Doctors, don't you hate it when you have that perfect patient who has been coming to see you for care, is achieving amazing results, and then "randomly" falls off the planet? This is one of the most consistent struggles in practice-retention!
Let's say "Mary" ended up in your office and you did what you do best: heal her.She achieves maximum medical improvement and loves you; but then quietly disappears. Then, one day, you're at the grocery store or working out at the gym, and lo and behold, in strolls Mary.
"Hello, Doc! How are you?" she says, smiling excitedly in your presence. "Great, Mary! What have you been up to?" you reply (thinking to yourself, you haven't been into the office in months).
"I'm so happy to see you Doc, I've been feeling fabulous ever since that last adjustment. I don't have headaches anymore, and as you can see, I actually am able to get out of my house now and do things. Isn't that exciting?"
"Wow, Mary, I'm so excited to hear that; what awesome news!" you respond, again wondering to yourself, How in the world have I failed her as a doctor? What did I do wrong? Why did she stop coming into the office?'"
Well, she actually answered all that: She's not in pain; therefore, she thinks she's completely healed and doesn't need you anymore.
Is this situation an all-too-familiar one in your office? Are you relying too much on appointments and repeat visits? Are you in effect depending entirely on your adjusting skills for your income? If that's the case, it's definitely time to widen your horizons.
How to Increase Your Revenue Streams
Having numerous streams of income, especially cash income, is one of the smartest things a business owner can do because, obviously, when one stream is not drawing enough income, you will have several others to fall back on. They say the average millionaire has at least seven streams of income. While we may not have quite so many, there are well-documented ways to develop new ones.
The top back-end products in a chiropractor's office are durable medical equipment (DMEs) and nutritional products (supplements). Our office sells back-end products, and actually, quite a huge portion of our sales are from DMEs and supplements.
My first year in practice, I sold $15,000 of product from a leading supplement vendor (that was back in 2006 in Phoenix). When we moved back to Texas, I opened up another practice from scratch; my first year, I sold $25,000 in supplements and topped $5,000 in DME sales, without applying all that much effort.
So, this got me thinking: If I didn't try that hard and was able to sell that amount of back-end products, what could I do if I set some goals?
Develop an Action Plan
I decided that the focus of my new approach would be pillows and ice packs. These products are particularly easy to work with because you don't have to "sell" them.
If they can be seen and tried, patients will buy and repeat-buy these items. Obviously every office is different, and you have to adapt to what is right for you.
I need to give you a little more background so that you realize something pretty important: If we can accomplish this in our little 652 sq. ft. space of a chiropractic office with one doctor and one CA working 30 hours per week, then you can, too. Here is our checklist for DME goal-setting:
- Have a vision
- Set your goals and revise them
- Start writing down ideas for an action plan
- Set a time limit with specific numbers you want to achieve by a "reasonable time-frame"
- Take action
- Never give up
Simple, But Effective
OK, so this may sound so ridiculously simple, but it really works. After writing down all our ideas and goals, we felt that we were in the right frame of mind and connecting with the main objective. We did a promotion right before the holidays and doubled our stats on pillow sales in one month compared to what we'd sold for the entire year – and it was remarkably easy.
Gifting Products Leads to Patient Reactivation
When we reviewed the results of that holiday promotion, we discovered something both interesting and unexpected: In December, the majority of patients who bought pillows bought them for friends or spouses, or used them as gifts, so they were repeat buyers. But wait: It gets even better.
Due to the promotional "deals" we were offering, numerous patients we hadn't seen in months came back into the office just to buy stuff, but then ended up getting adjusted (and re-activated as patients).
Guess what happened? "Mary" came back into our office, bought a pillow for her husband, and then purchased a couple of ice-packs because she knew she was going to be "sore," in her words, since it had been "forever" since her last adjustment. The products we were offering (and which she purchased) actually resulted in her return as a regular patient.
The whole situation was a huge success. We knew we were on to something, and it all began with writing down goals, offering specials, etc. In another words, we took action based on a plan.
Why Not Start Now?
Start from where you are today; not yesterday, not tomorrow – now. You've worked too hard to just make a measly income. Quality products will fly off your shelves; if you spend a little time brainstorming and making a plan, you'll see.
What you think about, you bring about. So drum up a vision, make a plan, set some goals, record the stats and create momentum. After all, if it's worked in our little office with one doctor and one
Dr. Janelle Perkins, a 2004 graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic (now Parker University, College of Chiropractic) is one of seven chiropractors in her family. She has more than 15 years of experience in clinical nutrition.