How to Use a Brochure
It’s been my experience that practices that use a lot of brochures, enjoy a lot of new patients. Yet, there are a sizable number of chiropractors who believe that handing out brochures to patients is a self-serving, egotistical, unprofessional or a desperate act of someone who can’t deliver the goods. So he or she must resort to pandering and cheap promotional schemes to get new patients.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But if you believe any of these lies, even a little bit, you’ll be constrained from helping more people, your practice won’t have the significance you crave and you’ll merely limp along, barely surviving rather than abundantly thriving. All this because of your wrongheaded beliefs about those colored pieces of paper in the Plexiglas compartments hanging on the wall of your reception room!
I’m going to assume you have a supply of chiropractic brochures (hopefully from either Patient Media), they reflect your philosophy, they have a contemporary look and feel that matches the tone of your practice and you have a way to conveniently access them during the course of your daily interactions with patients.
Here are the most significant barriers and some new ways to think about patients and brochures:
The Patients-Don't-Need-Brochures Myth
I know. Your consultation is spellbinding. Your examination is jaw dropping. Your reports are mesmerizing. And your adjusting skills are legendary. Thus, it can be assumed that patients are able to make a compelling case for chiropractic care without any visual aids.
If you have the courage, ask a couple of patients how they describe chiropractic to others. And if you’re brave enough, ask them how they’d explain how chiropractic could help someone with stomach problems or some other visceral or organic health problem. The blank expressions or what you hear coming from their mouths should cure you of this wrong-headed notion instantly.
The Patients-Don't-Read-Brochures Myth
It’s true. Some patients won’t read them. But think about it. Why should they? They’re already receiving chiropractic care! Your brochures are for people you haven’t met—people that patients know, but you don’t. Yet.
So sure, you’ll find some of your brochures in your parking lot. Or they’ll be tossed onto the backseat of their car. No problem. It’s a numbers game. Some “seeds” will fall on rocky soil or be eaten by the birds. But others will land on fertile soil and produce a 10-, 30- or 100-fold return. You can’t know where it will land in advance. Your responsibility is merely to broadcast seeds.
The Brochures-Are-Expensive Myth
This is one of the most ridiculous arguments, yet one of the most effective at constraining chiropractors from giving brochures to patients.
This belief is often held by chiropractors who squander hundreds of dollars on ineffective yellow page listings, have an expensive website they rarely even mention to patients or “give away” their care by belonging to HMOs and insurance plans that steal valuable time and energy. These are the same chiropractors who go to Sam’s Club or Costco and buy a lifetime supply of maraschino cherries or the institutional size container of olive oil—which will both spoil long before they’re used.
When you consider how much energy goes into writing and producing brochures, they’re quite a bargain. Especially when you buy in bulk. While sold in packages of 50, most of us who supply brochures extend discounts when you buy 200 brochures or more. This can lower the cost to less than 30¢ apiece. How many “seeds” at 30¢ each would you need to distribute to manifest into a new patient? Twenty? Fifty? Whatever number you choose, when you consider the typical case average in your practice, it’s an incredible return on your investment.
Turns out not handing out brochures is what makes them expensive! And if you’re not hoodwinked by this myth, you’re probably crippled by this one:
The I-Don't-Know-What-to-Say Myth
This brilliant showstopper virtually guarantees your brochures become dog-eared and your rack rarely needs replenishment. It’s a convenient excuse that keeps your practice from being too influential or successful.
While I’m loath to supply a script, only because it invites the same problem you’ve had with other scripts (they don’t work, they’re not authentic, it’s not me, etc.), here are some words that you could say while removing a headaches brochure from your rack and handing it to the patient:
“Hey, this month we’re trying to help as many people as we can with headaches. If you know anyone with headaches, I hope you’ll send them our way. Or have them come along with you on a future visit. And if they live in some other town, we’ll use our referral directory and find them a great chiropractor.”
If you aren’t creative enough to put this simple message in your own words, it could mean you’re using your creativity to imagine the worst-case scenario: patient rejection.
The Patients-Will-Reject-Me Myth
The fear of rejection is a mighty thing. It stopped us from asking that pretty girl to the high school dance and it helps keep your practice modest and unthreatening.
From a patient’s point of view, it’s easier to take your brochure than concoct an excuse. Nevertheless, many chiropractors won’t even broach the subject for fear they will feel the same feelings they felt when rebuffed by the rejection we felt back in high school.
So have a rejection line or two ready to go. My guess is that you’ll never need them. But be prepared so you can save face and remove the threat of rejection:
“Darn! I bet my buddy I could get rid of 25 of these today.”
“Are you sure? These brochures don’t do anybody any good in this rack.”
“Do I have to grovel? I always get so embarrassed when I beg.”
“Did I mention it’s free?
“I’m only asking because our million dollar ad campaign isn’t working.”
“Just do what my wife does. Throw it over your shoulder into the back seat.”
Have some fun. After all these are just brochures!
The Handing-Out-Brochures-Exploits-Patients Myth
You beast you, preying upon poor, defenseless patients to do your bidding and grow your practice. How could you?
If this myth has constrained you, then you’re overlooking a critical detail. By making it more difficult for patients to refer others, you’re denying them the profound joy of helping someone else. That’s the right. You’re denying patients a taste of the same high-octane fuel that motivates you! By being stingy with your brochures, patients lack the reminder, the language and the personal affirmation that comes from telling others about the best kept secret in health care.
Shame on you.
If you want to change the world, make it easier for patients to change their world.
The Handing-Out-Brochures-Is-a-Sign-of-Lack Myth
I’m not sure the source of this one. Perhaps it comes from the same place the If-You’re-a-Good-Businessperson-You’re-a-Poor-Adjuster myth comes from. Apparently, so the thinking goes, if you have to do anything to promote chiropractic or your practice, you must not be a very good chiropractor.
This belief is sure to keep your practice small. While you’re at it, make your telephone number unlisted, remove all practice signage, get rid of your business cards and go back to chiropractic college. Because as we all know, if you have to promote yourself, you must not be very good.
Need I go on?
You’re sitting on a gold mine. Not to mention all those brochures you have taking up cupboard and closet space. The barrier to their use is purely emotional. This emotional subluxation blunts your impact and prompts you to seek less emotionally risky (and less effective) ways to advance your practice. Just remember, the health of your practice, like the health of a patient, comes from the inside-out.
Originally posted June 8, 2017