Unless you have been hiding under a rock, it’s hard to miss the fact that the business world is drastically evolving, and doing so at an increasing pace.
The internet has dominated advertising for years, and new ways to use it emerge and disappear before most small-business owners figure out how to use them.
The information age has expanded the amount of data available on any subject. And social media has changed people’s perceptions and expectations, for better or worse.
What do all these things have to do with selling a chiropractic clinic? Plenty. These forces have shaped today’s buyers in important ways. If you want your clinic to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace, you need to pay attention to these trends that give insights into meeting the demands of today’s chiropractic clinic buyer.
After years of living in a fast-paced information age, today’s buyers do not enter large decisions without doing research first. They come educated about the process of buying a clinic and knowing the attributes that make clinics good investments.
Buyers know the information they want, they understand how to analyze it, and they expect to be able to access it quickly, easily, and in familiar formats.
They spend all day looking at their social media feeds filled with pictures and videos of their friends, families, vacations, and even their meals. In other words, they have become accustomed to organized, curated information and photographs about anything they find mildly interesting.
Fed up with the system
On the whole, today’s consumers are done with outdated business models. They hate cheesiness and “salesy-ness.” In a world where there is little real connection anymore and fake news abounds, today’s chiropractic practice buyers are looking for authenticity, whether they are interacting with you or a hired intermediary (e.g., a broker).
Maybe it’s because many of these doctors struggled through the 2008 financial crisis, or because so many of them still feel financially crunched despite the subsequent economic recovery, but there is definitely an atmosphere of risk-aversion in today’s clinic marketplace. Buyers are carefully evaluating clinics with an extra critical eye on the questions of practice stability and whether its success is replicable.
So, armed with this knowledge, here’s how to translate these concepts into action steps to make your clinic more attractive to potential buyers.
Rewrite your advertising
Respect your potential buyer’s time and make sure your listing tells enough about your clinic that they can determine if it fits their criteria. For most clinics, a bare minimum would be gross collections, net income, asking price, and adjusting techniques. If you own a niche clinic that focuses on a certain clientele or treatment, that needs to be said as well.
Along these lines, if you hire a consultant or broker to market your clinic and they are not listing all of this information, require them to do so for your clinic. Teaser listings that lack all the needed information is a common list-building technique, but today’s buyers hate that. Listings for your clinic should be selling your clinic—period.
Give them what they want
The listing is just the first step. Once you have someone interested, you want to get them even more excited, and not lose momentum while they wait for someone to call them back, and then wait again for information to be sent.
A broker can handle this by creating a landing page for each clinic they list. You can do this yourself with free website-building software; there are many options available with modern templates and user-friendly tools.
Ensure your page features high-quality pictures (and ideally video) of your clinic. Consider hiring a professional photographer, as this can often be done for just a few hundred dollars and will instantly make your clinic shine in the marketplace.
This website should also tell exciting details about your clinic. List the unique selling points that demonstrate why:
- Your clinic is a great investment,
- Your clinic is stable with relatively low risk and,
- Your past successes can be duplicated.
In addition, have your financial statements and due diligence materials ready to go before you put your clinic on the market. It can take time to assemble all the information and adjust the statements properly, and you don’t want to lose momentum or look like you are hiding something when you have an interested buyer.
Lower your overhead
Your risk-averse potential buyers love low overheads and high profit margins. And lenders do, too. So now is the time to cut all discretionary expenses. Consider paying yourself or a family member a higher salary; you keep your write-off, and buyers and lenders will automatically consider this profit.
Create automated income
Nothing speaks to a cautious buyer like the predictability of automatic payments. Having a dependable, automatic monthly income increases the perceived stability of a clinic and demonstrates it is not dependent on new patients for meeting overhead. Maintenance patients are a natural fit for this, but think outside the box with supplement clubs, massage, nutrition, and weight-loss programs. The sky is the limit for the creative DC.
Get back into marketing
Doctors are usually proud when they get to stop marketing and operate on straight referrals—and rightly so. But that can be a problem when you want to sell your clinic, because referrals are built on relationships, and the new doctor won’t have any assurances that these will continue.
Today’s buyer wants to walk into a situation where the marketing is already in place and has proven to be effective. You get bonus points if this marketing is scalable, offering the new owner an opportunity to do a big growth push when they have settled into the clinic.
Get it on paper
When all the details of running your practice reside only in your head—or even worse, in an employee’s head— the odds of the clinic running the same way after the sale shrink. Show a potential buyer their odds of repeating your successes are high by having a detailed standards and procedures manual.
Get your staff involved and get all your processes systemized, from new-patient intake to recall strategies, from marketing to collections, and everything in between. There are online tools with templates that make this a breeze.
Give them the feeling of success
Every potential buyer who looks at your practice landing page, and especially those who step through your door, will be picturing themselves as the owner of your clinic. Will your practice, in its current state, fill a potential buyer with a sense of pride? If not, you need to get to work.
A good first step is eliminating visual clutter. In photos and in person, clutter stirs feelings of chaos and dysfunction. Then modernize the look and feel of your clinic. At a minimum, invest in the reception area. A welcoming entrance with oversized, upscale potted plants at your door and fresh paint and modern décor in the reception area will set the mood for your clinic.
The psychology of this matters, because when it comes down to a choice between your clinic and the next guy’s, the “feel” the potential buyer gets could very well be the deciding factor.
You’ve poured years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars into your clinic already, so finish strong by doing the prep work to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers. Meet a buyer’s psychological needs and you will stand out for sure.
Crystal Misenheimer is the co-founder and content strategist for Progressive Practice Sales. Their team harnesses the power of today’s technology to helpdoctors nationwide sell and acquire clinics, and save them time, money, and effort along the way. She can be contacted at 503-839- 4563, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through progressivepracticesales.com.