Yurij Chewpa, DC, RFCCSS(C),
Co-Head Coach, Warrior Coaching and Warrior Coaching USA (www.WarriorCoaching.org)
At the recent Warrior Coaching Leadership Summit in Toronto, the topic of the various presentations was practice outreach. Specifically, the speakers were discussing "the why" - why do we do outreach, and "the how" - how do we reach out into our communities effectively to attract the sick and lost. What strategies work best?
The strategies being discussed were screenings, corporate talks, and patient dinners. These three strategies have been around for decades and many falsely assume that they no longer work. Nothing could be further from the truth. While internet marketing, a social media presence, and a great website are crucial in today’s wireless world, they do not replace getting outside of your four walls and personally interacting with the people in your community. Warrior Coaching clients receive hundreds of new patients every month using these tried and true strategies. As a matter of interest, if done correctly they are more effective today then they have ever been in the past. It is not unusual to schedule 50 to 100 great patients at a 2-day screening, or schedule 20 to 30 patients from a 20-minute dinner, or corporate, presentation.
One of the advantages of doing the outreach in person is that the doctor has to wrestle with the question of why they are doing it, and face the fear of getting outside of their four walls. Are they doing this talk to get new patients to build their practice and pay their bills, or are they doing it to save the sick people in their community? The better the answer as to why the doctor is doing the talk, the more people will come in for a checkup. If it is all about the doctor, the potential patients will sense this and they will stay away. If the people have an understanding that the doctor is there to serve them, then that doctor has the capacity to attract as many patients as he can possibly serve.
Once the doctor knows why they are doing the outreach, they need to know how to do the outreach most effectively. The same doctor can give the same talk to the same group and change the content by five percent and get a 30, 60 or 100-fold increase in follow-through. Likewise, we have had Warriors do screenings and schedule 100 new patients in a weekend, and a chiropractor at the same screening one booth over only schedule 10 patients.
"The why" or "the how"?
After the presentations at Leadership Summit there was a lot of discussion about what is more important, "the why" or "the how"? Why we do outreach, or how we do outreach? Obviously, both are important, but does either one have an advantage when it comes to building a lifetime, wellness, family, principled practice?
The why v. how question can be stated in other ways as well: inspiration v. perspiration, delivery v. content, passion v. procedure.
When it comes to practice, doctors have to have a certain amount of both. Everybody's personalities are unique. Some doctors gravitate towards why, others towards how. Both can be successful, it just looks a little different.
Here are my observations over the past 27 years of practice and 12 years of coaching. The Why practice tends to have more new patients and better initial conversion, but more early drop outs. This is because the doctor tends to be outgoing and passionate and has no problem attracting new patients, but lacks the procedures to start a patient well and doesn’t have the process to guide them on their path of care. Practice tends to grow fast at the beginning, but plateaus because of lack of structure. This is a practice that tends to have a high missed appointment rate and high dropout rates, but can be high volume because the new patients are ever present. The inmates are running the asylum. By adding structure, this practice is ready to explode.
The How practice tends to have lower new patients and a slightly lower conversion rate, but a much higher retention rate, because the structure and procedures guide the patient through their months and years of care. Practice growth is slower because the doctor tends to be more fearful of outreach, and therefore new patient numbers are lower. Although practice growth is slow, it is more consistent and steady. The inmates are not running the asylum like they are in the why practice, but it's hard to break into the asylum. By adding more new patients, this practice is ready to explode.
As you can see, one is not better than the other, they are just different. The Why doctor is not mindful of structure and procedure. The How doctor is fearful of outreach. Both need to step into fear to reach their full God-given potential. Both doctors will have trouble sustaining practice growth without investing consistently into both areas. The best scenario is to have a good mix of both. With a good amount of how and why, a practice can have steady, sustainable growth.
Questions for you to answer after reading this should include: Where do your tendencies fall? Where do you need to be courageous, and where do you need to step into fear?