Do you ever feel like your practice is being passed over or worse yet ignored? Do you wish that doctors and pateints would just step through your door and give you a chance to prove your value?
William Shakespeare wrote almost 400 years ago, “All the world’s a stage”. If you have a service to offer or idea to sell you are on stage. Today’s healthcare industry stage has never been more crowded. Your professional degree is only a stage pass that will benefit you little if the lights aren’t on you or if you don’t have an audience. No matter how good of therapist you are if people don’t know you exist you’ll be performing to an empty house.
In the old healthcare system therapists did not have to concern themselves with getting noticed by the public. Physician gatekeepers fed therapy departments plenty of patients and the insurance companies paid the bills. No need to market your services or differeriate yourself from the competition because there were plenty of patients and money to go around.
How times have changed.
There are two major factors that have made it very important that every therapist take responsiblity to building their own professional platform.
1.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 consumer’s attention. It’s competitive and noisy, but it’s the reality you face when you’re trying to get your practice to grow.
2.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.
Visualize the exhibit hall at the last national meeting you attended. I attended the APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting last year. The exhibit hall was the size of three football fields filled with vendors struggling to get attendees attention and sell their products. Masses of therapists roamed the aisles searching for the solutions to their problems trading their valuable time for free give aways.
The feeling you get when walking through an exhibit hall is a similiar to potential patients emotions when trying to select a healthcare provider. They often are overwhelmed by the abundance of choices and can’t see the difference between you and your competitors.
To be successful in today’s competitive healthcare market every therapist needs to build their own professional platforn to be seen and heard.
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.
2 Keys to Building Your Professional Platform
1. Start with Who You Know Not What You Know
As it has been said in the past, it’s not what you know but who you know that spells success. This is not to say that knowing what you’re doing as a therapist isn’t important. This isn’t about “bake them and fake them” or “fake it till you make it.” Almost all therapists are clinical experts and know their stuff. Most often that’s not the problem.
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.
The most important person to know is yourself. What do you care about and why?If you desire to create a successful practice that stands out from the crowd you’ll need to identify your assets and package them in a way that the market values it. What are your greatest talents or strengths? What comes easy to you? List the special abilities,training or status that gives you an advantage.
2. Focus on Your Ideal Client
For maximum professional performance and enjoyment think about the type of client you help when you are at your best. When you are with clients that inspire and energize you become a star performer. Therapy is a partnership and you’ll be the most help to your patients when you are both in your sweet spot. Give carefully consideration to who is the best fit for your professional expertise and style of practice.
• Who do you want to reach?
• Why do you want to reach that particular type of client?
• What is it about them that makes them ideal for your practice?
These are questions that need answered before you can design anything else for your business. Only after you have a clear picture of who you are trying to reach can you design a clinic and services that appeal to that specific clientele.
In other words, if you skip this step, you risk designing a practice that appeals to your own taste and style instead of the market segment you are trying to attract to your business.
Your professional platform is built up with the people who make up your key contacts, connections and previously satisfied patients. It is the means by which you connect with your previous and potential patients. It might include your professional Internet cover page, your LinkedIn profile, blog or business Facebook account. It may include your speaking engagements and networking events at professional meetings.