I run a multidisciplinary practice with chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists, and I attract 600 new chiropractic patients per year.
The secret to my success was preparing for private practice while I was in school. You should focus on building your practice while you are in school, too. After you graduate, the clock starts ticking and if you aren’t prepared before you enter the real world, you may be in peril.
Chiro student Catch-22
The stress of your studies might cause you to ask, “How can I focus on building my practice? If I don’t pass my courses and my board exams, I won’t be able to practice at all.” This may be true, but even if you graduate and get licensed, you’ll still have a good chance of failing if you haven’t prepared well.
At minimum, spend two hours a week networking and building your future practice. Make a point of meeting new people””whether it’s the lady in the cafeteria or the butcher at the grocery store. If you are in your first or final year of chiropractic college, put the time in and learn how to meet people.
The word “rapport” means “a harmonious relationship in which people understand each other’s feelings and communicate well.” A chiropractor and my former communication teacher””Christopher Good, DC”” brought this word to my attention in my sixth trimester.
I especially liked his “moment of truth” questions, 100 queries you should be able to answer in a sentence or two. They helped me explain things to patients quickly, which gave them confidence in my ability.
Good’s moments of truth refer to times when someone is going to form an opinion about you, your practice, or the profession. In those situations, you can either address the issue in a forthright, honest, and positive way, or stumble and try to deflect the question.
According to Good, “One of the biggest obstacles that prevents people from seeing a chiropractor is their lack of understanding. Not only do they not know about what we do and treat, but there is also a lot of misinformation and disinformation spread about. Honest and understandable statements about chiropractic make a great impression and that opens the door to new patients.”
Social media matters
Chiropractors should use social media to communicate. In my practice it has become the primary way for patients to request appointments, ask questions of my staff, and refer their friends and family to my clinic.
Think of it this way: Two people are having a conversation and one person recommends you to someone else”” now that person will likely follow up on the referral and may in turn tell another person about the high-quality treatment you provided. Social media magnifies the patient experience””one individual can spread the word about your practice to hundreds of their Facebook friends in an instant.
From a chiropractor’s perspective, social media can provide a number of benefits, including building awareness, creating or encouraging community involvement, and providing enhanced customer service.
Good said something else about this very topic: “Ultimately, all people want is to be heard and cared for on some level. The rapport you build is unique to each person because of his or her beliefs, knowledge, and life experiences. The more you can listen, the better the rapport-building. Chiropractic has always been a beautiful profession that changes lives in so many ways. We just need to position ourselves so people have the best opportunity to experience this.”
If you would like have a copy of Good’s “moment of truth” questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anthony J. Lombardi, DC, is the creator of the Exstore Assessment System. He is a consultant and treatment provider to professional athletes in the NFL, NHL, and CFL. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through hamiltonbackclinic.com. New graduates may contact Lombardi any time they have questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.