“Flip the Script” – How to Get New Patients from Everyday Conversations

by Dr. Mark Andal ND | Follow on Twitter

Approach an everyday conversation like this to get more patients

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ONE MAJOR ISSUE that often arises when ND’s speak to potential patients is that they focus too much on themselves. Here’s a common error that’s made right at the beginning of a conversation:

“My name is Dr. Mark Andal, and I am a Clinical Director and Naturopathic Doctor at Physiobliss and Body Bliss clinics. I have a special interest in weight management, chronic pain, anti-aging, skin care, mental health, (etc.). I work with patients to determine and treat the root cause of their health concerns, using dietary counseling, herbal medicine, etc., etc., etc…”

Did you tune out?

If I wanted to bring my broken car to an auto mechanic, I don’t need to hear about what kind of tools are being used, or what kind of tests are involved. I just need to hear one thing from that auto mechanic:

“Sure, I can help.”

People tune out because they don’t care about the information.

You need to flip the switch and make the conversation about them. Here’s how …

Why Me and Not Somebody Else?

I struggled with creating a need for potential patients to see me specifically. Eventually, I learned how to create needs easily, many times unintentionally, which positioned myself as the go-to in my patient’s minds. All I did was turn people into the topic of conversation.

Nowadays, when someone asks me what I do for a living, the only thing I say is,

I treat health concerns.”

Of course, that person is going to ask me, “What kind of health concerns?” That’s when I make the person the topic of conversation.

“Well, let’s take you for example,” I reply. “What kind of health concerns do you have?”

Notice that I did not ask, “Do you have any health concerns?” With the former question, I made the person create and vocalize their needs and confirm that some kind of desire needs to be addressed.

Everyone has health concerns. Everyone would like to improve upon themselves. But not everyone is willing to announce their health concerns. You must draw those concerns out of them.

Sometimes people tell me, “I don’t have health concerns.” So I rephrase the question,

“Oh that’s great to hear! What’s your health goals?”

Health goals are less intimidating than health concerns – with this question, people are more likely to open up.

After the potential patient describes and hears his/her own needs, if I were to say,

“I can help”, I will have created a lead.

I may throw in some facts about anatomy or physiology related to the person’s health concern beforehand, just to show some credibility, but nothing long-winded, and especially not diagnostic. Don’t give away the diagnosis. Not only are we not allowed to give free diagnoses as dictated under our Professional Conduct, it is in your best interest not to.

If you tell the person that he/she has Adrenal Fatigue or Leaky Gut Syndrome, they will not become your patient. Instead, they will visit Dr. Google, because Dr. Google is always local, always available, and most importantly, free of charge. They will treat themselves, now knowing what they’re supposed to treat.

I digress, when I say, “I can help” of course, I am going to be asked “How?”.

This is where you seal the deal.

I like to use something short, but not with false promises. Something along the lines of, “Come see me, and you’ll understand”. Don’t talk too much about the process – about your therapies or diagnostic tests. A simple timeline of events will do.

About the Author
Dr. Mark Andal ND

Dr. Mark Andal is a Naturopathic doctor by day, and a 100-meter sprinter by night. He has a strong interest in pain recovery due to his lifestyle, and due to the primary type of patients he worked with at his previous physiotherapy clinics. His past work there allowed him to refine his knowledge in tissue repair and rehabilitation. Mark now works in Oakville at the Bronte Natural Health Clinic, utilizing his insights within a team of Naturopathic doctors. "Develop yourself and be the greatest you can be."