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October, 2015

Converting Massage Clients to Chiropractic Care: Success Principles

By Perry M. Bard, DC

In baseball, a successful pitcher usually has a repertoire of pitches: fastball, curveball, slider, change-up, etc. But the ability to know what pitch to throw and when to throw it can determine the difference between failure and success.

The same is true in practice. If you rely strictly on "one pitch," as you well know, your patients may not always follow your prescribed plan of care. This is particularly true if your practice offers massage services, as an increasing number of chiropractic clinics do. In fact, these days, many practices offer stand-alone massage services that allow interested parties to book a massage independent of chiropractic care. That's great, but as a DC, you recognize the practice and health value of converting them to chiropractic patients as well.

building - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark How can you do it? To ensure conversion success – or at least to increase your percentage of stand-alone massage clients who convert to "actual" chiropractic patients – you must develop and enhance your own repertoire of massage communication, management and processing "pitches."

Clear, Concise Messaging

If you compare five different dentists, podiatrists, etc., generally speaking, they are fairly similar with respect to the services provided. Now visit five different chiropractors. As a chiropractor with 28 years of practice experience, I still find it amazing that some provide therapy, but others don't. Some provide diagnostics; some don't. Some provide lab testing; some don't. Some utilize Gonstead or Thompson, diversified or upper cervical treatment techniques; some don't. You get the point. Now factor in decompression, laser, nutrition and orthotics, and you can see that from a new patient's perspective, it could be a bit confusing.

Successful conversion is based upon a clear, concise, congruent message as to how massage services are provided within your clinic, be it a stand-alone service or part of a prescribed chiropractic treatment plan. And unlike other ongoing advertising and marketing programs in your office, recognizing how the massage client ended up in your office is key.When it comes to conversion, here is the general rule: The further a service is away from chiropractic care (e.g., laser hair removal), the lower the conversion rate; the closer a service is to chiropractic, care (e.g., decompression), the higher the conversion rate. So, where does massage factor in regarding conversion rates to chiropractic?

By most opinions, it is in the middle. The bad news is, you won't convert every massage client to chiropractic care. But the good news is, you don't have to convert every massage client. What you have to do is make it a great experience for everyone who comes to your office. Here are 10 simple conversion success rules to enhance that process.

10 Conversion Principles

  1. Professional massage marketing works just as effectively as any type of marketing you utilize. In my experience, the response rate is always at least five times greater than the marketing of other chiropractic services.
  2. Always refer to the receiver of massage services as a "client" at first. The reality is they may only receive massage under your roof and may never actually become a chiropractic "patient." To become a patient, they must be evaluated to determine if they meet medical necessity and then receive treatment.
  3. No massage client should ever feel as if they were "marketed" to come to your office for massage, only to be "switched" or "steered" into other services on that date of service. Remember, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
  4. If you run a busy clinic and are being the best chiropractor you can be, then let your massage therapy department have all the proper tools, scripts, systems and more as you create a "no pressure" clinical and spa environment for the massage client to utilize other services you provide.
  5. Timing is key. I recommend that the doctor never meet the massage client until after the initial massage session.
  6. Proper follow-up enhances your conversions. I always follow up with a phone call, a handwritten card and a templated, approved auto-responder series of emails.
  7. The massage center in your office must look, feel and smell like a first-class, stand-alone massage experience. It must be private, warm, welcoming and professional. My massage center was professionally built and decorated, and actually has a Starbucks vibe to it with regards to colors, lighting, décor, etc.
  8. When you have great massage therapists, they should be paid well and eventually be given a chance to grow with the center. My massage therapists are trained to handle everything from the therapy session to the financial plans, to scheduling and more.
  9. The first thing you, the doctor, should say to the massage client after their massage is always, "Hi Ms. (name of client), a pleasure to meet you. I'm Dr. (your name). I just wanted to stop by quickly to say hi and to see how your massage with (massage therapist's name) went today." From that point, refer to your scripting, if indicated.
  10. Massage therapists have a higher conversion rate or allow you to have a higher conversion rate for returning massage services (as well as chiropractic services). These are the therapists who should receive the lion's share of future new massage clients and be compensated accordingly.

Maximizing the hidden potential of your massage services relies on a simple formula: Start running what I call the "Can Do" practice. Raise Curiosity, Awareness, Need and Degree of massage details to create better Opportunities for conversion. So, what are you waiting for? Converting massage clients to chiropractic patients can improve all areas of your practice operations – not to mention your ever-so-important bottom line.

Editor's Note: Read Dr. Bard's 2008 article, "The Golden Rules of Massage Marketing in a Chiropractic Office" (Nov. 18 issue) to learn how expand your chiropractic practice to include massage services.

Dr. Perry Bard, a 1986 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, has treated members of the Professional Golfers Association, U.S. Tennis Association, Major League Baseball and U.S. Powerlifting Association. He is president of Health-1st New Patient Systems Marketing and Palm Beach Massage Centers, Inc. For questions or comments regarding this article, contact Dr. Bard at .

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