Is your diary looking a bit limp? Diary death is a real thing- you may have also heard it called desert-diary, where your week is more barren than the Sahara (except for the occasional tumbleweed) … This does happen occasionally even to the most successful clinics and it’s always useful to be aware of practical solutions to overcome the sudden sick feeling of an empty diary with only a few sporadic bookings.
WARNING: Our practical steps are NOT quick fixes but part of an organic process for growing a successful clinic that will help you keep your clinic flowing with patients. Which is what you want, right?
Mind-set and motivation
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou, Author and Poet
You may feel worried, nervous about the phone not ringing, confused why your diary isn’t busy, or feeling like the world has conspired against you to give up and quit. Don’t disappear, what matters most at times like these is developing your positive mindset. You are not a failure. Nor are you a bad practitioner.
Utilise this free diary time to do something constructive, even if it’s going out into the community and having a chat with the local family owned business down the road. Whilst no one wants to admits when things are a bit shit, it happens to us all- regardless of what your colleagues and contemporaries might put on Facebook.
Let’s talk Freebies!
Remember- Free does not equal freedom.
When the diary is looking empty, it’s tempting to launch a campaign and heavily discount your prices to get people through the door. My advice to you- Don’t devalue yourself with freebie overload, I understand you may need to get out there and offer a little free stuff to entice but no one buys the cow after having their fill of milk. You are worth being paid for your work after investing your time, money, and energy into your education.
Say it to yourself “I deserve to be paid for the work I do.”
If, like so many of us, you lack the self-confidence to charge what you’re actually worth, repeat after me “I deserve to be paid for the work I do.”
Now, I get it- it’s tricky not to panic and it’s hard to hold out for full-paying patients. The temptation to offer a sneaky freebie is always going to be there, and sometimes it’s probably worth doing a short-term promotion of something small here or there to entice people in… What I’m talking about is giving your services away for free. Nada. Nil. Diddly squat. You may get quantity, but you won’t get quality- and as anyone in marketing knows, it’s about creating a database of engaged subscribers who value what you do. The majority of the bargain-hunters simply won’t.
When the diary looks bare, that’s your time to get busy. Don’t get busy selling yourself short, get busy with money-making activities. (We have a golden mantra in our house- do the money-making activity first, then worry about the dishes/laundry…)
Practical marketing techniques and solutions to overcome desert diary
Referrals and testimonials
Firstly start by thinking about where and how you attracted your past clients – write it down as it may prompt action. Then consider whether they have all referred at least two patients to you – why not? Go on, ask them! They should be your biggest fans, so make them work for you. Encourage them to refer their friends and family and thank them when they do! Don’t forget about your friends, family and colleagues – have they referred anyone to you? Have you refer anyone to them if applicable (it worked both ways!).
Do you have a testimonial from each of them? The power of social media means social proof (in the form of testimonials from contemporaries) is vital to the growth of your business and you should be aiming to get a testimonial from every patient who comes through your door.
If you gain an understanding of what has worked in the past in conjunction with who your client base are then you just need to do what you did, again and again. Then do it again. And again. Try other things occasionally because you could always be missing something and things change but as they say on the market stalls ‘smell what sells’, then buy more of it and sell it again. Apply this process to your marketing and you will see results.
Organise your business, and remove pesky barriers
Is everything up to date? Do all your online and offline listings and contact details all say the same phone number and address? Bonus: During this process you may find a free online listing somewhere so even more people can find your clinic. Can people contact you easily and book in quickly with limited barriers. By a barrier I mean having to leave you/reception a voicemail to book in with you and have to wait till you are available to call them back. Online booking systems and a great reception team are a fool proof way to avoid barriers to booking. Make sure everyone is on the same page and understand about your preferred patient journey. Talk to your staff and ask them how they would like to be treated if they were patient – if you really want to get objective advice find someone to be a mystery shopper and feedback constructive improvements to you (make sure you are ready to hear this or it’ll go in one ear and out the other).
Networking the good old fashioned way
Are your leaflet or business cards physically out in your community or are they gathering dust in your drawer? You’ve paid good money for these cards so why not put them to work (along with your brilliant smile and witty banter). Get out there and talk to people, cafes/pubs, libraries, builders, dentists, pharmacies (and even betting shops!) and so on… You never know who will refer to you or who keeps meaning to book an appointment with you- Remind them you are there and want to help. Do not take people or businesses for granted, everyone you speak to will know at least 50 other people in your local area where they live or work so utilise their connections and make each one of them feel special so they want to refer to you.
Grow your clinic organically
It’s not hard, but it is a slow process so keep in mind that growing your practice is an organic thing and you are not selling a quick fix – you’re in the same boat as me! I’m not in the habit of selling hard, or giving too many freebies so that I can grow my reputation as a professional business woman who doesn’t give out quick fixes that’ll fail in two weeks time.
Find out more about coaching and how it can help you retrain your mindset and make you more able to accomplish your goals in life, no matter how big or small. For a quick taste of what we can do – download our goal setting matrix.