What would you do if you found out that you had access to hundreds, maybe thousands of FREE, super-qualified new patients, so qualified that you KNEW they were interested in the specific services that specifically YOU offer?
You probably wouldn’t believe it. But it would be no less true. It is right in front of you!
There is a gold mine of leads to patient cases that you can tap that are so qualified, you’d never believe you are overlooking it every day. And these are the most qualified leads for care you will ever find!
What’s more is you don’t have to dig very deeply, if at all to hit pay dirt. For the fact of the matter is that, if you have been in practice even as little as a year, you can strike it rich too.
The lead? This person has been referred to in many ways and described and sub-categorized into groups by how “active” they are at the time. Yes, you guessed it, these are your “former” patients, and they have been enlightened enough to have bought from you before. In fact, the buzz among entrepreneurial circles these days are that these type of leads are the most likely of all to buy. After all, they bought once and so will buy again. Hence the valuable, if untapped goldmine merely occluded by the label “former” attached to it.
So how do you cash in? Regardless of labels or “occlusions” to this resource, there stand 5 basic principles which guide you to making the absolute most out of them, tapping into their last bit of value. These are what I call “5 R’s to Successful Chiropractic Marketing and Practice Growth”
There are 5 different ways to make use of this resource. These involve various promotional actions, of course, however their meaning runs much deeper. There is a purpose component behind it along with some very basic things about sales that inherently relate to keeping your office’s and your own purposes fulfilled.
While any marketing program can be considered quite mechanical in it’s process, there is something to be said about basic communication of the practice purpose. Not only do people who have completed care (as if that is EVER possible considering Maintenance Care should be for life) need to be kept in the loop, they need to be reminded of your very existence and included in your practice even when not “active” in status, as in being on a current program. In fact, even someone on periodic maintenance, especially when it is of low frequency, must be kept in the loop!
So let’s take up the 5 R’s in sequence and see how we cash in!
R1, RETAIN: Patient retention is of primary focus as it can alleviate the need of the other four R’s
Once you have a patient, seek to retain him for as long as possible. Nothing hurts worse than a patient who leaves, particularly when it is only to go to someone else, right? Patient retention is key, especially in situations where between visit intervals are of the greatest duration.
What does it take to retain? Well, education is key but perhaps more important is a constant stream of communication, not so much in-office (which itself must be flawless) but more so between visits. A constant barrage of communication keeps them more on track and with the program.
How to do this? Well, there are plenty of ways. There are rules to communicating, yes. But any contact is better than none, in essence. Nevertheless, retaining a patient as long as possible is the best possible policy with the best return.
R2, REFER: Patients, past or present, who have received excellent service tend to be under-valued. You can utilize them to nearly double your patient base if you’re really on your game with these.
The “keeping in touch” rule comes into play here in two scenarios. The simpler and easier, if overlooked and neglected one, is while the person is still under your care. This is when people are “ripe” to refer as their experience and results (and you yourself) are all fresh in their minds and of some small success or victory.
Patient referrals should be asked for early on in care but can also be expected even long after a corrective care plan has been completed. Keeping in touch with people is crucial. It reminds them of you as well as their experience with you, and they are more likely to refer when they know someone with similar symptoms or ailments to refer if you are front and center in what they are currently aware of.
R3, REMEMBER: You will only be remembered by your continued communication.
All manner of tricks can be used to effect and awareness on the part of a patient base. Often times when practice owners consider doing something like sending birthday cards, newsletters, hand-written letters, calls, etc, they tend to think it a waste of time or money. That’s because, isolated, any one of these things doesn’t look like it will bring a return on investment. After all, when did someone ever come in to your practice because you sent them a newsletter or email promotion? This is why the plug gets pulled on so many “keep in touch” campaigns. A mis-assignment of the expected outcome.
If you step back and realize this concept and commit to doing what it takes to be remembered, even when a patient goes to the most inactive status possible, you will be well on your way to practice growth. For this is what keeps people in the loop and gets them to realize that they are still part of your group.
How is this achieved ultimately? The answer lies in the next “R”…
R4, REMIND: Getting someone to remember you is not entirely dependent upon the last words you had with a patient so much as how you continue to communicate with them during their “absence” from your clinic.
Are you noticing a common thread through all of this? Before you say it’s a waste of time, realize that if you just embrace the concept of an overall communication with the entire body of patients who have ever been in contact with your clinic, you will realize the longer term value in that. Being at the top of their minds, when their need arises, you will be the first person they will remember in their time of need. And they will come back or refer.
Be it an injury, or new illness, or even another loved one with a similar problem, you can be certain they will think of you first. Consider the alternative. What if another practitioner is promoting actively? Who will be at the top of their mind then? It is the one that captures their attention the most – and most often!
Reminding patients can be via any of the previously-discussed items above including calls, newsletters, letters, post cards and even event invites to in-office functions, talks, etc. This is only limited by your creativity on things you can do. But, the sky is the limit as to how often these can be done and how many variations.
R5, REACTIVATE: The final step is the ultimate in cashing in on best quality new patient leads: Getting someone from inactive to active status once again.
Farthest removed from actual active care would be those contacted in their absence from care, the ones you label “inactive”. Here comes the payoff of all the hard work of having contacted them repeatedly. Here is where casual contact meets stern and certain invitation or recommendation.
You may have even tried to reactivate “old patients” in the past to no avail. This is because the 5R’s are both cumulative and sequential. You need to build one upon the other, in proper order, to include patients, to keep them in touch with you and up-to-date on the everyday miracles happening right in your clinic. That achieved, the invitation call you make is not only smoother and easier, it is practically expected and WAY more welcoming when you make it.
A well-orchestrated plan of the 5R’s means you can “telemarket” patients you haven’t seen in a while and be greeted with open arms. Done appropriately, you can witness far better results than you ever thought possible.
The 5 R’s in proper sequence and in proper coordination are the tap to the best vein of gold you’ve ever experienced in terms of quality new patients leads. Following them is the treasure map to the big payoff!
Retain, refer, remember, remind, reactivate. These are the five things to remember in order, and perform without fail, unrelentingly, until they actually work. All you need to do is have a little patience and some faith that they will work. They are the most entrepreneurial thing you can do to grow your practice and even prevent burnout from constantly promoting out the front door with screenings, talks and advertising which, let’s face it, these days, are not working as well as they used to. Right?
Retain patients when you have them under care, get them to refer the minute they get results, get them to remember you always and remind them when they are less likely to, then reactivate them and start the cycle over. You will find a much more fun and fulfilling practice-growth experience. It can be exponential if you can just hang in there!
Need help>? Ask me anything about this process. I help chiropractors and other wellness professionals establish these 5R’s every day and even do them as an outsource to staffs they lack. Contact me anytime to ask how you might achieve them too! I’d be happy to share a little wisdom. firstname.lastname@example.org