Whether it’s patients or other health care professionals, a marketing mindset should be top-of-mind
If you are like most chiropractors you have three big fears — death, taxes and public speaking. However, I would like to add one more — marketing. Most chiropractors do not think about it, do not like to do it, and would rather have someone else take care of this crucial responsibility.
Yet, if chiropractors are not keen to build business, then there is no patient to treat. It’s a catch-22; it’s like saying which is more important, the chicken or the egg?
Develop a marketing mindset
You must alter your mind from where you are today and shift toward business development. Admittedly this is no easy task, but it is imperative to make the shift so that your practice operates from merely surviving to thriving.
Think of it this way — marketing is around you each and every day. From the moment you awake until the moment you fall asleep you are immersed in marketing. You watch the news, open a box of granola, brush your teeth and get dressed. Just that minimal time introduces you to products and services delivered to you or purchased because of marketing and its related activities. Marketing is required to bring valuable products and services to you. After all, marketing is required to produce the acquisition and retention of patients. Further, marketing helps to provide you the products and services you want as well as need.
None of these can happen unless you have a marketing mindset. Marketing is an information exchange meant to establish relationships so that patients understand value. Value in the marketing world, especially for medical professionals, is the relationship and trust built around the benefits of care and the sacrifice(s) necessary for the patient to receive these benefits.
Value is not about quality, priority or anything else other than a set of philosophical and psychological inferences that create practice processes implementing patient satisfaction. And, in order to establish the set of processes, marketing uses a series of activities to institutionalize this philosophical attitude into the practice. Therefore, marketing requires a new mindset or quality, setting expectations, value, information, communication, feedback, idea exchange, and most importantly, patient service.
The business of relationships
A key aspect of the marketing mindset is building relationships. You are in the health care profession but pragmatically, to grow a thriving practice, you are in the business of relationships. To help nurture and grow your practice requires daily involvement with activities that bring you further into your local community so that your practice grows. More important than advertising, the key to establishing a practice based on value is relationships.
Better-than-average chiropractors will help differentiate themselves by creating relationships to build distinction with the prospective patient. For example, one might argue that health care is a commodity business much like buying eggs at a local grocer or obtaining a haircut at a local barber. However, there is a reason why prospective patients shop in certain places — relationships. We can argue that there are some services such as laser, acupuncture, etc., that aid a practice because they are distinctive products and services. We might even argue that certain doctors can differentiate based on price, but the marketing mindset requires more of an intangible than tangible.
Patients align products and services with a fee, therefore the value they associate is the exchange of the fee for the value (benefit) received. Coincidentally, this is the definition of selling. But suffice to say that the fee is related to the tangible gain. Therefore, these are commodities and they pay a fee.
The doctor who is into relationships and creates a marketing mindset is different. The best patients do not associate a relationship and trust with a fee; its value is incalculable. Relationships, then, are intrinsic and no amount of money can be placed on trust and respect, and prospective patients would not dare place a fee on them. These relationships then become lifelong, downplaying barriers of resistance while also creating more awareness and brand for the doctor.
Placing distinction in your marketing mindset
To help you foster relationships, understand that personality and behavior must also be part of your overall systems. For example, I can take two different chiropractors and place them into the same medical professionals program. They attend the same classes, get the same grades, and even get the same grade on the exam. However, their relationships with patients are different based on their innate skills.
There is nothing better for growing a profitable practice than a trusting patient who wants and needs your services. They believe in their heart you will get them out of immediate pain and mitigate that issue from returning. This is something not easily achieved by others — and this relationship must be guarded as if it is the Hope Diamond or Crown Jewels.
Arguing with patients, treating them poorly, not returning calls; anything can sour a relationship that took years to build. Creating a mindset is not only worth it, it is the “must” of your practice. When you develop a mindset of value, of relationship and of desire, you build a wealth of opportunities both now and in the future.
The 7 laws of building relationships with a marketing mindset
Many will suggest relationship-building is based on personality and behavior. In fact, social scientists for years offered droves of research on how personality and behavior impact research.
However, there are other areas that affect the manner in which people interact. More importantly, the following laws are concepts that must be top-of-mind as chiropractors seek to build trusting, long-lasting relationships with their prospective patients.
- The Law of Value — With a wealth of competition, patients seek value so as to mitigate time and expense in seeking proper Value is the benefit patients receive from the trust and respect for service. In today’s competitive market, value provides intrinsic fees for services as well as the differentiation of services. When chiropractors build value-based relationships there is a strong defense against most competitive pressures.
- The Law of Constant Contact — Social media and relationship management software allow a multitude of ways to constantly remain in contact with present and former Although trite, apply the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” There is too much competition and the internet makes it too easy to find another doctor or another way to ease back pain or stiffness. When you remain in constant contact you offer differentiation from the doctor down the street, but also remain top-of-mind when patients require your services.
- The Law of Testimonials and Case Study — There are times when contrary methods work better than Many doctors develop websites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc., telling stories and facts related to care. Many of these are not only ubiquitous in tone but also very prescriptive and do little for trust. Prospective patients desire to hear more about your care. With that in mind, it is best to collect and integrate into your marketing as many testimonials and case studies as possible. The implications include former patients boasting of your former efforts to new patients who desire to know how you can help them. Additionally, patients actually want to hear from others because the “word of mouth” marketing helps decrease barriers and build higher levels of trust and respect.
- The Law of Short-term Transactions — If you are like many, your phone rings incessantly from cold callers who want to sell you goods you have little need Not only are these calls intrusive, they are transactional. Each person on the call is only interested in one thing — getting you to say yes to something before the end of the call. Doctors cannot perform in this manner. Each interaction, from meeting at a networking event to perhaps the report of findings, builds the trust factor. Each discussion helps continue discussion, which develops the relationship to influence the business aspects. The more chiropractors think of relationship continuance, the better for longer-term practice success.
- The Law of Availability — Health care is a service-based business and most business in the United States is service. Yet how many times do you, when you are a patient, make calls, leave voice mails and send emails all to be ignored, forgotten or downplayed? There are too many in health care that conduct business similarly. Our “mystery shops” never cease to surprise our business in the different ways patients are often ignored. Therefore, be patient-service savvy. Ensure that all aspects of your practice engage in this important art to help you retain your most vital asset.
- The Law of Community — Building community is a large factor for patient When others in the community know you more, they understand your practice, your methods and your values, and want to know you better. The only way to ensure that others know of your value is to get into the world and express it. Some of the best ways to assist you here will be getting involved in local community activities such as religious, athletic and civic. Many of these take very little time and money and will make you the “Vicar of Value” because of the awareness such volunteerism brings. You might make contributions, sponsor a local event or even offer to mail envelopes or lick stamps. No matter your involvement, large or small, your stewardship will be rewarding.
- The Law of Recommended Resources — Doctors need not always be the dictionary of Being a valuable resource for additional health and wellness information will make you more valued with patients. They will honor the information you provide and appreciate your concern for their welfare. This alone will create in you a valuable asset.
Be consistent, and relentless
In order to prove successful and be a sustainable practice, it’s crucial that your marketing is consistent and relentless. Research has proven that those chiropractors who continually practice marketing processes are much more successful.
If you want a long-standing, profitable practice, take some time each day to implement some of these principles to improve your earnings, your revenues and your financial future.
Drew Stevens is an accomplished speaker, author, advisor and coach for chiropractors. He is also the author of the best-selling practice management book, “Practice Acceleration: Helping Chiropractors Maximize Patient Volume and Revenue” (© 2020).