Getting New Patients to Your Chiropractic Practice
Let’s talk about a topic that every chiropractor is interested in: the acquisition of new patients. When chiropractors step across the stage the day they earned their diploma, they usually envision a stress-free, self-sustaining, referral-based type of practice. They think they can hang the shingle and people will come to their practice from all directions. But that is not what the average chiropractor experiences. In fact, they find themselves having to build a brand new business off of one or two sources. The problem is, building your business off of one or two sources can mean not a strong enough foundation. It can make the business unpredictable, and in many cases, it can be very expensive financially and expend your energy. I am going to share with you how you can gain more certainty with your practice.
New Patient Avenues
A visual exercise I would like for you to try is called the Town Square Concept. Take a blank piece of paper and draw one inch by one inch square block in the middle of your paper. Now, draw straight lines like rays of sunshine and do it as much as possible. Now “name the streets” and write at the end of each line of each source. One could be called referrals, one social media, one health talks, etc. The idea is to figure out just how many sources do you currently have that produce new patients.
The box in the middle is the “town square”, or in this specific case, your practice. Most small towns that expanded and grew into larger cities came from the concept of time squares. They built the city around the town square, and essentially create a spider web of roads that were interconnected, all leading to the town square. In this case, this is what we want to build.
Finding New Avenues
The key to expanding your practice is to find as many avenues of referral sources as possible, rather than only depending on the one or two sources that started the business. Marketing is an art, not a science, and it is important to remain flexible by being fluid with your sources of referrals as well as creating new sources. Marketing changes, and the marketing that was used five to ten years ago is not working now. For example, a lot of chiropractors have a marketing source that uses a lot of equipment that have debt tied to it. Sure, it produces a lot of business, but eventually it will burn out. When we are just relying on marketing alone, that is a dangerous business. Marketing is important but it is not the science of building the practice of your dreams.
Thinking big about new patients
My question to you is this: how many different streets can we name? How many creative ways can we find to get new patients into your practice every month? In most cases chiropractors are modeling their business like the interstate practice. They all come from one or two sources, get off the exit, and are then never seen again. Instead, envision the town square, where one street is named recalls. When a staff is properly trained, motivated, and directed, we can count on more people walking down your street and into your office.
Depending on your market, you could be marketing through social media, television, or radio. But what about direct word of mouth? Internal promotions? Spinal screenings? Health talks? Those last two words might have gave a shiver down your spine, as many chiropractors do not feel comfortable with stepping out of their comfort zone and their practice and speaking to an audience about chiropractic. Here is the key: we are interested in helping you build a long-term, successful, and self-sustaining referral based practice. We want to get to a point where we can get to a statistical number of people walking down the street and becoming referrals.
Community Streets to bring patients in
Spinal screenings are also a strong street for your town square. I have known and studied a lot about marketing, and what I know is that certain people are motivated by certain factors in marketing at certain times. In other words, we are trying to find the right person at the right time with the right need where we provide the right inspiration. Yes, social media and television does work. However, some people will not come into your office unless they meet you and hear you talk passionately about your art, your science, and your philosophy.
Whatever it is that you may talk about (fibromyalgia, sinus headaches, lower back pain) they are not going to get that form the television or a social media ad. So if you are not willing to do the spinal screening at the home and garden show, that is okay and you should not have to do that every weekend. However, if you never do spinal screenings, you could be not building a would-be street for your town square. It is essentially a road block, and no one would walk down that street.
How many streets can you think of?
A doctor that I know of has 287 named streets for his town square. 287 ways of people finding his office. He had the practice of his dreams, the patients, came stayed, paid and referred and he only had to see a certain number of new patients. He did not have to work and take away from his family time and have his life off-balance. Be aware, however – this will take the “whatever-it-takes” attitude. If you are not quite sure what you are talking about when it comes to the town square concept, just remember that if you do not understand it, does not mean it is not true.
I have an uncle who is a retired chemical engineer and he can talk about polyethylene. He could lose me so fast in conversation because I do not understand what he is talking about. But does that mean the science that he is talking about is not true? Of course not! The town square concept is similar, so I encourage you to number one: expand the concepts. Go through the exercise and you find yourself saying “Man, I need to get back into doing this” or “I have not done this yet.”
The pieces fit together
Remember this: business is a one thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle. You could get nine-hundred and ninety-seven pieces together, but three could be lost on the floor and swept up a long time ago. You could be looking at the great journey it was to get to those pieces together, but instead you fixate on the three missing pieces. Is the picture complete? No. Is the picture effective? No. But you could be just a few small steps away of having the completed practice you want. So I encourage you to use the town square concept and to keep streets open. Be creative when adding new streets, and if you need any help, please let us know.