There’s no more contemplating whether or not a recession is coming. It’s here.
You can’t turn on the TV without hearing about the recession. What does it all mean for you, the chiropractor? Will it affect your new patients? Will your current patients keep coming in? Will your income drop?
I can’t predict the future. I can’t tell you what the economy will do in 2009. I do know that as long as your patients have jobs, nothing will really change with their finances. Maybe their dropping 401k balances will worry them. But all the doom and gloom they hear constantly is likely to affect their spending more than any real change in their household budgets.
But I can say one thing for certain: if you cut back on your marketing, it’s guaranteed your new patient levels will drop off. If your new patient flow decreases, your income will follow.
A friend of mine bought a practice in August of this year. In just 3 short months he’s doubled the practice and cut back to only one employee. Another successful friend is having the worst winter of growth in the history of his practice.
What’s the difference?
Marketing. The doctor who bought new office really cranked up the marketing. He’s been testing my ads like crazy. He’s got fibromyalgia patients, decompression patients, he’s advertising for headache patients, and many other niches. And he’s not just running ads. I coached him on implementing 4 other major marketing campaigns to be running each and every month. This isn’t including the internal marketing that occurs naturally as a result of all the new patients flowing in.
Who do you think is going to do better during a recession? The chiropractor who markets his practice more, with better tools and strategies, or the one who cuts back and waits to see how long it will last?
While all your competition is cutting back, if you push ahead, you’ll be the one who comes out on top. While everyone jumps out of yellow page advertising because “money is tight”, you’ll have an opportunity to stand out be staying in. You’ll also have quite a bit more negotiating power to get a good rate. The same goes for chiropractic newspaper ads.
Now before we go any further, we should discuss two detrimental myths that some chiropractors hold…
Myth #1. Chiropractic marketing doesn’t work. To that person, I say you are using the wrong kind of marketing. I fell into this trap during my first 2 years of practice. Too many “Mercedes 80’s” coaches trying to make me do their type of marketing. A variation of this myth is “Marketing doesn’t work in my town”. To this I say…really? Is there a newspaper? Billboards? TV station? Do you ever get any junk mail? It’s more likely you’re using bad advertising and marketing tools. Remember, what worked in the 60, 70’s, and 80’s won’t work in 2009. Your patients have had it with hyped up marketing promises. people in your community have grown more immune to the continuous flood of boring or pushy advertising everyone else is doing. As a result, you must be very specific and clear about what you are offering and how it can benefit the patients.
Advertising and marketing does work. It’s what every successful business is built on. You just need the right tools to make it work. (More on this in future blog posts!)
Myth #2. Marketing is unethical. This is a big roadblock to success a few doctors have. I think it comes from the “medical doctors don’t have to market” mentality. Maybe the GP never markets (unless you consider the millions drug companies spend doing it for them), because he’s so full of people wanting drugs and running in every time they have a paper cut. But the specialists market all the time.
Have you ever seen an ad or billboard for a hospital? What about a pain management or scoliosis center? In the city where I live there are hospitals advertising all sorts of specialties…sleep centers, back pain centers, fibromyalgia centers, cancer centers, heart rehab centers, neonatal units, and more.
Yes, there is some marketing that’s badly done out there. Not so much unethical, but just pushy and sleazy, hurting your practice image. I recommend you stay away from that kind of marketing.
Now back to the recession…
There is a recession going on. But are you going to sit around and mope about it? Or are you going to make sure you don’t have a “personal recession” with your own practice or income. There’s no government bailout coming for chiropractors. Ain’t gonna happen.
I will make one prediction for 2009. And I’ll bet it holds true. Ready?
“The chiropractor who uses proven marketing tools and strategies in 2009 will be more successful than his competition.”
A revelation right?
Don’t cut back on your marketing (unless it’s the “Mercedes 80’s” marketing). Use the tools and strategies you learn about on this blog to grow and build your practice…like there’s no recession in site.
See you next week.