Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Back To Basics

By Barbara Sturm DC   

Features Education Profession

I’m often asked, “How do you focus on chiropractic and health without
having to follow some stuffy script or pre-planned procedure?” These
are great questions, and a source of stunted growth, that seems to be
universal in chiropractic offices worldwide. Good news! I have some
very easy and helpful tips for you!

4766233largeIf you’re like many chiropractors, then you can relate to the challenge of starting meaningful conversations with patients that lead to education and/or a referral. I’m often asked, “How do you focus on chiropractic and health without having to follow some stuffy script or pre-planned procedure?” These are great questions, and a source of stunted growth, that seems to be universal in chiropractic offices worldwide. Good news! I have some very easy and helpful tips for you!

Regardless of your skill level, you can immediately implement these “Top 10 Conversation Starters” and enjoy the process of education and referral. If you have some of your own favourites that you would like to share with your fellow chiropractors, please e-mail them to me, through Canadian Chiropractor, at and together we’ll spread our message through meaningful conversations that lead to connection – connection to relationship and relationship to commitment. That’s a formula you can always bank on!


My recommendation is that you simply write the bold words on the white boards/dry erase boards that are hanging in each of your adjusting rooms, or in your large adjusting suite. Then simply ask the question, or pose the idea to each of your patients. You’ll find that they enjoy conversing among themselves about the concepts as well. This is a good way to forge stronger ties in your health and wellness community.

As well, seek to find out more about your patients and to solicit their opinion. It’s likely you’ll fulfill a void in their lives that is not being met by anyone else…caring about their thoughts, ideas, opinions, and feelings.

Top 10 Conversation Startersstock_spine
1. If you didn’t know how old you are, how old would you feel?
If you didn’t know how old your spouse is, based on his complaints and your observations, how old would you think he is?

2. How old do you feel now? (This is the natural follow up to Question 1.)
It never ceases to amaze me how many patients, just like you, announce that their care shaves years off their life and yet, they suspend care. Really, it blows me away!

3.  That’s a great question – why do you ask?
Never begin answering a question unless you are clear on what they’re asking. Make     your answers as direct and relevant as possible, and that can only happen when you’re clear about their question. As well, there’s often a fundamental belief, or challenge, behind the question and it will serve them best if you can address that challenge. Usage of this question also grants you time to “think on your feet.” It’s one of my absolute favourites!!
4. Living with subluxation is like driving with a blind-fold on
Wait before saying more. Look for a change in your patient’s non-verbals. Most commonly you’ll see a look of confusion. Follow up with, “I can tell by the look on your face that you’re trying to figure out the connection. If we drive a car with a blind- fold on there’s a high probability that there will be tragedies. The blind-fold causes interference in our ability to operate our vehicle just like subluxations cause interference in our ability to operate our lives. The tragedies are far reaching from potential harm to ourselves, others, and to those that we love as a result of harm to ourselves. You see, it really is just like subluxation.”

Just as the blind-fold does not allow us to get from point A to point B, interference in your nerve system does not allow the information to get from point A, the brain, to point B, the organ, tissue or cell. Do you see how it’s just like subluxation?”

Give them time to digest this information and, then, on their next visit, ask, “So, did you drive here with your blind-fold on today?” Follow up with, “How has this example helped you understand chiropractic better?”

5. You can’t have health and subluxation.
Make this statement several times every day so it sinks it first into your mind and second, into the mind of your patients. It will assist your patients with their understanding of our chiropractic philosophy. It’s not just about relieving their presenting complaint. It’s about restoring the full functioning of their nervous system. Although, remember that we must meet them where they are and lovingly escort them along the path. This replaces the idea of health versus sickness.  Instead, the opposites are really health versus subluxation.

6. Why do people get their blood pressure checked?
Everyone has their own idea about having their blood pressure checked regularly. You can simply continue the conversation with, “Let me ask you something, what controls the heart?” Their answer. Next, “What controls its pressure?” Their answer. “What about nerve pressure? Is it possible to have nerve pressure before it turns into high blood pressure?” Their answer. Do not interrupt them. If a question is good enough to ask, it’s good enough to wait and listen for their response.) “And if nerve pressure was detected before the symptoms of high blood pressure would you have a greater opportunity to stay healthy?”

7. There are only two things that interfere with your body’s health potential that are as bad, if not worse, than subluxation.

You’re welcome to make up your own answers but, for me, the answers are fear and doubt. Sadly, fear and doubt often rob chiropractors of their full potential as well. Correct the subluxation today and choose to live to be your biggest fan not your biggest wish.

8. What do you love most about our relationship and your care?

Don’t guess what you’re really good at and why people choose you…ask them! Once you receive their answer, do that action step even more. After they give you their answer for a super simple referral, follow up with, “Thanks for saying that. I’m curious, who’s the first person who comes to mind whom you wish was experiencing those same results?” Then give them your Referral Gift Packet and enjoy business health…from within!

9. How willing are you to be stressed?

This is a great question to cut to the heart of the matter of patients’ decisions and choices. Be gentle and resist the temptation to prove them wrong or to make them out to be “bad” in some way. Neither of those techniques will draw them closer to you and to the services and love you offer.

10. How do you explain chiropractic to those you know?

Do not fill in the blanks for them. Help them along the way and teach them how to refer by sharing the chiropractic story in their terms. This will yield far greater referrals and retention.

Practise these conversation starters during your staff meetings, while you’re riding in your car, and with your personal mentor. Learning to effectively communicate with your patients, and potential patients, will yield opportunities far in excess of what you ever imagined!

Choose discipline today and begin mastering the art of effective chiropractic business conversations…set yourself free while igniting your optimum success.

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