How To Get and Retain More Patients By Giving Them What They Really Need

By Dr. Jamey Schrier, founder of Practice Freedom U

Do you know what your patients really want? Be careful: the answer probably isn’t what you think it is.

Until we learn how to think in terms of what our patients REALLY need from us, we can’t understand what’s bringing them to PT in the first place, let alone how to get more patients to our clinic.

Why are your patients coming to see YOU?

Knowing how to answer that question is more important for getting more patients and boosting patient retention than any marketing strategy, any clinical technique, or additional certification. It’s the key to get more patients into your practice, connecting with current physical therapy patients, and keeping them coming back.

So, how do you know what your physical therapy patients’ needs really are? It starts by going inside their minds to understand a couple of things:


Why Do People Need Physical Therapy?

I have a question for you. Why do people seek out a physical therapist? Why do we need physical therapy? I want to spend a few minutes today talking to you about this because having a perspective around this can really help in many aspects of your business, especially in marketing and understanding how to get more patients in your clinic. Some of the things that we think people want are really based on our own beliefs and our own biases of what we think people want. But they're simply not true. For instance, I bet that if it was up to you, you wouldn't go see a surgeon to have surgery, just because. Right? It doesn't make any sense. Why would you see a surgeon?

No, the reason you see a surgeon to have surgery is to get something you want. It's not the surgery itself. The reason that people come to see you is not because of a particular technique. It's not because they want to get poked with needles, or stretched, or go on machines and get moved and all that. It's not any of those things. If it was up to us, we wouldn't do any of that, but the reason they're seeing you and why people need physical therapy is because there is a solution. There's a goal. There's something that they want to achieve and what they hope is that you and your knowledge and your skills can help them achieve it. So, why is this so important and how does it help you get more patients in your practice--because it sounds really obvious, right?

Well, sometimes in the course of patient recruitment and retention we get caught in trying to persuade or sell people on a particular technique that we do, or how much education we have or special certifications we have, and that's nice--but that's not what you want to lead with to get more patients because ultimately people want to know: Why do people need physical therapy? Why should I go to see you? Are you going to help me get what I want? If I'm a basketball player and I'm unable to play basketball because I have an ankle or a knee, or a hip injury, what do I want? I want to return to play basketball, and there are lots of possibilities that will help me return to play basketball so what I'm interested in is, can you help me return to play basketball? Now, if the answer is yes then, of course, you'll have your way of doing it. You'll have your methodology or your system in how you do it. You'll evaluate them and then depending on your expertise you'll apply some different things that you've learned, but that's all secondary.

The primary thing to understand, and how this can get new patients in a physical therapy office is, can you help return someone to what they want? They want to know the answer to “why do you need physical therapy?” So, if you can prove to them that physical therapy is the key to getting back to a previous, healthy state, and if they trust you and believe that you have the credibility to do it – maybe you've helped other people, so there's other social proof or testimonials – then you’ll get more patients in your practice. You’ll also have even better patient retention. Too many times what I see people doing in terms of patient recruitment and retention is promoting all of the what's called features of their business. They're promoting the hours they have. They're promoting the particular certification or techniques they have, but without answering the first two questions--why do we need physical therapy? Can you help me get what I want? -- the third question and the fourth and the fifth really don't make a lot of sense.

So, it's something to think about. It's something to consider when trying to figure out how to get more physical therapy patients. It's something to apply to your website or what you talk about when you talk to different people in your community. Are you making sure that you're explaining to them and answering the question, what can you do to help me get where I want to go? And if you can do that, and you can build that trust and that likability, then you're going to get a lot more patients into your practice and consequently increase patient retention.

Understanding how to communicate with people about their needs is one of the most fundamental ways to get more patients into your practice and keep them coming back. For more proven strategies of how to get more patients to your clinic and elevate your bottom line, download my free guide, 3 Simple Things That Will Get You More Patients and Make You More Money Right Now.

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