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Hidden Away Since 1920, A Gem That Still Applies To Chiropractic Offices Today
By Edward W Petty
May 16, 2007, 20:16

“Eccentric”, “non conformist”, “controversial” have been some of the nicer things said about Benjamin (“B.J.”) Palmer.     He has also been called a genius that may have personally generated more chiropractors and chiropractic patients than any one individual.
In one of his many lectures, hidden away since 1920, is a true gem.  Gems are often hidden, or at least overlooked or taken for granted.  But here is a simple recipe that if followed, builds the most profitable practices we have seen.

The size of a chiropractor’s business depends upon:
1st – His ability to notify people who he is, what he is, and where.
2nd – His systematization to take care of it as it grows and increases in volume.”
                                   -    B.J. Palmer (1920)

The First Priority
The first priority of any business is getting the goods and services exchanged in the market place.  If you don’t do that, no matter what you have to offer, there will be no business. Marketing has to be a priority.  New patients, and returning patients, are the lifeblood of your practice.

The first step in marketing is to let people know who and what you are. A subtle key to this, as Dr. Palmer states, is allowing your community to know you, as a person, first.

There are so many logo’s and limericks and tag lines that “spam” us now days, the only thing that is legitimate is a real person.  For example, when you say: “Northpoint Chiropractic”, even if you use a nice tag line, there is no person there.  Though it sounds nice and business-like, it is anonymous.  People respond to people, if not at first, then once they get into your office. So the first thing you have to do is introduce yourself: “Hi, I am Helen Smith.”

Then, tell them what you are.  Many doctors get this wrong. “I am a Doctor of Chiropractic”, or “I am a Chiropractic Physician.”  Or, in your written promotion, “Helen Smith, D.A.B.C.N., D.A.B.C.O.”  But really, who cares?

You are nothing, in the market place, if you cannot provide something of value to others. Doctors who have many different degrees and certificates may or may not be of value to the community. Degrees and certificates, by themselves, can do nothing.  Also, keep in mind that what you consider valuable might not be what your potential patients consider valuable.

You need communicate who and what you are in terms of how you can help the person you are addressing.  People really don’t care about you as a provider - they care about themselves. So, you can say something like: “Hi. I’m Helen Smith. People call me Dr. Helen because I am a doctor that can relieve your pain, make you healthier, and improve your life, without the use of drugs or surgery.”   

And be sure to state how they can a get a hold of you. Make it very easy for people to reach you.

This is called “placement” in marketing terminology.  Where, and how, can the marketplace get to you – in the easiest and quickest manner? This would include geographical address, phone number, email, web site, fax number, cell phone, and special offer.

The Second Priority
The next phase of any business is systems.  These are also called policies and procedures. You as the doctor cannot do everything in your chiropractic practice, so you develop systems to ensure quality care continues, day after day, without your microscopic and urgent management. 

As you grow your business, you usually change your procedures to find the ones that work best for you. This usually takes some trial and error and study. Just because a patient flow pattern worked for one doctor who now gives seminars, it may not work for you. 

Some doctors keep changing their procedures out of boredom and thereby stunt their business. Others never change their procedures even though they have long outgrown them. Antiquated procedures, like bad habits, can also hold back the growth of your business.

Eventually, you reach what you consider is your maximum level of production. At this point, it is important to document all of your successful procedures, or systems. This ensures that your staff, and you, will maintain them so that you can keep on cruising at, or near, your capacity.  You can continue to cruise, clone yourself and create a group practice, or even start your own seminar company!


The above two steps actually form the basis of our consulting at Petty, Michel & Associates, by the way, and has for nearly 20 years. We help you increase your patient volume, then gradually help develop your own systems to ensure you reach and maintain your capacity, or add other doctors and providers and continue to grow.

But B.J. Palmer had this figured out a long time ago.

Focus on these two steps and your business will grow.

Ed Petty

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