Many chiropractors pay for their practice twice. First, by borrowing six-figures to learn what's needed to pass board examinations, and then again by hiring various practice management coaches to teach them what their chiropractic college didn't or wouldn't.
Since few chiropractic colleges seem interested in graduating successful practitioners in favor of producing successful board-examination-takers, an entire industry has sprung up to fill gap. Apparently, with the increasing demands of the CCE and state licensing boards, there's little room during an academic week to shoehorn in even one class that addresses the post-graduation prospect of actual practice.
Thus, many chiropractors pay additional thousands to learn the headspace and procedures to actually practice chiropractic and deliver their valuable services on a win/win basis with patients. Besides other unhelpful pathologies, this has overwhelmingly turned the report of findings into a needless sales session.
Some who ply the practice management waters suggest that the ultimate report of findings is one that prompts the patient to burst into tears upon recognition of the destructive nature of subluxation. Others teach word games to manipulate patients into saying, "Yes!" to care they don't really want. Still other groups have such a profound mistrust or disrespect for patients that they teach their clients to force-feed annual care plans to get patients to use chiropractic the "proper" way.
The result of these and other shortsighted tactics is to place an inordinate amount of focus on the report of findings while practically ignoring the far more important consultation or "pre-care interview."
Why is the consultation so important?
1. It's when patients decide whether they like you and trust you. (Remember, we buy the messenger before we buy the message.)
2. It's when you uncover and neutralize fears and apprehensions. ("Have you heard the one about once-you-go-to-a-chiropractor-you-have-to-go-for-the-rest-of-your-life? Well, I just want you to know that that's not true. How long you choose to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you."
3. It's when you explain the difference between medicine and chiropractic. ("We don't prescribe drugs. Instead, we help restore your body's ability to self heal. In that way, you're the doctor, not me!")
4. It's when you review the covenant that will govern your relationship. ("Before we accept you as a patient, here are the seven things you need to know about how our practice works.")
5. It's when you determine if this is someone you think you can help. ("From what I can tell you're an excellent candidate for chiropractic care. I think you have every reason to be hopeful.")
Attend to these details up front and your report of findings can truly become a report of your findings, followed by a, "So, shall we get started and see what happens as we reduce nervous system interference along your spine?"
The fact is, if a patient returns for their report of findings, they're yours. They rarely come back unless they're ready to move forward. So, overtures to get a commitment beyond their reason for consulting your practice are not only hard work, but unnecessarily strains your still budding relationship. But more important, in those rare instances when you're going to lose them, why not encourage that to happen as early on in the relationship as possible?
If you’ve been selling chiropractic care at your reports, it'll probably feel uncomfortable using a softer touch. Worse, you may believe that it's been your hard sell that has produced the patient retention you've enjoyed to date and you're wary of changing your approach. Relax. Frankly, you're not that good at sales. If you've ever tried to change someone's mind about abortion, the germ theory or vaccinating their children, you're already keenly aware of the limitations of using mere words and rational arguments to change someone's beliefs and behaviors!
Remember, people don't like to be sold. But they LOVE to buy. Make it easy to buy chiropractic by explaining up front what it is and what it isn't. Whether you use a one-visit procedure or a two-visit procedure, get the "buy-in" earlier rather than later.