Marketing Your Functional Medicine Practice

Marketing is not about having only one way to attract new patients.  Having only one way ensures failure.   Marketing is about having multiple “poles” in the water at all times, so that you have a diverse system to generate new prospective patients into your Functional Medicine Practice.  The problem is, marketing is dynamic and it is constantly changing.  To keep your practice on a steady growth curve, you have to be able to keep up with these changes and apply them.

And while I’m all about having multiple marketing “poles” in the water, there is one fundamental thing that you should be doing on a regular basis.

…and that’s what I want to teach you today.

#1 Way to Have a Steady Flow of New Patients

The #1 way to get more qualified new patients is through patient referrals. If it’s not, then you have a HUGE problem in your FM practice, and it needs fixing right away – unless the idea of going out of business is something that you are striving for.

The only exception to this rule is if you’re just starting out , in which case you have to use the #2 best method (which I’ll share with you tomorrow).

One of the best things about referrals is that they come to you “warm” and pre-qualified because they trust the person who referred them.   They have already had a conversation about your services, lab tests, prices, etc.  And that means that they know what to expect, and that they are most likely going to have increased compliance to your protocols.

If referrals don’t account for the majority of your new patients, then you most likely have a major problem in your office.  The most common reasons for lack of referrals?

  1.  Your patients are NOT getting better.  Remember, functional medicine health care is a results driven system.  If you aren’t providing dramatic, life changing results with your patients, they will not refer.  Bottom line – No results, no referrals.
  2. Your protocols don’t make sense to them.  Let me explain.  Functional medicine patients have been through it all.  They have gone through the medical gauntlet – taken the drugs, been poked, been prodded, been called a liar, been called crazy, had all kinds of “alternative” supplements… You get the picture.  They are tired of approaches to treatment that don’t make sense.  They don’t want to be experimented on, they need a firm, gentle guiding hand.  They need a confident doctor with good bedside manor who can not only deliver hope, but who can explain why their FM approach to treatment is the “only way that makes sense”.  You see, an FM patient doesn’t want to be told what to do without being taught the big “WHY”.
  3. No Bedside Manor – Just like you want to be treated with respect and dignity, so do your patients.  Barking orders, yelling at non compliant patients, and dictating treatments doesn’t work in functional medicine.  You have to have the attitude that your patients are on your team, and like you, they are not perfect either.  They “fall off the wagon” of diet change and supplemental protocols, they have social frustrations, they work full time jobs while trying to raise children.  A fundamental component to great bedside manor is compassion.  Imagine knowing what they know.  Imagine being in their shoes, and instead of being a disciplinarian, be understanding.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t be firm, you just have to use tact in your approach.
  4. You or your staff don’t care enough – We have all been in a position where the customer service literally sucked.  Your office should never be that place.  When a patient is getting better, “high five” them, tell them “great job!”, acknowledge that they are working hard to make the dramatic changes you are asking of them.  Call your patients by their names.   Treat them like they are a guest in your house.  Remember, they have already been treated by other doctors as if they were troublesome or an “inconvenience”.
  5. Not asking for referrals – If you want patients to refer, you need to ask them to refer.  You need to have a system in your office that lets patients know that your practice runs on referrals.   You can read more about the referral system I use here.

Committed to your success,

Dr. O

P.S.

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