I know this may be a bit counterintuitive, but please hear me out. As common convention, or common sense, would have it; there is no better “pre-sold” new patient than one that is referred by a friend or family member, right?
I beg to differ.
Historically yes, the patient that is referred by a friend, co-worker or relative is better than any type of general marketing patient hands down. But offer a free-this or free-that to just the average patient you market to and you get a certain percentage of tire kickers. This remains true when you offer a Groupon, or do TV, radio, or any other common advertising medium. In every one of these instances, you need to weed through the patients who are just out for a quick adjustment and a cheap deal to try and reach those good patients that appreciate what you do and are willing to commit to treatment – and pay your fees of course.
So, in comes your favorite patient Mary’s brother, Jim and since his sister has been extolling the virtues of your miraculous care for years, he comes in already prepared that you will do the same for him.
Or, does he?
The skeptical mind, like mine and probably many of yours, is often overly skeptical of the personal referral, especially in situations like this. Why? Because after years of playing this game one thing all too often becomes obvious, people refer you to people they “like” but not those that are necessarily the best. Also by referring brother Jim to “my chiropractor who is the best” it psychologically gives Mary some sort of minor pat-on-the-back-cause-I-helped-someone-with-my-unique-knowledge kind of feeling. That’s great and all, but does it really suit Jim’s needs and best interest? Maybe, but maybe not. Therein lies the skepticism, the partial degree of doubt.
I have a good friend who exemplifies this completely. Any chance he gets he is telling every acquaintance he can that they should go to so and so for this or that, covering the complete spectrum of business. It doesn’t take one long to realize there is no way this guy knows “the best” in every single trade or profession out there. When I hear these recommendations from him, I cringe. Not because he is trying to help, his heart is in the right place for the most part, but because he most often is not really helping.
What then do I think is the best source of true good patients? Maybe you have guessed if you have seen any of my recent articles. In the last couple years, I have become an absolute convert to patients referred by review sites and review ratings. Sites such as Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook reviews, HealthGrades, AngiesList, and so on.
“Well, okay,” you say “I can see getting patients from review sites is great, but are they really the ‘best’ patients I can be getting?” My simple answer is yes, and I will tell you why. People trust unsolicited online recommendations, the statistics say up to 90%, because recommendations are basically an upgraded form of social proof. But, therein lies the secret, why is it “upgraded”? Think about it, put a testimonial up on your website or any sales website, and sure, it does have value. Now, have that same testimonial placed without any provocation by the business at all (so most people assume), on a third-party website like Yelp? Believe it or not (and I get it if you are not a Yelper or a review site person – I wasn’t either) but to a vast majority of prospective customers, these recommendations scream of non-bias!
When a prospect goes to your Yelp page and performs what I call a ‘conceptual consensus’, meaning they scan 10 or more reviews to get what their brain will perceive as a very straightforward and honest assessment of your business (one that your sister Mary could never provide in such an objective manner) then that prospect becomes truly pre-sold on you!
What do you think?
Like I have mentioned in other emails, I get 5-10 new patients every day just from the review sites and what I love most about it is that a good majority come in a say something to the effect of “I don’t know if you realize, but you have amazing reviews!” – which is exactly why those chose me over everyone else. (And of course, I know it; I designed it to be that way.) So, if that is not valuable information for the health of your new patient flow – I honestly don’t know what is. I guarantee you this though; it is certainly a better and much more frequent occurrence for me, rather than waiting and hoping that Mary will send her brother Jim in someday soon.
If you want to learn more, please check out Dr. Counselman’s training program on how to kill it with reviews at ReviewAmmo.com and for those ready to take it to the next level you’ll find this review management software invaluable at ReviewerPro.com.