Is This Patient Acquisition Method Really Considered a 4-Letter Word?

How To Systematically Build A Multimillion Dollar Practice That Is Highly Sellable…Working Smarter not Harder

Success Key 2 of 4

First my disclaimer: I’m not a chiropractor, but I have built three national service companies serving over 25,000 medical practices and 500 hospitals. Two of my companies were ranked on the Inc. 500 list of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies. I have also had the privilege of coaching a diverse group of entrepreneurs, including motivational and business leader Tony Robbins, Fortune 500 trainer Chet Holmes, leading Internet marketers and, yes, dozens and dozens of successful chiropractic practices.

I also moderated the first-ever PointOne Conclave Mastermind with 12 of the top practices in the nation (sponsored by Parker College).

Last, I am not an attorney and therefore only share observations of what I seeing working, and I advise the reader to consult with an attorney or compliance expert before implementing anything I share.

So how do you systematically build a multi-million dollar practice that creates time freedom for you and is highly sellable? In the last article I shared the “math” for how you can add 50% or more to your practice by systemizing and optimizing what you likely already do to generate leads, convert these to patients and maximize patient value.


In this article I will share Success Key #2, which focuses on the top patient generator for top practices.

There are many ways leading practices generate patient leads: Internet marketing, workshops, professional referrals, TV/radio, magazines, billboards and the list goes on. In fact, having multiple methods is critical because different people respond to different mediums.

With that said, the #1 new patient attraction method is still PATIENT REFERRALS! (Really Scott, that is one of the 4 keys to building a million dollar plus practice? Well, yes.) The fact is, the vast majority of chiropractic practices do a poor job with this cost-free patient generator.

I developed a program for chiropractors, titled “16 Reasons Referrals Programs FAIL.” When I coached Tony Robbins he had me change this to a more positive title for his followers, but I like the one I have because I find that the ineffectiveness is more about what chiropractors are doing wrong than right. (Don’t worry, we also teach “16 Ways To Double Referrals.”)

So how is your referral process? Do you have a “system” or systems in place that is CONSISTENTLY followed by you, and other clinicians? If not, you likely have an opportunity to easily implement a system that can add 25%-100% more referral patients in 30 days or less.

3 Ways To Turbo-Charge Referrals

I don’t have time to cover all 16 methods here, but I want to give you 3 simple ways you can immediately start adding more referral patients.

1) Ditch The Bulk Referral Letters or Emails – They simply don’t work very well. You see, getting referrals is all about relationships and trust, and you cannot achieve that in bulk email requests. It feels so impersonal, doesn’t it? Plus, the timing of such mailings is dead wrong.

2) The Power of Timing – Perhaps the #1 mistake chiropractors make is asking for referrals at the wrong time. As an example, after the first or second visit many patients feel worse or no better yet…clearly bad timing. Same with a month or two or six after they complete care…they either forget the improvements you helped them make or they may be experiencing the same pain again. More bad timing.

I teach a concept called Peak Referral State™. The premise is that it is critical to ask for a referral when the patient is in a peak state of satisfaction about their care.

The RIGHT TIME to ask for a referral is when the patient shares a story about how they have made a breakthrough…played with kids for first time in months, or played golf without pain or were able to go back to work. You get the point. Asking for the referral at the time they are most excited about how you have helped transform their lives is the strike zone. Miss this opportunity and you will miss out on 25% or more of potential referrals.

Obviously HOW you ask for a referral is important as well. Asking for referrals at any other time than the Peak Referral State often leads to that uncomfortable, awkward and sometimes embarrassing interaction with a patient who clearly is put off by the request. I will share more on HOW to ask in future article.

And one more thing, try to avoid using the “R” word. It is in fact viewed as a four letter word that many people have a major issue with, causing discomfort and a feeling of being put on the spot.

3) Understand That There Are Two Types of Referring Patients – Most chiropractic practices rely on “word of mouth” referrals. Now this is great, and the methods we teach can boost word-of-mouth referrals considerably, but relying only on these type of referrals ensures you miss out on more than half your potential referrals.

To illustrate, my wife has a close friend named Trish. Trish is a “Word of Mouth” referral person. If we are talking about getting a procedure done she has the best doctor…getting gutters cleaned…she has a guy…planning a romantic dinner, she has the perfect place. And the list goes on. Trish likes to share the businesses she likes with friends and openly offers to do so. Just like X% of your really happy patients do now…the Word of Mouth’rs. They are part of a PASSIVE Referral Process.Doc N Roll

In contrast, my wife will gladly refer people she trusts IF ASKED. Trish could be talking about needing to get her gutters cleaned and my wife would not say anything unless Trish asked her, “Who do you use to clean your gutters and are you happy?” We refer to a process of intentionally asking patients for referrals as an ACTIVE Referral Process…and adding systems to ensure it is followed consistently will significantly increase referral patients.

It is all about implementation and therefore, get with your staff and discuss how you can incorporate these three simple techniques into your practice to significantly increase referral patients and your income as well.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where we’ll discuss Creating Patients For Life.

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