The Marketing Fundamentals
In this extract from my New Patient Avalanche Book I’m going to help you with some marketing strategy and context.
I find that a big mistake many people make in marketing is that they rush straight into specific marketing activity without understanding how it all fits together.
I’ll start by telling you about the first marketing conference I ever went to. I was about 25 and I flew all the way to the USA to listen to a guy I’ll mention several times, because he’s really been a big influence on me, and that’s Dan Kennedy.
There were a thousand people in the room and he said, “Where are my chiropractors, dentists, doctors and physiotherapists?” We put up our hands and he said, “I just want to tell you all that you are all the absolute worst to work with. Just nightmares.”
And I was like, “Dude, I’ve just flown all the way from the UK to sit in this room. I’ve spent thousands of dollars doing this within my first year of practice. Are you serious?”
But what he was alluding to is that we struggle with the word “marketing,” we struggle with the word “sales.”
So, I really want you to understand that marketing is really just helping people find you and helping them come to a decision to use your service faster than they would normally left to their own devices.
That’s all it is, just a process of helping people. The first stage is helping prospects to become aware of you. The next stage is helping them to make a decision to use your product faster than they would normally, by making a series of micro-commitments.
That’s all marketing is. You just assume that they were all going to use your product or service anyway but left to their own devices it would take them, say 5 years to find you – or more likely they will find someone else first.
Ultimately, they are probably going to use someone to solve the problem they have. Your job is just to speed up the process between then fumbling around looking for someone and finding you.
This sentence I’m going to teach you now without a doubt changed my life. This is really the basis of this book and most of the things I do in life are already based on it. Here it is: “You will always influence or help more people by mastering the marketing and/or teaching of the thing as opposed to just the doing of the thing.”
I learned that from Dan Kennedy and the reason he said we’re all a nightmare to work with is because as chiropractors we spend the majority of our time doing the thing, in this case adjusting and not spending enough time also working on becoming great marketers.
Of course, doing the thing i.e. adjusting is important, but you will always influence and help more people by mastering the marketing or the teaching of the thing as opposed to just the doing of the thing.
Now I don’t really see a difference between marketing and teaching. As you know, the definition of doctor is teacher. So that’s all I think I’m doing when I’m marketing. Every success I’ve had is because I marketed hard enough and taught enough. At my former practices, that was one of our slogans – ‘train our way to success’. So, training, teaching, marketing – they are really all the same.
In order to succeed in marketing, we need to change our mindset and act differently. In his fantastic book “Trust-Based Marketing,” Dan Kennedy talks about some of the reasons why marketers fail, or businesses fail. This is a very, very important list.
Number one, unreasonable expectation regarding the necessary investment in customer acquisition. The keyword is necessary investment. How do you know how much you can invest?
The next one on the list is inadequate preparation for sales appointments and presentations. Are you winging it? How many times have you walked into a Report of Findings and you haven’t looked at the new client notes, you’re not familiar with what’s going on? You haven’t had enough time to prep those x rays.
Maybe you’ve had a challenging client just before you walked into a report of findings but you haven’t taken the time to get into a new state to make sure you’re ready for that client to serve them and be present with them.
Next is acting on assumptions. For example, if I ask my marketing team, “How did that campaign go?” they know the worst thing they can say to me is, “It was good.”
Because “good” is not an answer. That’s an assumption.
So, acting on assumptions rather than connecting verified facts and information is a cause of failure.
The next problem is hastily creating advertising without research, tested and proven models or copywriting skills (developed or purchased). I really want to stress that I have short-cut almost everything in this whole process of marketing because I bought in the knowledge wherever I could and it’s certainly something that people don’t do enough of.
These are clearly general points that apply to any business, so I created my own list of why chiropractors are struggling to market themselves.
Number one on my list is overwhelm. I already spoke about that in-depth, but it’s a huge problem.
For example, looking at that marketing calendar I mentioned, and I know I’m harping on about this, I beat myself up for a while going, “Well, I’m pretty good at marketing, but I’m not doing half the stuff.”
If I did that, then I am pretty sure you’re doing it. The next thing for me is practices don’t understand what they can and need to spend to acquire a new patient. The keyword is “can” not so much need.
Next is a lack of consistency. I’m telling you, you’re going to go through this book and there are one or two strategies where you’re going to go, “I’m aware of that. I’ve done that. I did that pretty well. Why am I not doing it anymore?”
It’s one of those things, you got bored. But I’m telling you, if you’re OK with having an unsexy business, then I’m the right person for you because I’m very good at being consistent.
The secret to success is just to show up. I tell my clients all time, I’m not very good at much. I just out show-up, most people. Next, most people don’t measure what they do so they don’t know what they’re doing.
The next one is not enough client acquisition channels, which I’ll help you with. You cannot have one. It’s too stressful. Lacking adequate retention or conversion. That’s not really within the remit of this book but it’s big. It costs 8 to 10 times more to get a new client as opposed to keeping one or reactivating one.
Now here’s the big one. People don’t invest in ongoing mentorship. I truly believe this. There’s some magic that happens just by you believing in yourself to invest in yourself. At any one time, I’m part of three or four masterminds. People who do one-on-one work with me know it’s pretty expensive. But I always feel very congruent when I tell someone how much I charge because I know that I pay way more than that.
Honestly all human beings are simply poor performers left entirely to their own devices. I need the right people around me that will keep me accountable. As Tony Robbins very correctly says, “environment is always stronger than willpower”.
The single biggest challenge with working with chiropractors when it comes to marketing that Dan Kennedy mentioned is the self-imposed fear from peer to peer judgments.
That’s what he alluded to when he said we were terrible to work with because first, we don’t like the words sales and marketing. But the other thing he said was, “You’re so scared of what other people think of you, especially our fellow chiropractors.”
We’ve all been there and I’m not immune to it either. I was sitting in a conference once and I heard this line and literally, every time I have any fear of implementation or doing something… and I do am afraid often, I’m not immune to it… this single line always helps me just take action and do it.
If you want to be good at this thing called business and marketing, you have to understand this one thing. The person that is prepared to look stupid in public more often than his competitors will win.
I never forget hearing Richard Branson at an event once say, “If you’re going to be in this thing called business or this marketing world, you have to be very OK with the fact that you’re going to end up with a lot of egg on your face. And, the more egg on your face, probably the more successful you’ll end up.”
I’m not saying that you purposefully go out there to look stupid, but just keep in mind that one line because, I’m not going to lie, you’re going to mess up. But if you’ve got the right attitude and you have the right support around you, you’ll laugh about it.
It will always be bragging rights as to who messed up the most. “Oh, my word, what an idiot! I forgot to put the telephone number on 5,000 sheets that went out,” but there’s no other way to learn.
I promise you, that when your surrounded by the right people who are action takers and high achievers, it will be a competition of who messed up the most, a kind of bragging right. Within the right context, if you are messing up a lot, that means you’re taking a lot of action, and probably that you’re on the right path.