The age old question
How do we get patients in the door? Many therapists, especially the mom and pop clinics, struggle with this question. Some physicians are spoken for by specific companies, which makes getting a referral from the physician difficult. Some insurance companies are making it difficult to see a physical therapist of choice, at least without you paying $$$$ out of pocket. So how do we get patients?
- “…marketing to physicians-would not provide the expected revenue stream. Instead, a direct-to-consumer marketing strategy was needed and needed fast!”
Why does it take so long for PT’s to catch on to this concept? I have heard it all my career; “patient’s need a referral in order to come to therapy, so we should market to physicians.” There’s a great documentary done by a fellow meathead called “Prescription Thugs”. Drug companies realize that if they can sell their drugs to the patients, that the patients will go to their respective physician and ask for the prescription. The question is where do we want to spend our marketing dollars or time? I have seen over and over again, the physical therapists takes coffee to the physician and tries to grab the physicians ear for a couple of minutes. THIS WILL NOT WORK! Think about it. When you go to the physician, how much time do you actually see the doctor? What…5 minutes…maybe 10 max? How much time do you think that the doctor has to offer you…for free? Not much. With that said, there are some companies that have doctors ears. I will let you make the conclusion about how they are able to get into the doctors ears for 5 minutes.
I think that a good t.v. commercial would look like this…dream with me. A father picking up his child and having a big red throbbing circle radiating from his back. Black screen. A mother breast-feeding her daughter and a big red throbbing circle radiating from her neck. Black screen. A weekend warrior doing pull-ups with a red circle radiating from the shoulder. A different weekend warrior playing basketball with the circle from the knee. Black screen. DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS? Go talk to your doctor and then see movementthinker.org.
My biggest referral source is previous patients. I have so many patients requesting me at this point that I am unable to satisfy the need in a 40-hour work week. There are many private practices that would kill to have this problem. I see this as a major problem though because I stand for very personalized care to each patient and if I can’t get the patient in the door…it’s not very personalized.
- “1. Clearly define the customer”
Who is my customer? Anyone that I come in contact with knows about my blog. Everyone is my customer. This is where you define your elevator pitch. What do you do? I can tell you what I do. I offer specialized care in which I take the puzzle that is your problem and break it down into smaller pieces that you can understand and teach you how to aide in not only fixing yourself, but preventing your problem from returning. I am a teacher, disguised as a physical therapist. My customer is anyone that has a problem…puzzle…that revolves around movement based pain or limitations.
- “2. answer the question, ‘Why should the consumer come to our clinic specifically and pay cash at our practice”’
I will give you value. Within a short number of visits I will teach you about your problem. I will guide you and teach you how to fix your problem. I will educate you on why this may have started and how to keep it from coming back again. I will ensure that you understand the basics of human movement. I will guide you to resources that you can read if you want to learn more than you can in a short number of sessions. I will tell you if therapy will help you. I will tell you if you are more likely to respond to surgery than to therapy.
Not only that, but I will do this in a short number of sessions in order to save you money in the process. It would be cheaper for you to pay out of pocket to see me than to go through your insurance company. I will give you value.
- “3. Determine how to effectively reach that target market”
You’re reading the first way that I am answering this question. I just realized that I have reached over 900 “visits” over the previous 4 months. Officially, this blog now reaches more people than I can care for in the clinic. This is my start of marketing myself and my knowledge to others. Whether you choose to come see me or not, you will be better after having read the blog.
Clinton SC. OVERCOMING MARKETING OBSTACLES: A cash-based practice perspective. IMPACT. April 2016: 52-56.