I was recently asked what the most difficult part of creating and maintaining a website for the thousands of chiropractors who use our sister company, Perfect Patients, is.
“It’s probably not what you think,” I observed. “It’s not SEO, social media or even helping a client get past an occasional bad review. It’s getting chiropractors to permit us to portray them as human beings. The biographies for the “Meet the Doctor” page often have the emotional connection of a press release.”
Is this inclination to fit in and go beige a fear of being noticed, standing out or being seen as different and thus the subject of judgment or criticism?
Whatever the reason, retreating into the background and going beige plays havoc with attempts to market your practice and attract your “tribe” of ideal patients.
There are three fundamental issues at work here that need to be jettisoned if you’re to enjoy the success you deserve:
1. The Fear of Showing Up Authentic
A common wrongheaded belief is that there is an optimal way of presenting oneself that will produce the maximum number of new patients. This objectifies patients (a patient is a patient is a patient) in the same way that showing up in some generic, chameleon-like fashion objectifies the practitioner—as if all chiropractors were the same!
At its core, this belief is based on the lie that “if I showed up as myself, no one would like me.”
This reminds me of my 10th high school reunion. The posing, posturing and fake success reminded me that many were still worried about what their classmates from a decade earlier thought of them.
Remember, all things being equal, people prefer to do business with people like themselves. The only way prospective new patients can express their preference is for you to have the courage to be yourself, warts and all.
2. There Aren’t Enough New Patients
Another wrongheaded notion is that there is a scarcity of new patients. This is tempting to believe if your experience has been that you don’t get many.
This scarcity mentality is often built upon the belief that the pool of prospective new patients represents a zero sum game. In other words, if a new chiropractor sets up a practice down the street, any new patient she gets is a new patient you won’t get.
This would be laughable if it wasn’t for the destructive jealousy and painful isolation that this produces within the chiropractic profession.
Relax, knowing that there are more than enough new patients to fill every chiropractic practice to overflowing. The barrier is often as simple as an unwillingness to tell the truth about chiropractic care to strangers, at its root, a fear of strangers and a fear of rejection that will impoverish any practitioner—even if you’re in the habit of raising the dead with your clinical prowess.
3. Ignorance of the Law of Repulsion
While the focus is usually on the “Law of Attraction,” many forget its equally true corollary: the Law of Repulsion, which simply states, you can’t attract without simultaneously repelling.
Chiropractors who overlook this principle attempt to become “ shape shifters,” trying to please everyone regardless of want, need or expectation, even if that means self-sacrifice, modifying office procedures or other compromises.
If you’re going to have disciples, you will automatically have detractors. Attempting to avoid the latter is a recipe for beige. You cannot have a crest without the trough. If you hope to attract your tribe, you must repel those who don’t belong.
What is Your USP?
If you have had even a rudimentary brush with chiropractic marketing, you’ve probably heard the term USP, which stands for Unique Selling Proposition. In other words, what is it that separates you from competitors?
If you’re like 99% of most chiropractors, especially if you have a history of going beige, you probably haven’t thought about this crucial aspect of your practice. Uncovering this distinction about you and your practice is essential if you want to attract patients who share your values and worldview and who make a busy practice seemingly effortless.
Now, you may want to help anyone warmer than room temperature with a spine, but this is like offering a general joint mobilization rather than a precisely delivered chiropractic adjustment.
7 Ways to Differentiate Your Practice
The key is to have a differentiator that patients consider important.
For example, restoring cervical curves may be important to you, but few patients are interested.
Here are some of the many ways I’ve seen chiropractors separate themselves from competitors. Perhaps one or more of these examples will resonate with you:
Technique – Careful. Relying on technique to differentiate you can have the same shortcomings as the restoration of cervical curves mention above—most patients don’t care.
Experience – If you’ve been at this for over three decades or delivered over one million adjustments, this might get you some traction.
Availability – Same-day appointments, weekend or evening hours can work for you, especially if you practice in a highly populated urban setting.
Personality – Maybe your sense of humor and being ready with a new joke every day is your way to lighten the mood and employ laughter, the best medicine.
Listening skills – Perhaps your ability to profoundly listen is your claim to fame. Listening is a social skill that far too many neglect.
Expertise – Maybe you have advanced training in pediatrics, sports injuries or children with ADHD. This doesn’t mean that you can’t help others, but it’s what you’re known for.
Fellow sufferer – How did you discover chiropractic? Car accident? Told it was all in your head? Migraines? Starting your career as a patient can be an instant rapport builder.
The list goes on. However, some of the more powerful differentiators are often “softer,” leaning towards the emotional or the personal.
Remember, you’re a chiropractor. One of the feral ones. Spicy. Salty. You represent something different. More and more patients want different. They’ve tried the medical model. They want different. So, be different!