In the last episode we were standing underneath a Gothic Ray spaceship and now we are at the beginning point of a journey together. This is kind of a metaphor for you inviting people onto your ship to take a journey with you, a journey in health and healing. Restoration really is a journey for people and we need to make it easy for them. We need to express to them exactly and clearly where it is we are taking them.
One of the things that most chiropractors struggle with is this idea of philosophy. We get the idea of science, we get the idea that it is an art and something to master but philosophy leaves many people either cold or very passionate. You’ve got to find your way. Bertrand Russell said that philosophy sits in a no man’s land somewhere between science and theology, exposed to attack from both sides. You can see where the diversity is and it’s not just in Chiropractic, it’s an all philosophies.
So you’ve got to take this journey, you’ve got to boldly go where no chiropractic entrepreneur has gone before in your head. It’s got to be your journey, you’ve got to invite people. Is it more science? Is it more theology? It is more. Is everything that we do science fiction or is it science vision? You see, somewhere we have to step out and say that I believe at this point in time if we take this journey together, Ms. Mary Jones, then we might be able to reach your destination, which is a life without suffering, which is a life with full potential, which is a life with fun, fun and happiness. So continue to do the work that most people don’t do, the work that most people rely on other people to fix for them. That’s why we have dogma on both sides of philosophy we have the dogmatic scientist who just say if it’s not under a beaker, if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. And then we have the theologist who say there’s no sense in having science because it’s all on this spiritual, ethereal level. You’ve got to find your way through the Ethernet. Balance, continue to shift and expand so that you can expand your office, you can expand your reach in the community and we can then together expand our reach in the world.
I’m here underneath the newest icon in San Francisco, the Gothic Rocketship. What’s amazing about this is the word ‘ship.’ A few V-blogs back we talked about entrepreneurship. “Entre” means the conductor of an orchestra, an artist and “ship,” of course, means mastery. Look what it took to build this masterful icon. It took engineers, mechanics, artists and a collaborative effort to a build a gothic ray gun rocketship. The same thing goes on in your practice. You need to build your artwork, you need to have it orchestrated, you need to have it documented and it needs to be the collaborative effort of a world class chiropractic team, and that’s the fun part of building a chiropractic business.
This structure, this spaceship has a buzz around it. People enjoy it. As a matter of fact, your chiropractic practice is something the entire community needs to enjoy. So get out of the way. Get your ship together.
Today I was running on the bike trail along the Truckee River at beautiful Lake Tahoe and I came upon a man in a wheelchair. He was pushing down the path, kind of a mellow stride, you know, just a little bit of roll. He didn’t have a fancy wheelchair, it wasn’t the athletic kind, he wasn’t really the athletic type build. As I came upon him I could see that his legs were missing. He held his crutches across the rails of his wheelchair.
On my run by the area initially I had seen an area where somebody might be camping. It’s illegal to camp along the shore of the river there, but the point is I just looked at him and I said, “Do you need help getting to your campsite?”
He said, “No, I’m in no hurry.”
He wasn’t in any hurry, but we had good eye contact so I said, “Hey, my name’s Frank. What’s your name?
“My name’s J.R. Wiley,” he said and I swear he puffed up in his chair and his chest came out.
So I said, “J.R. Wiley, where you from?”
“Well, I’m from Corvallis, Oregon where Oregon State University is located.”
“Well, tell me a little bit more about that,” I inquired. “Did you go to school there?” I was thinking in my mind, “What’s going on? How did he come to be here on this path? How did we come to meet on this path?”
“No,” he responded, “I didn’t get an education there, I was just born there. I got my education in Vietnam.”
That gave me a ton of clues about this gentleman with long hair down to his navel, long beard, no shirt, tanned cruising along the Truckee River.
He continued to tell me, “You know, my family was from here as well. They build Alpine Meadows.” I actually looked that up when I got home and that’s not the case at all . . . but here’s the story – it was HIS story.
Here’s the other part of the story, at DC Mentors we say contactability is the key to growing relationships and the key to growing relationships is the key to taking care of more people in your community. I could have been in a hurry, I could have been watching my time, I could have been looking at my heart rate monitor, I could have been thinking about all of the things I have to do to get this run over and down, and instead I stopped and had a conversation with J.R. Wiley.
I coached a client earlier today about meeting people and she told me she is always in a hurry, always in a hurry, always in a hurry. Don’t be in such a hurry that you can’t stop on the path and meet J.R. Wiley. Be aware of those around you. Stop on the path to meet the J.R. Wiley that’s in your office, call your patients by their first name and really get his or her story. You never know how far reaching that will be to them and what it lifted for you. Contactability - go see J.R. Wiley.
Did you know that you see what you believe? Did you know what you believe affects how you behave? The processes and procedures and your entire strategy about how you do the business of chiropractic all stem from a belief system. Let me give you an example, what do you think a patient wants to know during their examination? Do you do a Report of Findings or, what we urge you to do, a Relating of Your Findings in the context of their life. So what do patients want from your examination? Go ahead and answer that in your head, and let me tell you what I heard this week from two separate chiropractors.
One is a veteran of the chiropractic business wars, a very weary veteran and the other came out of the lips of new practitioner. So there is a generational malignancy here that has been conveyed to both of them and it is polluting and blocking our chances to be real social reformers. When I asked them what they thought a new patient needs they said the bromide that follows. I call it dated dribble because I’m being kind with my words today. It’s really nonsense. They said, “A patient wants to know what’s wrong with them, they want to know how much money it’s going to cost and they want to know how long it’s going to take?”
Do you see the mindset? Do you see that an entire chiropractic practice management industrial complex has revolved around that premise. Is it true? I say no. I say that it is hearsay and as a result we have created “what’s wrong with me?” and make the examination a scare-tactic. A report of findings where we have to say, “Here’s the good news, here’s the bad news.” We create a complex condition talking about from when they were in the womb to all the years that have transpired against them so that what they have now is so serious they are going to need lifetime care, everyday from you. Now there are variations of that, but the idea here if you believe then you will see what you have to do is create this complexity so that the patient knows going in that this is going to take a what? A lot of time and what? A lot of money. And that if they don’t do this they’re going to die? Seriously? Really? And then, armed with the idea of how much money it’s going to cost we come up with all the profit centered chiropractic practice management approaches like family plans. It is becoming a banker. You’re not a banker, that’s not your business. Allow people whose business it is to provide that service provide that and don’t provide it through your office. I just ran into a chiropractor who has a bank loan application for a credit card actually just for his office. Seriously? Really? If you buy the paradigm that that’s what’s on the patients mind then that’s what on their mind and you are competing in a bloody market.
Then comes the idea of how long will it take. We have all of our extended plans and all of the gimmicks and strategies around that. Can you feel the stress and the pressure to be salesman? You don’t have to be. There is another way. There is a way to present these things to people without actually creating an environment that feels gimmicky, that feels like something that’s not even you. Sometimes we do things because we think that’s all there is to do.
But did you know research actually said those aren’t the 3 things that are on people’s mind? Research! People that actually looked at this premise and asked, “What do people want when they are a patient?” Yes, it came from the medical industry. People have 6 universal questions when they walk into a doctor’s office.
They want to know:
Why it happened?
Why to me?
What should I do about it?
What will happen if I don’t do a anything about it?
All of those questions are what’s really rattling around and one or two of those takes precedence. None of those questions actually has money or time attached to it. That’s what you have in your head.
Does that play into a business? Yes. Certainly we have to manage the clock, certainly we have to make the care affordable, but if you upload the first concepts, that dated dribble that every patient has these 3 things on their mind and you start to try to appease those or start to try to attack or dismember those particular strategies, in a patient’s mind you create a very controlling environment. That’s not what they want. It’s a lot easier than you’re making it.
I want to talk to you today about the life blood of your practice, referrals. There are so many ideas that are kind of dangerous, half truths and total myths and absolute nonsense about referrals and what it takes to create referrals in your business. What we want you to do is to get your R.A.W. on. R.A.W. is an acronym for your Referral Attraction Wave bringing new lives to the shores of your chiropractic practice, not for you, but for you to serve and help those lives.
Did you know that referrals are actually a natural consequence? It is within human nature to share good news with other friends and family. It’s actually normal. Did you know that any attempt to disrupt this natural flow, just like the natural flow in health and healing, that any attempts to augment, accelerate, change or shift that natural flow comes across as inauthentic? Did you know that? Did you know that referrals really don’t need you to boost them, they need you to get out of the way. And when you drop your “need” for new patients and turn on your “want” to serve more people, to tell more people a message, to give more people hope and a plan, you will find that this natural process occurs in your chiropractic business. It will be almost alchemical, but it’s natural. It is amazing that tremendously passionate chiropractors with a science and philosophy and art somehow think they have to do something outside to get an inside-out process working.
So this whole thing about a Referral Attraction Wave is to get your why on. Why you’re doing it first, then to appreciate that people are motivated to talk about things that are cool. They like to share new ideas that they’ve found with their friends and family because it makes them feel good about themselves. They like to share extraordinary moments, not ordinary moments. When you provide an ordinary experience for your patients they don’t talk about it. People might ask them where they’re going and they’ll tell them, but they don’t have a buzz going about it. Ordinary people are driven to talk about the extraordinary, the impact that you have.
On a natural level, as a natural consequence, people refer for several reasons aside from the WOW experience. Let’s look at their personal motivatation, their intrinsic desires, their own personal needs.
First they value themselves. It doesn’t matter whether they have poor or very healthy strong self esteem, they still value themselves. It might be played out in a different world of worthiness and abilities, but truly they value themselves. People with higher self esteem seem to be the connectors in the community, seem to be the people that naturally tell others, Because these people maintain that leadership role they are going to promote your business because they value themselves. They are going to promote your business because you’re also going to be taking care of their friends and relieve the emotional burden that they’re having with their friends or their family as a result of the condition that is affecting them. See you’re actually helping them, so they value themselves. And the people with lower self esteem feel validated when a friend that they send in has an extraordinary experience. It bolsters them. Which way is better? Doesn’t matter. In your office you treat both the same. The only challenge with people with very, very low self esteem is that they may not have the traction with their friends to actually promote what you do, but they will still try. In other words, people may say, “Oh, you’re trying that now.” Don’t discourage them, encourage them. Give them words that actually have meaning to people when they try to explain what you do. Help their ambiguous and abstract language of “I just feel good when I get adjusted.” Give them some language, some words to use and you’ll help the people with poor or low self esteem, or low or poor interpersonal skills by helping them bridge the gap to their people. It’s pretty awesome.
The second part is, they value you, they trust you. You have lowered their limbic alert signs that say, “This person is weird, but I like them. This person is just like me. This person actually is a helper in my life. This person is actually my ‘go to’ person when I need _________.” While chiropractic isn’t conditional, it often times becomes very specific for the patient who is referring. In other words, a parent refers another child who has respiratory problems to you because they have had a breakthrough with their own child with asthma or allergies or whatever that is. And they will talk to other parents. People that had shoulder problems know people with shoulder problem, people that have knee problems know people with knee problems, people with headache problems know people with headache problems. Chiropractic patients know other people with the same conditions and they refer them. They value you, they trust you and they pass that on.
And the third piece of the valuing is not that we’re creating value for chiropractic, we’re creating value in the person, value in ourselves, value in our process. The third thing is that they value your brand of chiropractic office, the way your business interacts with them. You know that personalized, hassle free, affordable, accessible care, it doesn’t matter what technique you do. If you do Activator technique they think Activator technique is the only one because they value themselves, they value you and they value the brand. If you do Upper Cervical guess what? That’s what they look for. They value your brand of chiropractic care, your way of doing business. You’ll hear things like, “You’re different than other chiropractors.”
So what makes you unique? It’s not what you do, in other words what technique(s) you do, but it’s how you do it. It’s how you position that, how you interact with them on their first day and the 100th day. It’s how your chiropractic assistants interact with them, it’s how your business feels to them. And because they understand and appreciate that, they buy into your why before they buy into the what you do.
Create R.A.W. Go R.A.W. – Referral Attraction Wave and let the life blood of new people and new lives come to your shores. Open up.
In the last episode we talked about getting your ship together, your social entrepreneurship. Now that you are looking at getting your ship together and have started that process, at least in your head, let’s take that ship into the blue ocean. The book, “Blue Ocean Strategy,” was written in 2005 and presented from the Harvard Business Review books. You will discover an amazing look at what competition is, and marketplace from a whole new perspective. I urge you get the book.
Let me give you a condensed version of that and how to apply that right now and throughout your life. In the book, the authors have studied businesses and industries over the last 100 years and they came to some very compelling evidence. They discovered that people in business compete in two different oceans. They described the red ocean, which is the ocean of traditional marketing and competition, and then they describe a blue ocean, one of creativity and meeting the needs of a target market from a whole different perspective. One is filled with bloody competition and what they suggest we do is break out of that stack, that mass of competitors looking for the same people in the same way. Break free of that and go to a more creative viewpoint.
As an example iTunes® did that in the business of music. They took an industry and turned it on its preverbal head. Remember when you wanted a song from an artist and you had to buy the whole CD? iTunes® presented a freedom for their customer by saying you can select a song. Not only can you select a song, but we’ll charge you for that and pay the industry back some money, a thing Napster was doing for free you might recall. But with Napster you had poor quality, you didn’t have the selection and you had to rummage through many sources or take compellations of music made by somebody else. It wasn’t you, it wasn’t personalized, it wasn’t accessible, it was affordable because it was cheap, in other words there was no cost but it didn’t create the value. So iTunes® completely changed the blue ocean strategy of music listeners and, in a very real sense, D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer and the tradition of the Palmer Institution has created a whole different blue ocean strategy for health.
During the time D.D. Palmer created a blue ocean strategy for healthcare people were still having bloodletting, people were having toxins and ritualistic mutilations. There was no real mindset about what health and healing were. The Palmers presented a blue ocean strategy and the rest is his- story and her-story and now we want to make your-story come to life as you take your social reformer, your entrepreneurship into new ground and create a blue ocean strategy.
So the blue ocean strategy for you would be what we call at DC Mentors a Patient-Centered chiropractic practice or DC Mentors style chiropractic practice where you have a unique philosophy and passion and “why” that’s driving you. You also have personalized, affordable, accessible and hassle free care to put you in the blue ocean market. You are ahead of the competition and, sadly, I will say most chiropractors are stuck in the red ocean of competition. They are trying to get engaged in managed care which is all about pricing and now you’ve got a whole bunch of competitors vying for the same patient based on price. And if you’re not in managed care and if you’re doing family plans you are in that same genre of competing on price. You are in that bloody market and you really have your work cut out for you. Sadly chiropractors think that they have to compete with Day Spas by providing a spa like experience day in and day out and are competing in that environment. Or competing in a broad ambiguous market called the Wellness Market. Enough about that. We’ll actually talk about that in some further blogs. There is wellness to chiropractic but you’ve got to get your unique message together so that your blue ocean strategy isn’t stuck with everyone or other industries that are doing the same thing you are and are better at it because they’re better funded.
So what does a blue ocean strategy look like for you? I can guarantee this, you will out behave the competition and break free from the red ocean of traditional competition and make them irrelevant. Irrelevant. You provide personalized care, meaning no cookie cutter, no yearly plans, no “let’s do 25 or 50 adjustments for every single patient,” but a personalized plan that also makes the decision process easy, a personalized plan that says let’s do a series of care and these are the responses that we are going to be looking for. When you have personalized care and are in touch with what their needs and goals are and you add your clinical assessments of that, you will make the competition irrelevant.
How about this? How about affordable? Affordable, that doesn’t mean it’s not profitable for you. Affordable to the patient means that they can receive care beyond whatever their insurance may be reimbursing them for. Affordable would mean that they are not going to hesitate because you have created enough value in their experience. Remember Napster was free, iTunes® charges and the reason they charge is they create a quality experience. Quality doesn’t mean more time with your patients, quality means listening. Quality means making that experience affordable. When you make if affordable you will make the competition irrelevant.
The next piece is accessibility. Do you know that if you become available that the patient’s could actually walk in? I talked to two clients today, one had 25 people that walked in during the course of a day. If you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that’s insane you are living in an insane competitive market. I talk to doctors who arrogantly tell me they have a waiting list practice. Really? Seriously? You mean to tell me that you are that busy? The truth is, no . When you have systems that work together, when you have well trained, highly motivated chiropractic assistants accomplishing these things, you are accessible. People are in a time restrained environment. They are time anemic. They do not have the time, but they will invest it, not spend it, with you. Make your care accessible and you will make the competition irrelevant.
How about making it also hassle free, what’s hassle free? It means the decision process is easy. It’s not 7 plans and then if you come in on the convergence of the moon and the stars, we can make your plan this. Or if you have the gold plan we’ll charge this and if you have the platinum you’ll be charged this. It’s really simple, simple fee, simple service. When you make it hassle free it also means you’re not going to be doing emotional and coercive attempts to get a patient to get their family in. You create an environment where there’s a referral attraction, not a referral demand. When you are hassle free and you’re not shoving gimmicks down their throats you will make the competition irrelevant.
So unique, passion, you’ve got personalized care, you have affordable, accessible, hassle free care. When you provide that kind of thing you will jump out of the red ocean and into a whole new environment of creativity. All of those components have to be there, but I can guarantee when you do that your ship will be together. Getting your ship together, your chiropractic entrepreneurship, and sailing in the right ocean. You will make the competition irrelevant and you will have the life you dreamed about when you were a chiropractic student.
We want you to get your ship together. Do you know as a chiropractor in business you are engaged in a social entrepreneurship? Let’s tease apart those words for a moment and really get into the meaning so that it brings out more of a passion for you to get your ship in order. The word social applied to social entrepreneurship means that you have a social mandate. There’s something in the world that’s driving you, something that you want to fix. We are, in a very real sense, social reformers because we look at a broken healthcare system, we look at a paradigm that will not work and has not worked and we want to fix it. It’s politics because it’s about policies, it’s about thoughts, it’s about the paradigms surrounding your thoughts about what health is and what restoration is and what disease is. You are a social reformer. It’s very difficult. It’s so hard to be sane in an insane world so don’t worry about being at ease. You will need to get your skill set honed so that you can actually get something done with this frustration. You get up in the morning and you’re driven to do things. Whether it’s 120 degrees out or raining or snowing or sleeting or fog, you get up in the morning because you want to change things.
Now let’s look at the word entrepreneurship. If we take that word apart and look at its suffix, “ship,” means mastery. Ship equals mastery. If you look at other words, craftsmanship, scholarship, internship, all require a level of mastery. I want you to get this idea of “getting your ship together” by getting mastery and really understanding what mastery is. Mastery isn’t just a simple skill set. As a matter of fact, Ericsson, a researcher from Florida, discovered that to become a true master takes 10 years. The 10 year rule, you can’t get around that. Remember it’s not just 10 years of doing one thing and expecting it to change, it’s 10 years of perfect practice. It’s 10 years of deliberate practice. It’s 10 years of meaningful feedback in that practice in order to become a master.
We also know that according to neuroscience studies training trumps talent. Talent is what you’re born with. Skill is what you do with it. So that’s when you engage in seminars, you engage in blogs, you engage in processes like books and coaching. These things provide meaningful feedback. And then once you achieve mastery you are relentless in your pursuit of continued excellence. It never stops. It doesn’t stop until you take your last breath and maybe it continues after that, I don’t know.
Then let’s look at the other part of the word entrepreneurship. Entrepreneur has a French background. In its original context the word entrepreneur meant an artist, a conductor of an orchestra. So, in entrepreneurship, there is a conductor of a business enterprise, a business that has a social reformer mandate behind it. Big words, big meaning. It’s not a matter of going somewhere and providing something to make a lot of money. It’s got a passion to it when you tease the words apart.
So when we look at getting your ship together, you have to download three navigational apps in order to make sure that you’re on course. The first app is clinical competencies: mastery of your diagnosis, mastery of the art of adjusting, mastery of the philosophy, science and art, both traditional and what we know today including what we know from other health related sciences. That is the clinical competencies app and that needs downloaded.
The 2nd app is soft skills. DC Mentors is very passionate that you have great intrapersonal soft skills. That is an awareness of your moods and awareness of your behaviors, and awareness of how they affect people and the ability to take disruptive impulses and be able to redirect them so that the message that you have isn’t cloaked or tainted by some behavioral challenges that you may be having in your life. It’s being able to connect with people because you can read them, feel them, see them and know what they need from you today, not what you need from them today. And of course the interpersonal skill set of being able to say it in a way that their brain gets it, say it in a way that shows your true “why,” your meaning behind what you do.
And the 3rd app you need to get is business systems that interlock together. These systems need to humanize the experience of your business. Business isn’t cold. Business is a platform to present your social mandate. So those systems need to free your people up and free you up and the systems need to be mastered as well. So you are in a very real sense engaged in a social entrepreneurship.
You no doubt feel the pressure that comes with being a primary health care provider. Patients have many expectations of you, your office and your service. And I think that, in our reaction to this pressure, we have unconsciously built psychological walls of self preservation that, in fact, add to our stress. These walls are built on a belief that in order to benefit from our care a patient must, in some way, reach out and demonstrate a willingness to change their core beliefs.
You may have heard others say or may even have said this yourself, “As long as a patient is willing to meet me half way I can help them?” This feels like the right attitude, but is it? I suppose we sometimes think that if we stand firmly on our ideals and extend ourselves half way that this will teach the patient to be more responsible for their health. I do my half, they do their half. Good intention, bad results.
The emotional mind of the patient perceives this position as indifference. They might even feel as if it is a power game of superiority and control. Not only will they not follow through with their care, they will tell as many as 12 people about you and how you made them feel. Not the reputation you want.
In the town where I practiced there was a chiropractic office that had a prominent flight of stone steps leading up and into the clinic. The steps where wide and reminded me of the platform leading up and into a cathedral. As an eager, new chiropractor, hungry for success, this didn’t make sense to me, yet the doctor was well known in the community so I had to ask him about it. “Doctor, I know you don’t just see people with severe back pain, but seriously, how do you expect people to climb up those stairs and into your office?” He replied quickly and in a stern tone said, “I want them to “step up” to chiropractic and realize that they have finally found the true way of health.”
His attitude was that he shouldn’t even meet the patient half way. They should abandon their old ways and embrace the new.Old school arrogance and an attitude of superiority carry over into our culture even today. Chiropractors tell me that they are willing to meet a patient half way and I tell them, “Half way is not nearly far enough.”
What does meeting you half way look like? Well, it’s filled with your agendas and it would take a week or more to share all of the examples I have personally witnessed. Here are few common examples that produce common practices:
Meeting you half way means they must be willing to learn the things you are interested in teaching.
Meeting you half way means they must show up on time and NEVER miss an appointment
Meeting you half way means they must drop their old ways of eating, sleeping, exercising and just general “change -ING”
Barriers to your office are mostly behavioral and if you intend to out behave the competition you will want to look at your beliefs and attitudes. While these blocks are not blatant displays like the stone staircase, the result is the same. People stay away. And that big reputation in the community is not the one you want.
You are the leader, the care giver. You must let go of your need to receive respect and appreciation. You cannot expect to receive attention until and unless you give attention. Once you let go of your agenda and reach out you will receive more than you can imagine.
I know you and I know that you want an uncommon, extraordinary practice and it is easier than you think. So here is what I want you to do with the next new patient. Meet them half way then take three more steps forward.
A word of caution! If you think you are already taking these steps and you are not attracting 30 or more new patients a month, then think again and make sure you have the right attitude when taking these steps.
Step 1: Following the introductions ask the patient about their primary reason for seeking your help and let them talk (hold your tongue . . . literally bite it if you must) E.g. “I understand that your most pressing concern right now is these headaches. Tell me about them.”
Step 2: Listen. Shut up and do not interrupt them until they signal you that they are through. Studies suggest that if we don’t distract them with our body language or words, on average they will only talk for 90 seconds. Try it. It works.
Step 3: Thank them for their disclosure and ask any clarifying questions you may have. Then let them know how you intend to discover the chiropractic solution to those headaches and that if you think you can help you will let them know once you have done your examinations.
Meet them more than half way. You practice will thank you, your patients will thank you and you will no longer feel the pressure to perform or the stress associated with non-compliance. Remember, attitude leads behavior.