Everywhere you look these days you see people with limb loss in movies, tv shows, ads, webisodes, instagram posts, etc. You get the picture…
I got a call awhile ago from an O&P sales-friend. They wanted to share a juicy story. Their employer had received an unsolicited testimonial regarding a component they sell and the happy customer/patient wanted to know if they’d be able to “be active, like the guy on Dancing with the Stars?”
The sales-friend was taken aback. The patient’s prosthetist is a well known and respected practitioner. Qualified, skilled and caring. The patient using their component was certainly physically able to be just as active as Noah. Sales-friend’s first thought was “Why are they asking us and not their prosthetist?” Second thought was “I better call Elizabeth and let her know!” (That’s a good sales-friend!)
THIS! This is why it’s SO important to market to your existing customers. By market, I mean let them know what services you provide, what products and services there are available, what your other patients are up to. They don’t know what they don’t know and it’s up to you to keep them informed! It’s also vitally important to solicit feedback regularly. I wonder if the patient who yearned to do more only realized that it was possible after watching Noah on Dancing with the Stars?
Your current customers – referral sources, customers, patients, family and friends – are as close to a captive audience as you can possibly get. Whether they are physically visiting your office or if you are providing them with written or digital communications, they are most likely receptive and interested in information you can share with them. For any business to grow, it needs new customers but it also needs its existing customers to remain and to stay happy and satisfied.
If the yearning patient happened across information, word of mouth or marketing materials for another practitioner, one that they felt offered them something they weren’t able to get, even if it was as simple as encouragement to pursue their dreams, more than likely they’d be a lost customer. People like to feel like they belong. They like to feel like they are understood. Sharing testimonials from a wide range of patients with the rest of your patients is an excellent way of marketing to your existing customers.
I am a big fan of using short, sweet, “in their own words” types of testimonials in marketing materials. Facebook, websites, Instagram and newsletters are where you want to use these accolades. It’s content you don’t need to create yourself. It’s more authentic. What’s more effective? “We provide our patients with the highest quality orthotic and prosthetic devices.” Or “My prosthetist, J.P., worked with me every single day after school until I was confident enough with my running leg to try out for the track team.”
A lot of people in healthcare professions are in them because they really truly want to help people, to make their lives better. They are uncomfortable doing what they feel is bragging or boasting. “I’m just doing my job” when someone thanks them for changing their life for the better.
As my grandfather used to say – “Let’s get off that kick!” You need to work harder at letting your existing customers know how you can make their lives, and the lives of their friends and relatives, even better. Take an active role in communicating your successes to your captive audience and have them help you grow your business.