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Winning the Referral Game

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Welcome to the American Acupuncture Council show w so good to see you here. This is Chen Yen, nine, six, and seven figure, practice makeover, and also a host of this show. So today, and also in our shows, we’re going to be talking. My show is, and we’ll be talking about how to grow your acupuncture, practice more effectively and adapting with the times. So, uh, have you been in a place where you are slow right now? And there’s been a dip also, especially right now summer time and summertime had traditionally been slow before. And then now along with this climate, you, you would like to be in a place in your practice where you’re busier and helping more people and, and wanting more money to come in because to make up for that, that lost time during the last few months as well. So, so today we’re going to be talking about, I’m going to give you some, some sense of my overall predictions for what I speak coming up here.

I’m also going to be sharing with you one strategy. That’s often overlooked and it’s working right now in this climate to be bringing in patients without you having to always do run around and marketing. So as we get started here, I’d love for you to go ahead and type comment below right now. Um, let us, let us know where, where you are watching this right now and, um, love to love to see. So let’s type in the chat. What, what, uh, what city state your you’re watching this from and, and then what kind of a practice do you have in terms of, do you have a private practice? You have a community acupuncture practice. Do you do telehealth? I I’d love to say so a little bit about myself for those of you who might be new to me. So I, um, I started out as a pharmacist on native American reservations and really loved the adventure of traveling to different tribes and reservations, trying to get, get to know, I mean, getting, it was very adventurous for me and I love the culture of the different tribes.

After awhile though, I started feeling really dissatisfied. I would go in the pharmacy. I would hand people, their medications and feel so jaded about the whole thing I remember. So I remember once when I was handing this woman, her Prozac medication, and I just felt so upset, not at her, but at when our healthcare system was putting in front of her as if that were the option. And I was endorsing it. The truth was I grew up in a family that was very holistic. We, you know, like if my sister and I were ever sick, when you’re younger, my mom might open up the Chinese. I mean the medicine cabinet and pull out some Chinese herbal syrup. And that was about the extent of what we’d get. Whereas I would see these people come into the pharmacy and little kids. They would have just gotten their immunization shots and they would leave with a cocktail of medications even when they weren’t hurting anymore.

That, and seeing people taking 15, 20 medications home as if they’re a candy that drove me nuts. Have you ever been in a place in your life where you didn’t really like what was going on, but didn’t know what to do next? So that was what was happening to me. And that’s, you know, one thing that I did know was that I had to get out. So then, um, fast forward five years I had started and grown a successful recruiting business, sending pharmacists to different, um, travel assignments and, uh, hospitals in different settings, um, so that they could actually be in jobs. They enjoyed more. And I used to always think that if I made more money than I’d be happy doing what I really cared about outside of work, but didn’t didn’t happen that way for me. I ended up going through a timeframe of soul searching when I came out on the other end and realizing, wow, I need to stop pretending here, stop pretending that it was okay.

I was primarily selling my soul for people to be on drugs. When, when your had had this secret life in a way, like I shared with you before super holistic and extreme, to some extent, little things like I don’t own a cell phone. I still can’t see myself owning a cell phone. So in any case, that’s what led me to have this inspiration of what can we do to really change our healthcare system. And so much our people are more open to holistic options, acupuncture, other holistic options, but in functional medicine, you know, but it’s not happening quickly enough and it’s not going to be the government changing things. It’s not going to the drug company is not meaning insurance company changing things. It’s really start with you as acupuncture, holistic practitioners, really getting the word out about what you do. So then that’s when things will really change.

And so that since then, we’ve helped many acupuncturists with, with growing their practices. Um, anywhere from starting out to growing, they’re getting their first patients to, um, taking acupuncturists from 5,000 a month to 10,000 a month and a few minutes timeframe, or even even 10 to 20,000 a month in a few minutes timeframe, and then ushering our claims to seven figures. Even though we have clients who are, you know, for example, the American society of American society of acupuncture, board members of client, of ours and the American association of naturopathic physicians and client of ours as well. So just giving you a little window for the Disney brand, new to me about who is this, this person, just all of a sudden having this credibility. So, so let’s talk a little bit about like dive straight into predictions that I see, um, about what can be that I foresee coming up based on my experience of constantly working with acupuncturists during these times in the last few months continuously working, you know, over the last quite a few years anyways, but, you know, especially during, during this time and even now as well.

So there are a couple of key predictions that I will say that I see affecting acupuncturists and other hosted practitioners coming up, number one has to do with economy. So what do you think, what do you think is going to happen with our economy? Is there, is there going to be a V shape? Recovery is gonna be a w shape. Recovery is gonna be an L shape recovery. So Paul Krugman, who is the Nobel peace prize winner earlier on during these times, like when the whole career thing started, he was talking about that there will likely be more of a, um, he was expecting a Nike swoosh kind of recovery, right? So by the way, type type the chat, what do you think I may not chop it in the comments, write out what do you think or type of, um, what do you think it will be?

And so, but recently I’ve been seeing more about how it’ll be more like a w shape recovery. Great. And I economists talk about this and I, and I would say that I feel like it’ll probably be something like that as well, which means, you know, dipping once and then another dip again. And, but what is, how does this have to do with your practices regardless of what shaped, you know, recovery we have? Well, what is what I think we can all agree on is that things have changed where people are looking at things differently. Like people are being tighter with their money right now, they’re looking at things twice more. Um, but at the same time, keep in mind, just cause how many of you have noticed that, that you’re finding patients or potential patients saying, Oh, I can’t afford it. Or, you know, I have been out of work store.

I don’t think I can come in as frequently. It’s something related to money. How many of you are noticing that? Go ahead and type in the right now and so, uh, type below. So, um, yes. And then what do we do about that? So, one thing to keep in mind about it is that, um, even in times of, of economic challenges, whether it’s the great depression, whether it’s recent recession, guess what, there are always people who do have the money. So there will always be people who do have the money and were willing to pay. And especially, you’re so lucky because you’re in a healthcare industry and people will, even if they decide they’re not going to buy that latest car, even if they decide they’re not gonna buy clothes as much anymore, they still need their health. Would you agree? Like how many of you find that if you’re not healthy, if you’re feeling grumpy and if you’re sick, you can’t really do anything.

You can’t really, um, be what you’re meant to really be right. And it’s not, not a good feeling. So, um, what’s uh, so what I’m trying to say with this impacts your practice is that I believe that it will be even more important for you to set yourself apart. Why? Because when people are, are, whether it’s comparing prices or being concerned about prices, then they are, um, it’s like, they’re almost treating you as a commodity. Oh, how much is it right? Oh, I can’t afford it. Um, whereas instead, if you set yourself apart and people see you as being the person to go to, it won’t matter as much for those who do have the money to pay for it, to actually come in and see you. So it’s more important now than ever to be able to communicate effectively what you do in a way that people get it.

They put the two together. I feel like I have to see you, right? So this comes from the first two steps of the consistent patients formula for introverts. So, one thing I hadn’t mentioned here earlier is that a lot of our clients come to us because there are so many approaches out there that are very extroverted approaches and give you a really exhausting, you know, those things like, Oh, you have to go out there and network and you’ve got to go talk to people. You’ve got to go in and do this thing and that thing, Oh my gosh, it just feels so exhausting. Right. Did you know that actually 30 to 50% of our people are introverts, but most of what’s taught about how to grow an acupuncture practice assumes that you’re an extrovert. So no wonder it doesn’t really work for you. Right. Um, we introverts need a different approach.

So what I’m trying to say is, especially as an introvert, you need a different approach during these times. Um, and you know, we, and we’re also more limited in terms of, of, um, ways that you can actually get the word out. So what can you actually do to get the word out? So we’ll talk about that a little moment here. And one thing I want to bring up in terms of predictions, what I see coming up, I believe that it’s also going to be the house calls are going to be more pop popular in more demand than in the past. So if you, why, because, you know, people might be concerned about, about, um, safety and being out and, and, um, they are likely to consider it or be more open to considering house call where you don’t have to go anywhere. And then especially if you’re also protecting yourself and going there and then, um, that can help peace of mind for some people.

Right? So, so that could be another option for you to look at if that’s something of interest to you and you could charge a premium for house calls too, um, because of the travel, that kind of thing. So, so I foresee that being an area in demand, at least for the near future coming up here. So because what can happen, right? This can happen in the fall again. So, um, so the other thing, so if you have an interest in it, then yeah, that could be an area to look into. Another thing is that I think is gonna be really important is looking at, um, I think there’ll be even more important. It’s almost like looking at, remember how we talked about setting yourself apart. So setting yourself apart, as we look at it in the consistent patients formula for introverts, it doesn’t have to do so much with like, uh, just this one, if we’re going to talk about, but it’s still, it can help be helpful, which is niching, right?

So I think niching down and being, being more like, and also reaching out to people who really need your services, because there are people who need it. And then there are people who don’t need it as much. So for example, who are the people who need it, for example, health care workers or frontline workers, um, also being able to take care of their health quite well right now. And then people who are just think about this people who are in the it industry, they weren’t there, they were more immune to this whole thing. They could still work from home as a whole whole industry. Right. So how could you reach people in those kinds of industries where people who are dealing with, um, having co-morbidity kinds of factors like diabetes or, or respiratory issues, they need to really pay attention to this even more. So are you actually communicating and talking about this, or so, um, by the way, I’m going to give you a link so that you can, cause I know some of you are, um, cause how many of you would actually like to book more patients, whether it’s to bring your existing patients back in the door because they’re scared or afraid of coming in right now, um, or to attract new patients.

Right. So how can you do that? Um, without having to feel like, Oh my gosh, I have to do a ton of money marketing. So I’m gonna give you, I’m going to give you a link to where you’re going to be able to get, um, the free templates that like literally copy and paste that you could either email, text, or, um, there are a couple of social media templates there too, that you could, um, model as well. So, um, I will, uh, let, let me give it to you right now. So it’s get it’s www dot, get more M D and then for slash AAC, right? So it’s So I just wanna make sure you get that. Um, so in terms of, so you can just click on that and then, then end up downloading it on the other end. Like it’ll be in your inbox once you, once you go there. Um, so what I wanted to bring up is we need to look at changing our strategy in terms of, well, another prediction that I foresee is that there will be more of a, um,

More of an interest in, in businesses advertising in front of people more online. And what does this mean for you? It’s acupuncture. So this, and why is this? Because, you know, while, um, places were closed, more people were online. Still a lot of businesses are flooding it, not just your practice, but your kinds of practices in your active contributors, but, um, other businesses are flooding in trying to get people’s interests online. So I think there’s gonna be a rush towards that, but what does that mean for you? It’s actually gonna mean that ad costs will be driven up, right? Because there’s more people advertising, there’s more people, more businesses and there are businesses out there with bigger, um, like backing financially, right? Like big companies they’re coming in and wanting to advertise on Facebook, um, or wanting to advertise on other kinds of channels, online, YouTube or other kind of channels along the lines.

So what does that mean? It’s going to make the ad costs go up. So for those of you who, who, um, do advertising of any kind, especially online, then you may want to have a look at that. You might need other strategies that, that are, um, so actually get in front of people who, who need your services without you having to be spending a lot of money. Right. Um, and in terms of, for example, if those of you who are doing more organic social media posts, some of you know, that like a lot of times there’s because of the algorithms changing and things like that in Facebook and all that. Um, you know, there, a lot of people, aren’t actually seeing some of the posts that you’ve put so much hard work into putting up. So how can you navigate that? And also ideally be able to attract patients without having to always be doing something, right.

So one great Avenue that’s really overlooked and is working really well for our clients right now. So there’s three that are working really well. I’m going to talk about one of them today. Um, and then you can always come to our blog also to, to check out, um, in terms of, of, um, more that I talk about with this and, and other strategies as well. So you always go to introverted to read more about this, but, um, and other strategies, but one is, uh, attracting more doctor referrals. So have you ever thought about that before and sorry, as, as getting more patients through, through medical doctor referrals and why is this a great thing to consider even in this climate, especially in this climate, actually it is because many medical doctors have patients you can help. And in fact, they have thousands of patients in their practices is pretty common and a lot of their patients are this limited in terms of what, what medical doctors can offer with drugs and surgery, because that’s what they’ve been trained to do.

And they, I, and so whether it’s just something as simple as pain, or I know you help people with much more than just that, but I’m just talking about a little sliver, right? You have the ability to help those people in a much more effective way in a lot of cases. And the truth is MDs will refer if they knew about you and they trusted in you. Um, and you know, also right now, people don’t really want to go to, for example, the hospital, the ER, as much. Right. So, so, um, it really puts you in a climate of being able to be someone who could be of service to help a lot of patients out there. And when MDs have thousands of, of patients in their practices getting three to five, like even having, imagine if you had three providers sending you one or two referrals a week, what would that do for your practice?

That’s like at least three new patients a week or six new patients a week, what would that do for your practice? Great. And so that’s totally doable. And, um, but I often hear cause how many of you have tried actually we thought about it before, but then you think, well, how, uh, I don’t, I feel intimidated. I’m not really sure where to start, go and type in the comment below. I’d love to see what are some of your most, uh, like have you tried it before? And if you have, you know, what’s been the most challenging thing or most frustrating thing. So, um, you know, some of the things I hear also are, I’m not sure should I really, you know, they’re so busy right now, especially during these times when they really listened to me or anything like that, as I have a lot of other things that I’m, I’m, I’m dealing with right now, like this is really the best use of my time even.

Right. So have you, have you thought that before, but just think back to this, like how can you actually have your MD referrals that many times they are, when they’re referred a patient’s referred by an MD, they will listen to that referral because they trust that, that doctor’s referrals there they’ll be more likely to come in and we’ll be more likely to stick with Cara as well. And then, um, the other thing is there’s something else I was gonna run. So, so then, um, yeah, it’s just a matter of, but also, Oh, that’s right. So this is one of the few strategies that if you put in place, you can be getting referrals three months from now, six months from now a year from now. And that is not something you can say about other strategies, whether you’re networking with other people, one on one, or doing ads or trying to do, you know, send emails out and social media, right?

Like you still have to keep doing those things. Wouldn’t you rather be seeing patients wins. You rather just be the acupuncture, seeing patients and not have to deal with any of this. So you could deal with less of it. Right? Because even more effective, I have clients who have full practices primarily from doctor referrals. So let’s talk a few about a few key tips. I’m going to leave you with that, that you can get started with right away to be, I’m starting to get more, more doctor referrals into your practice. So in terms of, of one of the biggest challenges I see is I’m wondering, well, how do I actually get my foot in the door? Right. So actually the first step is because a lot of mistakes, one common mistake is to go straight into, Oh, let me go. And yeah. And connect with someone and, and then see, you know, have a, and then I’ll talk to them.

And then I’m, you know, have you talked to him about referring and that’s usually, that’s usually what most, most acupuncturists do. And that’s a mistake. Why? Because it’s like, without thinking about, well, how could it be more strategic with this? Cause have you ever had a good conversation with maybe a medical doctor and then you, it didn’t go anywhere and you thought, Oh, this is kind of like, it feels like it was like, I wish I had something came of it. I’ve never felt that way before. So instead the tip number one is to actually be strategic about, well, who, who are the doctors to reach out to? And they’re not all created equal in terms of doctor relationships. Right. And so, cause sometimes I get the feeling that, that sense of, Oh well, but they see me as competition. They don’t, they won’t even want to refer.

And you know, that those kinds of things, the truth is, yes, you’re right. There are doctors who won’t ever refer. And then they’re also a medical doctors who absolutely will refer. And so it’s about getting through to those physicians. So one hot tip for you. Cause for example, someone wrote me in beforehand and said, Oh, I, um, I’m not in their insurance, you know, plan kind of thing. So, so then they’re not going to refer and all this kind of thing. So if you don’t accept insurance, for example, then look for medical doctors or physicians who do, I mean, who are primarily cash based practices or have concierge based practices, then you’re going to be more likely to attract cash patients who have the ability to pay because their patients are used to that. That’s hot tip number one. And then number, then the other thing, next thing we need to do is look at, okay, how can we get your foot in the door?

Right. So how can get your foot in the door without feeling like you need to be bugging people without feeling like you’re, you’re, um, you’re like a newest sensor or something, but you’re not, you’re not anyway. Cause you’re, you’re a provider. Y you know, you aren’t one. And so, but you’re afraid of being that way and you’re afraid of breaking people somewhere. So, um, or feel like you’re, you’re good at before reaching out or, you know, something, whatever that might be, how many of you have had had that fairness before go ahead and type in the comment. So, um, so then the, you know, what you can do two is looking at well, how can you, I’m going to share one, one very simple thing. Each one of you can do right now, if you already have an existing existing patients, but then I’m going to share with you go around strategy, right?

Because we can look at getting past gatekeepers, how can we go to go around and go around strategy and said, so in terms of, of, um, getting past gatekeepers, one thing you could do right is to go through your existing patients. So do you have a mutual patient who, um, you had good results with and, uh, and that the doctor will actually, um, like it’ll be easier, right? It’s more of a warm introduction. And I’m going to give you a, um, what to say here in a moment here. And I’ll also give you a script that you can also access some of them just looking at it here. But the second thing is, so you can go, so that’s one, one thing, and then you just need to be introduced in a warm, warm introduction way. And then what do you say, right. So I’m going to give you a script, a moment, which is to say that that’s actually working for clients right now.

The second strategy is to, um, a goal around strategy, which is I, you know, connecting with the doctors more or more directly in how, in terms of who, um, for example, many, some patients will actually need COVID-19 testing. So, but how do you, you know, cause how do you get get a hold of a doctor if they don’t want to talk to you, they’re too busy. Like, who are you? Right. You could look at reaching out to a doctor who is doing COVID-19 testing and then collaborate that with them and say, Hey, I would like to, um, let my patients know about you so that, you know, if, or I’d like to just know more about what you’re doing and I hear that you offer Coca testing. And, um, I’d like to just know a little bit more about your practice. Cause then if the need arises, then that’d be happy to send patients to you.

So then that way, you know, you have a reason to reach out to these doctors because of these times a third strategy that’s working really well for clients right now is to actually, um, do a what? So you know, how you feel like, well, I don’t really want to go out right now, or doctors are busy. They don’t want us ever want to see me right now. Right. We can’t do. Um, and so what you can do, there’s something that’s working really well for clients right now is actually do a video. So for example, I helped a client of ours recently do this, a short two to three minute video and making some really key points and sending it off to the doctor and then getting interesting referrals that way. So that’s something you could do right now, but then you need to know what to say, um, to actually not get their attention to actually want to refer.

Right. So that that’s really important. The other thing is that you can also interview, so this is one thing that, that one of my clients, she’s an acupuncturist. She was getting, um, she, she had this doctor in her area who she felt like, Oh, that doctor’s referring to another acupuncturist in my area. I wish he would refer more to me. So what do we do? So we, I suggested why don’t you do more of a, um, a, an interview of this doctor. So she did exactly that. She interviewed this doctor and guess what? She got seven referrals from that doctor that week she had, the doctor was super excited. He was, he was actually showing, so they also aired on Facebook live. So she, he was actually showing his patients on the Honda store and like, Hey, look, see I was on Facebook glide, I’m here.

And he’s really proud of it. And so he shared it with his patients. She shared it with her patients, she put on her website. So, you know, these are some simple things that you could be doing, but then you need to know what what’s, what do you say? Right. Cause it’s not just any asking that medical doctor, uh, questions that, that, um, in an interview that just all of a sudden magically just has him referring to. Like, you need to be strategic about also what you bring up in the interview and that kind of thing. And, you know, we have scripts and templates for things like this. So I’m going to give you, I’m going to make sure to give you, um, the, um, in terms of approaching doctor referrals, if, if it were, if you did have a mutual patient. So let me just show this to you.

Let’s see here. Um, let me pull this up for you and you’ll be able to see it here in a moment as we wrap up here shortly. So also you can go to the, you can go to this website, um, to get the download of this exact template as well. So, um, you can go to www dot, get, um, get more MD forward slash um, whoops, let’s see here. That’s on the page. I was gonna show you, but, um, from cars, I’d say, um, Ford slash AAC, right? So www dot, um, get more MD referrals for slash uh, AAC. So here’s the script I’m going to make sure to give you when you go to that link, um, as a free template I think, or use right away. Great. So, um, and this is from, this is from the third step of the consistent patients formula for insurance.

So, um, you can say something like that. So I’d love to hear more about your practice. I’m looking for a dot. So whatever doctor you would like to get the attention of, put in, put that in there, looking for good primary care doctor to send my patients to when the need arises. What kind of patients do you enjoy seeding? What’s your philosophy seeing what’s your philosophy or approach, or you can say something like, uh, many of my patients or clients will need such and such physician. Some people ask me for recommendations. I would like to know what your philosophy is and what kinds of clients or patients you most like working with. So I can refer the right people to you when, when the need arises. So notice that when you actually have more of a, more of a, um, a structure, right? Like, you know what to say, it can, it can be easy, right?

It doesn’t have to be difficult and you can be getting, getting more paid for. Um, you just need to have a system, right? So we just talked about some of these key things, the doctor referrals, success roadmap. And so the things about this is that you just need to know what to do and the plugin play and start seeing more referrals coming in and not have to be feeling like, Oh my gosh, you want me to do, to, to market, to get patients right now? Cause it’s been really slow, but this can be such an, uh, helpful and effective strategy for you right now. So with that, I’m just going to make sure you have the link there. And, uh, so, so awesome to see you here and joining us. And, um, and then thanks to American Acupuncture Council, also putting out, you know, such helpful things.

Cause there are all the other hosts that you can check out too, and, and upcoming, um, Facebook lives on this to really help you in your profession. And, um, in terms of, of, uh, not just with, with growing the practice kinds of things, but other kinds of, of aspects that affect your practice as well. So definitely stay tuned and, and uh, and then here’s the link also, I’ll make sure it gets popped in on the, in the, uh, in what you’re checking out right now, watching me on, I’ll make sure it gets popped into the comment section. So you can just click on a link and, and, uh, download those free templates. And, uh, you know, if you’re in a place where you’re, you’re feeling like you’re, you’re, um, you’re, it’s just like a dip in income and that kind of thing. And, and you just know you’re, you even love to see more patients you’re capable of so much more and you just enjoy it when you are rave and, uh, feel free to, to reach out and happy to have, uh, um, a chat and see, yep. See how and give you insight into your situation. So feel free to get the templates then, and so good to see you type in the, in the, in the comment. And, um, let me know how, how, uh, what’s one tip that you can, that you liked. Right? And, and, uh, they can start incorporating. So.

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