Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Business Talk – Commitment to excellence

Anthony Lombardi   

Features Business Marketing

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor,”  legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said.

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor,”  legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said.

A chiropractic business practice is made up of a variety of elements: clinical practice, promoting, scheduling, collecting, billing, payroll, accounting and many other functions. However, people typically visit chiropractors to obtain relief from pain and dysfunction or to move closer to good health and wellness. So, when we dissect the business practice model and search for the core element that defines any product, we discover our ability to give our customers what they want is the most important outcome we can learn to produce.


For some chiropractors, their product is pain relief, while others focus on sports performance, wellness care or pediatrics. Regardless, research tells us that while some people fear failure and others fear success, the greatest fear of all is the fear of commitment to product excellence.

Psychologist Christine Loren explains the fear of sustaining success is more daunting than the thought of never having success at all. By studying successful business models throughout the course of history, we learn the products that stand out have defining characteristics that can be applied in our own chiropractic practices.

Does your product or service solve a problem?
In the 1800s, farmers from the midwestern United States were having problems plowing their heavy fertile fields because the equipment they purchased was better suited to the New England states, which had light, sandy terrain. The problem was that after only a few feet of plowing, the farmer had to stop and clean his plow before starting again – this made work very time consuming. That’s when a man named John Deere studied the problem. In 1837, he built a plow that was “self-cleaning” so farmers could work continuously without stopping. John Deere’s product solved a significant problem for farmers because it could consistently produce the results farmers needed to be successful. John Deere has been a trusted name for farm and lawn care ever since.

Does your product or service deliver additional benefits?
Cosmetics mogul Estée Lauder was launched to fame in 1953 when she introduced Youth Dew, a bath oil and perfume. Youth Dew’s purpose was to hydrate the skin and make it healthier – and it delivered. Estée Lauder sold over 50,000 units of Youth Dew in just one year because the product gave women more than just healthy skin. It made women look younger and smell more pleasant, which made them more attractive to potential partners. Lauder then went on to develop MAC Cosmetics and Tommy Hilfiger.

Does your product give patients what they expect?
Michael Port is the New York Times bestselling author of the book, Book Yourself Solid. In an interview with Port, he explained to me the importance of giving your target market what they expect from your services.

He explained that in a product-driven industry like chiropractic, there are two reasons why your target market goes in search of your services: the first is for help with things they would like to move away from such as pain, dysfunction and illness; the second is for things they would like to move toward, such as relief from pain, return to function and overall wellness. Port said you must offer what your potential clients want to buy, not what you want to sell or think they should want to buy.

An example of a product-driven industry is the movie theatre experience. Going to the movies can be such a wonderful outing with so many exciting things to see and do before the movie even begins. There’s food like popcorn, licorice and poutine. There are arcade games like air hockey, car racing and pool tables, and, of course, everyone enjoys the movie previews right before the main attraction. However, if it turns out to be a bad movie, the moviegoer’s expectations of being entertained will not be met.

Many people visit the movie theatre to be entertained, much like many people visit the chiropractor to obtain relief from pain and achieve better health. If our product cannot fulfill our patients’ expectations, it’s time to re-examine the quality of our clinical outcomes.

How to improve your product
In his book Future Shock, economist and author Alvin Toffler makes several recommendations about how to evaluate and improve your product. Toffler recommends doing a comprehensive review of your product, the benefits it offers and why someone would want to use it. This is a process that involves analyzing things like patient visit numbers, patient satisfaction surveys and employee feedback. What you’re seeking is honest, frank and constructive criticism, even if it hurts your ego.

“If your product isn’t good, let alone great, you’ve got a problem that no amount of marketing is going to fix,” says Toffler.

I continually evaluate and analyze the quality of my clinical results by asking myself two questions:

  • Do I know that my treatment will help my patient or do I hope my treatment will help my patient?
  • Am I looking for a solution that changes the way I practise or am I looking for a solution that merely fits the way I practice?

Marketing can attract new patients to your office but it doesn’t take long for patients to realize your product is not worth their time and money. John Deere teaches us to strive to solve clinical problems others can’t; Estée Lauder encourages us to provide intangible benefits few others can provide; and Michael Port suggests we focus on giving our target market what they expect from our services.

By making product excellence our top priority we will continue to generate new patient referrals from our current patients, medical professionals and the surrounding community.

Anthony Lombardi, DC, is consultant to athletes in the NFL, CFL and NHL, and founder of the Hamilton Back Clinic in Hamilton, Ont. He teaches his fundamental EXSTORE Assessment System and conducts practice-building workshops to health professionals. Visit for information.

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