See yourself in this story?

Dr. Valerie, again, had to reschedule her call with her realtor. Why? Because she and her husband have been promising each other that they’d start looking for an upgrade to their modest, three bedroom home. They are running out of room with three kids, two dogs, and the two PODs in their side lawn (ugly and tacky in their suburban neighborhood, but functional, she says). He wants a mancave loft over the garage and she wants an in-ground pool with a back yard that isn’t the size of a postage stamp.

stressed-womanThere’s just one problem: Dr. Valarie’s practice isn’t growing. In fact, truth be told, she is only breaking even and going further into debt. She has been playing hide and seek with the realtor for six months; she is running out of excuses and cringes each time she calls. The kids keep asking when they are getting their new home and her husband only gets a 3% cost of living raise each year, so the weight falls directly on her shoulders.

When Dr. Valerie confides over a glass of wine with other non-DC friends about her troubles, she says she feels like a failure deep inside. Her patients make her justify and prove non-stop, she’s tried giveaways, freemiums, groupons, and even after all that, new patients only stick around for a few visits.  Lately, she’s been forgetting their names and just treating them. She’s staring to doubt her own abilities and feels like it would be so much simpler if she were doing less Chiropractic and more of a steady, predictable thing like taking care of the kids…something with NO PRESSURE and NO EXPECTATIONS!

It’s a familiar story; you went to school to be a doctor and help people, yet you end up feeling like you’re a salesman, trying to convince and prove the value of Chiropractic to skeptic after skeptic.

We meet so many great, motivated DCs while speaking around the country who are still waiting for their practices to catch fire. So often, the reason for this is that the DC simply has an over reliance on new patients. So often we get so overwhelmed with our day to day activities.  From spouses, to kids, to keeping some semblance of a physique, it seems more and more like having free time is nothing but a dream.

And then it happens. We can’t keep up with all the demands being made of us, we reach for shortcuts.

When we stop focusing on our spouses or significant others in relationships, there’s a subtle but harmful shift. We start getting distracted with everyday busyness and what seems important in the moment turns out to be insignificant activity.  Some call it going through the motions, being in a fog, or losing your MOJO.

In practice, there is so much focus on new patients that the real factor of practice growth is all but ignored or denied; DCs need to pay attention to RETENTION!  Every solicitation you receive has new patients as the missing carrot they dangle, and only they can get you new patients. Anytime you feel inadequate or like you’re missing something, look at all of your files from patients that have left and ask “where are they now?”

In and of themselves, new patients  won’t solve your practice blues. If you want growth, you must be at least be open to the concept of retention.

Face it doc, you are going to find it very difficult to grow if you are losing your patients faster than you can replace them.

Real growth happens only when your patients understand what Chiropractic is and they choose to stick around for awhile.

Are you ready to stop practicing the way you have to and start practicing the way you want to?