Whomever owns a clinic must focus on solvency to keep the doors open. This piece focuses on and teaches you to increase your profits and the success of your practice.
Annually healthcare providers invest countless amounts of staff- hours and resources to acquire new patients. Meetings are conducted, budgets are projected and set, and personnel are assembled. We strategize, scrutinize and improvise ways in which to attract our next big patient — all to increase your profits.
Very often, the most significant question asked at these annual budget meetings is “Do we spend 30% of our advertising dollars on print or social media this year (as opposed to 25% from last year)?”
Too often, very little goes into the strategy of keeping those hard-won patients. Ideally, you also want to keep them over the course of several years. Many practice owners naturally assume that they [existing patients] will stay around for a number of years.
Actually, there’s a huge difference between repeat business and loyalty. Repeat business means that I’m willing to do business with you again, and again, and again. Loyalty means patients are willing to overlook others, turn down a better service, at a better price, or even inconvenience. Patients will do all that just to do business with you.
Those patients for whom you just happen to meet some arbitrary price standard or pricing objective, they’re not very loyal. Often, those people will do business with you anyway. You shouldn’t try to appease them; they come and go. If you focus your practice on “price-driven” patients, you’re creating a never ending cycle of profitable years and lean years.
But it’s those loyal ones, … These patients are the ones who increase your profitability and create long-term clinic success.
So, how do we achieve this loyalty?
There are couple of answers. First, you have to establish why you do what you do. Once you establish your core belief, it’s a matter of identifying those people who share common interests and values. Now, inspire them to follow you. Second, your deepest and richest pool of ongoing business is right in front of you — your current patients.
According to Simon Sinek, all promotions (and their subsequent sales) are achieved in one of two ways. You can either attract patients and have them choose you over the competition by manipulating price points and offers.
For example, buy one get one free, special discounts for…, giving something away for free, or some variation of a value-added concept.
Or, you can opt for the alternative; you can inspire people to follow you with no manipulation or trickery.
Incidentally, I cannot dispute that these and many other manipulations work; without question they do, that’s why the advertising industry uses them. The problem is none of them breathe loyalty or engender trust.
According to Mr. Sinek, only a few leaders and a few organizations rely more on inspiration than manipulation. Some of the big ones that use inspiration to draw followers include Apple computers, Harley-Davidson, Disney, or Southwest Airlines, but you also see the same pattern in great leaders like Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King, or John F Kennedy.
He points out that most businesses conduct their conversations and subsequent communication in the following manner:
- A company begins with what they do in business.
- They quickly proceed to describe how they do business.
- Then, very often they neglect to explain why they do business.
Most of their exchanges end up sounding like this:
If you’re computer manufacturer, “We make great computers, they’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly. Wanna buy one?” Or, maybe you’re a car dealer, in which case you might be saying something like “Our new car has tinted windows, great gas mileage, leather seats. Do want to buy it?” We are healthcare providers, “We’ve got the best medical people on staff, we went to the best schools, we do great by our patients, we work with some of the largest insurance companies, hire us.”
As you can see, these are merely variations of “what we do” and “how we do it.” These things are great, but they neither inspire nor do they promote you as the leader and authority in your industry.
The question is why anyone should follow you? What is your purpose in business, what’s your cause, what’s your belief, why does your company exist? Do we really need another doctor in town?
Here’s an example that might provide clarity. Apple Computers’ communication is crystal clear, and it’s direct and to point. More importantly, they begin by explaining “why” they are in business.
“Everything we do, we believe. We believe in challenging the status quo, the way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happened to make great computers. Want to buy one?”
For this thing to work, you have to have three things: 1.You must have clarity of “why.” If you don’t know why your practice exists, how will anybody else? 2. You have to have discipline of “how.” You have to hold yourself and your people accountable to your own guiding principles and your own values. 3. You need to have consistency of “what.” Everything you say and everything you do has to prove what you believe at the end of the day.
We live in the tangible world at the end of the day. The only way people will know what you believe is if you say and do the things you actually believe. This is the concept behind authenticity.
If we approach business with the standard models of leading with “what we do” and “how we do it,” we have it all backward. A well-defined “why” speaks to our inner self; it forms bonds and alliances. Actually, this is all grounded in the tenets of biology. It has to do with our human brains and our neocortex; within our brains lays the limbic system which is responsible for all of our feelings of trust and loyalty. It’s also responsible for all human behavior, all decision-making. Continue reading Increase Your Profits By Thousands!