How to Build Your Practice (Without Adding Patients)

By: Jeffrey D. Olsen, DC

Have you ever tried to improve your financial health by cutting expenses? There is only so far you can go! It is easier to increase revenue to your top line by adding products and services that don’t require additional hours or employees.

Active and Passive Incomes

There are two types of income: active and passive. Active income requires your direct participation in the patient’s care. Passive income represents all other situations where revenue is generated without your direct involvement, such as adjunctive products.

Consider adding additional services or products that don’t require attracting additional patients. In other words, sell to those already coming to your office. Useful adjuncts to patient care might include nutritional analysis and supplements, weight-management products and counseling, cervical pillows, postural supports, and custom-made, functional orthotics.

The Crucial Step

Once you have decided which additional services or products to provide, consider how to market them to your patients. You need to find those products and services that complement your concept of Chiropractic care, without detracting from your primary focus—removing interference. Because custom-made orthotics have consistently improved my patients’ outcomes, I will use them as my example of adjunct promotion.

Four out of five patients over age forty can benefit from using orthotics. By this stage of life, the effects of walking and standing on hard surfaces, ligament laxity, and repetitive microtraumas have often contributed to significant plastic deformation in the feet. Asymmetrical collapse of the arches can be directly responsible for secondary postural distortions in the knees, pelvis, and throughout the spine.

Be Consistent and Logical

The key to selling any adjuncts is presenting the products and services in a consistent and logical way. Does all of your advertising include the products and services you offer? What do potential or established patients hear if placed on hold—silence, or the benefits of holding adjustments longer by wearing custom-made orthotics?

Within your office, patients should see samples of the products and services you offer. It is important to balance both general educational materials with specific benefits and promotions. This subtle introduction to your adjuncts will often generate sales, referrals, and comments like “I didn’t know Chiropractors could help with _______.”

Each stage of the visit should direct the patient toward a care plan tailored for his/her specific needs and concerns. Your intake forms should ask general questions about the patient’s diet, work, sleeping habits, etc. Patients will assume if you are asking questions, you will also have solutions for any potential problems.

Findings and Care

Are you currently giving a report of your exam findings? This 5–10 minute, one-on-one experience with the patient is critical to your success. It is your opportunity to further establish rapport and credibility, answer questions, discuss adjunctive care, and inspire requests for your help. All your communications should reinforce the relationship of structure to function and health, and remind the patient that Chiropractic is the means to improve all three.

Next, outline your schedule of care, and have the patient commit to following through with your recommendations. Patients expect to be told what they need to do to improve their health. The most important thing you will have done up to this point is to demonstrate your genuine concern and your confidence in providing answers and relief.

Offer What’s Best, What Works

Offering additional products and services is a great way to add revenue without having to recruit new patients. Make sure the adjuncts you provide are effective for your patients’ Chiropractic care. With careful consideration and the proper marketing technique, incorporating additional products and services in your practice can help both you and your patients.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey D. Olsen is a 1996 Presidential Scholar and summa cum laude graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. He has been in private practice with his two brothers/partners since 1997, in Roanoke, VA. In addition, Dr. Olsen has instructed as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Health Sciences in Roanoke. He is currently serving as Technical Advisor at Foot Levelers, Inc.

How Many of Your Patients Could Benefit from Custom-Made Orthotics?

Try this formula (fill in dotted lines):

_ _ _ _ _(# of new patients this year)

X 50%(# of patients with LBP, pelvic unleveling, and pedal

imbalance who could benefit from custom-made orthotics)

= _ _ _ _ _

X $150(average net profit realized for each orthotic Combo*)

= $_ _ _ _(total net profit realized from using orthotics with patients

who need them)

*Patients typically have two types of shoes (and different types of shoes need different orthotics): shoes with laces (need full-length orthotics), and shoes without laces (need dress orthotics). A two-pair Combo provides support for both styles of shoes.

Example: 300 new patients this year

X 50%patients with LBP, pelvic unleveling, and pedal imbalance

who could benefit from orthotics

= 150

X $150average profit per orthotic Combo

= $22,500total profit