Value is a word that’s used in every area of business—chiropractic being no exception. In this article, I am going to explore some of the factors relating to both monetary and intrinsic value, specifically how they relate to chiropractic, and how playing your cards right can be of "value" to your practice.
Regardless of how hard one tries to create it, value is always in the eye of the beholder. It is based on the individual perception of the consumer. You may think your service or your offer is like filet mignon, but if your customer (in this case, your patient) believes it’s like a fast food burger, then that’s exactly what it is. To tell someone that your $17 chiropractic examination is worth $377.77 is all well and good until you consider that there are many people out there who believe that something that’s supposedly worth so much, couldn’t possibly be put on sale at a 95 percent discount. In other words, some folks just don’t buy it.
One of the primary factors that suggests a certain level of value is, of course, price. In today’s society, the price of a product or service is a marker that first gives us some indication of its quality. While outrageously high fees can certainly be a limiting factor in the growth of a business, charging ridiculously low fees can also have its drawbacks. Even though lower fees may decrease the barrier to resistance, excessively low fees may counter any initial efforts made to establish the value of your examination and, in the end, may hurt any additional efforts to establish the value of the care offered in your practice. To suggest that it isn’t an important consideration is simply unreasonable.
There are those who will argue that people will only assign value to something AFTER they experience it. If this is true, then why is it that many people aspire to own material items (i.e., a fine Swiss watch) and do things in life (i.e., a trip to Tahiti), without a personal experience from which to base their desires? People from all walks of life, both rich and poor, will pay dearly for items that they perceive to have value, and price is one of the factors that points them in the right direction.
Another significant factor in establishing value well before someone’s personal experience with your practice is the perception that results from the choices you make in marketing your practice. If you are regularly marketing your practice like you’re a carnival barker who’s repeatedly doing a television commercial for a new "magic potion" (that can re-grow your hair, take out the toughest carpet stains, and is always on sale for $19.99), then your actions may also have a negative effect on the perceived value of your services. In the same way that most people don’t expect to find exquisite jewelry at X-mart, many folks might find it hard to believe that there is any intrinsic value to be had from someone who is always using gimmicks, and frequently giving valuable services away for free (or nearly free).
When you market your services like the guy who runs the local pizza joint ("Buy one large pizza and get two more medium-sized pizzas absolutely free!"), you risk the possibility of prospective patients having difficulties swallowing your "cheesy" offer in the same mouthful that you’re asking them to swallow the idea that you are a doctor who is asking for their consideration in correcting conditions associated with the human nervous system. Some folks won’t have a problem swallowing all of that in one gulp. Those will be the patients who show up at your front door. Unfortunately, you won’t even have a clue about the rest of the folks who saw your offer, got nauseous, and ran in the opposite direction. Perhaps they didn’t see the value of your offer or care because of how it was presented?
Value is also a byproduct of the entire interactive experience between the patient and the practice. The intrinsic value that stems from a patient’s experience with the doctor(s), staff, practice environment, patient education process, and supplementary products/services, should demonstrate that being a patient in your practice is rewarding on every level. In short, exceeding on every level of your interaction with your patients should have them walking away feeling under-promised and over-delivered rather than over-promised and under-delivered.
Dr. Marc Swerdlick is a 1998 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, a well-known speaker, and the president of both S Group Inc. and PracticeCentral.com—Chicago-based companies that deliver marketing strategies to health and wellness professionals, as well as to organizations and corporations outside the health and wellness arena. Dr. Swerdlick currently offers his Pre-Sale Strategy, New Patient Acquisition, and Patient Reinforcement Seminars to chiropractors in conjunction with Integrity Strategies LLC. For more detailed information on these seminars, contact Integrity Strategies by going to www.integritystrategies.com or by calling 1-608-865-0466.