Note to 1st Time Visitors: I really wanted you to get value from the time you spent reading this. It was originally written for retail service businesses but it works for just about any type of business!
One of my buddies is a Chiropractor. We became friends after he fixed my aching back. I even set up my appointment on Fridays at noon, so we can go for lunch together. We did that for years.
Every time we got together we talked about his business. He was a solo practitioner and from what I could see, he could use a few more clients. One afternoon after my adjustment and while we were waiting for the Chinese food to come, I asked him if he would like a few suggestions to get more business. He lit up. He said “Sure!”
I said “Lets get started!” and I pulled out a small note book and asked some questions.
The Set Up:
“So Doc, do you mind if I ask you some questions? I asked.
“Sure, fire away!”
“Let’s figure out the lifetime value of each client” – I said.
He looked up puzzled, “What’s that mean?”
I smiled and explained. “If you thought about your clients and asked yourself “how much do they spend at my office over the lifetime of our relationship” that would be lifetime value. Here’s a few questions that can help figure that out:
- When you get a client, how long do they stay a client?
- If they stay for 12 sessions, the limit of insurance, do they continue beyond the insurance payments?
- Do they come back next year?
- How many years do they usually stick around for?
- How many bring in a friend or family member?
He gave me the information I asked for over hot Chinese tea while the waiter brought some egg rolls.
“Wow, great answers, this is going to help a lot! Now tell me what your close rate is when people come in for a 1st appointment?” I asked.
“At least 1/3 stay for a 12 week program, sometimes more based on insurance coverage” explained my friend.
“Great! Now think about your local neighborhood, is this where your clients come from?” I asked.
He said “No, they come from the neighboring town of Acton, the residential part.”
I thought for a moment and said:
“Did you hear about this new program by the USPS called EVERY DOOR?”
He shook his head no. “Lets take a look” as I pulled out my iPad and clicked in the URL:
“This is a fantastic service,you can even choose mail carrier routes directly.” I explained. “You don’t have to buy a mailing list and you know every house will get your postcard, it’s really a no-brainer! Prices are very reasonable too.” I explained.
“What would I put on the post card?” he mumbled while holding an egg roll in one hand. I thought about it, then I said “Didn’t you say that at least 1/3 the people who come in stay for a 12 week program?” He thought for a second and nodded. “When people come in, what is the primary reason, is it back pain?” I asked assuming it was.
He nodded yes. “Most people come in because they hurt themselves and want me to fix them. Most of the time I can get them relief pretty quickly and then I begin educating them on how the spine is the central communications system for all of the body and if they were to get regular adjustments, they can feel better and stay feeling better” He explained enthusiastically.
“OK, then lets appeal to those who may have body pain, how does that sound?” Again he nodded and smiled.
“What you say combines your knowledge of their body and reinforce the pain relief proposition. Something like: Are you hurt and want immediate relief? I can fix you and keep you feeling good. Come in for a free consultation and see for yourself. – How does that sound?” I asked thinking I didn’t do too badly right off the top of my head.
“Nice!” he said with a smile.
“Now, lets go back to those numbers you gave me.”
“What do you get for a single appointment after insurance pays, including your co-pay?” I asked.
“Oh, about $58” he said casually. I thought about it. “Not bad for 10 minutes work!” I said smiling. He smiled too while nodding his head. “Yeah, on busy days I can get 5 people, sometimes 6 in an hour. I will take time with clients as they need but usually they want an adjustment and move on with their lives.” I nodded in agreement.
“So, each client is worth about $900 if they go through a program?” I asked. “Maybe a little more. Because there’s an initial exam, I charge a higher fee for that 1st appointment. Usually about $150.” He said while thinking about the numbers.
“Great! That means that each client that completes a 12 week course is worth about $900, is that accurate?” He nodded and said “About.”
“And you said that about 1/3 those new clients who come into the office convert to a full program?” Again he nodded yes.
“So each lead is worth about $300. Based on Lifetime Value, you could actually spend up to $300 to get a new client since some come more than one year, right?” Again he nodded yes, smiling.
“Then all we need to do is get more people to walk through your front door with back pain and we solved your problem, correct?” Smiling, he nodded and said “Correct!
“Lets review exactly what we know so far.”
- Each new lead is worth about $300, meaning that if you close one of 3, each LEAD was worth about $300.
- You have the capacity to take on about 20 initial consults a month.
- You can double the size of your practice without extra cost.
He shook his head yes. “All that’s true, and I am pretty excited about trying that Every Door program, do you have any other ideas?”
I smiled a devilish grin, knowing I was about to unleash a torrent of ideas. “I sure do!”
“All these are also low cost or free and I bet will be pretty effective as well.”
(note: No matter what type of business you have, run through this list and do everything you can as quickly as you can since it can only help)
- Run a free ad on Criagslist.org a few times a week with different headlines, all offering a free consult.
- Go to Google+ and create your business page for free. Make the page interesting and invite your friends.
- Then ask your wife to record a simple video with you talking about how you’ve helped so many people. Put it on YouTube.com. Link that video to Google +, your website and facebook.
- If you don’t already have a website, build one FREE on www.Wix.com – They have a nice system.
- YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Put as many videos as you can about the different services you offer. Use words in the description like “Chiropractor” and “Pain Management” which will help you get found more easily.
- I know you’ve been collecting email addresses from your patients, send them an email with a free tip of the day and ask for referrals. For each one that comes in, they get a free adjustment.
- And by the way, if you don’t use www.MailChimp.com you’re crazy. It’s free up to 2,000 names and it sends your emails for you, allows you to create professional campaigns and connects to your website with ease.
- Create a fan page on Facebook, ask your facebook friends to “like” you in exchange for a free consult. On your facebook page, post testimonials and describe all your services.
- Make it your business to take a quick video testimonial on your iPhone every time a patient makes a significant improvement, use those on facebook, Google +, everywhere you have an online presence.
- Set up a twitter account for your business. Sit down and write out a few dozen tweets, then find people on Twitter and follow them, many will follow you back. Now, every time you post something new on your website, send a tweet!
- Ask your local print shop to make up some counter signs, you know – the paper signs with the little foot and a small card holder on the front. These you can distribute to local businesses and ask the owner to place it on his counter, offer them a free consult too.
“Slow down Mitch, I can’t write that fast!” He said as I glazed over while channeling Jay Abraham, as I snapped back to reality.
My next idea was already bubbling to the surface when he stopped me. Good thing too, lunch just arrived. I smiled and became quiet. I watched silently as the waiter brought our food and as he walked away, I asked another question.
“Do you think it’s OK for a professional practice like yours to place small signs around town?”
“Not Sure” he said. “What do you mean by small signs?”
I thought for a moment. “You know, the type of signs you see on telephone poles as you drive through town.”
He looked up in thought and said “I don’t think I am comfortable with that. It doesn’t seem professional”
“I agree, but what about professionally printed pull-off’s that you see in restaurants and supermarkets. You know, those cork boards for people to post their business cards?”
He thought for a moment and smiled. “Sure, those are totally fine!”
“Good! Add those to the list.
Remember, everything I am telling you may work a little, and it may work a little this week and something else might work a little next week. Bottom line, if you are determined to grow your business then it’s something you have to work on every day. Can you set aside a little time and a small amount of money to do this every day?”
He smiled and nodded. “I will, Mitch. This is all great stuff, I am actually excited to get started! I know I can make a bunch of those videos and I have about a dozen patients who would love to help with testimonials! – Hey Mitch…. ” he said. I looked up silently and he announced with a smile:
“I’m buying lunch!”
We both laughed and enjoyed an incredible meal, shared with a friend.
Would you like to discuss how I could coach you on a regular basis to help you grow your business? I can spare a few minutes to chat, set up a time and lets discuss. Just click the ringing telephone at the top of the page.