Do you spend energy trying to convince your patients to come for 10 visits – all the while worrying about what it’s going to cost them?
Do you avoid recommending products because you’re concerned they can’t pay for them?
Can I just stop you there…
You are NOT a financial advisor.
Your responsibility as a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist is to be your patient's most trusted health advisor, period!
As a registered physiotherapist of more than 18 years I understand that we are ‘ethical’ based practitioners. We’re in the caring business and we don’t like to do physiotherapy marketing a lot of the time.
BUT it is unethical to not offer what I call ‘Informed Consent’. This means putting together a full list of treatment options which I call the 'complete care plan'. That often includes setting expectations, establishing commitments, and recommending the required services and products to the client from day 1.
Do you think a surgeon only offer his patient one choice? No. Does it upset you when physiotherapy is not one of the treatment options the surgeon presents because of the expense?
So let’s talk about how you can raise your status to become your patients most trusted health advisor. Then they will never question your advice again, and get far better results as well!
Client Vs. Customer
At Paul Wrights Marketing Bootcamp, I learned some great stuff by Jay Abraham that I’ll refer to in this article quite a bit. Here is the link to the full PowerPoint presentation that I’d highly recommend you browse through.
Jay Abraham’s definition of client’s and customers:
"Client: a person who engages the professional advice or services of another
Customer: one that purchases a commodity or service”
There is something important to remember here: YOU ARE THE PROFESSIONAL.
The difference between a client and a customer is that clients are under your care. You’ve spent years getting educated and trained and the people that seek out your services need the professional advice, otherwise they would work it out themselves – they can’t.
They have actively sought out your advice, and they need your expert direction and guidance to help them achieve better health and wellbeing.
Let’s face it; none of us go to the doctor or a health practitioner unless there’s something wrong. I want some help with my problem – so help me!
Often this is a simple mindset shift that you as a practitioner need to take. All you have to do is recognize your authority and start talking to your patients as their trusted health advisor.
When you approach your patients with this level of confidence, your patients trust you and have better compliance to your plan.
But let’s not stop here; let’s cover 10 important things that can help elevate your profession and status to your patient.
1. Show Empathy
Walk in the patients’ shoes. Share and understand their experience.
Use language like:
“I understand how you feel, working with clients all these years I know that pain can really wear you down and infect your consciousness. But I also know that if you use the techniques I give you today, we can work together to get fast results.”
Empathy helps build confidence.
2. Motivate your clients to be great
If your client wants to feel better they are going to have to DO something different.
Einstein’s definition of insanity:
“Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”
You have to inspire and motivate your patients toward change by being a health advisor and providing what they need.
Give them the tools and resources they need – including products, and guide them on how to get results.
3. Use future pacing
Take your client on a journey into the future, what will their life be like without the pain and problems?
Get them to imagine the effects of what your trusted advice will bring.
Use language like:
“I understand your in pain right now and nothing has seemed to work, but I believe if you wear the back brace during the day and follow the exercise and self treatment plan we design today, then we can make a difference. In a few short weeks time you will notice a big difference, your pain will reduce and you’ll be feeling much better.”
Getting them to visualize the outcome helps to motivate them to take action.
4. Be specific
Jay Abraham says:
“The difference between giving information and giving advice…Telling people here’s what you should be doing about it and here’s how – be specific.“
Don’t just say you should exercise – we all know that!
Show them how to do the exercises you want them to do. Show them how to perform the self-treatment techniques. Show them how they are going to overcome the pain.
5. Help them focus
Once they know the how, make it simple for them so they understand that the small amount of effort they have to put in is going to yield great results.
For example: “All you have to do is XYZ every day.”
6. Give them meaningful advice
How many times have you handed your clients a few exercise instructions on a print out only to find out they never do the exercises?
I bet it’s been more than a few times, it’s happened to me too, and thousands of other clinic owners.
This is what we’re trying to change here. Don’t just give them information, give them meaningful advice about how this is going to help them, and that you are going to be checking in with them each week to evaluate their progress and adjust their routine.
7. Help them feel the results
Set clear goals and then show them that by doing XYZ they are going to get the result they want. This is simply reverse engineering the actions they need to take in order to achieve the outcome.
8. Use togetherness
We all need help, support, guidance, and accountability to achieve goals, so use the concept of togetherness to achieve that.
Use language like:
“Together we can make these changes and keep adjusting your routine so you keep making progress forward.”
Genuinely be there to be your patients’ sounding board. Don’t treat them like another number. When you truly listen, you gain their trust and this helps them open up and commit to what you’re saying as their trusted health advisor.
As Jay Abraham says:
“Ask the right questions, listen to the answers, and see between the lines. You need to hear before being heard. The biggest underutilized skill is listening.”
10. Tough love
Be compassionate and caring but also be ruthless and expect more from your patients. When you ask them questions, don’t accept vague answers. Help them step up to the challenge by keeping them accountable.
You do this by implementing all the things we’ve just listed above.
The Path to Greatness
As practitioners we can walk the path of greatness by stepping into our professional shoes and becoming our patients’ most trusted health advisor.
By doing so, we are asking our patients to walk alongside us on the path to greatness. For them that means less pain and problems, and a happier healthier place.
That’s exactly what they want from you!
Really focus on the patient and ask them something like:
“If you could wake up tomorrow morning and your pain was gone, what would you do tomorrow that you’re not doing today?”
“What path do we need to take to get them there? And how can we work together to get that result?”
Jay Abraham says to keep this in mind as your attitude to convey:
“Each time I interact with my clients, my responsibility is to make them better, more effective, more confident, more impactful because I was in their lives today”.
Fall in love with your patients and help them grow and develop. Support them, believe in them, and provide the solutions they need.
It’s much easier than you think.
You are their trusted health advisor – so step into your confidence (and years of study and experience) and be their advisor now!
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