By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, VP of Private Practice for Net Health
Our special blog series, titled “5 Steps to Attract & Retain PT Champions,” has looked at the five steps that can allow you to add physical therapy value in the community. Each day we’ve shared one of the five steps we recommend to consider building physical therapy champions right in your area. We recently talked about Step 1 – Cultivate Awareness of PT in Your Community and Step 2 – Build Personal Connections with Potential PT Customers. Now let’s get into the meat of it.
I can say this confidently about physical therapists: We’re helpers. We love people, and we’re about helping people heal. We’re also smart and have worked hard to do our best work professionally. There’s plenty of information and knowledge to digest, and we want to learn as much as we can.
That’s not all. We’re teachers who share the knowledge of what we know to help the world. An educational component is a significant part of what we do, even if it means helping our patients to not need us to begin with.
Why don’t we use these attributes to bring patients in the door? Well, we can and we should.
If you’ve been following our special blog series, you’ll see that we have been diving in to the five-step process to build PT champions in our communities. First, we discussed the need to cultivate awareness. Then we talked about the importance of establishing personal connections. We’ve set the stage, so let’s look at the third step – educating and promoting the value of PT.
Say I’m a street vendor. I sell locally made jewelry from my cart. You’ll find a number of different stones, metals and accessories to choose from. All high quality. My buyers are equally as diverse as well. Some purchase my jewelry for their loved ones, others for themselves, and sometimes it may just be an impulse buy. They see something they like and they’ve got to have it!
Now comes the challenge. I’ve got jewelry to sell and several individuals I can sell to, all for different reasons. While I’m familiar with the gold I sell, if I try to convince a customer who only likes silver to buy my gold, I’ll be wasting my time and theirs. If I don’t take the time to learn that a potential client is looking to buy a birthday present for their spouse, then I’ve lost a valuable opportunity to talk to them about our birthstone collection.
That’s why education after building personal connections provides us with the opportunity to know what to provide knowledge on and to whom.
Wondering where to start? Follow these simple guidelines to help you along the way:
- Pace yourself
- Educate yourself on one thing at a time
- Maintain designated office hours
Education takes time, just like the development of a trusting relationship does. To become successful with your sale, trust needs to be at the forefront of your mind. Customers can be unsure at first. For customers to understand the value of what we do, you have to be patient and take your time. You want your customers to feel like one of the best investments they can make is by trusting our services and what we can offer them.
Rushing the process only makes it worse. Meeting your customer where they are is what ultimately works.
Educate One Thing at a Time
In simple terms, we want to help people with the knowledge and information we’ve become experts on. Our profession has taught us a lot, and there’s plenty for us to share, but we also have to be careful not to overwhelm our clientele.
One of the best ways to do this is by providing them snippets of information, one at a time. Giving our customers information at the pace they are comfortable with is what allows them to better understand and appreciate our value. Better yet, it further enhances the personal connections we build with them. You can share a little bit today, and a little bit more next week. Bite-sized pieces is the way to go.
Think of it this way: You want to teach your clients to fish, but don’t try to do it in one lesson, or you’ll both starve.
Maintain Designated Office Hours
When sharing information and providing a healthy dose of knowledge, you also want to make yourself available to answer any questions your clientele may have. Maybe they want to know more about your services. Maybe they’re not sure how to proceed. Whatever it is, you’re the one they will look to fill in the gaps. But it’s important that you maintain your regular office hours as the time to answer any questions that may arise.
That’s because set office hours will give your clientele the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss any lingering doubts and questions in their heads. Allowing them to feel confident in the knowledge they have received is what will lead to the sale. And let’s be real, the sale is what we’re ultimately here for.
Stay tuned to next week’s blog when we’ll get into the topic of how to convert the sale and make the deal happen. For without the sale we’re merely potential unrealized – not value itself. And creating value is the name of this game.
About Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
Tannus is a marketing expert in outpatient PT practice and speaks nationally on the topics of entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance, and has written articles for numerous publications, including PT in Motion, Impact Magazine, and Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation. In addition, Tannus attended physical therapy school at UCSF and practiced as a physical therapist in outpatient, inpatient, and home health settings.