In Part 1 of The Best Way to Guarantee Present & Future Chiropractic Success we talked about the importance of recognizing the “report cards” that patients use to grade your service, refer others and trust you, as their doctor.

In this next installment, we will explore how to recognize when you have become a trusted advisor and how to cultivate these relationships to stimulate referrals.

How to Recognize When You Have Become a Trusted Advisor

Your patient begins his or her questions with:
What do you think about…
What do you know about…
Do you know anybody that…
I’m looking for…
I’m trying to find…

Here’s why getting to “trusted advisor status” is so important: To become a trusted advisor, you not only need to help patients (after all, they come with a problem and want it fixed!) you also need to have good grades on all the above!  In other words, if there is an area that is sorely lacking, you will not achieve trusted advisor status.  After all, if you can help them, but your staff is rude, patients will leave (and vice versa).

The other MAJOR reason you should analyze your “report card” and strive for trusted advisor status: you get rid of the competition!  Not only will your patients trust you for their chiropractic care (as opposed to another DC), they will place their trust (and dollars) in your solutions, your services, your approach before anyone else who has not achieve the same level of trust.  And in most patient’s eyes, there are few providers of any type who earn that.

Hallmark doesn’t make a card for this type of thank you and schools don’t issue report cards that evaluate these important criteria.  But in your practice, this should be a primary concern, if you are to remain a vital business in your patient’s lives.  In this economy, where people are looking to trim expenses, you want to be someone who is an indispensable resource and an economical solution for their problems, not an optional luxury.

How to Cultivate Your Advisor Status

Once you have achieved or are nearing trusted advisor status, you need to cultivate this fertile soil to help your business grown.  There are three basic ways to do this.

1.)  Don’t Abuse Your Status:  This may seem like common sense, but apparently this type of sense is either not so common or few chiropractors achieve trusted advisor status.  Either way, that’s bad news.  The most obvious way to abuse your status is to put your best interests ahead of your patients.  There are numerous ways to goof this.  Creative billing certainly qualifies. Selling MLM edible laundry soap infused with rare Australian goji berries is probably a good way to lose trust.  “Counseling” your recently separated patient over wine and a candlelight dinner is a fast track to short circuiting your trusted advisor status (and to getting your licensed yanked).

2.)  Advise!  Yes, to be a trusted advisor you actually have to give (good) advice so don’t play defense here – advise!  Tell the truth and give your patient straightforward recommendations even if they are NOT in your best interest.  In other words, if you need to refer them out, do it.  If you have to tell the patient that their condition is not fixable, reversible or remotely within your scope of practice, then do it.  And, by all means, when their problems hit your area of expertise, give them a 100% solid plan for what they can do and they will appreciate you for it!

3.)  Toot Your Own Horn. One interesting, almost counter-intuitive principle to becoming a trusted advisor is the willingness to toot your own horn.  You can soften it and say that you are willing to take credit where it’s due, but the principle is the same.  Find any famous “guru,” advisor, celebrity author or – for that matter, any celebrity and you will notice that the massive PR that comes their way started with them.  They possess confidence in their abilities and aren’t afraid to tell people about themselves.  Sometimes they even make up their own titles and brand themselves.  Contrast that with the vast number of excellent practitioners of all types (DC’s include) who are brilliant at their craft but labor in relative obscurity because they are too proud, too shy or too inept to market themselves.    Sadly, you already missed the Toot Your Own Horn expo in Dubuque so you’ll just have to work up the muster to say some nice things about your work. If you don’t toot your own horn, it’s likely nobody else will follow.

Stay tuned for the final installment (Part 3), where we will discuss how to use your advisor status to bring in maximum referrals and make the leap to the point where you are no longer just a chiropractor!