people don't want what you do


People don’t want what you do.

People want what it will do for them.

They want how it will make them feel.

This simple mind-shift will help you attract ideal patients no matter where you work.

In essence, all therapists deliver the same thing. We just do it in a variety of ways.

Some work with the young, others prefer the old, while others train athletes.

Some are manual therapists, others are exercise experts, and others pride themselves in their extensive patient education.  

We all help different people at different moments in their lives.

It makes no sense to say “people need therapy services.”

People confuse wants and needs all the time. And if they are privileged enough, they decide that the stuff they want is actually needed. 

The average yogi spends $62,640 on yoga in a lifetime. Goat yoga is the latest fitness trend.  How many people really need a hoof massage?

Bottom line, therapists make people’s lives better. We help people change. We take people on a journey; help them become better than they were before, one step at a time. 

If you can deliver peace of mind, belonging, motivation, or self-transformation you’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

If we consistently provide what people feel is valuable our services will be in demand.  

What Do People Want?

  Each of the seven billion people on this planet is a unique collection of wants, needs, pains, and joys.

If you ask any one of them what they want you probably won’t discover what you’re looking for. You certainly won’t learn what they need.

It’s our job to find the overlap with what people need, value and what we offer.  In many ways, human beings share many common dreams, fears, and desires. 

Eric Almquist and researchers at Bain & Company have identified ’30 Elements of Value‘. They categorize these elements into four groups resembling Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

You might find them useful as you talk about the value of your services.  Healthcare services deliver fundamental elements of value that relate to four kinds of needs:

          1.Social Impact

          2. Life Changing

          3. Emotional

          4. Functional

Three decades of research has found in general, the more elements provided, the greater the perceived value and the higher the company’s revenues. 

Similar to Maslow’s pyramid of needs the four categories of value are in ascending order of impact.

Most therapists are trained to focus exclusively on functional needs. We must help our clients emotionally shift from fear and loss avoidance to self-transformation and belonging.  

Do this, and your services will be relevant to today’s healthcare consumer.   

The Thing We Sell

The thing we offer our clients is simply a road to realizing the results they want. We let our patients down when we focus on what we can do for them.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. 

People are constantly evaluating our services against the asking price to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” 

When we emphasize our techniques, certifications, and equipment, we are prioritizing our values. Harvard professor Theodore Levitt famously said,

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

But actually what people want is the feeling they’ll get when they see their pictures displayed on a shelf in their living room.

Are we helping people get what they want out of life? 

Or are we using people to get what we want out of life?

All of us need quality patients to practice our craft and to make a living. But that cannot be the primary driving force behind our practices.

We all get to choose our primary motivation. 

Whatever motivates you to get out of bed in the morning will surface during your patient interactions. The voice that is in your head will come out in the words and emotions you communicate.

I for one is not interested in helping you create a practice that is all about you.

Building a personal empire is a dead end street.  

Help People Get What They Want

  You’ve spent a good portion of your life getting good at what you do. But your boss wants you to be more productive. How do you make this work? 

If helping people is the point, then why do we care so much about being recognized or rewarded? 

I’ve heard it said, that the best way to complain is to make things better. Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker, and author traveled the globe teaching that real joy comes when you inspire, encourage, and guide others on a path that benefits him or her.

He’s famous for saying:

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” 

Next time you’re performing an initial patient evaluation, focus on discerning the other person’s needs rather than your own. Listen to the underlying values and emotions implied in your patient’s questions.

Go through the ’30 Elements of Value‘ article again a identify a higher level value to emphasize with patient prospects. With practice, you’ll get better at connecting with prospects at an emotional level. 

We will most likely do this best when we let go of control and authority over our patients.  Humility and servant leadership are necessary to enrich the lives of others as well as create a more caring organization. 

I believe this quote by Nelson Mandela on servant leadership captures what I’m trying to communicate:

“A leader…is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, where upon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” 

May we all recognize our worth and influence come from the quality of inner lives rather than the degrees and the positions of power we have.