What is the biggest problem you’re trying to solve in your practice? How hard has it been to solve that? What would be the benefits to you if you did solve this problem?
If a problem has been persisting in your practice then there is something you are doing or not doing that is allowing the problem to exist. It would take a new look at the problem from a different point of view and then a change in the way you are addressing the problem for it to be solved.
Let’s say the doctor has the idea that when he is outside his practice he doesn’t want to talk about Chiropractic. That certainly would limit the number of new patients he would get because he is meeting new people all the time and they don’t even know that he’s a chiropractor. So what would the doctor have to do to change this situation? He would first have to change his mind which can be difficult to do on your own, and then develop or learn about a new patient procedure that he would be willing to use outside his practice.
I know how difficult it is for a doctor to promote himself to others. He feels that he is bragging or being egotistical. But a braggart is someone who compares his abilities to someone else while he raises himself and lowers the other person in the eyes of those he’s talking to.
Plus you don’t want to go to the other extreme where you are lowering your self-esteem, hoping the person will then want to hear what you are saying. So there is a pendulum swing where you have braggart on one end and humble on the other. What most people don’t know is that right in the middle is self-confidence. It’s OK to ask a person about their health if you are a health care practitioner. It’s OK to inquire about a person’s obvious injury if they are walking with a limp, their shoulders are imbalanced or if their head is tilted 15 degrees one way or the other. A simple “Did you have an accident?” could start the conversation going and you would then find out the story about what happened to the person. And asking that question while really caring about the person never gets misinterpreted.
I’ve simply asked a waitress, “Do you get headaches?” and she starts telling me she had whiplash at eighteen and then went on to tell me how the accident happened and that she has had headaches since then. Part way through her story she asked me “Why did you ask if I had headaches?” and I told her that I was a chiropractic consultant and that the doctor I was with didn’t think it was appropriate to talk to people about their health while they were working on the job.
She let him know that it was totally fine for me to ask and in fact she was looking for a chiropractor to help her with her condition. She also referred the cook over to us while we were having lunch. I made sure that I got both their names and phone numbers and told them the doctor would call them tonight and give them a free consultation.
The doctor soon changed his mind and realized that he could effectively get new patients anytime he wanted. This helped his practice immensely and boosted his self-confidence.
But the first step was he had to be willing to change his mind. Some Chiropractors are taught at college that it is unethical to do a screening or to solicit patients outside of their practice. I’ve actually consulted several of these doctors and I even found one doctor who was totally afraid to go out and ask about people’s health for fear she would lose her license. She learned this in her legal class at Chiropractic College. Of course her practice was small and she was practically broke. Fortunately she was guided to the fact that she had this idea and she was willing to change her mind about it and do what it would take to get new patients.
If you have a problem in your practice that you are trying to solve and it won’t go away no matter what you do, give me a call at 727-643-8376 and let’s work on this problem together. The solution is often simple. Or, if you want ideas on how to effectively get new patients call and I will give you one or two bright ideas to get you started.
Paul Turnbull – Direct line (727) 643-8376 Author of the Chiropractic book “The Graduate and the Master” available at www.expandingpractice.com.
EP Management, Inc.