It’s not an empty appointment book; it’s an empty waiting room in spite of a full schedule.
You just got a handle on things and filled the schedule. Or, at least, it’s fuller than it has been. Finally, some motivation. Finally, a bit of your purpose is peeking through. Progress, you think, if foolishly. You didn’t feel frustrated until now, however. The moment when one, two or ten new patients didn’t show.
“They were so motivated when I spoke with them”, you think, puzzled what could have happened in the meantime. Early on, you wonder if you will ever understand them. Late in the game you “realize” you never will. Your frustration continues, fueled by your conclusion that it’s your failure to get new patients, and the ever famous “screenings just don’t work” thing.
Now is the part where you think I am going to tell you that you have been wrong. But, I’m not. It really is a total failure.
You have sized up the situation correctly: No-Shows get you No-Where! I have suffered the same failure and drawn the same conclusions. But, don’t give up as I almost did. There is more to know on this subject. And, it contains the answer to turning the no-show situation into plenty of new patients.
Subtle shift of focus from no-shows to arrivals
No one has learned this fact more than I have. Having made a career out of face-to-face chiropractic advocacy on a public level, I have screened and referred thousands of people. I have had the luxury of doing this full-time, as opposed to your average chiropractor who can allocate 15% of his time to it at best. You would think spending this much time would be without failure. But I had my share of no-shows too.
New patients were no easier to get for me, at one point, than they are for you.
And I didn’t have a practice full of patients to adjust to make me feel better about it. It was my full-time gig. It was do-or-die as far as my practice was concerned. I spent years studying endless parades of people I screened in search of the answer, even going as far as inquiring with potential new patients as to why they didn’t show.
Then it hit me. You have to focus on success, not failure.
One day, at a chiropractor’s office, I heard the front desk CA take a call from someone inquiring about coming in. She booked an appointment for them for that day. Later, that person arrived for a consult.
Further investigation revealed that this person had not seen any advertising and merely used the yellow pages to find a chiropractor. That’s when I had my “OMG” moment. I was looking at the problem from the opposite angle. The solution was 180 degrees south of where I was looking. It may sound corny but, here is something none of us looked at: if you want arrivals, you need to study people who have arrived. How stupid is that? Duh!
The one-two punch that is the resolution to no-shows…
Finally, research culminated into something that resembled a solution to getting new patients. Mind you, I had years of research data invested already and some pretty cool answers I had found. But, there was a missing piece. This was it. What is the one-two punch? It’s simple: stop selling and start creating interest.
This was the piece that finally explained why scripts are not an end-all tool and why they only seem to get the “cream” off the top and not those tougher cases who clearly need your help. Out of it came the two tools to master any type of situation without being scripted. The Lifetime Patient Ladder and the True Screening Process are tools that were in development and were finally perfected after this revelation.
Beyond those more precision tools, however, the answer is there for all to see; even you!
In absence of the technical tools developed from it, focusing your attention on why people arrive is key. You may not become a master knowing it. Your waiting room may not necessarily be filled to capacity because of it. And you may not totally knock out no-shows in spite of it. Yet you can make some improvement just observing it. You may even tear up or ditch a script or two in the process.
Nonetheless, you can now also master it by learning the Lifetime Patient Ladder.
The Lifetime Patient Ladder
Everyone is on this ladder somewhere. It is not a ladder to arriving in the office, though; it is the ladder to lifetime care, wellness and, yes, advocacy of you, your clinic and Chiropractic in general. This is what you envisioned from your earliest beginnings in the field and what some part of you still believes can be achieved. It can.
The point is, everyone you meet tends to be on a different rung. So scripting your way will not get everyone, the value of scripts notwithstanding. They are still a useful tool to get what they can. The mid-point (not the top) of the Lifetime Patient Ladder, however, is where the exact mindset and thought process is of that person who simply called in, scheduled and showed up. It has been isolated along with 16 other steps above and below.
It turns out to be precision work. Under- or even over-shooting this rung makes the arrival “hit or miss” at best – usually miss. Learn about the lifetime patient ladder now and how you can be in better control of not only your screening or talk procedure, but the actions prospective new patients take as a result.
And may your prospects fill up with interest, your waiting room with new patients and your heart with the original joy of healing you started with and beyond. Go do it!