How are you doing with building your practice?
When I opened the doors to my private practice many moons ago, the only way to grow a practice was to build a referral relationship with local physicians through a meet and greet appointment.
I’d schedule a meeting with potential referral sources, sit obediently in a doctor’s waiting room with my business cards, brochures, and prescription pads in my lap.
Many hours were invested in exchange for a few precious moments of the physician’s time to introduce myself and services. It was tough to establish rapport and build trust with the medical gatekeepers who possessed the ability to make or break my practice.
I only had five or ten minutes max to make a favorable impression. Most of the time I left feeling like I did a poor job. I just wasn’t very good at it.
After knocking on quite a few doors, paying for numerous staff lunches and enduring a lot of rejection, the referrals started to trickle in. I gradually built a professional relationship with a few principal referral sources that allowed me to prove my expertise and earn their respect.
A steady stream of referrals slowly filled up my schedule and the rest is history. Until recently…
We have all experienced a disruption of the medical referral model in the past decade.
Experience taught me, and many other practice owners that relying solely on physician referrals was no longer a viable growth strategy. I had to diversify my approach to somehow replace new patients snatched away by managed care networks or physician-owned therapy clinics.
There are still three sources to get referrals from:
- Physicians and other healthcare providers like physician assistants, nurse practitioners, trainers, etc.
- Current and past patients
- Direct access to the general public
Direct access to the general public has dramatically changed because of the great equalizer– the Internet. Healthcare consumers have begun to shop for therapy services via a Google search much as they do for shoes, eyeglasses or cars.
But before you spend boatloads of money on websites, Facebook ads and other “get rich quick” internet marketing tactics consider this fundamental difference in how people choose a healthcare provider.
Most people won’t trust their bodies to a total stranger unless they get to know and trust them. The Internet is a very crowded place. Every therapy clinic has a website competing for consumers attention and loyalty. It’s difficult to get noticed and stand out from the crowd if you rely only on digital communication.
So how do you get in front of as many people as possible to show what you know and do?
I have found that workshops are one of the best ways to demonstrate our expertise and earn the trust of prospective patients. Most therapists are excellent teachers because of all the patient education we do so it’s a natural fit.
However, don’t make this common mistake or else you’ll never see the results you want!
Hosting a workshop to grow your practice is fundamentally different than making a presentation. Merely sharing your fantastic wisdom is not enough to have people banging on your door to see you.
If you want your marketing workshop to be successful at getting patients in the door these four steps must happen:
- You get the word out, to fill the room with potential patients
- Workshop attendees schedule a discovery session
- Discovery sessions convert prospects into a therapy plan of care
- You follow-up with prospects who don’t immediately start care
When we practice giving workshops to the general public, we will get better at executing each step. We shouldn’t expect to be great at workshops right away. Like any skill, we’ll improve the more we do it. Don’t get discouraged and give up if you’re not a star after your first couple of workshops.
If we persevere, we will develop a productive outreach system. A system that fills our schedules with patients who will willingly pay for our services and decreases our dependency on physician referrals.
It’s impossible to explain the Workshop Growth Strategy in one email. In the next series of blog posts and emails, I will describe in greater detail how to successfully execute each step in the Workshop Growth Strategy.
How do you feel about your current practice marketing?
Want to talk about it?
We’ll also get into what you’ve tried in the past that may have worked or may not have! In other words, we’ll try to figure out a way to get unstuck and back on the path to the practice you’ve always wanted. Here’s your link to set up a time to talk – Let’s Talk