How would you like to have a people-sized “butterfly net” to catch endless new patients for your practice? Once you understand consumers’ nutritional needs, you will be able to put a system in place that will answer those needs.
It is possible to set up a “machine” that will attract hundreds of new patients who were not looking for your office. Most chiropractors try to attract new patients who are looking for back and neck pain relief. While many people do seek chiropractic care to help a pain problem, there are even larger numbers of people looking for what chiropractic has to offer; but many are looking in the wrong places.
Instead of trying to reach only people in physical pain with the intention to later introduce the patients to a wellness concept, there are strategies focused on nutrition that can actually attract wellness-oriented patients from the start. After these patients find your office, you can introduce them to preventive care for the entire family.
The problem with focusing all of your new patient recruitment efforts on alleviating pain problems is that pain represents a medical model rather than a wellness model. The truth is that chiropractic is extremely effective for the relief of physical pain, but after the pain goes away… what then? Most chiropractors attempt to educate patients about why they should continue care, but in many instances the patient does not stay once the initial problem is resolved.
Most people don’t think in terms of prevention and only respond to crisis. When patients are out of crisis, many may question coming to you — especially if their insurance coverage is exhausted and they have to pay for the care with disposable income.
Doctors who have created wellness practices have learned a process to reposition patients’ understanding of healthcare. Imagine what your practice would be like if you could tap into a source of new patients who already have a well-care focus rather than a sick-care focus, and then you could show those people the benefits of chiropractic care.
Can nutrition accomplish what a chiropractor can when it relates to long-term healthcare? Of course not, but if the perception of the consuming public is that it can, you need to change your strategies accordingly so you can offer both of these benefits to your patients.
Success in any business is contingent on finding out what the public needs and wants and delivering that service. The majority of the public perceives chiropractic care as a discipline that offers neck and back pain relief. Statistics have shown that many new patients seek chiropractic care after other disciplines have failed. Let’s look at some other facts.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association addressed the trend toward alternative healthcare. In 1990, 387 million office visits were to traditional medical doctors and 427 million to “alternative” practitioners. By 1997, the study found there were 2 million fewer visits to medical doctors, at 385 million, while visits to alternative practitioners had risen by 201 million — to 628 million.
The authors of the article also discovered that many of the alternative office visits were paid “out-of-pocket.”
The increasing number of visits to alternative practitioners and decreasing visits to medical doctors backs up the fact that the public’s perception is changing regarding alternative healthcare. Many consumers have decided that a more natural approach to health is their answer. In many cases, health-food stores have become a solution.
The challenge lies in how to attract more people to chiropractic who are interested in natural healthcare. One answer is to create a new patient machine focused on presenting chiropractic care as an all-natural alternative to medicine, using nutrition as the communication tool.
The ultimate goal need not be to become a nutritional counselor, but to present chiropractic to as many people as possible. The public is looking for a natural alternative that will provide the benefits of chiropractic; many of them just don’t know yet that chiropractic is their answer.
Part of the definition of doctor is educator, and the more effectively the profession can fill that role, the faster chiropractic will advance in the eyes of the public. Public perception is what drives a practice. Those doctors who are out in the public answering patients’ needs are in the forefront of the profession regarding the number of people being served.
One of the primary goals of introducing nutrition to your practice is to bring in some of those patients passing your doors as they head to the local health-food store. A new owner of one of the country’s most popular vitamin shop franchises has only a week of education at the company’s training site, and then often hires part-time high school students to work the store and make vitamin recommendations to the public.
When you market nutrition in your practice, the most effective strategy is to focus on the concept of health and vitality. Just like the vitamin stores, you can place small ads in local newspapers and coupon books that promote supplements and products that increase health and vitality. As an aded bonus, you can promote the fact that your products are doctor-recommended.
Here are a few sample ads that have been shown to bring a positive response:
- “All Natural Anti-Aging Formula Now Available In U.S.” Doctor-recommended and called by researchers the most significant anti-aging breakthrough in the last 100 years. Feel young, all natural, no side effects.
- “Shower In Bottled Water!” Scientific studies have now linked showering in chlorinated water with breast, prostate, bladder and rectal cancer. Protect yourself and your family with the “XYZ” shower enhancement system today.
- “Bypass In A Bottle.” After 30 years of performing countless bypass surgeries a cardiologist/thoracic surgeon has found “prevention” as the answer. After 30 years of research and development the answer is here, all natural and with no side effects.
- “Arthritis Relief At Last.” Arthritis affects more than 40 million Americans: That’s one out of seven. If you suffer from arthritis, relief is available with a doctor-recommended glucosamine formula, safe effective and with no side effects.
- “Finally, An All-Natural Answer For A.D.D./ A.D.H.D.” After years of study, doctors have formulated an all-natural, great-tasting drink providing all the vital nutrients needed for children and teens. Doctor-recommended, all-natural, and with no side effects.
When people come to the office to purchase the advertised products, you can invite them to a health lecture on how they can increase their health and vitality. In the lecture, the four elements of health should be explained: water, food, oxygen and what most of these potential patients probably haven’t thought about much… nerve supply. Then you can emphasize how essential chiropractic is for attaining and maintaining optimum health.
This approach repositions people’s perception of chiropractic from neck and back pain, to an essential part of optimum health. The results: One practice using this program has seen an increase of 1,400 new patients in one year from this source alone. Isn’t that what chiropractic is all about — results?