What Do People See When they See You?

I’ve been interviewing landscapers for a yard clean up the last few weeks.    Some of my thoughts made me wonder which landscaper I was most like when I was marketing my acupuncture practice.

First, I had a very confident man.  I understood him. He took the time to make sure he and I were on the same page about exactly what I wanted.  Sometimes I really didn’t know the answer and he gave me options and his opinions.    If I didn’t have to consult with my husband and get other bids, I’d have hired him right there.   He knew his work.  He was nice.  He cared about what I wanted.

Second, I interviewed a lower cost woman.  I found her name on a flyer and decided to call.   She was late to the meeting and didn’t let me know she would be that late.   She wandered around my yard and gave me a figure I thought was lower than it should have been and said I could get the bark mulch on my own as it was cheaper for me that way.  She didn’t know how much I should get.  She had no way of knowing.    I allowed her to leave thinking to myself that if she had no way of knowing how much bark, how could she price out an estimate on my yard.  I easily crossed her off my list.

Third I had a very nice man with a very thick accent.  I liked him.  He talked very knowledgeably and enthusiastically.  I was certain he knew what he was doing but I wasn’t sure he understood me, nor was I convinced I understood him.   His price was also a little low but not so low as the other person.   If I knew I could understand him, I’d have hired him. Unfortunately language was a barrier.   How often to acupuncture clients worry that they don’t speak the language of acupuncture and maybe chose another path?  Are we really communicating with them?

Finally, I had a man referred by a neighbor.  He worked for her.   His price was good.   He seemed to understand me, if not as well as the first man.  His price was within the budget my husband wanted to stay within.    He will probably be the person we chose, although like people everywhere wishing they could afford something a little higher end, I’d love to have higher the first man.

Who was I?  Was I the earnest man that wasn’t understood?  Was I the woman who priced things so low and said I don’t know too easily?  Was I the person who was  priced out of range?   I was probably each of them at certain points in my career for certain customers.   Did I pick the best landscaper?  I don’t know.  I picked the one who seemed to fit my needs at the time.  Maybe I’ll be loyal to him if he really does understand me and keeps me happy.   In many ways, marketing an acupuncture practice isn’t so different from that.

Staying in Touch

As I work on marketing my artwork, one frustration I have about the online sites is that I have no way to touch bases with my buyers.   I’ve been considering building my own site to publish the work but with the print on demand sites like Zazzle offering a good level of service, it’s hard to consider branching out into an area that I don’t particularly want to explore.

I do know that it never seemed as important to me to keep in touch with my patients.   I think this was something I overlooked.  It’s easy to see patients regularly and keep in touch with those who stay with you and come back naturally. Maybe all you need is to send a birthday card reminder.  Others need regular reminders.   Regular reminders are great for those people who have you on their list of things to do but just haven’t made the commitment.  These are the people who “are gonna” come in but don’t.

If you treat me, I might be one of them!   I have a lot of “I’m gonna’s”.  I don’t do my “I’m gonnas” mostly because there is something else in front of me demanding my attention.  It might be fear that I don’t have enough money, although I know if I commit I will.  I might not feel I have enough time, even if it is about my health. I might think that I’ll do it after I finish some other work or change my schedule but that could take me months.  Will I still remember to schedule acupuncture after that long?

Stay in touch with patients.    Keep regular reminders, through email lists, through regular mail lists, reminder cards, birthday and holiday cards and even regular newsletters.  Keep in touch with your patients some how so that even after their treatment is done, they think of you when they have other health issues.  I think we would all be surprised at how frequently they call us back.