As a practitioner, you might not always feel comfortable tooting your own horn, but if you are also a business owner, then it bears repeating that an essential part of the care and feeding of your company is reminding people about the products you sell and the services you provide.
I have found that most people, because they are generally nice, polite and well-mannered, especially in O&P, don’t want to be perceived as annoying. But do you know what is really annoying? Assuming you are so important and memorable, that a customer, referral source, client, or prospective patient only needs to hear or read about you once and they will commit you to memory. “You” means you, your staff, your business, business name, location, contact information, services and products.
It is quite arrogant to assume people have nothing better to do than think about how they can help us be more successful by:
- becoming a customer;
- referring other customers;
- utilizing all or more of our products and services;
- reminding others to utilize all or more of our products and services.
Even your mother, who loves you more than anyone, forgets about you sometimes. We have all had our Stewie, from “Family Guy:” “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Mama, Ma, Ma, Ma, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy.” If your own mother needs to be reminded, your target markets certainly do.
I have an anecdote that I use in my presentations sometimes from when I worked in a patient care facility. I always catch a few people nodding — nodding in agreement, not nodding off. A long-time prosthetic patient of ours came in with his wife, who always accompanied him on his appointments. She was wearing a lumbar sacral orthosis. And it wasn’t one of ours.
I asked them why she was wearing it and where she got it. “You know we do bracing, too; you should have come here,” I said.
Their response, of course, was that the doctor had given them a prescription and told them where to go and that they didn’t know they could get it from us.
What an eye-opening experience. I assumed, arrogantly, that all that time sitting in the waiting room surrounded by people wearing not just prostheses but also every kind of orthosis, they would have noticed that we provided orthotic services.
I was wrong. The patient’s focus was on his care and to be perfectly fair, we didn’t market our other services to our existing customers. Do you?
Perhaps that was because we didn’t want to seem too heavy-handed or pushy. Perhaps we didn’t want to appear greedy. Or we wanted to seem nice. It may have felt uncomfortable for us to toot our own horn, even if we could provide a service his wife could truly benefit from.
Take a survey
But that is the first thing you should think of, when you look at your existing customers and anyone else who comes to your office: Can you provide them with a product or service they can benefit from? That can improve their health and well-being? Take yourself and the benefit you may get out of the equation altogether, and you may find it easier to remind your patients about all the services you offer.
Try taking a survey, formally or informally, of your existing customers. Do they know what else you do other than the service or product they are currently receiving from you?
If not, it might be a good time to start repeating yourself.