If you think chiropractic marketing is done to get new patients then two things are true: You are sadly mistaken and you are way overworked and underpaid!
Okay, so this article is written because I finally snapped! There have been so many misunderstandings about this subject and I just couldn’t take one more. The amount of misunderstanding and, more importantly, mis-application of promotional efforts geared toward growing a practice have taken a proverbial wrong turn. What you think you are doing when engaging in such activity is, clearly to me now, not understood and is in dire need of clarification.
The bright ideas you are using right now, or perhaps are considering from some expert, are about to, or more probably have already, steer your practice off it’s true goal toward some other end, all because you misapplied the concepts which have been presented you. You tried something other than chiro to “attract” people and then ended up delivering that and providing even less chiropractic treatment.
Perhaps the money such programs generate handles the financial stress. This, however, keeps the problem just below your radar. But what insidiously has happened here?
Chiropractic marketing does NOT get you new patients. New patients do not come from screenings, talks or advertising. Not understanding this one fact can cost you your practice and leave you with something that doesn’t even resemble a chiropractic practice, but something else altogether, selling products that don’t agree with the entire philosophy you decided to pursue at the outset.
What is the problem? You are doing terrble in practice and decide you need something better to attract people. Screenings have gone stale, you suck at talks (in that you get few or no one from them), advertising is unproductive and you are not receiving patient referrals. So you get desperate and look for “other income opportunities.” Or at least you look for something to “bring more patients in the door” and so proceed.
The example lately you may have even heard me discuss on my podcast is “LipoLaser”, which is an LED light technology that melts fat. This is something we have found successful for two reasons: the amount of money it can generate and the volume of people who resultantly arrive in-office, the latter being my focus, the former becoming the distraction to you. Regardless, this is an extremely popular demographic and generates tons of interest, far beyond anything chiropractic-related. It has just been incorrectly valued as income and, surprisingly, not a lead generating tool for the clinic itself.
My caution to clients from the outset of implementing use of any such services in their practices is always the same and is actually the reason for this article. It is: “Watch out. The income may distract you and actually shrink the chiro side of the clinic.” And, just about one-for-one, this holds true.
Whatever it is that you are trying to implement, be it multilevel marketing products, supplements, weight loss, smoking cessation, spinal decompression or the like, it’s all the same issue. These will rapidly take over your practice as the centralized focus, will woo and mesmerize you with increased income and extinguish your passion faster than you can imagine if you don’t know how to properly use them.
So how DO you use weight loss, decompression, supplements, products, etc. to actually result in what you really want: more chiropractic patients? What key ‘magic element’ makes it all come together?
Let’s go to “entrepreneurism 101” here and explain how a practice is properly expanded and grown.
It all has to do with the basic concept of sales. Sales is an internal function and happens ONLY in your office. Too many docs try and start it at their screening or talk or even in their advertising, on their website or, the biggest kiss of death, on social media, which is supposed to be social not commercial! This is all out of some misguided desperation coming from low income, or just an obsession to obtain it. It is better-labelled “impatience” than desperation.
This error happens because of a misunderstanding of the sales process. First you must generate leads before you can make sales. And in their desperation, docs want to jump right to the sale, meanwhile labeling it “qualifying prospects” and justifying it so as “not to waste their time” with no-shows. This is also why deposits get charged at the screenings – but don’t get me started on that issue!
No matter the nomenclature, the assessment and resultant action are wrong – not philosophically, but statistically and empirically. Trying to sell anything in your marketing is a gross mis-estimation and application of the powerful process of lead generation.
And, therein lay the problem and it’s solution: the no-show. This is perceived as the biggest problem but it is actually the key to solving the entire new patient generation conundrum!
A “show” is another name for an “arrival” which means, in essence, someone who shows up to be sold! When you go to the car dealer, you, yourself, are a lead who was generated by advertising, even if you were just driving by their lot. You are an arrival who is requesting (even if passively) to be sold a product. That is sales and marketing 101 for sure.
So the key here is to generate leads, an action which translates to arrivals in-office. I know, that’s really easier for me to say than you to do, at least with what you know now or are doing. It may even seem oversimplified. On the contrary, it has been over-complicated prior.
Consider for a second the “volume” aspect of this. You need volumes of leads to make volumes of sales. Few leads result in low sales no matter how good of a closer you may be. Even if you “close everyone”, one lead results in one sale.
Especially if you can’t close treatment plans to save your life, realize that even a 50% closer can, by doubling his effort, make as many sales as the 100% closer. Either way, you need volumes of arrivals! (An arrival being someone who looks to you to be sold or enlightened)
So what IS the key to effective new patient marketing and enormous practice growth? The answer is something you’re already doing. Only you’re doing it wrong!
Alright, here is some advice.
Let’s say you’re doing decompression and getting paid cash, or maybe doing a weight loss program. Don’t let it take over your clinic. You are not a decompression specialist or a weight loss coach. You are not what you market. You are a chiropractor and you market to get leads, in as high a volume as possible. This means every decompression or weight loss case, even if it generates a couple grand in cash income, is still just a lead. It’s someone you were effectively able to get to show up when you couldn’t get someone to show up for chiro! But they are a lead nevertheless, especially if they have any non-optimum health or wellness issue, no matter how minor.
So, when they give you their money, don’t say “cha-ching” just yet. Realize you are looking at a better-qualified lead than you have ever gotten before. He’s in your office! You’re not even half done with him!
Well? What are you waiting for? The guy came to your office. Don’t just give him supplements, decompression, weight loss or the like! Screen him for chiropractic!
Why bother going to the gym to work your ass off screening and closing a handful when you can screen volumes who come to you? Of course you will argue that these people, when they arrive to your office, have not arrived for chiropractic. And that is correct. But consider the following:
Someone who arrives to your office for something other than chiropractic has still arrived. You are right that they didn’t arrive for chiropractic and so are no better at that point than a prospect you met at the gym who is walking by that you stop and ask to participate. Here is a person who did more than walk by you. They walked in!
That being said, how is it any different to approach them about a screening now, here in your office, vs having met them outside? In fact, it’s a better scenario. You don’t have to ask for as much permission as you would meeting them at some random event. You have them there, so screen them in any way possible, as part of your protocol.
You will find you don’t have to worry about the arrival follow-up to the screening because they are already there. And if it’s for anything like weight loss, supplement purchase, lipolaser or decompression, they arrive in your office REPEATEDLY! They have to come back again and again.
Don’t make the mistake thousands of practice owners are making now in their marketing management and practice growth.
Your problem is not low income and these services you choose to add are not “supplemental income” or “income boosters” even if they do generate a large amount of cash. No, what you are really deficient in is chiropractic leads and when you add some service to attract people in, realize that you are generating more leads than ever. THIS is the value, not the cash income it generates. That is a collateral benefit.
Screen these prospects the way you would normally at a screening or event, or, if you are deficient in skill, learn how to screen effectively from someone who can do it well and, then, you won’t have to worry about arrivals or follow-up because they are already there. It’s actually a way to put the cart before the horse and have it work!
Stop trying to “generate a second source of income” as a goal.
This is, of course, good business advice and you should have multiple streams of cash flow. Any successful entrepreneur or business owner will tell you that. It’s common sense. But, making it your end game does just that: it ends the game you set out to play. That game had something to do with making the world better through teaching people about innate intelligence and achieving ultimate wellness. Remember?
So, chiropractic marketing really doesn’t have anything to do with selling chiropractic but, applied correctly, in correct sequence, can result in more new patients than you can handle or imagine. And, you’re almost there with what you are doing now!
I am screening expert. People think I specialize in new patients. I don’t. I am an expert in lead generation and arrivals in-office and in volume. That action doesn’t provide new patients per se. It makes them possible. It provides a large pool of POSSIBLE patients for you to close on care. The more leads, the more patients.
I mentioned earlier about getting drained from simply mis-applying marketing as sales. Here is the true source of burnout: the selling of chiropractic to someone who isn’t even a lead yet. This is the exhausting process of “closing” people and then suffering the ultimate despair and waste of time called the “no-show” which not only kills time, but your resolve and purpose, unfocusing and distracting your attention elsewhere. Ultimately you end up with what I call a “not-chiropractic” practice. Ask yourself, have you become a “not-chiropractor”?
Hopefully this will help you find your way back to being a chiropractor. Don’t try and generate new patients. Generate leads who arrive by any means possible, and you’ll have all the closes you want, even if you suck at selling treatment plans.
I would be more than happy to consult with you for a few minutes on what would be needed to make this happen in your practice and assess the situation for ALL possible solutions to boost the lead volume. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get some free advice.
Now go get those leads!