If you were at a shooting gallery, would you aim to hit the bull's eye or the outer rim of the target? No, that isn't a trick question. What do you aim for? You're right, the center of the bull's eye. If you hit the edge, you're disappointed. Why would anyone settle for or be happy with just hitting the edge? Yes, that is what I learned that was such an important lesson to me in my life.
How does going for the bull's eye and not settling for the edge relate to you? How about the marketing of your practice? When dealing in that area, are you always aiming for the bull's eye, or are you content just hitting the edge of the target? Good question, don't you think? Better yet, what is your answer?
I see so many chiropractors who settle for just hitting the edge of the target. They are all around the target, but they never score a bull's eye, and they still wonder why their practices just never get off the ground. Does that sound like you? I hope not, but if it does, have no fear, there's still time for you to aim better and higher and hit the bull's eye.
What is all this talk about hitting the edge versus the bull's eye? It really is quite simple. You hear a lot of references to marketing when it comes to your office. Internal promotions, external promotions, referrals, screenings, lectures, surveys, and on and on. The list grows in direct proportion to the number of practice management people you talk to! Let's see if I can narrow it down a little for you.
I feel that the closer you come to being "one-on-one" with a potential patient, the closer you are to the bull's eye. Any time you have the opportunity to discuss chiropractic with a person and answer their questions directly, unless you are a terrible communicator, the better the chance of getting that patient into your office (hitting the bull's eye). If you are just putting ads in the newspaper, that is shooting for the very edge of the target. Your chances of success are slim or none at all. See the difference?
Let's take a look at some different marketing systems and see what is good, a bull's eye, and what has a slim chance of success. I'll repeat what I said about bull's eye marketing. It's "one-on-one," "in your face," "just you and me" situations that allow you to communicate directly with the potential patient. How about a direct referral from an existing patient? Is that a winner? Yes, as long as you get to talk to that person directly. Many times, a patient will refer to someone they are going to give your card to. I would take control of that situation right then and tell them to get that person on the telephone right now so you can talk to them. If you wait for them to give them your card, you might be waiting a very long time! Personally, I don't like to wait!
How about a screening? If you get the opportunity to interact with the person, you know that you stand a good chance of getting them into the office. What if someone else does the screening for you? The numbers just went down. You are no longer aiming for the bull's eye. Do talks and lectures work? Yes they do. Any exposure you have to people works. Just make sure you have as much one-on-one with the audience as possible before and after the presentation, and make sure you thank each person personally that asks any questions. Remember, you want them to remember you.
How about blind ads in the newspaper? Like the name implies, they are "blind," so there is no contact at all. At best, it's a poor shot at the very edge. Will you get some return? Yes, if you follow up with calls and any pieces of information about you and what you do. How about telemarketing? I personally would never turn over my name to someone I don't know, so that they could call and say whatever they wanted to people and leave a bad impression with people about me.
If you use this method, do it "in house." In other words, hire your own telemarketers and supervise what they are saying, how they are saying it, when they are saying it and who they are saying it to. If that is followed, it will work, but it is still an edge marketing tool.
Surveys can be both bull's eye and on the edge, depending on how much you get to talk to the people. It is sort of a hit or miss situation. Does that mean that I would not do them? No! That also doesn't mean that I wouldn't use any method that was not right on the bull's eye. You just need to know what to expect from each method, so you don't devote all of your time to less than bull's eye methods and think that you are doing the best that you can do.
What works best? Obviously, the method that brings in the most patients on a consistent basis. Marketing is a full-time job. Don't ever forget that, so put your efforts into the methods that are going to get you the most "bang for the buck." I am not just referring to how much a method costs. They all cost in terms of your time. Don't ever forget that, too. There is a lot to remember!
Always analyze what you are doing and what gives you the best shot at a bull's eye. My return on my efforts would dictate where I put the majority of my efforts. Some methods work better for others, so you need to keep track of how each method is working for you. I would try them all, but I would also keep trying to use the methods that consistently help me to score a bull's eye. No, you won't get a big stuffed animal, but you will gain a patient base that will help you earn a fortune over your lifetime!
Stanley Greenfield, RHU
1551 South 1st Street, Suite 701
Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32250
Tel: (904) 247-9313
Click here for previous articles by Stanley Greenfield, RHU.