Academy of Chiropractic’s

Lawyers PI Program 260

From the Desk of :
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP

"Marketing Tools for Using Your Clinical Excellence"

It might appear that I have broken my rule of "marketing doesn't work." It doesn't...and it does. It really depends on what you are marketing and how you market to your target audience. This is no different than saying wining and dining, ballgames, theatre tickets and holiday gifts are a waste of time and your money...They are...UNLESS you first have the relationship. Positioned properly, all of these work to some degree and if you do this right, you will be wined and dined as much as you wine and dine others. When you have positioned yourself to become the reason that the legal community wins their cases in an honest and ethical relationship through clinical excellence, the paradigm shifts, making you the recipient of the affection of the referral source because YOU are making THEM money vs. their making you money. 

A close friend of mine, a neurosurgeon, holds a holiday party every year for all of his referral sources including the lawyers that send him patients and begged him to see their clients...literally. He created the paradigm shift of getting the lawyers to run after him. Even so, he had a holiday party in the fanciest country club in the region at a cost of $250 per head, plus the cost of the band, engraved invitations, flowers, etc. A fully catered affair with 200 people (do the math), no different than a wedding with a cocktail hour, band, full dinner, etc. He wore a tuxedo with long tails and it was a regal event and one that IF you were invited to, you were considered on the "A List" in the person injury community. This is a prime example of marketing without marketing. Your credentials are another way that you can market without marketing and not spend $40-$50,000 on an event. 
 
In consultation #164 I wrote: 

"Your credentials and research are the key to a relationship with the lawyers and the key to being able to utilize a multimedia format in order to keep in constant contact with them. You must be in constant contact with the lawyers and have valid, compelling reasons for them to want to hear from you. Both your credentials and research are two areas that will enhance their practices in an ethical manner and get them to want more because they will win more as a result. 

You also want to bring them to the US Chiropractic Directory’s Web site as often as possible. This is a huge 3rd party validation and will make you “larger than life” in the perception department. Perception sells! 

Every time you add a credential to your CV, the lawyers should get both a written letter through snail mail and an e-mail informing them. You shouldn’t send the CV, just a synopsis and a link. Those letters should be followed up with phone calls to the lawyers and/or their staffs.
 
You need to create an e-mail database of every lawyer that you have ever worked with. These are the lawyers who have represented every patient you have ever cared for in your entire career. This task, hopefully, will be a very large task for you, as it is a simple process and a compelling reason for lawyers to engage with you for the right reasons. This list must be saved and automated so the process can be repeated frequently, with little effort. This is no different than the process and technology I use to be able to communicate with so many of you nationally on a regular basis, with minimal effort.

[To see the sample "snail mail" letter, refer back to consultation #164.Sending them to your personal Web site will not resolve any issues. In fact, that will compound a problem for the lawyers. Lawyers have an ethical problem in referring to an individual doctor. Therefore, sending them to the US Chiropractic Directory resolves the issue because you are sending them to a site with 1000’s of doctors to choose from."
 

NEW CHALLENGES

 
In the last 2 years since I posted that consultation, I have learned so much more and the most important thing I have learned is that  lawyers are having an increasingly difficult time in getting your testimony or reports into evidence due to new court rulings/standards that have raised the bar of requirements of admissibility (see Consultation #258). The single solution is your credentials. 

 

RESOLUTION OF THOSE CHALLENGES IS A MARKETING OPPORTUNITY

 
As with every challenge, there is a solution and if we are really smart about it, we can turn that answer into a marketing opportunity to "march without appearing to march." The key to a successful marketing program is not to market, but have everything you do meet the requirements of those who need what you have to offer by getting them to run after you...Once they know what you do and who you are, that paradigm shift will be created. The process takes time, patience and a plan that is consistent. 
 
Getting your CVs in front of the lawyers has consistently been one of the most successful tactics  in getting the lawyers to run after you...but...they have to see it...not just look at it, but see it and that takes persistence. Snail mail works, but I really, really, really like e-mails as I believe they are seen more readily than snail mail in 2012. I also believe, today, that you should do more than was stated in Consultation #164. You need to create an e-mail database of both lawyers that have represented your patients and those that have not, meaning the database should contain the e-mail address of every PI lawyer in the region and 50 miles beyond. 
 
NOTE: You also need to determine the spam laws in your state and have the applicable opt-out and other required language on the e-mails should the lawyer not want to receive your them. I suggest contacting a local lawyer who understands your state and federal laws.
 
Once you have built your database, I suggest the following language in the subject line: New Expert Credential for Dr. XXX
 
For the body of the e-mail, here is suggested language:
 
Dr. XXX is proud to announce that he/she has added to his/her years of experience the following formal credential.  Having this knowledge will help him/her care for his/her patients at a much higher level. He/she recognizes the admissibility implication of credentials and will keep building his/her knowledge base for the lifetime of his/her career.
 
Citation added:
 
Biomechanics of Spinal Trauma and its Relationship to Pre-Existing Injuries and Degenerative Changes, Whiplash Associated Disorders and the biomechanics of side impact vs. rear impact with emphasis on traumatic forces and body position, the mechanism of whiplash injury phases with their relationships to physiologic tolerance to trauma, specific diagnosis of disc pathology and annular tear, disc herniation, fracture, ligamentous injury and instability. Details of spinal nerve root stretching injury and dimensions of the spinal canal during whiplash was outlined particular to significant spinal injury resulting from low level accelerations including pediatric spinal trauma and physiological normals. Spinal surgical intervention techniques including ordering diagnostic studies using MRI, CT and digital motion x-ray. Federation of Chiropractic Licensure Boards, Academy of ChiropracticAmerican Academy of Medical-Legal Professionals, Hollywood, Florida, 2012
 
To download Dr. XXX's complete CV:
 
1.  Go to www.uschirodirectory.com
2.  On the top right, in the local search bar, type his/her last name, XXX, and hit enter
3.  Scroll down
4.  On the left, in the box, click on "View Doctors Credentials"

 
It is here that the lawyers will be able to find you when they need someone to treat their clients and also be able to direct their clients to find you. PERSONAL WEB SITES do not work for a myriad of reasons. First, they are cumbersome, have much too much "fluff," are limited to one doctor which creates an ethical issue for lawyers when referring and also usually have chiropractic philosophy that lawyers "do not give a rat's ass" about. In fact, your Web site will often be the single reason for them to NOT work with you. In addition, that philosophy will be used against you should you have to testify, so keep the philosophical rhetoric to a minimum on the Web. (See Quickie Consult #307 for an example.) If you want to educate your patients, do so in your office where the language cannot be used against you...because it will. 
 
As I urge you to add this to your marketing repertoire, I do not want you to substitute these action steps for others; you need to add them. This is a task that your staff can do with the direction from you on your new citations... and...you constantly need to build your credentials with citations pertinent to trauma-related care. This will allow a constant stream of information to the lawyers giving them compelling reasons to work with you.