Florida Doctor

FLDR Spring 2017

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22 f l o r i d a d o c t o r I magine being able to create more profitable patients just like your best ones. Just a pipe dream? Nope, it's very possible through patient interviews. By understanding the reasons why your best patients first came to you and continue to do so, you can discover patterns—and even exact phrases!—to use in recruiting more patients like them. is research can feed directly into your marketing activities and strategies. And it only costs a little imagination and some of your time (or an employee's time). Locate Your Best Customers e first thing you need to do is to get a list of your best patients. Here I'm defin- ing best as most profitable over the last year or even several years. To do so, open up a spreadsheet with your patient information and sort by rev- enue, highest at the top, lowest at the bot- tom (If you don't have this information, check with your accountant or accounting soware). Now, take the top 10% or 20% of your patients, depending on how long the list is, and have someone in your office call them to set up 30-minute phone conver- sations with you (or someone on your marketing team). Start with no more than a dozen or so clients to keep the process manageable. Note that you don't want to email these customers. You can to call or video- conference them and have a conversation. Why Your Best Patients? Why are you going to be speaking to your best patients? Why not just do a general email survey and be done with it? Well, you can send a survey, which is useful to get aggregate information about your customers, but you can't have a conversa- tion through a survey, and you certainly can't ask good follow-up questions when a client makes a revealing aside as she's talking about something else. At the risk of re-stating the obvious, your best patients are also your most profitable patients, but they're also your best customers because they see a lot of value in working with you instead of that other doctor across town. You've already convinced these customers that you're the cat's meow, simply the best! I also suspect that your best patients also tend to be great people you can enjoy working with to meet their medical needs. As you focus more on your best custom- ers, growing your business around them, you might find that you have less time (or need) to focus on patients that drain you, financially and even emotionally. is could be a great fringe benefit. Testimonials Done Right Let's start with your two primary goals for the conversation: testimonials and market research leading to patient clon- ing (so to speak). First we come to come testimonials. What you need to know at the outset is that not all testimonials are created equal. Some are bland. Some are trite. And most aren't compelling. Why? Because they sound staged and because they aren't detailed enough. What you want are authentic-sounding testimonials that go beyond sound bites. e best testimonials are what we call reverse testimonials, where the patient was initially skeptical of the product/ service and ended up becoming a patient aer overcoming a series of objections in his mind. e result of this is a testimonial where your patient is in effect selling your services to other patients who are proba- bly just as skeptical about them as he was! (You can keep these on a first-name basis to protect privacy.) Effective Market Research e second goal of customer research is to create a picture of your ideal customer. What does he or she care about in getting medical care? What drives them crazy? What's their home or work life like? Why you? Try to get a clear picture of these patients because you want a few (or more than a few) just like them! You get more patients like them by letting great patients give you the specific "bait" you need to capture more patients like them, while more than likely repelling (in a good way) low-value patients that Simply e Best How to Grow Your Practice through Patient Interviews —and Not Spend a Penny Doing It! Matt Donnelly BETTER PRACTICE: Sales & Marketing

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