Chiropractors and Chiropractic Assistants: Do you have a Golden Goose in your Hand?
by Phyllis Frase
Do you remember the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?
One of the characters named Veruca in the story wanted the goose that laid the Chocolate Golden Eggs. She demanded that her dad get her the goose that laid those eggs. She was a spoiled brat. Keep in mind she didn’t want to care, nurture and train that goose to lay those golden eggs. She just wanted the end product which was the chocolate golden eggs. She disobeyed Willy Wonka. Veruca and her dad are rejected as “bad eggs” and sent plummeting down a garbage chute in the golden egg sorting room. If Veruca had just stayed the course, in the end, she would have had all the golden eggs she could have wanted or needed.
What does this have to do with your chiropractic practice?
Every day you have geese (patients) that want to lay golden eggs in your practice . We just don’t look at their signals to help those eggs to be laid. If you haven’t figured out what the “golden” eggs are, it is your internal referrals from your existing patients. We believe that if we have patients that they should automatically refer their friends and family to us. We are a little like Veruca that just wants the end product which in our case would be lots of new patients. Some patients do refer and most do not. It’s not that they don’t want too; it’s just that they are not cared, nurtured or trained to refer their friends and family to you.
Let’s look at your average new patient. Typically, the average chiropractor is blessed to receive 8-10 new patients a month, without really doing anything out of the ordinary such as yellow pages, internal referrals and other marketing efforts. If we really care, nurture and train those 8 to 10 geese to lay their golden eggs in your practice (which would be their friends and family), you typically could double your new patients or golden eggs without a lot of effort. These eggs are warm and ready to produce beautiful geese that will produce over and over given the right environment.
So how do you get production or referrals from your existing patients? You have to feed them every day. Set the referral seeds within your practice. Within the first 30 days of a patient starting care is when they are most enthusiastic about their chiropractic care. Set procedures to create the referral to happen.
In the first visit. Invite the spouse to the report of findings. Make sure the staff follows through with this as well by giving a spouse pass to the report of findings. Will all of them come no, will a lot of them come, yes if you ask and it happens every time. If the patient doesn’t bring a significant other to the report of findings make sure it is noted in the report of findings and tell them they have another opportunity to learn about your care at our foundations, WOW or new patient orientation workshop. Yes, patients do come to those workshops and that is another article all by itself.
These procedures seem old and worn out and most of the time we forget to ask the patients for these things because we have gotten beaten up or is not worth the effort anymore. They do become worn out if the practices are not doing the procedures each and every time with each patient and having the staff follow through when the doctors have forgotten to review this on the first and second visit. Calling the new patients after the first adjustment is a referral stimulator. Those few things we all know and we tend to let them slide by as the opportunities for our golden eggs slip through our hands.
Here are a few referral opportunities that you can start right away in your practice and get good results from practicing them every day. Will you get the golden egg every time as the goose lays an egg, not all the time but if we care, nurture and train that goose, we will get more golden eggs than bad eggs.
Non promotional and promotional referral opportunities
Have the referral talk with specific people.
Can I talk to you a moment?
Sit next to the patient.
Have you been getting good results with your chiropractic care? Great
Do you enjoy coming here? Great
Can I ask you a question?
Why haven’t you given me the opportunity to check/scan your family?
PAUSE LET THEM TALK FIRST
It is my mission to check as many spines as possible so that people can be a healthy as possible.
I want to give you this coupon. Bring in cans of food and I will waive the $25.00. (Let the patient see you mark through the price or whatever monetary cost you have associated to the coupon) Let me check their spines. There is no obligation for them to start care.
Sports- Are your kids playing sports? Really? Did you know that chiropractic increases reaction time and reduces injuries? The athletes that are under care usually perform better.
- Remember to review your new patients at each staff meeting. Determine who has family members that have not been checked and make an effort to put a coupon on their travel card, promotional flier or a stop manager/reminder on electronic notes so it will remind you to talk to them. Create a friends and family coupon to give to the patient. Change the color or the wording every 2 to 3 months so it looks different each time. Print coupon on card stock. You can create these in word or publisher or go to our member’s site and find several customizeable samples. Always list the retail value of any services you are offering that are complimentary or at your expense.
- Target specific people every day to have “the Talk” with and make a goal to hand out the friends and family coupon to a specific number of patients each week. This should be decided on as a team. Have a contest to see how many people get signed up. Dinner, lunch, time off, make your goal to get people checked regardless if they start care or not.
- If the patients come to the counter with the coupon, that should signal the staff to ask the patient about the coupon. “Great, Joe the doctor gave you the special coupon. Let me give you some new patient times, that way it will be easier for them to schedule an appointment. Who are you thinking of referring?”
- Even if the patient doesn’t come up with the coupon and you know they are suppose to have one based on your communication with your doctor, the staff should go through the exercise of the referral talk.
- Have a referral follow up sheet at the front desk and list the name of the patient, when the coupon was given, expiration date and whom they are going to refer and next date to follow up .
- If they have not called yet in a week, when the regular patient comes in ask if they gave out the coupon. If yes, “okay we were just checking because he/she has not called yet. That coupon expired in so many days. We won’t be having another promotion like this for another two months or the doctor only gives out the friends and family coupons four times a year.” Create a sense of urgency around that special. “Would you like to take some additional material with you that will explain chiropractic more?” Have special brochures that can be handed to the patient. Make sure your name, address and phone number is on any literature that goes out your door.
- Always have a bulletin board promoting your offers and as the time gets to the end create a banner that is put across the bulletin board- 5 days remaining or 3 new patients’ slots remaining. Or mark through any remaining fliers or material that you have.
- Decorate your office during promotions. If you think you have decorated enough, it’s not enough. Create a new experience when your patients come in. You need to stimulate them visually so they will ask questions. Why all the hearts or the shamrocks? “Well, Joe I am so glad you asked, we are having a new patient opportunity. Let me tell you how it works.”
- Print enough fliers to be in your office everywhere. In the adjusting areas, in your new patient orientation folders, in your bathroom, behind doors. Anywhere people will see it and can’t miss it. Enough is never enough. Print your materials in color don’t be cheap by only using black and white copies. Always review your promotions after they are complete to see what needs to be changed or tweaked.
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