Don’t Spend Another Dime On Marketing Until You Memorize Them…
If you’re like most professionals, from time to time you wonder about what it takes to build a successful practice. You see and feel the competitive challenges, and it’s easy to get discouraged and draw the conclusion that you may be missing something. Like most disciplines, business development takes hard work and patience – it’s a talent that comes to all of us only after studying and applying sound fundamentals. Today’s Business Corner post outlines three fundamental principles to help focus your effort.
Before getting into the three fundamentals, let’s talk attitude: Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get better at business development, or is your philosophy simply to take whatever comes your way based on the shear momentum of the marketplace? Taking whatever comes your way based on marketplace momentum means you sit back and wait to be served your share of the pie. Committing yourself to getting better at business development, on the other hand, means you help bake the pie, and then, warm out of the oven, you cut yourself a generous slice before the rest of the pie is even served. If you want to be there for the baking and the taking, the three fundamentals may be an important part of your recipe.
1. You Must Distinguish Your Practice From Your Competitors:
To grow your business, the challenge is always making your audience want to listen to you in the first place. Without experience working directly with you, your target audience is generally skeptical, hates making decisions, and resists change at almost any cost. Yes, I’m talking about your future patients and referral sources. To overcome this, you need to expose your marketplace to enough quantity and quality of information that positions you as an expert – this is not the same thing as demonstrating competency. Being competent is nothing special. Being an expert makes you sought after to bring a specific result. As a specially trained PT practitioner, this means communicating in a commanding way the unique advantages of your expertise and what it takes to deliver expected results. You must be able to communicate key advantages in a compelling way to people who probably don’t want to take the time to meet with you until they understand the potential benefits of your expertise. Think about it from their standpoint, why should they invest their valuable time just for the privilege of an introduction? Trying to meet with potential referral sources and prospective patients before they have reviewed enough introductory information to determine their basic level of interest is a common mistake. Making this mistake trains your audience to lock the door, not open it. That’s why salespeople burn out – with each premature, poorly thought out call, they wear out each opportunity. Good marketing materials communicate systematically to educate your target audience on how to make the connection between your unique expertise and the expected results they value.
2. You Must Condition Your Audience To Consult With You First In Your Area Of Expertise:
Referral sources and prospective patients are a lot more sophisticated than they used to be. They have access to more information than ever. Think about your own health care decisions. Do you use one office for anything and everything? I don’t. My family has a pediatrician for the kids, Urgent Care for non-emergent “emergencies,” an OB-GYN, two internists, three types of dentists, and more get added to the list with each new problem! So why don’t I call just one provider for all my needs? The answer is simple: Not even the biggest local hospital has enough resources to help me get the answers I’m seeking on a consistent basis. None of them have contacted me about the merits of contacting them on something like back pain. Even chiropractors fall short of the mark here. The good news is that you can fill these voids. The first one to do this in their marketplace on a consistent basis wins.
3. You Must Systematize Your Message:
There’s two main advantages of systematizing your message: First, you determine what kinds of information help your audience understand the most important and relevant issues they need to consider for typical questions ahead of time instead of ‘winging it.’ And second, your weakest communication links will become stronger because the system compensates for their weaknesses with preformatted information. To appreciate the value of this, think about how the typical receptionist is trained to answer even the most basic question that doesn’t relate to an appointment schedule or payment status – if your answer is, “I’ll have someone call you back,” then chances are your message isn’t systematized. Chances are you could provide enough information to facilitate the next step in your educational process for most questions without having to handle each question as special call back.
When you begin to follow the three fundamentals reviewed here, you’ll compete more effectively and begin winning more of the visits you deserve.