Throughout my 16 years of practice, I have owned, managed and directed the chiropractic marketing plans for 12 clinics of my own and consulted with hundreds of doctors on how to ‘beef up’ their marketing in an effort to grow their practice. The reason I mention that is so I can follow that up by saying that during that time, one of the most effective ways I have found to market my practice both internally and externally is through massage.
When it comes to external marketing, the super successful and savvy chiropractors will tell you that one of the most effective types of marketing is face to face. By face to face marketing I of course mean getting in front of your prospective patients so that you can actually speak to them.
When you personally interact with a prospective patient, you not only establish credibility by giving this person insight into your vast knowledge and understanding of their condition, but you also create familiarity with you which in turn breaks down the barrier of the ‘unknown’ about who you are.
Gaining familiarity with you leads to the potential patient becoming more comfortable with you and this in turn significantly increases the likelihood that they will use your services now or in the future.
FAMILIARITY —> COMFORT —> TRUST
Nevertheless, the problem with this very effective type of face to face marketing is first grabbing the attention of the public long enough for them to give you an opportunity to wow them with your expertise and shining personality and gain their trust.
Whether you are at a health fair, grocery store, or standing out on the street, one of the best methods to get people to stop and speak to you is by having a massage therapist with a chair right next to you.
It is very hard for most of the public to resist a free 5 to 10 minute massage with no strings attached. People will curiously begin to gather to see what the catch is or to find out how much a massage would cost. Once they are told that it is free…bam! they are ready to get after it!
Now, giving away a rejuvenating massage obviously does you no good unless you also
1. Have an opportunity to tell the patron about you and your business.
2. Get information about the patron so you can follow up by whatever means you feel is best.
I recommend having each person who would like a free chair massage fill out a form that I call a Stress Survey (See example below). This easily created form gathers each person’s data to whatever extent you choose; it also includes check boxes to mark any areas of pain. This not only gives you all the information you need to follow up with each potential patient but also gives you information about any condition they are suffering from so you can discuss it with them.
You may choose to gather all or some of the above information on each person getting a free massage; that is up to you.
Even though I often have 2 or 3 massage chairs operating at one time, I will still typically have a line of people waiting to take their turn at relaxation. During this waiting period I will introduce myself and while looking at their Stress Survey ask them if they have any health concerns they want to bounce off me.
More often than not the dialogue turns to how chiropractic can help their condition which in turn leads to discussing how my clinic and I may be of benefit to the prospective patient.
In addition to me giving insight about my clinic and discussing any health concerns with each person who is waiting to get a massage, my therapists are also trained to accomplish the same task. During the massage, the therapist asks questions to find out more information about the clients complaint regions marked on the intake form with dialogue such as…
“Let’s see, you were just saying that you have pain in your ___________.
“How long has it bothered you?
“What treatment have you had for this in the past?
If no problems were reported then the massage therapist will begin work on the client until some unusually tender/sore area is noted and discuss it. The therapists will make them aware of any areas of muscles spasm, ‘possible’ subluxations or other notable areas. The therapist will also make me aware of the findings so that I can further discuss this with the person.
Once a person is done with the chair massage, I will ask them how it was and naturally the answer is invariably “it was awesome.” From there I can discuss any notable areas mentioned to me by the therapist.
I will then let them know about any ‘special’ offers I have to come into the clinic and try our services to help their condition. If they show interest, I let them know how and when my office manager will contact them to get them set up for an evaluation or consultation. Additionally, if you offer massage services in your practice it is also a good idea to offer the prospective patients that speak with you a complimentary half-hour massage as a way to invite them in to see your practice risk and cost-free.
If you have not used chair massage as an effective marketing tool to grab the attention of passersby in any setting, I would highly recommend it. Your return on investment will typically far outweigh the average gain seen with other marketing strategies.
Dr. Daron Stegall is a marketing expert, chiropractic consultant and co-developer for Patients to Profits – The Complete Chiropractic Success System and Chiropractic Marketing Dominator. He has owned and managed 12 successful clinics during his 16 year career while taking the time to coach hundreds of fellow chiropractors on how to make business success simple.