Top 7 Ways to Get New Patients
Last week 5 different people asked the question, “What are the best ways to get new patients fast?”
A great question. The word fast, however, is the tricky part.
In a direct-pay practice, patient acquisition takes time. You are bumping up against a mindset that health care should be “covered” by insurance. To convince people to spend cash out-of-pocket, they must know, like and otherwise trust you first.
Make the personal connection for fast results
The fastest way to bring in new business involves direct contact. Seeing you up close and personal builds confidence and inspires action like nothing else. That’s why I’ve pulled together my list of the fastest ways to gain trust and get new patients below, along with my cheat sheet here that you can download and refer to whenever you feel stuck for ideas. They are:
- Public speaking. Public talks are the fastest way to get new patients and clients in the door. Increase your odds of getting new business by focusing on speaking gigs where your target audience is likely to show up. Start by knowing your niche market: what organizations, country clubs, schools or social events do they belong to or attend? Where do they shop, what do they do for fun or sport? Focus on these things to get the greatest return for your time and energy.
- Meet allied health providers. Allies are a great source of potential referrals but the focus of these visits should be about collaborating on patient care, not getting on a referral list! My client, Kim, uses a brilliant strategy for setting up meet and greets, sometimes called “doctor-to-doctor meetings” for her husband, a chiropractor in my community. She downloaded a list of local orthopedic surgeons using insurance company provider lists from the internet and then set up lunchtime meetings (10 and counting) for her hubby to discuss complex patient cases and, ultimately, explore referral options. Is there a logical partnership with a practitioner in your market whose services you can complement?
- Write health articles. Local publications adore quoting local health experts on topics specifically related to their community. I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago to see a functional medicine MD discussing natural allergy relief for the native flora in a popular community magazine in my town. Track down the publications in your area and find out what their advertising calendar or special sections will focus on throughout the year. No doubt there’s a topic or two where your insights will be welcomed.
- Join nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits you are passionate about are always looking to fill their board seats with committed health experts. The exposure and visibility from this work not only elevates your status in your community but is deeply rewarding. In my two board roles, I’ve developed strong friendships, am contributing to causes that give me juice and without any intention or expectation, have received financial and professional rewards to boot. Do what you love and get paid for it… it really doesn’t get any better than that.
- Advertising ideas. There are a plethora of community calendars where you can announce news at no cost. If you are holding an event, workshop or doing a talk, look into the various publications in your town and take advantage of the low-to-no cost options to promote it.
- E-Mail communication. If you have a list of names, send email to announce a special going on in your office: a new service, event, program, or clinician, for example. Kick it up a notch by asking your patients to bring a friend or relative with them just for fun. It’s a simple and non-threatening way to double your exposure to people through people who already love your service.
- Professional networking. Love them or hate them, local networking groups work. I know of several acupuncturists, massage therapists, and chiropractors who are members of BNI in my town and have gained a great deal of business through it. These groups do require commitment, though, so if you are strapped for time their requirements may not work for you. Find groups that may be less rigid in their expectations or start your own with a close-knit group of associates.
But here’s the catch
These 7 strategies work but you must stay persistent! One article or public talk isn’t enough to build the “know, like and trust” factor.
How you present yourself in each of the 7 steps matters a lot, too. When I hear, “I tried that but it didn’t work,” red flags pop up. Often, the tactic was only tried once, or once long ago, or not done very well. In addition to being persistent, you need to position yourself effectively in each step. My new book, The PEACE Process, provides the tools to help you position yourself well. The time and persistence stuff, though, is all yours to put into play.
Here’s the cheat sheet again. Feel free to download it, share it, and by all means use it when you are stuck and need a nudge.
P.S. If you have a trick that you use to get new patients fast, I’d love to hear about it. Just let me know by clicking here.
Miriam Zacharias is an author, speaker and strategic marketing advisor who teaches functional and integrative health leaders how to build thriving practices that deliver joy and prosperity. Grab more marketing gems at www.miriamzacharias.com