Who Do You Want to Be, a Mentor or Marketer
Ask yourself: Who do you want to be, a mentor or marketer? What do you want to be doing, mentoring or marketing?
Mentoring > Marketing
Here’s why I believe you will be happier and more successful in your practice (and life) if you decide to do the work and mentor your UPstream market over marketing to the mainstream market…
It may not seem this way from your current viewpoint, but the internet makes it riskier to sell yourself as a professional commodity than to sell yourself as a local health expert, mentor, and community resource.
Why? Because if you are a commodity, then if (and when) their finances get a little tight or their time a little crunched, it’s easy for them to search for a chiropractor who’s cheaper and closer.
But wait, there’s an even worse problem.
People don’t know how to buy our profession.
Here’s what I mean by that…
Let’s say I stand in front of you and say, “I’m a chiropractor. I provide chiropractic care in my chiropractic practice. I love chiropractic, and I’m an excellent chiropractor.”
Do you have any clue what I do in my practice?
chiropractors don’t even know what other chiropractors do in their practices.
Do you adjust? How do you adjust? What kind of financial plans do you have? Do you take insurance or not? Do you recommend short-term care plans or long-term care plans? Do you specialize in a specific type of care like pediatric care or conditions such as brain-based care? We’re all different.
Again, just declaring “I’m a chiropractor” doesn’t give people enough information to say what you really want them to say: “Yes, I’d like to receive ongoing care in your practice.”
Most professionals have been taught to educate consumers about their profession; the theory is, once they understand your profession, they’ll want your service.
However, that’s not exactly true. For example, “educating people about chiropractic” doesn’t teach them why they should choose “you” to be their chiropractor.
It teaches them about chiropractic in general, and then they go off and search for the best price, fastest service, and most convenient location to get it. However, if you teach them something specific about your chiropractic practice, it’s much easier for them to understand why they should choose you and not their closest, cheapest option.
Let me give you an example of what happens when a profession has one name for an entire spectrum of philosophies and practices (and continues to argue for the single title of the profession).
Imagine if all attorneys referred to themselves and marketed themselves as an “attorney,” like all chiropractors refer to themselves and market themselves as a “chiropractor.”
Someone says to you, “Hi, nice to meet you. What do you do?”
You say what you’ve always said, “I’m an attorney.”
Then you might explain what type of practice you have. Like a chiropractor, you might explain what you do, such as “I provide adjustments and correct interference in your nervous system, called a subluxation, so you can feel better and be healthier, naturally.”
The attorney’s version would sound something like “I write letters, agreements, and contracts and go to court to explain to judges and juries your side of the story, so you can be represented well and get the justice you deserve.”
Funny, we’d never expect an attorney to actually say it like that, but that’s what it sounds like to most people when they hear some chiropractors explain what they do—literally.
The chiropractor might also advertise how they can help people with specific conditions (such as headaches, neck and back pain) to feel better without the use of drugs and surgery. This is very similar to an attorney saying, “If you’ve been in accident, had a fall or injury, we can help you get the settlement you deserve, with no expense, if we don’t win.”
None of that is a problem.
The problem comes when that person goes to find an “attorney” somewhere else, using the description that you taught them (i.e., what you marketed to them).
Knowing the vast spectrum of specialties that attorneys have—from divorce attorneys, to tax attorneys, to estate planning attorneys, to criminal attorneys—what chance do people have of finding an attorney who does anything similar to what you taught them, simply by “searching” for an attorney?
It would be next to impossible for someone to be educated about what an attorney is and does, and then expect them to find something similar in their neighborhood.
Think of the cumulative impact. Consumers would be constantly confused and frustrated with their experience going to attorneys, because of the variety of experiences they have visiting different practices.
After a few poor experiences, most of us would give up on “attorneys” unless we’re really in a difficult situation.
How frustrating would it be for practicing attorneys to constantly deal with people’s expectations about what “attorneys” do—all because they were given some vague explanation.
Think of how difficult it would be for other professions to refer to you, or other practitioners in your profession. It would be next to impossible to do anything at scale like a professional network or alliance, because of the inability to know what type of attorney (or chiropractor, or insert your profession here) you’re going to experience at the practice.
This is true for all health professionals who feel they offer something more than the same commoditized service as everyone else.
Think about the collective impact of allowing this confusion to continue over time. It would be a frustrating mess for everyone.
Do you ever think about the long-term consequences that your current “marketing” message is having on the collective consciousness of your marketplace?
So what’s the answer?
What if people could discover you, learn about you, and decide if they want your unique perspective and specialty before they come to your practice? What if people made this decision before they waste their time (and yours) with incorrect assumptions based upon what they were taught by some other chiropractor?
The problem is not that we’re all different. We’ll never all do the same thing in our practices, nor should we.
The problem is that people—whether they are potential new clients, colleagues, or other professionals who want to refer to you—don’t know what you do until after they start care in your practice.
So what can we do to end the confusion? The answer is to offer clarity. We can make it easy for people to learn what they can expect in our practices before they come to our practices. Just like they do before they buy almost anything these days.
Thank you social media and social networks! For the first time ever, we can now share our unique story about what makes our practice and principles unique from other professions, and even from others within our own profession. And you can do it all with that little computer you carry in your pocket all day.
My objective here is for you to acknowledge your most valuable asset.
If you want to grow your practice, you need to leverage your ability to teach, mentor, and share with people what problems you help solve. With your unique perspective on life, health, and wellbeing, hundreds, thousands, and eventually maybe millions of people can learn about you before they start care in your practice.
The more people you can teach about your unique specialty and professional beliefs, the more you will hear: “Yes, I’d like to receive your care.” The more you show them how you can help them solve their problem, the more pre-qualified new patients/clients and referrals you can expect.
The bigger your tribe, the larger your impact, influence, and income potential will be.