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6 Ways to Put an End to New Patient No-Shows


by Frank Sardella

Chiropractic marketing is all “fun and games” until someone doesn’t show for their appointment, the most frustrating part of screening, lecturing or advertising. Whether running a print ad or commercial, doing a dinner talk or a screening, there are 3 things you must do to ensure new patient prospects cross your threshold.

These 3 Rules Are, In Order:

Gain Interest, Hold Interest, Keep Interest

A seeming oversimplification, these are yet of vital importance. For overly-complicated methodologies have sufficiently confused this subject when the simple truth has been sitting atop of this simple hierarchy the entire time. Gain, hold and keep interest.

On this premise are based my “6 No-Show Preventatives” you can use to safeguard against the dreaded no-show phenomenon.

1st, Rid Yourself of New-Patient Repellants

Are you repelling new patients? Well, did you attend chiropractic school? Are you a CA who learned screening procedure from a doc? Do you discuss the overall subject throughout your chiropractic marketing, at screenings or in signage or brochures?

Then, you are indeed repelling potential new patients.

Here is something so sinister, I have termed it “The Screening Killer” in my program. Docs are found to be doing this regardless of skill level. Screening Killers salt their conversations, promotional pieces, writings and social media, deflating prospect interest.


Contrary to belief, prospects simply cannot accept the chiropractic model within the short time it takes to read your ad or listen to your pitch. Our first step in coaching is always to kill the Screening Killers, replacing them with something a prospect can actually digest.

2nd, Recruit For a Simple Service

Your screening or ad is not about what you can do in the future. Rather, it is about what you can do right now. For instance, at a screening, you should not be selling chiropractic to passers by, but some on-the-spot service instead.


It is about what you are doing today, not in the future, no matter how desperately you want them under your care.

3rd, Assess “Patient-Potential” Qualities

Stop being desperate and realize that not everyone is qualified for your care. A certain state of mind is a basic requirement of any potential patient even above financial qualification. An assessment must be incorporated into chiropractic marketing to ensure attracted prospects are worth the effort.

Desperation  Should Not Be Part of Screenings

In absence of the correct state of mind, there are two options: change their mind or release them. This will immediately reveal your next move.

4th, Inflate Interest Through Self-Awareness Tactics

At a screening this can simply be a test or a face-to-face interview. Don’t presume to need elaborate or expensive equipment. I use PostureScreen Mobile by Posture Co, a very inexpensive tool on the iPad. The interview process, however, is where I get all my best results. The app I use enhances this only when needed.


In testament to this is a client I recently coached 30 minutes before a screening he did annually that had given him little prior result. After the event, he emailed me saying, “We booked more new patients than ever before, and I didn’t do a single SEMG.”

The object is to create just enough interest. With advertising, this can be a bit more difficult but, if you can do it at a screening, you can make an ad that does the same.

5th, Be the Expert, Be Directive

Commonly known as “the close”, here is where docs and CA’s frequently dead-end their pitch no matter if done in-print or in-person. Prospects count on expert opinion and positive direction. The mistake is the consideration that you are making an “offer” to someone at this point which is far from what prospects actually need.


There must be positive direction as to the person’s next move. A person must be told what his next step is, not presented with another decision. This works famously in chiropractic marketing considering, of course, that the earlier steps were completed.

Without increased self-awareness or some change in perception, without positive direction as to his next move, a prospect is left to his own devices to decide and, well, you know where THAT leads. Here is your chance to make the decision for him: tell him what he must do next.

6th, Keep Interest Inflated Beyond the Initial Contact

This is the most challenging yet vital step of all. Just because you “pumped up” someone’s interest doesn’t mean it stays inflated to capacity, even when the appointment is but days or hours away!

Most docs and CA’s reduce this to a mere follow-up call, commonly concluding with “She didn’t pick up so I left a voicemail.” The follow-up must be of sufficient quality as well as include a step-by-step check of the prior requirements. This is how you solidify interest.

Never assume the person, or print ad did such a perfect job that only a “See you on Wednesday” call is needed. Always check solidity and repair interest level if necessary.

How Do You Ultimately Get New Patients to Show?

It’s simple. Gain, hold and keep their interest.

First, gain their interest by not repelling them and keep things simple while offering something immediate. Next, hold their interest by qualifying their potential, boosting their self-awareness and directing their next move. Finally, keep their interest by confirmation, not of an appointment, but that this process is complete.

And, that is how you turn a screening or ad killer into a killer ad or screening!

I hope this helps.

Best of luck in practice.

Frank Sardella

Questions? [mention this article and get a special “Hierarchy of Chiropractic Marketing Activity graph and even a free 15-minutes of coaching to help you use this information]

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