I had a conversation with a therapist a few months ago who was trying to get referrals to the hospital satellite clinic where she worked. The hospital had decentralized their outpatient clinics and as the leader she was charged with the responsibility of making her clinic profitable.
She now found herself in the midst of competing for referrals with other private practices, chiropractors and others selling services to healthcare consumers.
Her comment was typical of what I hear from therapists during breaks at continuing education meetings.
“It’s my job to get patients better. Doing that and all the paperwork keeps me busy. It’s their job to market not mine. Isn’t just being a great clinician good enough? Are therapists now responsible to market on top of all the other responsibilities?”
The answer to her first question is no. Being a good therapist just doesn’t cut it anymore. Having clinical expertise is essential to a successful therapy practice but it’s not enough on it’s own. The answer to her second question is yes. You will need to be proactive about promoting your own practice and not leave that up to anyone else. You’ve put in too much hard work and money into your professional career to trust it to someone else.
In order for you to be successful in today’s competitive healthcare market, you need two essentials: professional expertise and a professional platform.
This is true because of two major reasons.
- Consumers have plenty of choices. Just drive down a major street and look at all the options consumers have to find solutions for their health problems. The competition has never been greater. Hospitals, doctor’s offices, chiropractors, fitness centers, therapy clinics and drug store minute clinics line the road all vying for attention. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the reality you face when you’re trying to get your business off the ground.
- Consumers are distracted. Not only do they have lots of choices but it much harder to get their attention. People are busy. They are plugged into smart phones and laptops. They have instant access to more news, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and movies and they don’t even have to look up from their phones. But people’s attention is a finite resource and you’re in competition with every other health professional for your client’s attention.
Michael Hyatt in his book Platform defines a platform simply as the thing you have to stand on to get noticed and heard. He says that today’s platform is not made up of steel but of people. People in your personal and professional network that you have a connection.
Your platform is the means by which you connect with your existing clients and key influencers. You might connect through personal conversations, email newsletters, website or through speaking engagements.
No matter how good you are if you don’t have visibility and a strong connection with a group of loyal supporters that know, like and trust you it’s going to be difficult to grow a successful practice. Here’s one tip you can take to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
START WITH WHO YOU KNOW NOT WHAT YOU KNOW
Most healthcare providers believe they have a significant what. They have spent thousands of dollars to learn what they know. But you need a who to demonstrate what you know. Unless you are able to connect with your ideal clients and key influencers your practice will struggle.
Fight the tendency to build a practice on what you know. You can build a successful practice upon a platform made out of a strong network with satisfied patients and key influencers.