Dennis Perman, DC
doctors believe that if they could just get enough
new patients, they would have a successful practice.
However, things don’t really work that way.
Doctors tend to find their level of practice, consistent
with the way they think and act, regardless of new
patients come from you, not to you, based on your
identity and your sense of self. If you see yourself
as a new patient magnet, you’ll get more new
patients; and if you work at mastering the skills
of new patient communication, you will improve your
results even more.
themes of “being” and “doing”
are at the core of every success and fulfillment formula,
so to get the most out of new patient tools, you must
develop the beliefs, values, and behaviors of those
who are outstanding at new patient acquisition.
begin the process of unlimited new patient attraction,
decide how many new patients you want. Now think,
can you handle that number? You must begin with a
sense of certainty that you can achieve this goal.
Choose a number you believe you can reach, but ambitious
enough to motivate you to go for it.
It in Writing
Next, do this simple marketing calendar exercise.
Draw a box about three inches square on a pad, and
write the name of this month at the top. In the upper
right-hand corner, write your goal for new patients,
and circle it. Let’s say your goal is 20.
the box, write the various new patient-generating
activities you already have planned for the month.
For example, if you give a weekly health-care class,
write 4HCC in the box (four health-care classes).
How many new patients do you usually get from a new
patient orientation talk? If you get an average of
one per class, write a 4 to the right of 4HCC, and
else do you have planned this month? Asking for referrals
is part of most chiropractors’ daily routine,
so if you do this, write ASK in the box, and estimate
how many new patients you expect to get by asking
for referrals. If you expect to get about two per
week, write an 8 next to ASK and circle it.
What else do you have planned this month? So far,
you have enough new patient-generating activities
to attract about 12 new patients, so if your goal
is 20, you’re going to need some more action
steps. Continue writing activities you are willing
to do in the box, until the circled numbers add up
to at least your goal, and maybe a little more, to
be on the safe side.
Strike a balance between in-office and out-of-office
activities that produce the blend of new patients
you desire, activities like networking with other
professionals, lectures and presentations, public-relations
promotions, and inter-referral relationships with
merchants and other services in your area.
At the end of each month, tally up your new-patient
statistics, and see how close you get with your estimates.
Don’t judge your results; learn from them. If
your marketing activities generate the right number
of the right kind of new patients, congratulations!
Now all you have to do is serve them well, and you’re
that much closer to your ideal practice.
If you don’t get the number or type of new patients
you want - or you simply want to build on your success
- the following ideas can help improve your results.
Your Ideal Patient
If you find you are attracting enough new patients,
but they are not the “quality” you would
choose, you may need to refine your marketing.
Here are some simple steps that will tell you “How
To Target Your Ideal Patient”:
• Identify your ideal patients. Develop a model
of your favorite types of patients, by age, gender,
condition, method of compensation, or any other desirable
or undesirable characteristics.
• Locate your ideal patients. For example, young
families are in schools, parent-teacher organizations,
camps, pediatricians’ offices, parenting groups,
religious and ethnic groups, and many workplaces;
seniors are in adult homes, hobby clubs and gerontologists’
offices; athletes are in health clubs, gyms and martial
arts studios; and wellness patients are in health-food
stores, bookstores, and special-interest clubs. Figure
out where higher concentrations of “your”
ideal patients can be found.
• Increase your visibility in those locations.
Join the health club or special interest group yourself,
or send your patients there. Make referrals to specialists
who serve the clientele you like. Write articles or
columns for their newsletters. Do talks or sponsor
promotions there. Create a presence for yourself where
your ideal patients tend to be.
• Close effectively. Once you have identified
and located your ideal patients, and gotten them to
notice you, you need to engage them in conversation
and help them make a good decision about exploring
your services. Base your communication on perceived
value and benefits they will enjoy and consequences
they will avoid by being your patient. Write and role-play
scripts so you know the beliefs, values, and selling
points for your ideal patients. Become skillful at
getting to yes.
• Tailor your office procedures and policies
to meet their needs. If you like treating high-powered
business people, don’t sit them in front of
a 40-minute video. If you like seniors, don’t
plan for a two-minute office visit. If you want children,
don’t place a lot of fancy art collectibles
on low surfaces; go with a kids’ corner with
games, puzzles, and books or a computer, and put the
art on the walls, or on high shelves. Think about
who you are aiming your service at, and customize
your office procedures to satisfy, please, and enthuse
on Your Marketing Calendar
If you are happy with the quality of the patients
you are attracting but you want more of them, you
may need to add activities in your marketing calendar.
There are dozens of options, depending on the ideal
patients you target, but the high-return techniques
tend to require direct communication between you and
an individual or a group. Some of these marketing
programs will take place inside your office, and others
will be out-of-office.
are two sure-fire marketing ideas, one for internal
marketing, and one for external:
• Inside your office: The “Three-a-Day”
Game - Inside your office, you can get a tremendous
yield for the time and energy invested when you learn
to play a simple new patient game called the “Three-a-Day”
Game. When you arrive at your office each morning,
select three patients from your schedule who will
be your Three-a-Day players for the day. (Put yellow
sticky-notes on their card or file to remind you.)
can talk about the value of chiropractic to your patients
all day if you like, but you only get to “close”
with three patients per day. So it’s important
to pick the right people and make those opportunities
count, with focus and passion.
of you may be thinking, “Only three times each
day?”, while others may be thinking, “I
have to confront people three times a day?”
Either way, don’t worry, the more you play the
game, the easier it is to understand why these issues
don’t turn out to matter much in the long-run.
example, if you tend to be more assertive and would
prefer to ask more than three people each day, first
think about the results you can reasonably expect.
If you ask three times, five office days each week,
that’s 15 times each week and about 60 times
per month. About what percentage of the time do you
anticipate a referral? Twenty percent? That would
be three additional new patients per week, or about
12 per month. Thirty-three percent? That would net
you 20 additional new patients each month, and you
don’t have to spend a nickel or take one step
outside your office. This method of new patient acquisition
takes only a few extra minutes each day.
those of you who dread this kind of direct confrontation,
look at it this way - you are hand-picking your three
favorite patients for the day, the ones you feel most
comfortable with and who are most likely to respond
to you. Who better to ask for support, and a demonstration
of their confidence?
Three-a-Day game is a consistency game. Commit to
playing it for 90 days, and watch what happens in
your practice. As you play more regularly, you’ll
become more skillful, and your batting average will
improve. It’s okay to be creative - use props,
a story-of-the-day, questions about family, friends
and co-workers... whatever you can think of to keep
it fun and entertaining, so you look forward to playing
Out of office: Public speaking - The most productive
out-of-office new patient tool is public speaking,
preferably to target audiences with high concentrations
of ideal patients. Cultivate relationships with groups
in your area that would be responsive to your message,
whether based on wellness, fitness, lifestyle, or
some condition-based approach.
your presentation skills, and develop several talks
you can roll out for various types of audiences. As
in one-on-one communication, learn to close effectively,
so people are motivated to take action, and you can
welcome them into your practice for services that
are well-suited to their needs.
you learn to shape your marketing calendar months
or a year in advance, you’ll catch the rhythm
of each season or time period, based on holidays you
can link promotions to, times of year when certain
people arrive or vacate, and idiosyncrasies of each
area, all of which can be a source of new patient
flow if you plan properly.By using this marketing
calendar concept, you can monitor your new patient
results over time, and intensify or relax your efforts
as needed to build your practice in the way that pleases
Perman is co-founder of The Masters Circle, a personal
and professional development company dedicated to
helping chiropractors find success through practice
mastery and personal growth. The Masters Circle provides
seminars, coaching, teleclasses, and audiovisual support
materials. Dr. Perman
can be reached at 800-451-4514; or sign on to www.themasterscircle.com.