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Thank you again to the AAC for inviting me to present on these informative webinars. My name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. I am the Clinical Director of AcuBalance Wellness Center, I’m the founder of healthyseminars.com, and also the author of Missing the Point, Why Acupuncturists Fail and What You Need to Know to Succeed.
Today’s webinar, I have a special guest, Chen Yen. Many of you may know of he. For those that do not, a pharmacist by trade. Entrepreneur is her gig now. And she’s been helping health professionals for years be successful and build their practices so they can be of service to their community. Because as you know in my book, Missing the Point, when the yin and yang are out of balance, when it’s all clinical, you don’t have the business skills, even though you have the potential to help so many people, if you don’t have a running clinic, if you don’t have patients coming in, you’re not able to help them. And she’s created a business around helping people like ourselves so we could thrive and see the people that we want to serve.
And so, I asked Chen Yen to come in because she’s been sharing a lot about reopening your practice. We’ve been in isolation for a while because of COVID-19. And now as we reopen, the question is how do we invite and bring back patients into our practice, how do we build our practice. And so, what I plan to do now is I’m going to cue up a video in a moment of an interview that I did with Chen Yen. And the reason she’s not alive is right now she’s in Taiwan,. and it would have been in the middle of the night for her, for her. But again, her being and having that entrepreneurial spirit.
Just the other day, we got on the Zoom, we did this recording’s about 13 minutes. And she’s going to share with you marketing strategies that are working in this climate, some of the strategic planning that you could do now in the coming months, and then just some of the critical keys to bringing your patients back into your practice. And then after the video, I’m going to share with you what I’ve been doing in my practice at AcuBalance in Vancouver. And so I’m also going to share how we reopened and some of the things that we’re noticing and that we’re doing so we can be of service to our communities. So, let’s start that video now, and please stay tuned because I’m going to give you about five minutes after this some more pearls to support you in your reopening.
… how helpful acupuncture. You talk about how helpful acupuncture is. So, those are …
So, what are some of the marketing strategies that you’ve been sharing in your mentorship that you can share with our audience to help them, again, get their practice going and attractive again to patients that are, well, now that their practice is open. So, I’d love to hear some of your marketing tips, because I know that you got some gems.
Yeah, so I would say at first looking at low hanging fruit, and then looking for new areas of opportunity to reach potential new patients. So low hanging fruit, a couple of key things. One is how can you keep your existing patient base in understanding of how just overall even outside of these COVID-19 times the different health issues that could be beneficial to where acupuncture can help with. And then reminding people to book appointments if they want to come in. So, for example, in our opening email templates. So, you can send out emails, you could send out texts. You could also be educating or encouraging people to come in on Facebook or social media posts if it’s kosher with the laws of your state and profession to be doing things like that. And then in terms of emails, for example, it could be book your appointments.
And so, what I was going to say about emails is, first, a piece about something that educates about the issue, and then something with a call to action with a reason to come in. So, for example, it might be book your appointment now and get in for first line … I mean get yourself first in line for your choice of appointments as we’re reopening here, or it might be something like take care of yourself by putting yourself first and book an appointment, especially still as important now to take care of your health as it has ever been, or it might be that book your appointment space because of the health issue that you’ve been having that you haven’t been able to get checked out or get help with until now because we’ve been closed. So, there’s just kind of a reason why to be rebooking that that is brought up, and that can be helpful.
You could also look at collaborating with other practitioners. So, our clients who’ve been doing really well in getting referrals from other providers, whether it’s medical doctors or other kinds of practitioners, holistic practitioners, other kinds of practitioners is as they reopen, many times they had a good relationship with them even prior to opening. So, if those of you who have relationships with providers who’ve been referring you before, reaching out to those providers and reminding them that you’re there and how you could be of benefit to their patients is one way to go.
If you haven’t had a relationship with other providers before, for example, maybe you would like to be getting referrals more from MDs because medical doctors could be a great source of referrals for you. They have many patients who could benefit from what you have to offer, but many times their patients don’t really know about you or the doctor doesn’t really think about referring people to.
So, what can you do in those situations to build new relationships? So, something that I was working with one of my clients on was to create a short video. Because the thing is, doctors are really busy. Right? And so, if you’re able to create a very short couple minute video that starts to explain something about your area of expertise and some research tied into why this could be beneficial for those kinds of health issues or with helping support immunity, then that can also be sent off to a physician. And that way it’s just you’re more on the top of their awareness. So, really, the key is concise, short, and really to the point of how you can help their patients get better outcomes.
Another thing is to look at … you can look at interviewing other practitioners, too. So, in times where people are getting back into reopening, there’s a lot of opportunity for you to collaborate with other practitioners, because people still need help with their health issues, whether it’s during these times or not during these times of COVID. And so, it’s a matter of how can you continue to educate the public about different kinds of issues and what your services can really help with and your modality. And so, then being able to collaboratively interview other practitioners about, perhaps in particular, health topics.
So, looking at whether it’s interviewing medical doctors or nurses, nurse practitioners, tied into the different of health issues that you treat can also bring in more visibility for your practice. And it can automatically be an opportunity where if you’re interviewing another practitioner, you can encourage them to share that interview with their patient base, too. So, you’re ending up being able to reach more people with your message collaboratively there. So, that’s more of, I would say, lower hanging kind of fruit, because it doesn’t take up a lot of your energy and time to really set up.
And then other kinds of things that you can look into beyond that initial low hanging fruit could be writing Facebook ads. So, I’ve had clients, acupuncturists, who are running a combination of Facebook ads that are bringing them … It’s amazing the kind of return on investment that they’re getting for it right now. And it’s a combination, as far as what’s working right now, combination of Facebook Live video with using some of the strategies that I work with our clients on, being really strategic about what’s said in the video, plus Facebook posts alternating with that. And then, again, getting people educated, getting people to build that relationship with your practice. Yes, and then also having people be interested in booking.
Another thing is anything tied to speaking. So, we talked a little bit about interviewing. And whether it’s during these times or beyond these times, one thing that you’ll always have is your mouth. And one thing you will always have is what’s in between your years, which has been all the knowledge and training that you’ve garnered all over the years and the expertise that you have which could still be helping people, even if your practice was to be closed down in the fall, because we really don’t know if that might happen. And so, when you are able to continue to educate just as it were pre COVID-19 times as well, the more you’re able to educate people and reach more people. There’s still people who have a need and can benefit from your services. So, anything tied to speaking, for example, webinars, doing interviews, doing podcasts can be good online. And then as we get back into reopening, even doing small kinds of things even with just a handful of people can still be helpful to … to be helping others and your practice.
And then one thing I would say in terms of marketing wise. Whatever you do, there’s an education process involved. And a couple of quick tips in terms of as you think about … Because have you ever, whether it’s written an article or you have spoken about something, you’ve educated people about something, or you’ve done whatever, think about all the kinds of different marketing that you’ve done in the past. Have you ever felt like you have been so good with teaching people about things, but then they don’t necessarily book? So, here are a couple of questions that you can think about working into what you educate people about so that they end up getting more interested in booking and coming in.
Let me actually just show this to you also briefly, to pull this up here for you to see as well, which is … Let’s see here. So, this is the five stages of the buying process. And so, people need to first have awareness about that they actually do have a problem. And then they might be considering it and looking into different options at the next stage, but they’re still gathering information here. And then then they might be evaluating, for example, in terms of, okay, maybe this option and this option, what are the details of that and which provider am I going to be seeing. Then finally, more of the decision making and then the post-purchase evaluation.
But what sometimes we don’t think about as much is that there might be people in different parts of the spectrum, whether from problem awareness, who don’t even realize they have a problem, right, or they are further along in the process, but they don’t really understand what to look for between different providers and that kind of thing. So, whenever you’re making educational kinds of things available to people, think about what different stages that they might be, and how can you provide content or educational things that can help educate in those areas.
And one thing, also, a couple of quick questions to think about would be like, what do they need to believe about their health, or what do they need to believe about themselves? What do they need to believe about you? Because if these questions aren’t answered in a way that they feel comfortable with, they’re not going to come in, no matter how helpful you talk about how helpful acupuncture is. So, there’s just a few quick tips about as we look at marketing and reopening that are working well for our clients right now.
Chen, I want to thank you very much for those tips and points. And I think we’re going to have to get you on healthyseminars.com so we can spend more time with you, because we just got a little bit and this was quite valuable. What’s the best way for people to reach you? Because I’m familiar you have like the Introverted Visionary website and your Fill Your Holistic Practice. Can you share the best website so people can get more information and learn how to contact you, please?
Sure. You can go to introvertedvisionary.com/AAC. And so, introvertdivisionary.com/AAC. And then you can … I’m going to make available some templates that are going to be helpful for you, for example, reopening email templates that you could use for email or texts. And also, we brought up a couple of situations of what people might be concerned about with coming in. And there are other ones that I’m going to share with you as well that acupuncturists clients of ours have been experiencing. And then also like a cheat sheet for that, right? Like how do you address these kinds of common objections that people might be having about coming in as well. So, I’ll include that.
Excellent. So, to be continued, she’s going to provide us with more value. So, you just go to introvertedvisionary.com/AAC, and she’s going to have some more handouts for you to help you prepare yourself as you build up your practice again, it’s great news for most of us just to remind everybody that you’re not starting your practice over again. You just kind of took a holiday that you didn’t choose to take, and now people are getting ready to come back. And these are just great tips that you can use any time of your practice, not just after a pandemic. So, Chen, I really appreciate you making the time to tune in and share this with our audience today. Thank you very much.
Yeah, it was great to be here today. Thanks for having me here.
Great. And we’ll get you on Healthy Seminars so we can get you to expand on a lot of this and more, because you’ve got really good marketing tips. And for the introverted, because a lot of people don’t want to do public speaking or they say, “I can’t, I’m not outgoing. I can’t do this.” And I know you’re introverted and you have techniques and tools for people that want to educate, but feel I’m too shy to do that. And the takeaways here from earlier on, you talked about outreach. So, email contact, like start contacting your patients on a regular basis again. You talked about education, so keep educating them on the benefits and what you can do to support them during these times. And you talked about collaboration as well. So, collaboration is great. And some of the way you even outreach is through webinars, Facebook, emails, talks, so that’s great. So, thanks for sharing those tips with us today.
All right. So, again, thank you to Chen. And as I promised, I want to add a few more pearls for you guys as you open up your practices. Some of you are getting ready to open and some of you have. So, in my clinic at AcuBalance, and just to prepare some of those that are just getting ready to, I will let you know that it was more stressful in the preparation of getting all the PPE, all the safety equipment and policies in place than it actually was implementing it, so that’s great news. If you’re really overwhelmed about what’s going to happen, it’s nothing like … it’s much worse preparing for it and anticipating than it actually was doing it.
Now, what we did at our clinic when we started, we opened up on May 19, so after being closed for two months, and we decided … So, I’m going to share with you the attitude because it will make a difference for how you experience your reopening, and then I’m going to share with you some tips on rebuilding your practice. So, first of all, our attitude was safe, soft reopening, emphasis on safe. So, we got all of our equipment, we set up our policies, and what we did is we chose to open up our clinic at 25% capacity only. And we did this so we could be calm as we cleaned rooms and figured out how long it took getting our masks, getting the patients to sign their consent and wash their hands, all that stuff, we didn’t want to feel rushed or tense about it.
So, we really set up that first week with very little expectation for profit. We did not care, actually. Our goal was, let’s be safe and can we be of service to others? So, that’s what I invite you to have that mindset. You’re not going to have when you reopen, most people are not going to have what they had pre COVID. And so, just to have that expectation, to be kind to yourself so you can enjoy this reopening. And so, we were a soft, safe launch.
And so, that first week at 25% capacity only, it allowed us to work through our policies and see where we could streamline things. And then the second week we were open, we went to 50% capacity because we saw now how quickly we could clean the rooms properly and put patients in and out of the rooms. And a big part of the process for us was for the physical distancing. Everybody has their own room, so they’re distanced. And we’ve timed it so we don’t have a bunch of people in the waiting room. However, the key was in the clinic how the doctors are all situated so we had physical distancing. That was what the main criteria was, how is it that we’re in a clinic all day that we’re properly physical distancing as much as possible.
And I will let you know because our energy was calm, the patients that came to us … I was going to compare it to a colleague that had a different experience. We came in with the attitude of service to others. My colleague came in needy, like, “I need to be busy now,” pretty stressed. Our patients came with their own mask. We asked them to, and almost everybody came with their own mask. Now what we did is we bought cloth masks and we had surgical mass. The doctors all wear the surgical masks, our patients can choose surgical or cloth, but they must wear a mask in our clinic, that was one of the recommendations policies we have. And if a patient did not have a mask, they had two options. One is they could get a surgical mask which they take with them, $2 fee, or they could get a cloth mask. And if they leave the cloth mask for us to laundry, that it’s free. If they don’t leave it and they want their own, because some wanted their own, it’s a $5 charge. So, we just passed the cost onto our patients. We had zero complaints.
And our patients were great coming in. They were so happy to see us. The energy was great. They signed the consent. And it’s been a very positive experience for my team and my patients. And we didn’t come in like needy, “We need to see our patients.” We came in, “Let’s be of service to others. Let’s see who’s ready to come back out of isolation here in British Columbia.” Where my colleague really tried to pressure their patients to come back and was coming from neediness and they were quite stressed and stressing out their patients, their patients were fighting about the mask. It was just a totally different experience. And I believe the reason is the attitude, the vibration energy that you’re putting out, for one.
Now, when patients contact us and they’re a little stressed about what’s going on, we educate them. So, we let them know all the things we’re doing, all the cleaning, et cetera, how we’re doing the physical distancing, what we’re doing to minimize the risk. But what we’re not doing is telling them, “Oh, come, don’t worry. You’re going to be safe.” Actually, we do the opposite. If any patient comes across on the phone or email as concerned, worried, or stressed about COVID and coming to our clinic, we encourage them not to come because we know we can’t guarantee your safety. All we can do is minimize the risk as best we can, and that does not mean that COVID will be prevented. We can’t guarantee that, we cannot do that, nobody can do that.
And so, we realized half the population … I’m making up the number … but half the population will be comfortable coming into our clinic and half the population will not, but they all pretty much want to know what we were doing for safe measures. So, rather than trying to over impress them, like “You need to come in and this is what we’re doing,” we let them know all the safety measures we’ve put in place, all the systems we have in place. And they get to even see it on the back of one of the doors where they’re in the room, the door that holds the needles, there’s a checklist to show that the practitioner’s checking off all the cleaning things we do so it’s not forgotten, we have a system, and they get to see that.
But we don’t pressure our patients to come back. If their worried, we say, stay home. If you’re worried about COVID, then do not leave your house. As soon as you leave your house, you’re put at risk. And because we’re not pressuring them to come in, a lot of those patients, once they hear what we’re doing, still choose to come back. And those that are really worried, we don’t want them in the office. We don’t want that energy, that tension in the office anyhow. And so, we realized some people are going to be ready early on to come back and some people not.
The other thing I want to remind you is, it’s still the same education marketing practices you always do. People are going to come and seek you out if you are a benefit to them, if you are a value to them. So, it still goes back to the same model of just good education. Now what I think is important is to work on the stress response that your patients are going through. Because of the change in the loss of control and some loss of liberty in a very short period of time, some people consciously are aware of their anxiety and stress and some people are not. So, if you ask them first to educate them about stress and how it impacts the immune system, how stress impacts sleep. So, check in with your patients via email or phone calls, “How’s your sleep, your digestion, muscle tension or headaches? We know how it can lead to inflammation which can cause other health issues.”
So, maybe your patients, like Chen said, that first thing, maybe they’re not even aware they have a problem. So check in. Are your patient’s having sleep issues? Are they having digestive issues? Are they having muscle tension, headaches? See if they’re having these and let them know, this could be related to stress and how you can support them in reducing the stress, because we know stress, exasperates many diseases and leads to many symptoms. And so, your goal is to help them with their quality of life and to show them that you have value and you have tools.
Right now, conventional Orthodox medicine does not have a solution for COVID except for isolate as much as you can, right? Physical distancing as much as you can. And so, you can educate them on the lifestyle and things that they can do to help give their body the best chance of being healthy, radical well being. We’re great at talking about diet. So, you can set up consulates for diet and lifestyle, exercise, sleep, and meditation, acupuncture for circulation and stress reduction and hormone balance. So, there’s a lot of things that you can do to help with the radical well being.
And that way if they are out and about, at least their relationship with their environment, because that’s what we’re doing with Chinese medicine, is strong so they can hopefully handle whatever comes into their external environment, whether it’s CNN News you’re watching causing stress, or it’s a virus that’s out there, that your body is at its peak radical well being so it can deal with it as best as they can. And you can’t tell them or promise them that if you come to my clinic that you will prevent COVID or you’re treating COVID, because there’s not evidence that exists yet that you could do that. However, you can definitely help them with radical well being.
A great example is obesity. We know in general obesity leads to many health issues and diseases. And with COVID-19, we know obesity is a comorbidity. That is not a good thing to be, no matter what your age is. If you’re overweight, this is a time to lose weight. So maybe in your practice, you can start doing getting fit and healthy in the summer so people have the best chance of being healthy, whether they get any virus including COVID-19.
So, remember, people choose you because they see you have value, you have benefit. And so, first of all, do you have value and benefits? So figure out where you do, because you do. And then communicate. As Chen said, send out emails, do talks, collaborate and do stuff, and just take your time. The good news is, for most of you, this is not like you just started your practice. You had a forced holiday, as I mentioned in the video, and now you’re reopening, and people are just getting comfortable in certain places where you live to go out.
And so, read the room. Don’t dismiss their concerns or fear. If you can read the room and realize some of your patients, even though you may not be, are very concerned about this pandemic and come to your clinic. Hear them, and hear their concerns, and validate their concerns. Let them know what you’re doing to mitigate risk and be transparent and let them know that you cannot guarantee safety. And if concern or safety is their main issue, then they should stay inside. Okay? They should isolate. And if they’re comfortable going out to the grocery stores and other things that are not essential, grocery store is essential, but if they’re going out, then they may be comfortable coming to your practice as well.
And you want to keep your safe, so have your boundaries with your patients. We have some patients that don’t believe mask waring is necessary, but it’s a policy in our clinic. We don’t challenge their beliefs, whether masks are valid or not. The science as you go, as of today, the science is masks can mitigate the risk because it limits your exposure time. The amount is dosage and time. So, if you’re going to be in the room with somebody for 20 minutes, 20 minutes without a mask is much more exposure than 20 minutes with a mask, and so that’s why it’s being recommended. And in our practice, it’s okay if you don’t want to wear a mask in general and you don’t believe in masks. However, you can’t get treated in our clinic at this point in time unless you wear a mask. That’s not negotiable.
So, we have our policies, we’re strict with them. And so, I encourage you, too, to have your policies, have kindness in your heart, focus on being of service to your patients. Don’t worry about your bottom line now. In July, hopefully your practice is definitely back and you’re seeing it profitable. But if you just opened in late May or beginning of June, just be of service to people, educate them, be a value, and trust within a few weeks you will be back to hopefully 75% or more of what you were before COVID and profitable again. And therefore you can exist and be of service to your community, which this is all about.
If you’re looking for more information on COVID-19 and being back to practice. Under the healthyseminars.com website, it’s healthyseminars.com/resources., we have several past talks, verbal and acupuncture, and more coming up. We’re constantly listing them all the time. We’ve got lots of free resources for you, stuff on telehealth as well. So, do check out healthyseminars.com. And also, if you’re looking for all my assets, my clinic information, Healthy Seminars, and the conscious talks I do on lornebrown.com, go to that website, lorenbrown.com, because that links to all the things that I’m involved with.
Again, I want to thank you for listening. I want to thank the AAC for inviting me for this practice management series. Some of you don’t know, but my background before a doctor of Chinese medicine is a CPA, so a public accountant. So, I like to bring both hats to the room for you guys to share both as a clinician and then as an entrepreneur and accountant so I can share what I know with you so you can be prosperous and successful and serve your community. Stay tuned to next week’s webinar because there’s more coming. AAC’s got great webinars and they got great hosts. So, make sure you come back, like their Facebook posts, and tune into their next webinar. Thank you very much.
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