Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Features Business Management
Booking Yourself Solid


August 28, 2012
By Anthony J. Lombardi DC

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In business, it is common sense to keep doing what is working and to change what isn’t.

In business, it is common sense to keep doing what is working and to change what isn’t. In my practice, I’ve worked hard so that every week my schedule remains full. However, it was not until I read Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid that I realized I was actually using some highly recommended approaches he personally addresses in his book. I would like to share some of these with you while addressing some others that are presented in the book. I had the privilege of conducting a live phone interview with the author, and I asked him to provide insight on how we, as chiropractors, can start and continue to book ourselves solid.

WHO WANTS TO BUY WHAT YOU ARE SELLING?
Marketing and sales is not about trying to convince, coerce, or manipulate people into buying your services. It’s really about making people who need your services aware that you exist and telling them where to find you.

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Those who are looking for your services should make up your target market. Port says, “There are two reasons why your target market goes in search of your services. The first is to help with things they would like to move away from such as pain, dysfunction and  illness. The second is things they would like to move toward such as relief from pain, return to function and overall wellness.” You must offer what your potential clients want to buy, not what you want to sell or think they should want to buy.”

WHAT WILL CAUSE SOMEONE TO PURCHASE YOUR SERVICE?
If your potential clients are going to purchase your service and products, they must see them as “investable” opportunities. Port defines an “investable” opportunity as a feeling, on the part of your client, that the return they receive is greater than the investment they made.

For example, the return will come in different forms, depending on what you offer, but the return is almost always financial or emotional. I see many self-employed patients who, without treatment, are unable to earn a living if they remain injured. These patients see an investable opportunity in making the trip to my office for care.

On the other hand, someone who is in pain for many months finds value in spending money on a treatment that will improve their emotional well-being by taking away their pain. Port believes that our patients, like any consumers, wish to see an end-result that will offer one or more benefits, whether they be spiritual, financial, physical or emotional.

WHAT IS THE KEY INGREDIENT TO BECOMING BOOKED SOLID?
The most important ingredient in any relationship, whether it is personal or professional, is trust. Most recently, the best way I heard it described was by Stieg Larsson. “A relationship is built on two things, respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the relationship will crumble.”

Michael Port writes that although respect is important, there is a direct link between how much someone trusts you and how willing they are to use your service. I believe that trust and respect join forces the instant your patient recommends your services to others. A referral to your care speaks volumes about how much your patient values their professional relationship with you.

FOUR OBSTACLES TO BEING BOOKED SOLID
Being Unable to Simplify
One of my favourite quotes is from Albert Einstein, who said: “If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.”

Port believes this is a significant barrier to business owners everywhere, especially chiropractors. “A primary reason that many service professionals fail to build thriving practices is that they struggle to articulate, in a clear and compelling way, exactly what solutions and benefits they offer.” Personally, I make it a point to explain what I am doing to each patient so that I can relate it to almost anyone in terms they can understand. I do this by using practical everyday objects that people can relate to, too. When I explain the effects of medical acupuncture on the nervous system, I compare it to resetting a computer by pressing “Control, Alt, Delete.” The acupuncture resets the nervous system. When you use familiar examples, patients become more comfortable and you have earned their trust.

Organization Barriers
Organization barriers are situational limiting factors that prevent us from being booked solid even if we have patients waiting to see us. These factors are typically problems such as having one treatment room to practise out of, or not having a receptionist to answer the phone. These may seem unbelievable but organizational barriers are very common in chiropractic practices and it’s best to correct them early, so you can grow.

Personal Issues
When speaking with Michael Port he said that, in his experience, a business problem is almost always a personal problem in disguise. These obstacles affect our concentration, energy and overall health. It can be difficult to overcome such barriers but until they are corrected or accepted your practice will not be able to reach its full
potential.

Philosophical Differences
This area of our conversation stuck with me. He said many chiropractors who work for themselves can’t book themselves solid because they are unable to define the focus of their practice. Most chiropractors focus most of their time on the chiropractic part of their practice and too little time on the business management portion of it. For example, Port said, Starbucks is not in the coffee business, but in the franchising business. What we need to remember is that being a chiropractor is only a small part of our bigger picture; that is, we are in the business of making people feel better. We must invest as much time into our business practice as we do into our clinical practice.

For example, for every seminar we take on assessment we should be taking one on business development such as management, team building and public relations. Port suggests, and I agree, that because this method of thinking is not taught in schools, it can affect the overall performance of chiropractic practices. In order to build a successful practice we must make it a priority to invest in all facets of our business.  

FINAL THOUGHT
We need to learn how to be consistent in all areas for our businesses to run smoothly. This includes growing not only as a chiropractor but an entrepreneur, a manager and a business owner. In order to be in the business of making patients feel better, we need to remember that we are also in the business of building a brand. 

Book Yourself Solid can be found on Amazon.com or at any major bookstore. Michael Port will gladly answer any questions you have through questions@michaelport.com and you may follow him on Twitter @michaelport.


Dr. Anthony Lombardi is a private consultant to athletes in the NFL, CFL and NHL, and founder of Hamilton Back Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic. He teaches his fundamental EXSTORE Assessment System and practice building workshops to various health professionals. For more information, visit www.hamiltonbackclinic.com .


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