“Shut Up and Build a Huge Practice”
Many of you have the same problem that I had for years; I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be everyone’s friend and I liked the gossip. In fact, I fed off my patients' gossip. All of these issues prevented me from having a bigger practice than I did.
My mentor, who constantly reminded me in many ways that I was not really busy, would rarely, if ever, talk to his patients about any topic other than their care and subluxation. By the way, he saw 300 patients per day and every patient was thrilled with his/her care and results.
When you chat with patients about their personal lives and issues, it takes time away from caring for more people. The issue goes well beyond the time needed to care for more patients. What are you going to do with those patients you now act as a therapist or psychologist for when you don’t have the time to talk to them?
Understand “prime time” in an office. Prime time is when everyone wants to come for care; lunchtime and just after work. Therefore, everyone will want to get care between 11:30 AM & 1 PM and 5 & 7 PM. If you can care for 30-40% more patients during those hours, your practice will grow. How do you get busier during those times?…“Shut up.”
This now creates another problem; if your patients are conditioned for you to act as their therapist, psychologist or gossip monger, when you stop listening or don’t spend the same time listening to their issues, they feel that you are not giving them the care they were previously getting. Those patients expect you to be their therapist and now that you aren’t giving them the emotional support you had been, many will stop seeking your care because they are not getting what they are used to. Worse, they will think that you no longer like them and, emotionally, that will short circuit their relationships with you as a doctor.
By simply engaging with the patients on that emotional level, you prevent yourself from creating a large practice. You can’t gain minutes once used for emotional issues. In other words, use your time to the greatest benefit for your patients. Talk and deliver chiropractic care.
What should you do with the time you spend with patients? The answer is simple; talk chiropractic. I had a “Merit Chart” poster in every treatment room in the office. What’s a “Merit Chart?” Years ago, Dr. Merit created a chart that had the spinal level in column 1, the area or organs innervated in column 2 and the effects or symptoms in column 3.
As I was adjusting my patients, I would have a conversation with them called “touch and tell.” I would adjust C2 and simply read from the chart and say, “This area feeds the glands in your neck that produce white blood cells.” I would adjust T1 and say, “This area feeds your lungs and helps you breathe better.”
The result, every patient knew that I was caring for them as a whole, not just treating a bone or muscle or pain symptoms. I never told them I would heal anything, only that I was helping their bodies work better. The net result, patients would tell me that they no longer had asthma, that they regained their hearing or that their colitis was no longer present. The muscle pain and spasms were the easy part. I would “touch and tell” that as well. Those were the easy ones as the pain virtually always went away.
I did not practice diseased treatment. I only let patients know the neurology of the areas that I corrected. The net result was that they associated my care with their bodies functioning better. They told their friends and family andthe more I talked chiropractic, the more the referrals increased .
This is actually much easier in practice than it is on paper. If you are like me, after 2000 patients, you will remember most of the chart. Hopefully, you will get it much more quickly than I did.
When I stopped talking about my patients' personal lives and started talking about their health issues, the patients were more compliant and happier that I was focused on their immediate problems, the ones they were seeking care for. The biggest bonus, the patients were in and out of my office much more quickly and guess who was the happiest? The patients! They had lives and they didn’t want to spend them in my office. Everyone was a winner!
So…shut up about the gossip, do not be a therapist or psychologist, and practice chiropractic. Touch and tell about the areas you are adjusting and if your patients have personal issues, ask them to see you before or after hours. There are patients that do need to talk to you regarding personal issues. Ask them to make an appointment either before or after patient hours. Most will understand.