I always say it is better to keep a patient for lifetime than it is to keep getting new ones. This is one of the techniques I have used for nearly fifteen years, to build a practice full of 300+visit patients. After all, if you are really seeing people for lifetime wellness care, you should have tons of people with hundreds of visits over the course of many years.
When you went to chiropractic school, how long was it before you REALLY understood chiropractic? When I ask docs this question, I typically hear some number of years as the answer: "It wasn't until I graduated and practiced a few years before I really understood chiropractic."
If it took you years to understand chiropractic, how in the world do you expect your patients to understand chiropractic in such a short time? Do you really think they get it by hearing you tell the chiropractic story or reading a brochure or coming to a new patient orientation?
Although all these methods are tried and true for generating new patients, they don’t change a person’s long-term behavior. Ultimately, the reason you educate a patient is so they will change their behavior for the better and that involves using chiropractic instead of dangerous drugs and medical care.
Look at how every other big company teaches people about their product: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, the Drug Companies, etc. What do they all have in common? They deliver a short, to the point message over and over and over again.
People learn something new by hearing the SAME MESSAGE over and over. People don’t change their behavior by seeing one big advertisement. People are creatures of habit and a message has to be delivered many times before they get it.
The philosophy behind the patient education I teach can be summarized by a term I coined, Drip-Education. How are plants best watered in the most efficient and cost-effective way? Drip-Irrigation. How are patients best educated in the most efficient and cost-effective way? Drip-Education!
Designing your own
Drip-Education System is easy.
Define the SIMPLE benefit message you want your patients to know. I say simple, because they don’t need to know chiropractic like you need to know. They just have to know it benefits them. For example, "You get adjusted to stay healthy." Or, "Getting adjusted keeps your immune system strong."
If the patient understands that, when you get adjusted, you will have a stronger immune system, would you need any further information as to why you should get adjusted? In today’s world of super bugs and infectious disease, do you need to know any more? People just know, strong immune system equals good health. What do people think when you say "nerve system"? Health? Or do they think pain, numbness, paralysis? I’m not saying to ignore the nerve system; I’m just saying it does not convey a simple message. Stay healthier with adjustments. See what happens if you start sharing the "immunity" concept with your patients.
Do you drive a car? Do you really care how all the mechanics work? Will you not drive the car unless you know how all the components work? If you like the car, will you tell your friends about how it works or just that you like the car? People choose a particular car for reasons, such as prestige, make, safety, etc; however, they still use the car to get from point A to point B.
What’s my point? In your messages, don’t get too caught up in the "how." Give them a big "why" and lots of "benefits to taking action."
As a general rule, people do not care about how chiropractic works. People choose chiropractic, because it makes them healthier (and feel better).
Now that you have a simple message to share, you’ve got to get the message out.
Have a predetermined plan for getting that message to your established patients as often as possible and in as many ways as possible.
1. Give out a weekly handout. The handout could simply be a photocopy of an article attesting to the benefits of chiropractic. "Ear infections treated by chiropractic!"
2. Send your patients an email based newsletter at least once a month. This is a no-brainer and is FREE to do. Just be sure you have their permission.
3. Send your patients a snail-mail newsletter. Keep it simple and hire a company to print and mail them for you.
4. Explain to a patient who comes in with a cold or flu how they will "feel worse" after the adjustment. That the adjustment stimulates their immune system and that a lot of people feel worse as a result, but then get better faster.
5. Explain to the mother of a child you just adjusted how that child may spike a fever, or fill their diaper on the way home, or get really energetic or sleepy afterwards. In other words, tell the patient what they should expect to occur with regard to a "healing experience." Healing can sometimes be very uncomfortable.
Do You Educate New Patients?
Extensive patient education is not something to be invested in new patients. New patients only get the information they need in order to make a decision as to whether or not they will choose to be your patient (i.e., they have a problem that I can help them with is all they need to know). I will not invest more in a new patient’s health than they are willing to invest in themselves. So they have to hire me first.
Patient education is a privilege they earn by choosing to be my patient. I (like you) spent nine years and over $100k to get my education. I don’t take an investment like that lightly. If they want a piece of it, they need to choose to become a part of my practice and invest in their health first. In other words, do not invest a ton of energy trying to educate new patients. Simply have a Drip-Education system in place that produces very predictable outcomes—people who stay under your care for the benefits you tell them.
In summary, choose a simple message that you want your patients to know. Then come up with as many different ways as you can to deliver that message repetitively.
Dr. Miles Bodzin is Founder & CEO of Cash Practice® Inc., a web-based service company providing the Cash Plan Calculator®, Auto-Debit System® & Drip-Education® Email Marketing System. To learn more about how the Cash Practice® Systems can help you grow your practice, visit www.CashPractice.com. Dr. Bodzin can be reached at