I got a call the other day from a friend who works on the sales side of O&P. The friend had an interesting anecdote. Turns out, the company my friend works for had received an unsolicited testimonial regarding a component they sell and the happy customer/patient wanted to know if he would be able to “be active, like the guy on Dancing With the Stars?”
The sales-friend was taken aback. The patient’s prosthetist is a well-known and respected practitioner who is qualified, skilled and caring. The patient using their component was certainly physically able to be just as active as Noah Galloway, the double amputee who finished in third place on the show. My friend’s first thought was, “Why are they asking us and not their prosthetist?”
Share the possibilities
It is so important to market to your existing customers. By “market” I mean, of course, let them know what services you provide, what products and services are available, and what your other patients are up to. It is also important to regularly solicit feedback. I wonder if the patient who yearned to do more only realized that it was possible after watching Galloway on Dancing With the Stars?
Your current customers — referral sources, customers, patients, family and friends — are as close to a captive audience as you can get. Whether they are physically visiting your office or you are providing them with written or digital communications, they are most likely receptive and interested in information you can share. For any business to grow, it needs new customers but it also needs its existing customers to remain and to stay happy and satisfied.
If the yearning patient happens across information, through word-of-mouth or marketing materials for another practitioner that they feel offers them something they have not been able to get from you — even if it is as simple as encouragement to pursue their dreams — more than likely they will be a lost customer. People like to feel like they belong. They like to feel understood. Sharing testimonials from a wide range of patients with the rest of your patients is an excellent way of marketing to your existing customers.
I am a big fan of using short, sweet, “in their own words” types of testimonials in marketing materials. Facebook, websites, Instagram and newsletters are where you want to use these accolades. It is content you do not need to create yourself. It is more authentic. What is more effective? “We provide our patients with the highest quality orthotic and prosthetic devices,” or “My prosthetist, J.P., worked with me every single day after school until I was confident enough with my running leg to try out for the track team.”
Toot your own horn
A lot of people in health care professions are in them because they want to help people, to make their lives better. They are uncomfortable doing what they feel is bragging or boasting. “I am just doing my job” is their response when someone thanks them for changing their life for the better.
As my grandfather would say, “Let’s get off that kick!” You need to work harder at letting your existing customers know how you can make their lives, and the lives of their friends and relatives, even better. Take an active role in communicating your successes to your captive audience and have them help you grow your business.
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- Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions and the Vice President of Clinical Education Concepts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.