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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 24, 2002, Vol. 20, Issue 20

Focusing Your Goals

By Theodore Oslay, DC
After my last article, "Secrets for a Prosperous Industrial Consulting Practice" (www.chiroweb.com/archives/20/15/15.html), you should realize that becoming an industrial consultant is a feasible and potentially profitable undertaking. We discussed that the result of this endeavor is to generate consistent profits that are separate from your already existing profit centers, and we will create a standard of excellence with an intense focus on reducing direct costs and time losses associated with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) on the job. If you have made the decision to pursue this idea, welcome to the "boot camp" for the full-fledged industrial warrior!

These articles will give you the basic information to generate revenue that starts with new clients, grows through referrals and continues to repeat itself. Your quest will be for a growing, satisfied and loyal customer base. The return on your time and energy will be well rewarded. This will be a separate entity that complements - not extends - your existing chiropractic practice.

It has been my experience that it will take anywhere from three months to a year from the initial point of contact with a company to complete the sale of a contract. I'm not talking about a generic training package as a service. If you want to be successful, there must be a direct correlation to what you propose to the company and the reduction of direct costs and associated time loss and restrictions due to MSDs. The company must be able to quantitatively measure these changes. If there is anything less, you are just kidding yourself, and the company won't be happy. And the company will not forget the relationship it had with you, and that extends to its other divisions and plants. Your success or failure will come up at regional safety meetings, whether external or internal to the company, especially when you are marketing in a localized geographic area.

When you are thinking about a product or service to sell a company, ask yourself: "Will what I propose demonstratively reduce the company's direct costs and man-hour losses?" If you plan to consult on "injury prevention," can you guarantee the results? Is the product you represent unique, or can nonprofessional trainers do it? If trainers can provide the same service, you're in trouble. There are many people in the business of ergonomics training (Kemper Insurance, for instance), and they have bigger budgets and more credibility than an individual DC. This discussion is not meant to be critical, but is indicative of what I've read and have heard numerous times during meetings involving risk managers; insurance companies; client companies; and environmental health and safety people at the plant and corporate levels.

Chiropractors are in a position to market effectively and can position themselves to enjoy the benefits of their unique position. As I continue to consult with companies, the fact that many people seek chiropractors on a regular basis because it is the only thing that "helps" comes up again and again. The attacks by other groups are unrelenting, however, and chiropractors continue to have fingers pointed at them by the competition at every available chance. The finger-pointers include anyone whose authority and job duties are threatened.

You will need to have in-depth knowledge of how the system works, and offer solutions that will satisfy and benefit those involved in selling your services. Let's look at the available resources you have from which to begin targeting perspective clients.

  1. Go to the chamber of commerce and ask for a list of all the businesses in your area. You may have an idea of how many people are employed at a facility, but this will give you names, addresses and other specific information that will be useful as the project continues.

  2. Make a list of the patients that come in for various conditions, such as back, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

  3. Create a table that correlates the patients you see with the employees that work at the various companies.

What I have described here is a simple search. I will detail other information-gathering procedures available to the practitioner in a future article.

You can begin by calling the companies your patients work for and establish a contact person. You'll ask to take a quick tour of the work area(s) of your patients. The contact person will be glad to do this because this is a compliance step that can benefit the company. You may want to establish a regular time for walkthroughs at a company. The purpose of the walkthrough is to establish and document that you have viewed a particular workstation and the physical demands of the work. You make clear that this documentation is not to create more problems for the company's contact person, but to help the employee recover and return to work. For now, that is all you need to tell the company. Keep a log of the walkthroughs.

Make clear to the company that the walkthrough will include getting the contact person's input, and any other pertinent information that might apply to the situation. Tell the contact person that you will be sending a short summarization of your intent that will not be specifically aimed at an individual, nor will you specifically name an individual worker in your letter. You do not want to create a medical record with the walkthrough. Send the summary as soon as you can after the appointment.

The industrial warrior uses his time and staff wisely and effectively, with the ultimate goal of a net profit derived from a loyal and satisfied customer base. The consulting and chiropractic practices must be separate, and until there is something worthwhile for the physician to do in the consulting practice, the focus must be on the clinic, rather than be distracted without purpose.

In the next article I will outline what we will do with this data to form the battle plan. I have left you with enough foundational work that won't cost you a dime or take time away from your practice.

Theodore Oslay,DC
Dekalb, Illnois


Click here for previous articles by Theodore Oslay, DC.

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