Thursday, May 19, 2011

20 Ways to Re-energize Your Practice, Part One

We all sometimes get bored or discouraged or set in our day-to-day patterns about our practice. It’s easy to rest on our laurels or be satisfied with the size and nature of our practice. But how many practitioners are really thrilled with the size of our practices and the actual work we are doing? If you can answer “I am!” to that question then read no further! If you’d like a little inspiration…here are some ideas you could implement right away to put a shine back on your practice and your mental attitude about it. Good Luck!

  1. First, I think it’s important to remember that it’s rarely ever just one thing that we do that keeps us being successful forever. It’s the daily effort of working on our business instead of just working in our business that keeps it growing and continuing to be successful…sort of like a marriage!
  2. The Tao Te Ching says, “wealth is the fruit of generosity.” That does not mean giving away your treatments or undercharging for your work. To me it means that we approach our work and our patients with a generosity of spirit and an open heart that our patients will resonate with and be drawn to. It means not being emotionally stingy. It may also mean making as much information as possible available to your patients. It may also mean tithing of your time in some way… such as donating a couple of days per month to a free clinic or volunteering in your community in some other way. What goes around comes around.
  3. Have you ever attended a city council or county commissioner meeting and introduced yourself to all the players? Remember that political types have health problems, too, and they talk to lots of people every day.
  4. Have you re-considered your front office procedures recently? How I your phone answered? (I hope you are not still answering it yourself all the time). Whoever is answering it, have you written down exactly how, at what speed, and with what tone of voice you want the phone to be answered? For example…have you ever called a company in our industry that you weren’t sure if you got the company you thought you called? You need to make sure that when anyone calls they are immediately
    1. Sure of whom they called
    2. Know that the person on the phone was happy to answer the phone
    3. That the person will help them with whatever reason they called
    4. The person or people who answer your phone are the voice of your business! Make sure that your customers will like what they hear. If that person is you, practice with a recording to see if you need to sound more “perky” or speak more slowly.

Finally, have you written specific scripts for your reception person for the four or five most common questions people ask. These are pretty universal questions and you can write out exactly what you want your staff to say in response. Ask them to memorize these simple sentences. If you are the answerer, have a script will help you sound professional and will also help you be clear about what you really want to do say about “how many treatments,” “how much it costs,” “will it hurt,” “can you take my insurance,” and can you treat my ___ (named condition or disease).”

  1. If you don’t have any front desk help, what would it take for you to hire someone? I absolutely guarantee that you can make more money with someone to run your front desk that you can by doing it yourself. Think about this…if you pay someone $13-15 per hour, but you are charging $50-60-70 per treatment, would you rather pay yourself the $15 or the $60? There is even a list of 20 other things this person could be doing when the phone is not ringing in Points for Profit (my biz for acupracs book). And, if this person’s presence allowed you to treat 2 extra patients per day on average, you’d more than pay for their services, be able to give someone a job, and make your office more professional at the same time.
  2. Create a niche market for yourself. Say you’ve been in practice for three years and you have found that you are attracting patients with diabetes. Why not really study this subject and specialize in it? It could be weight loss, skin care, post-surgery pain reduction, the list is relatively endless. So, as your practice fills, notice what you really enjoy treating. What conditions do you like to hear people say when they call for the first time? What do you fell successful with most of the time? Slowly start to focus your practice in that direction. Why?

It’s easier to get good at treating a few conditions than to get good at everything. Also, it’s easier to avoid burnout and stress when you know you are agood at something and can reliably reproduce patient improvement in a limited sphere of conditions. That type of confidence shows and your patients will fell it, too.

  1. Under-promise and over-deliver. If you want your patients to become raving fans, you have to do something more than just a good acupuncture treatment. That seems unfair, doesn’t it? Just remember, a merely satisfied customer will not sing your praises the way a customer that you have given a “wow” experience will do. For example:
    1. Do you write down and refer to little things they mentioned about their life the last time they cam to see you (the grandkid who just took the SAT exam, the promotion they were up for, the art show they just exhibited, etc.)
    2. Do you always call them during the first 24 hours after the first treatment?
    3. Do you send them clippings from articles you find about their condition?
    4. Do you provide free hot water and tea in the waiting room?
    5. Do you take the mental time to touch them with intentional love and care?
  2. Join a club or organization where you ideal patients are members.
    1. Do you want to treat sports enthusiasts, join a gym or an active country club with lots of tennis and golf players. Participate in tournaments and other activities these groups sponsor. Join an bicycling or runner club.
    2. Do you want lots of well-heeled women patients? Join the Hospital Fundraising Committee, the AAUW, the local Women’s Club, the Breast Cancer 10K Run Steering Committee, you get the idea.
  3. Volunteer your services one day per month at a local free clinic, homeless shelter, or other service agency. Everybody else who works there as well is a potential patient. This group may not fill your pocketbook really fast, but it will fill your heart and could become newsworthy at some point, as well as getting your name into the Social Service/Government worker grapevine.
  4. Create an acupuncture specialists group, where each member agrees to refer patients to all the others for a specific specialty. Don’t worry about losing patients…it’s likely to work the other way round! Find out in your area who specializes in what and create an active referral base. The person who reaches out to start this type of group becomes and energy nexus around which qi will circulate!

So that’s part one of this blog. I’ll cover ten more re-energizing ideas in part two next week! Thanks for being a reader and I hope there’s at least one idea here that you can jump on today.

If you have other ideas for me to share to help everyone in our profession, send them to me at honora@bluepoppy.com. Thanks for reading and feel free to share my blog with friends!

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