When I first started out in practice, I had no experience in running a business. In chiropractic school I assumed I would learn how to run a business. But that didn’t happen.
So I hired a consultant, who I felt certain would be able to use his years of experience to direct me on the right path.
Then my grand opening came. We ran a full page, long-copy newspaper ad. We did a huge telemarketing campaign to the area. And it worked, bringing in over 50 new patients the first month and $22,000 in cash collected!
Who can complain about that?
Actually it really messed me up. So bad it would take 2 years to recover. Let me explain…
You see, I thought since this was my first month, every month after this would only get better. After all, if this wasn’t the case, surely I would have heard about it in school, or my $1000 per month consultant would tell me. Time to go get a $700 a month car payment. Time to start looking at new houses. (Do you see where this story is headed?)
Since my first month was so good, I’ll just lay off marketing the next month. Guess what happened?
Yep, only collected $10,000 and had a handful of new patients. But I thought “No problem, it’s December, everyone knows chiropractors are ‘cursed’ in December. Next month will be better. I won’t do any more more marketing and I’ll just wait and see what happens.”
I waited. And I waited. Five months later, we were stilling only seeing about 10 new patients per month and collecting between $10-15k.
So I did some proven marketing again. I bet you can guess what happened next.
We had an awesome month! So I thought, “I’m so busy seeing new patients and getting them well, I don’t really need to market much next month. After all, school is letting out and everyone knows new patients avoid a chiropractor during the summer.”
The next month dropped again. “We’ll of course, it’s summer time”, I thought. “I’ll just wait and see what happens next month.”
I’ll spare you the long sad story, and tell you this pattern continued for the next 2 years. It was a vicious downward spiral. One good month, then ‘wait and see’ whats going to happen, then 3 bad months. Rinse and repeat.
Every quarter, I had less and less money to spend on marketing, since I was relying on 1 month to cover 3 months of expenses.
Why didn’t I learn my lesson, you ask?
There are many reasons, but the biggest one was that having one good month always made me think everything was okay. All I had to do was keep holding on and things would get better.
And while it’s true you must “hold on” during rough times in life, holding on doesn’t mean you just sit around doing nothing. You “hold on” to your faith, your family, and your sanity. But you don’t hold on to the business stuff that’s not working, namely a messed up marketing plan. I was simply holding on, praying for Someone else to do the work of bringing in the new patients.
I did eventually learn my lesson and turn things around.
Wait-and-see chiropractic marketing does not work. And the sad part is, if you do this too often, you’ll get into a spiral that’s very difficult to get out of.
Don’t wait and see what’s going to happen next month. Don’t count on spinal screenings to build your practice. Don’t sit around thinking patients are just going to walk in the door.
You don’t have to do it all in one month. But for your practice’s sake, do something!
Sometimes it’s prudent to wait and see. But when it comes to solid proven marketing, you’re always better off doing it now instead of later.