With the impending opening of our latest clinic and new chiropractic concept (I’ll share more details with you about it in a few months), I stumbled onto something that I felt needed to be discussed as a good reminder for anyone who advertises or is considering it.
Within a day of hanging the ‘Coming Soon’ banner on the storefront came a flood of salesmen and women whose livelihood depends on ‘new’ business owners making half-educated and pretty much hasty emotional decisions with their chiropractic marketing budget.
They are literally showing up at the same time and having to wait behind each other for the opportunity to pitch me their advertising program that will ‘get my name out there’ and ‘drive people to my door.’ Everyone from Valpak, Clipper Coupons, and the local newspaper has passed through my door making claims of grandeur. Even the Yellow Book man stopped in to tell me the physical book is making a bit of a comeback. Really? No it’s not.
As each of them worked to convince me why their advertising is superior, my knowledge of the fundamental necessities I need out of their services and my burning desire to find the smoking deal quickly overcame me as the questions that they probably don’t get from many of the newer business owners began to flood my brain and spew from my mouth.
Let’s cover a few questions to ask and things to consider so that whether you have been in practice 10 years and are looking for a way to pump some new life into your practice or are just starting a new practice, you get the best deal possible.
- Ask EVERY Fee Associated: Once you determine that an advertising medium could benefit your business, your first logical question, before you even consider signing and dating, should be ‘Can you please outline every fee and cost associated with this campaign?’ Certain fees are not necessarily being hidden from you but often times they are not divulged openly either. Make sure you have the sales representative explain every fee so you understand your total cost.
- Ask for a discount: This is a big one. Most people clam up when it’s time to talk money and therefore shy away from asking for a discount. With print advertising there is often a setup fee or design fee in addition to the printing (or recording) and distribution of your ad. There is essentially always room to negotiate on some or all of the costs associated. So once you are interested in their service, say ‘let’s take 30% off the total cost and I am ready to sign up today…’ or perhaps ‘take off the $199 setup fee and I’m ready to commit.’ You’ll be surprised at the response you get. They will likely say ‘OK’ or counter with a smaller percentage. Either way you get a better deal.
- Get Creative: When it comes to getting the best deal, don’t be afraid to get creative with the terms of the deal. Doing business with an advertising representative is no different than doing it with anyone else. You are searching for a fair deal that ends up a win-win situation for both parties. Don’t assume that the ad salesperson won’t be open to your suggestions. Get creative if that’s what it takes to reach an agreement that saves you money. For example, if they have a 3 month minimum commitment, tell them you will do 5 months if they extend a 20% discount on the total cost.
- Barter: It is the oldest form of doing business after all. If you want to explore this as an option, ask the salesperson if they live in the area or if they see a chiropractor. Often times they will mention how badly they need an adjustment or how sore their neck is from driving all day. Seize that as your opportunity to mention the possibility of them becoming a patient to offset some of the marketing expense. They still get their commission…they are just paying it to you for your services is all.
An example of this working well is an ad exec that was standing across from me and mentioned how sore his neck is every day. I said “well, if you live around here come in as a patient to offset my cost of doing business with you and I’ll sign up for your service.”
- Find out the Deadline: Deadlines are ‘deadly’ for sales people. In their effort to make their quotas they, and their managers, are willing to make deals when it’s approaching deadline time. Ask the salesperson what the cutoff date is and follow up with them the day before. You’ll be more likely to strike a good deal.
Regardless of the type of advertising you are considering and how good of a deal you can get, unless you have a great ad that converts, all the money you poured into this campaign is for nothing. See my article about chiropractic advertising to learn the fundamentals of a successful ad that gets the phone ringing.
Remember that advertising services have competition vying for your business and they know it. In almost every case they are willing to negotiate to earn your business. Use that knowledge and don’t be afraid to haggle your way into the best deal for your chiropractic marketing dollar.