By Dr. Cheryl Langley
In coaching chiropractors from all over the globe, I often get questions about marketing for new patients. In my practice, I would frequently have doctors and students in my office observing, or meeting with me to discuss how they could grow their practices and see a steady stream of new patients. The challenge that many chiropractors have is that they usually look for the one-time magic bullet, an ad or gimmick that they think will change their practice forever.
Interestingly enough, I never paid for advertising. I never found the full page phone book ads appealing, and quite frankly, found some of them downright disturbing. I have, though, always been a relationship person. Coming from a small rural town in northern New Jersey, everyone knew everyone. My Dad was in the Volunteer Fire Department with our milkman, mailman, insurance agent, dentist, pizzeria owner, deli owner, gas station owner as well as many others. That’s how people did business. By using products and services of people they had built relationships with and, continuing to use those products and services based on a relationship of trust and integrity. They were building their businesses with Relationship Marketing and creating lifetime customers.
It’s no secret that every practice needs to be marketing. Some of the most valuable and enduring relationships you can develop will be with other professionals, companies and organizations within your community. When you put yourself out in the community and you learn how to connect with people and build value, you can expect to fill your practice with huge numbers of lifetime care patients.
What is a lifetime patient worth to your practice? Sources say an average of $25-75,000. over the course of a lifetime. It’s astounding! I guess the bigger question is what is that leaky bucket costing you?
Using relationship marketing to grow your practice will help you build relationships with other key people in your community, as well as move you into a leadership position in your town. You will be amazed at the impact you can have on the people of your community. Here are some easy ways to connect with your community:
The key to relationship marketing is establishing relationships with other community businesses that have a similar vision and have a similar clientele. Start by identifying businesses that support your vision and look to establish relationships with them. For example, nutrition stores, fitness centers, whole food stores, restaurants, sporting facilities, day care centers, yoga studios, etc. You are looking for a referral relationship for your patients. Relationship marketing is all about you giving them something, not going in to take as much as you can.
Once you’ve made contact, let the owner/manager know that you have a busy practice, and are looking for a place to refer your patients to. “I have many patients that ask me about exercising and where they can go, and I am looking for a fitness center that I would like to refer them to”, or, “My name is Dr. Langley, and I’m a chiropractor. My practice is a few blocks down the street, and I am looking for a nutritional center to refer my patients to. I wanted to come by and meet you and see what type of facility you have so I can recommend you to my patients”. Basically, you are establishing value by letting them know that you have the ability to send them referral business and you are checking out their establishment. They will be happy to show you their products and services.
Once you have established a relationship, here are some things you can offer:
Educational workshops for their members, customers, and staff
Complimentary screenings of current members and all new members
Discounts to their employees and/or members
Fundraising for their organization
Put their information in your New Patient Welcome Packet
Establish special events where your new partner can come to your office and meet your patients
If you are in a restaurant or other place that you do business, compliment them on the products or services, and let them know that you are a chiropractor in town, and you are going to recommend their establishment to your patients and friends. Give them some of your cards, and let them know that you would love to be their chiropractor.
After every meeting, be sure to write each contact a personal, hand-written note thanking them for taking the time to meet with you, and letting them know that you are looking forward to referring your people there. You have to be a referral machine to get referrals!
It’s time to make your involvement in your community count. By consistently nurturing your relationships with the businesses and organizations in your town, you will not only build your credibility, you will open your door to an unlimited, steady stream of referred new patients that need and want chiropractic care.
A 1987 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Dr. Langley developed and maintained a high volume family chiropractic practice in Marietta, Georgia. She brings her knowledge and experience in family chiropractic practice to the 52 Weeks to Success and Prosperity Program to fulfill her desire to help chiropractors build and grow successful lifetime care practices, helping them to lead in family healthcare, and to expand the vision of chiropractic care globally. She has been a popular guest speaker/presenter at Life Source Seminars, Dynamic Essentials, The Triune Seminars, GCC Philosophy Night, The IFCO, ICPA Pediatric Certification Program, and Life University, and Parker College of Chiropractic, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Sherman College of Chiropractic, New Beginnings Seminars as well as many state and local chiropractic organizations.