Since I was fresh out of school toiling away in a leased basement with little more than a tattered brown table, two hands and a burning desire to help, I have been told by the ‘old timers’ that your best patients will come as referrals from your current patients.
After 18 years in practice, I find myself often telling newer chiropractors that your best patients don’t come from the internet or some type of outside marketing…they come from existing patients that already love you.
It’s safe to say this premise has held true and likely always will.
And while your patients have friends and family they talk to about you all the time, the stumbling block is those people actually picking up the phone and scheduling an appointment.
In walks the all too often overlooked (on purpose by many I would venture to say) Patient Appreciation Day.
It’s no secret that a Patient Appreciation Day (PAD) is a great way to say thank you for trusting your health to our clinic. It’s also no secret that beyond that most PADs are nothing more than an expense for you and your clinic.
Whenever I introduce or re-introduce the idea of having an annual Patient Appreciation Day to most of my chiropractic consulting clients, I am met with a fair amount of resistance.
In this article I will discuss 4 common arguments I hear for NOT having a PAD and hopefully help you see the ‘light’ and decide to get in on the action.
1. I don’t have the space. There is no reason to force the event into your office – The reality is that not all offices are big enough or laid out well enough to hold the event. Don’t sweat it…it’s OK to have it offsite as long as you structure it in the right way. After all, current patients already know where your office is and prospective new patients (see below) definitely don’t need to be standing in your clinic to book a first visit appointment.
2. I don’t have the time. Doctors do Patient Appreciation Day events all wrong in many ways but one of the most common I see is trying to turn it into an all day event. There is no need to make it into a marathon. Focus the event into a 2 or 3 hour dedicated time slot. When marketed and managed the right way you can move a ton of people and their prospective new patient guests through the event and onto your schedule in a very small window of time.
3. It’s too expensive. If you are a little creative you can pull together a great PAD event without dipping too deep into the till. Chances are there are local restaurants and other business types that would love to donate food or other products in exchange for an intimate opportunity to expose your patients to their goods and services.
4. There’s no real return on investment. While every chiropractor has the desire to give back to the patients that have continued to support their practice by using their services, the thought of spending money that has no return on investment short of building a stronger rapport is a little tough to justify.
The reality is that as insurance pays less and the cost of doing business climbs, the disposable income for having a party just isn’t always there.
However, what I would ask is that you begin thinking of a Patient Appreciation Day as a practice building event verses just an expensive gesture of thanks. And by marketing your event as something for patients and their guests equally, you will be well on your way to getting a return on your investment.
There are no better new patients than those referred in by current clients and the PAD is one of the best environments to meet those prospective new patients, talk TIC to those patients, screen those patients and of course get those patients added to your schedule.
The bottom line is that if you structure and market your Patient Appreciation Day as an event that will yield new patients, that is exactly what you will get from it… more new patients on the books!