3 pro tips for business-building strategies and adding specialty services to your practice
Wouldn’t it be nice to double your practice this year with additional specialty services? Think about what you could do with the income: Hire additional staff, take more time off, do more of what you love to do and less of what you must do (all of the above)?
Let us look at three income-producing, business-building strategies for specialty services that are widely used across many industries to increase revenue and profitability. You have probably experienced one or more of them without even being aware of it. Apply them to your chiropractic practice and you will see your bottom line improve like never before.
Pro Tip #1: Cross selling
Nothing gets done without something being sold. This is true in business, politics, and probably all other aspects of life — including your practice.
Cross selling is a form of sales that you can use to increase the lifetime value of each patient to your practice. What is cross selling? A cross sell is something that enhances the original purchase or gives added benefit.
In a health care setting this can include both product and service offerings (see Tip #2). When offered correctly, 65% of buyers will take advantage of an upsell — if it is a value enhancer. If a cross sell is not related or does not add any value to enhance the original purchase — it is doomed to fail. It must help the buyer get a better result and be related to the original purchase to avoid being too “salesy.”
One chiropractor I know sells Spinal Decompression Therapy packages for $2,500. He sold 50 packages in eight weeks. He added a cross sell of a customized lumbar brace for $195 when combined with the original package purchase. If the patient waited and purchased the brace later, it would cost $395. More than 50% of patients took him up on the offer, generating $4,875 of additional revenue.
Do not wait too long to cross sell. The longer you wait, the lower your conversion rate. Cross sell at the moment of “peak buying” state: at the time of purchase (“Would you like fries with that?”).
When done correctly, 20-65% of customers will take you up on the offer. Amazon.com has mastered the immediate cross sell. The moment you add something to your cart, Amazon suggests other items that are frequently purchased together. This strategy increased Amazon’s sales by 35%. When I bought my new phone, thank goodness Apple offered to sell me replacement insurance at the time of purchase, because when I dropped my phone, I was able to replace it for $49 instead of its original value! For me, it was a highly appreciated cross sell.
Most chiropractors do not utilize upsells for fear of being too salesy or because they do not know about the process. Upsells are value enhancers designed to help your patients get a better response from your care. If you are not sure if upselling is the right thing to do, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you believe that the product or service you are cross selling will benefit the patient?
- Do you believe it has the potential to result in a superior outcome for the patient?
If your answer to both questions is “Yes,” don’t you have an obligation to make the product or service available to improve their lives? By answering yes to these questions, you may realize you are not “selling,” but improving results and serving your patients. If you believe you are really helping your patients, you owe it to them to offer cross sells for improved results and better experiences.
Pro Tip #2: Offer a synergistic specialty services mix
Most chiropractic patients seek care for musculoskeletal disorders. Another way to increase the value each patient brings to your practice is to consider the other problems your patients have that you can solve.
Which specialty services or products could you offer that work synergistically with those you currently provide? A great place to find out is to ask your patients. Survey them. Incentivize them with a discount off future cash-based services. With a robust survey, you can determine the potential market for products and services before adding them to your practice.
Surveying can help you create a “waiting list” of patients who are primed to purchase when you launch your new offering.
Synergistic specialty services include (check your scope and state laws and regs):
Adding synergistic specialty services to your practice creates a partnership between the practitioner and patients for personalized care. You can piggyback on this concept by selling customized “bundles” of services to patients.
When you sell a bundle of services vs. single services, you increase frequency of utilization and retention. Remove the “pain” of payment as well as the requirement to resell by offering auto-charge/debit payments. Every time patients must decide to pay, they can also decide to quit care. Using these procedures helps create a stable and predictable cash flow for your practice.
Pro Tip #3: Actively promote referrals
I am going to let you in on a secret: The most cost-effective way to double your practice is to ask your patients and community influencers regularly and systematically for referrals.
According to research from Nielsen, people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Referred customers are also more loyal and have a 16% higher lifetime value, according to Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Referrals can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line.
However, doing a good job and hoping patients will just refer people is not a good strategy. Patients expect great results.
They do not refer because of great results. Do not sit back and wait for referrals or rely on word of mouth. To get patients talking about you to others, you need to routinely do things that are attention-worthy.
Get patients talking
How can you get your patients talking about your service in a positive way? When patients have a fantastic experience working with you, remind them that you would love to have them share it on social media.
Make a game of it. Host a contest online and ask patients to refer their friends, to “like” your practice on Facebook, or take other actions (social media check-ins) to support your practice and earn additional chances toward winning.
The key to boosting referrals is to ask patients for them. Research from Texas Tech indicates that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer others.
Yet only 29% do, probably because they were never asked to. Promote your referral campaign in other marketing campaigns both online and off-line. Reach out to current and former patients regularly. Try out SMS — patients respond to texts more than any other communication channel.
Use video to magnify your results by using it to acknowledge and say thank you for referrals. A video has a longer shelf life than a phone call. A text with a link to your video can be shared again and again.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! The same is true with doubling your practice. Select the practice-building tip that most resonates with you and your practice team. Create a plan to implement it. Remember that what gets measured gets managed, and improves.
Measure your current level of production, set realistic goals and execute your plan. Measurement allows you to course-correct when necessary and put your foot on the gas when you land upon a winner. Once you have tried one pro tip, tackle the next, and so on until you grow your practice to double and beyond.
MARK SANNA, DC, ACRB Level II, FICC, is a member of the Chiropractic Summit and a board member of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. He is the president and CEO of Breakthrough Coaching and can be reached at mybreakthrough.com or 800-723-8423.