There’s no such thing as a business with nothing to sell.
Historically, therapists have been lousy at selling. Most therapists have been insulated from market forces due to third-party payers. Consumers relied on ‘someone else’ to pay the bills so therapists didn’t have to sell their value. Not anymore. If you want to stay competitive in the therapy business you’ll need to be able to sell.
But let’s be honest selling can be a pain in the gluteus maximus. It takes a lot of energy to keep going, especially if you’ve don’t have any training or previous experience. Most therapists avoid it like a chronic pain patient on late Friday afternoon. Many therapists dabble in it but give up because they don’t get as many referrals as they’d like for the effort invested.
Selling feels unpleasant sometimes – like seeing your doctor for a prostate exam or mammogram, you know you have to do it but everything inside you is telling you to run away!
The vital thing is to understand is that there are two styles of selling:
1. The high-effort, pushy, sometimes manipulative style we can call Persuasion.
2. The low-effort, gentle, 100% ethical style we can call Attraction.
It’s obvious which one I think therapists should learn to embrace but let’s take a quick look at both types
If you’ve always felt sales was something sleazy that you’d really rather avoid doing, then you’ve been exposed to far too much of the persuasion selling. Don’t be surprised–persuasion is the most common approach to selling. It’s everywhere you look, from TV ads to YouTube video ads to popup ads that appear in the sidebar of your EMR software.
Persuasion isn’t evil. If someone will genuinely benefit from buying a specific thing, then using one or two persuasive tactics to convince them to buy it is actually a way of helping that person. (For example, persuading a patient to buy and use a walker so that they reduce their fall risk and stay out of the ER!)
But the more pleasant and much natural way to sell is an attraction. You’ve probably experienced this yourself as a consumer. It’s like when you’ve seen or heard about the Apple product that all you could think was, “I want that! Where can I get it?” Apple creates large groups of raving fans that camp out to buy every new product they launch.
Have you ever wondered what it would take to have patients waiting in line to make an appointment for what you have to offer?
Physicians don’t have to push patients to your clinic when they’re already strongly attracted to the solutions you offer. They might need to be pointed in the right direction, or find you on the Internet, but there’s no hard sell required. Your professional reputation and your ability to solve their problems will attract consumers to your door.
Now, I know you’re eager to learn more how you can make attraction the primary sales strategy for your practice. There’s a lot to explain, but here are three tips on attracting more patients to your practice:
1. Make it About Them Not You
One huge marketing mistake therapists make is they make their practice about themselves. They think that patients come to them because of their degree, their certifications or their advanced training. Patients come to you for one reason. You provide the solution to their problem. Do they want to know from you “How will you make my life better? Make your answer the heart of your marketing message and you’ll have patient lining up to your door.
2. Be A Real Person
Consumers have been bombarded with sales messages for so long that they’re turning it all out. Many have experienced impersonal expensive care and they’re looking for an alternative. Consumers are looking for genuine, honest health care providers they can trust. Be one. Know your stuff without being a know-it-all. It’s possible to maintain your professionalism and still be personable. Apply the golden rule–treat them like you want to be treated.
3. Hang Out at Waterholes
Many therapists do a great job with the first two tips but hang out too much with other therapists. Unfortunately, no one knows they exist except their friends, family and a handful of loyal patients. The physical therapy profession can be quite demanding. Getting patients better, getting paid and finishing up your paperwork leaves little time for anything else. Any leftover space is invested in family, friends and a few activities. And it should be.
Strategically invest your time outside of the clinic by going to places (waterholes)where your ideal clients already hang out. They might be at the gym where you work out or at your children’s games. Let them know who you are and what you do in words they understand. Have your elevator speech practiced and ready.
If you want to have a viable practice you need to become comfortable with selling yourself. Attraction selling is a more pleasant and natural way for therapists to grow their practices. Quite frankly, its how most of us want to experience healthcare ourselves.
Share one simple way you’ve attracted more patients in the comment section below