With just a few exceptions, the doctors I have found over the years to have the highest level of success are those that use some version or variation of a Day 1 / Day 2 procedure with all new patients.
Generally speaking the Day 1 procedure includes consulting with the patient about their condition and performing an examination. The Day 2 procedure is when the report of findings (ROF) is delivered and a treatment plan is recommended.
And while many doctors have these procedures in place they are often still missing the triggers that spark a patient to not only accept but downright want the care that the doctor is proposing.
If your consultation and report of findings could use a refreshing boost for 2013, consider the following suggestions I have provided below:
1. Prize Yourself: Based on the ideas of Oren Klaff in Pitch Anything, you are the ‘prize’ not your patient. Don’t let the term throw you as egotistical. It simply means that instead of trying to convince the patient as to why they should take your recommended treatment, in the Day 1 consultation let them know you will be asking them questions to determine if you will be accepting their case in your office and if you cannot then you will help get them to someone that can. By starting your Day 1 consultation with this mindset you will likely find that your case acceptance will improve considerably.
2. Pick one Part: We’ve all had patients that present with neck pain, knee pain and low back issues. While you can and will no doubt help them with all these problems, when it comes to helping a patient understand and commit to the care they need, try focusing in on their one primary complaint for the bulk of your Day 1/Day 2. By focusing the bulk of your consultation and ROF on the complaint that most significantly affects their life, you will avoid confusing the patient and prevent the less painful problems from diluting the seriousness of their major issue.
3. Show and Tell: People are visual and the better you appeal to that sense the less you’re going to lose them in your explanation of ‘what’s wrong.’ Whether it’s a surface EMG graph, a posture picture or an xray, by showing patients what is causing their pain you will stimulate more than just the auditory sense and have doubled their understanding of what you are explaining.
4. Discuss Consequences: If you’ve been in practice for even a couple of years then you have many times seen the results of people living life with unresolved subluxations. Headaches, arthritis, disc problems, immune system compromise and chronic pain are just a few of the common side effects. Whatever you believe are the potential issues your patient may suffer down the road for not correcting their condition right now, share them – Share them honestly, confidently and without embellish but without reserve. The patient is paying for your professional opinion of their condition…don’t be afraid to give it.
5. Recommend a Second Opinion: Some patients are suspicious that doctors might over prescribe care based on a self-serving motivation for more income. And while there’s no doubt a few dirt bags in every profession that will make recommendations stemming from a selfish verses serving mindset, that is not the majority. The majority of chiropractors actually under-prescribe care because they are doing it from a poverty position of wanting the patient to take some care verses no care at all. Don’t do that. Instead present the treatment plan you know the patient needs and then let them know that if they want to get a second opinion you understand but either way treatment needs to get started right away before this condition becomes even more complicated. By recommending a second opinion you are giving the patient reassurance that you are more concerned with their condition than your own pocketbook (And in almost every case because you are gently pushing the patient away a little it will actually result in an increased desire for the care you propose.).
Regardless of how much care you are recommending to your patient for their specific diagnosis, following proven protocols and including the right psychological triggers in your delivery is the only way you can truly bridge the sometimes very wide gap between the nearsighted pain relief view a patient has about your services and the amount of chiropractic care you know they really need. The more patients you ‘get through’ to the more people you are helping maximize their potential and busier your practice will get.
Add the above suggestions into your current Day 1/Day 2 procedures and role play it with a staff member or local doctor so that what you say and how you say it becomes more natural, more effortless and subsequently more effective and successful.
If you don’t currently have protocols you use for the first 2 visits a new patient is in your office, then make 2013 the year you get them in place. Use ours, use a friends or create your own but have them because by not having proven procedures is the best way to create a struggling practice.
Dr. Daron Stegall is an Express Keller Chiropractor in Texas, a chiropractic consultant and co-developer for Patients to Profits – The Complete Chiropractic Success System. 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.
Much of his advice can be found for free on his blog found at www.successfulchiro.com.
He can be reached at http://www.expresschiropractickeller.com