by Dr. Tania Howard | Featured Contributor
Okay, okay. I’m lying, but only about the 3.5 seconds. It was more like 3.5 months until I was seeing 250+ patients each and every week in my new chiropractic office.
The biggest challenge for new business owners – and though I am a practicing physician, I am most certainly a business owner as well – is getting new clientele. Especially with an advertising and PR budget of ZERO. Hello, student loans!
What I lacked in financial resources, I made up for in time and enthusiasm. You see, if you have a great product or service, all you need to do is let people know who you are and what you can offer them, and they will come to you.
Yes, just like in the movies. Field of Dreams, to be exact.
Want to know how I built one of the most successful practices in my area in such a short time with so few resources? I’ll tell you, but only if you are willing to get out of your comfort zone, because you know – your life begins where your comfort zone ends. I didn’t make that up, but I do live by it, and you should, too.
Here it is.
I had 5000 business cards and coordinating note cards printed up. No fancy logos, no graphic artist need apply. Just your run-of-the-mill, Office Depot/Vistaprint variety. Then, every day I handed out about 50 cards to local businesses and individuals. That’s not as easy as you think, by the way.
I drew a circle on a map, with a 5-mile radius from my office. I visited every business, restaurant, retail store, school and gym within that circle, and chatted up everyone from owners and teachers, to janitors and personal trainers.
Here’s where it gets good. In addition to telling them who I was and what I did, I asked for one of their cards in return. Once I left, I’d quickly jot down something interesting about them like, “getting married in a month”, “has 6 children”, or “training for a triathlon”.
When I got back to my office, I’d take my pile of cards and write each and every person that I met a personal note, along the lines of:
It was so nice meeting you today! Thanks for taking the time to show me your gym. I’m hoping to try one of your yoga classes soon. I bet with 6 kids, you need yoga more than anyone!
If you’d ever like more information on how chiropractic can enhance your health, I hope you’ll free to call on me.
Have a great day,
– Dr. Tania”
I’d enclose a few business cards and maybe an educational pamphlet. Additionally, I would ask each person if I could add them to my mailing list, to be kept informed of special offers and news. Most said yes.
That ongoing exercise was enough to get a great flow of new people into my office. Whether the folks I met became patients or not, they kept referring people to me, even years later. But I was hungry to serve more people, as well as pay off my educational debt ASAP, so I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone even further.
That mailing list that I accrued? I invited a bunch of those folks to bring a guest to dinner at a local restaurant. They were told up-front that I’d be presenting a 15-minute health talk while they settled in and had their salads, and then they’d be free to enjoy dinner with their guest. I’d be around to answer any questions they had of course, and I also brought my appointment book.
Guess what happened?
Half of the 30 people that showed up for dinner made new patient appointments, and 75% of them kept their appointments and became long-term patients. It was so successful that I held these dinner talks once a month until I was so busy seeing patients that I didn’t have the time to organize them anymore. That was kinda the point though, wasn’t it?
Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or have had your own business for years, being in the business of building relationships is the fuel that will propel you into greater successes than you can ever imagine.
Are you coming along for the ride? I sure hope so.
Dr. Tania Howard – Health and Wellness Guru – www.drtania.com Annapolis, MD
Dr. Tania decided to become a chiropractor at age 15 when she experienced a complete metamorphosis in her health through chiropractic. She completed her undergraduate work at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and doctorate at Life Chiropractic College in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founding partner of Broadneck Family Chiropractic, where she has practiced for over 20 years with two amazing partners who make it possible for her to take her message ‘on the road’.
Hollywood called, and she enjoys providing care on movie sets and behind the scenes at live performances. She’s been profiled in Washington Post Magazine and many trade publications, and has done extensive postgraduate work in prenatal and pediatric chiropractic, nutrition, exercise, and family wellness. A chiropractic lifestyle has helped her to stay fit enough to become a triathlete at the age of 40! She lives in Maryland with her three true loves, husband Braden and daughters Francesca and Julia.
The advice and guidance Dr. Tania has given her patients has been written, filmed, and boiled down to be informative, yet entertaining. There is a LOT of good health information available online, but most of it is, excuse us, BORING! Conversely, there are so many entertaining lifestyle bloggers to enjoy, but few, if any, have any healthcare credentials. She fancies herself a “Dr. Oz meets Bethenny Frankel” hybrid, and it’s our intention that Drtania.com will bring good, solid health and wellness advice from an “every girl” perspective, to it’s readers.