That happened recently in an exchange with my business partner, Steve Anson, which reminded me that chiropractic is still saddled with considerable “negative brand equity.” The email exchange began with a request to have his name removed from the mailing list of one of our Perfect Patients clients:
“I'm getting spammed from XYZChiropracticClinic.com. They've emailed me 4 times in the last week - none has an unsubscribe button. I'm sure he picked up my business card at a networking meeting - but that gives him no right to email me. I'm one of those who consider chiropractic more scam than medical science and never have and never will consult one except on the recommendation of my MD.”
The beauty of this one is that it pretty much works regardless of your particular brand of chiropractic. You get to choose how high the "above" is.
If you're a mechanist, then the hardwired nervous system is merely what connects the end organs with the "above" of the brain. If you're more metaphysical, the "above" becomes God. Either way, it works.
When B.J. Palmer crafted this chiroism he used it to help distinguish between the underlying assumptions separating chiropractic from medicine. The use of drugs is clearly "outside-in-below-up." Changing blood chemistry to change function may be expedient and in certain situations even lifesaving, yet it's not a healthy, long-term solution and often reveals a profound mistrust of the wisdom of the body.
Notice that in this concise four-word statement the chiropractor isn't the hero. However, God and their God-given ability to heal from the inside-out, are.
A few minutes later your waiter returns with the bill for your meal. You kind of have an idea about how much dinner should cost, but, this time, you glance at the total before mindlessly handing him your credit card. Expecting something in the $89 range for the two of you, you’re shocked to see that the bill, before the tip, is $136.68.
You: “Excuse me, but there must be some kind of mistake.”
Waitperson: “I’m sorry sir, what seems to be the problem?”
You: “What’s this ‘Meal Equalization’ fee of $45?”
Waitperson: “Oh, that’s to help pay for the Surf ‘N Turf for Two and the Tiara Misu that the couple at the table next to you ordered.
You: “I don’t understand.”
Waitperson: “Didn’t you hear? Since good nutrition is a ‘right’ for every resident in the most affluent nation in the world, the government passed the Nutrition Reform Bill. The Meal Equalization fee is how we make it fair for everyone.”
Many chiropractors believe that subluxations are the cause of a host of health issues. They probably are. However, upon closer inspection it appears that subluxations are actually symptoms themselves!
At its most fundamental, subluxations involve bones and nerves. Bones, being static structures, move only when muscles contract. Muscles contract based on commands from the nervous system. Thus, notwithstanding the effects of physical trauma, the vertebral displacement often used to ascertain the presence of subluxation is actually a neurological event!
What prompts the nervous system to command muscles to contract? Most chiropractors agree that it is an attempt to accommodate physical, chemical or (probably more commonly) emotional stress.
Address the cause of the cause. Help patients become present to, and reduce, the emotional stress they face. Messy? Yes. Complicated? Of course. But this is where true healing and lasting spinal changes can be found.
"Symptoms are the last thing to show up and the first thing to disappear."
True. Symptoms are what prompts most patients to seek out your help and it's their symptom(s) that they think is their problem.This is why patient education is so important.
Indoctrinated in a symptom-treating mindset long before meeting you, most patients (unless enlightened by a previous chiropractor) are certain that their symptom is their actual problem. You can fall for this symptom-based path of least resistance, or use it as a springboard.
"What do you think is causing your headache?"
"Are you available for a different explanation?"
If you're invited to offer your subluxation-based explanation, you might follow up with…
"By the way, how will you know when your subluxation(s) have been reduced?"
Get ready for their symptom-based answer! This belief is your enemy, not the economy, weather, insurance companies or the other usual suspects.
I’d seen it on the shelves before, but it wasn’t until contemplating my 33-hour flight to Perth, Australia last week that I picked up a copy of In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. The author takes on the reductionistic thinking of our culture and the food industry, offering up a word that I had never heard before: nutritionism. What the food industry has done, according to Pollan, is to reduce food to its nutrient parts—selling its antioxidant qualities, Vitamin C content, low fat characteristic or any other component with sales appeal. The thinking behind nutritionism is not unlike the folly of the medical model which looks at the health of the body by studying deficient organs or systems rather than the whole person. In Defense of Food will affirm what you already know and give you a fresh new perspective when sitting down to your next meal.
Abstract: When new patients are scarce, it’s tempting to look for something to do to make them appear. Screenings. Lectures. Mailings. But this busy work will have only a fraction of its pulling power if you overlook the “being” that comes before the “doing.” Discover how many chiropractors blunt their new patient attractability by assuming unhelpful personas. 5:27
Tags: New patients, have do be, be do have, persona, fixer, coach, educator, doctor, authenticity, chiropractic marketing, marketing ideas
"Three times a week for the first four weeks, then twice a week for the next four weeks, then once a week for the next four weeks, etc."
Sorry. This one may roll off the tongues of thousands of chiropractors with practiced precision, but dig deeper and it's a scripted substitute for critical thinking.
Predicting the amount of care needed beyond a dozen or so visits before the first progress examination is bordering on crystal-ball-winning-the-lottery level psychic powers. Not only do many chiropractors make this stock recommendation before delivering the first adjustment, they're clueless about the patient's willingness to make lifestyle changes or take any other proactive steps to support the care they receive.
No, this is a form of bluffing. They may or may not need dozens of visits over the course of weeks and months, but declaring it up front, even when done with authority, is advanced dreaming.
The allure of new patients can be potent. Profitable exams. Frequent visits. Insurance reimbursement. And let’s not forget the emotional payoff of having easy proof that chiropractic is working as patients see their symptoms melt away! In short, new patients are profitable—financially, clinically and psychologically.
This, combined with the fact that few patients seem to want post-symptomatic care, reduces chiropractic to little more than physical medicine and puts many chiropractors on an endless treadmill of chiropractic marketing overtures to get more new patients.
At speaking gigs, I frequently remind audiences that of the nine chiropractors I’ve consulted over the last 30 years, chiropractor number seven and nine have enjoyed far greater financial rewards than the first one back in 1981 who harvested my insurance benefits. So, if the appeal of new patients is financial, many shortsighted chiropractors are missing the practice stability and predictable cash flow afforded a tribe of nonsymptomatic practice members who show up once or twice a month. For life.
Consider these three distinctions shared among practices that enjoy high patient retention: