed. Idea seeds. Thot seeds. Possibility seeds. And the harvest will take care of itself. Maybe not today. But some day.
Realize that every seed germinates at its own pace. Same with patients. The process can't be rushed, compressed or sped up simply to satisfy the needs of a hungry farmer. Are you patient enough to tell the chiropractic story for a harvest that won't occur until next year? Or 2015? Or never?
If you don't need more new patients now, then great. Someday you will. So start telling the story now!