18 April 2011, by tpotisk
Marketing and advertising in a chiropractic practice is a necessity. But before you spend thousands of dollars, there are several considerations.
Is your practice a bit slow? Where is everybody, you wonder? You’re not alone; many Chiropractors are struggling with the same issue – lower patient volume. (AKA you’re hens are not clucking. Read on to understand.)
But that’s no reason to avoid taking action. Just because many doctors are hurting doesn’t mean you have to also.
Your choice of actions might be increasing your practice promotions/marketing, or adding new services, taking a survey, increasing your involvement in the community, or even retraining your staff. These are all good and necessary at times, but let’s look a bit deeper. Let’s do a bit of soul searching to see if maybe, just maybe there is a source of the practice’s lackluster performance that can more permanently and more significantly be altered. Dealing with these foundational issues will make any marketing or advertising you do far more effective.
#1 – So, where should you look? In the mirror. Did your insides just go into a spin? “Me, little ol’ me?” you might whimper. For many docs, this is a difficult consideration.
An extra dose of ego comes with our doctor diplomas you know.
Earth to doctor: It’s likely you, yep you that needs the deeper, more significant change. If your staff just read this they would applaud right now. If your patients just read this they would both applaud and, and…. well they would keep applauding.
Now don’t freak out, get angry, throw your arms up, or even raise any more denial than you already feel. Just take a few deep breaths, relax, and consider that perhaps yes, as hard as it is to believe, you yourself may be the biggest road block in the practice.
#2 – Brace yourself now, I’m not through with you yet – here’s the next tough question “Do you really love these patients of yours? Do you even really like these patients?”
Hello, hello, are you still there?
Take the time to sincerely ask yourself these questions, and better yet take action to improve yourself, and doctor, you’ll have a world class practice. It’s not easy to look inward like this but it’s worth it.
About 10 years ago, I found myself in the situation of having a struggling practice. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off (don’t worry I won’t show a picture of one) as I attempted to increase production thru staff training, more marketing etc.
My staff were about ready fly the coop from the office tension I created. (Sorry, for the chicken references, I raise my own in my backyard. That’s one of several reasons I’m known as the “down to earth” doctor.)
Finally, after having enough frustration, I looked inward; self evaluated, and was shocked to discover that the problem was mostly me. For years I had gradually been shifting my focus from one of loving service to one of critical judgement. Sure, it was partly due to the frustrations with rapid changes in insurance coverage, regulations and malpractice fears, but still it was ultimately me that allowed myself to loose the loving service mentality so important for a doctor’s success. I was actually resenting most of the patients!
So, with much effort, I began to dig myself out of that dreadful hole by first realizing what a true honor it is when a fellow human comes and asks for help. When you really think about it, that act of submitting themselves, of trusting you, trusting to the point of even taking off their clothes for you and then submitting to probing, prodding, feeling and examining ,some times in intimate places (professionally of course), is an honor taken for granted far too often.
#3 – And lastly, are you trustable? A dentist not far from my office, Dr. Foley, was interviewed and honored in the local newspaper for 50 years of practice. I sent him a congratulatory note. He wrote back with these words “It’s all about trust. When the patients trust us, all the work we do is worthwhile.”
I saved that note. That note is what helped turn my attitude and my practice around.
I started seeing patients as valuable unique creations of God; that the trust the patients had for me was a tremendous gift from God not to be taken for granted.
It didn’t matter if the patient appeared ugly, stupid, cheap, arrogant, or even smelled bad – all that mattered was that they came and they trusted and they wanted my help. They were deserving not only of my liking, and my best service, but of my love; doing so is one of the best ways you and I can glorify God. All the frustrations that come with being a doctor like practice management, license regulations, and insurance processing will then seem miniscule.
Doctor, do you love or even like each and every patient you have? And when patients do come in to your office, can they really trust you? I suspect God will bless you with abundance of success if you take a close look at yourself and work towards being able to answer “Yes, most definitely!”
And your patients and staff will cluck like hens laying eggs!
I love helping Chiropractors thrive. That’s why I rote a book based on my observations from 25 years running a very successful multi-DC practice – it’s an ebook called Reclaim the Joy of Practice: An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors. You can order it securely by clicking HERE. It contains 134 pages and over 50 practical and easy to implement tips to produce the practice success you want.
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