I am extremely pleased to announce that someone read and responded to my last blog piece! I’m practically giddy with excitement. Thank you, Jackie, for your emailed request for a sample of my Fall snail mail campaign. Today Keith and I finalized the design and content and will be sending the job to the printer tomorrow. You’ll see it soon I promise.
And thank you, Bill, for reaching out recently to purchase more consultation time with me. We will be speaking by phone – me here in Chicago, Bill in NYC – this Friday. Bill has used me in the past as a sounding board for practice development and career path ideas.
It is gratifying to know that my blogging, websites, and social media marketing are paying off. I’m currently working with a man with severe ADHD and PTSD who found me online at both ClearLifePath.org and WilliamLynchMD.com. So I’m living proof – as I wrote in my book – that persistence in outreach results in maintaining and growing one’s practice.
What are you doing to grow yours? Tell me by emailing me at Bill@CLPConsulting.org.
Hi Dr. Lynch,
I’d like to share with you my observations:
None of the residents in my class (upper or lower) were interested in the cash model. I think the reasons are complex and poorly articulated.
1. Perceived financial risk and lack of an entrepreneurial mindset.
2. Lack of understanding of the profit driven models by insurance companies that pay their executives multimillion dollar salaries and the true costs of providing care.
3. Lack of confidence/interest in providing psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is not easy and I believe it takes a bit of talent (even with adequate training) and a lot of dedication.
4. Path of least resistance.
My reasons for the cash model: 25% financial (higher hourly wage, getting established in the community, and having an alternate source of income).75% is my disagreement with the current practice model. Employers aren’t hiring me for what I am trained to do…which I believe is Psychiatry (I had extensive psychotherapy training in my 3rd and 4th year. I also requested extra supervision).
Take a look at the recent 2014 Medscape Physician survey. Psychiatry ranked 2nd in job satisfaction! Given that we know most psychiatrists are not providing therapy, it looks like our colleagues are happy dishing out meds, not providing therapy, and not taking any call.
Anyways, you have inspired me. Your book tells it how it is and your advice clearly works. I am 8 months in and my practice is filled 2 days a week. I also feel I am actually helping people with psychiatric conditions.
A Day in Clos Apalta
Keith, graphics designer and marketing expert, and I are cooking up a snail mail promo blast for this Fall. We will use the new greeting card we designed recently and include an insert with text borrowed heavily from our website’s home page. The focus of the message will be the concierge nature of our practice. If you would like an example of the piece, send your snail mail address to Bill@clpconsulting.org and I’ll get one to you. The card design is clean but conveys tons of information graphically, without over burdening the eyes and the attentional systems of my potential referral sources.
By the way, I market my services to referral sources, not potential patients. This touches on another project I have going – the second edition of my book in which I am including my take on the medical profession’s massive ambivalence regarding thinking of us as business people. Fascinating stuff.
It’s time to shake off the vacation mode of Summer (see my recent post on the benefits of daydreaming), let your imagination get busy dreaming of practice promotion, get something planned and pull the trigger.
Get Better at Marketing Your Practice
Finally winter is behind us. For the first time in my 9 years as a Chicagoan winter brought me to my knees. Things got bad. But now with the return of the sun and driving with the top down and al fresco dining, I feel renewed, refreshed, and ready to work.
For well over 6 months I have neglected practice promotion – I just didn’t have the juice to do anything other than take care of my self and my patients. 30+ years have shown me that – at least in my practice – the busy times and the slow ones are determined by complex, likely random forces, but I know for sure that I have been missing in action in the marketing department. It shows! The good news is that I have time to devote to practice promotion and reconnecting with my professional network.
I just finished mailing out over 600 pieces to area clinician colleagues and a different mailing to my current and selected previous patients. The central message in both batches was new science revealing a basic physiologic mechanism explaining sleep’s marvelous restorative quality. I used the information in the mailings to clinicians to market my practice to them in order to improve treatment outcome for their clients. The message was more “non-sell”, informational to my patients. It was so cool I wanted to share it. But this was the first time I had ever directly targeted a patient population, even in an educational mode. I am exploring the boundaries of the business aspects of my practice and direct patient care in my next book, tentatively titled Is There Profit in Professionalism.
My business partner and wife, Laura Lee Anders, MD, has finished her book on the many ways we misuse the mirror. She has now turned her energies to working with our website guru to improve our website traffic. New referrals directly from our site have dropped off recently, we rank far down in search results, and must address this issue. For a long time organic search has brought us a big percentage of our new business. As I wrote on my bio page of our site, psychoanalytic training was an early aim for my career but biology was my first true love. Now I must say that an old relationship is maturing into a deep love – marketing. I am a firm believer that aggressive networking and practice promotion do not violate principles of medical ethics. Nor are they necessarily unprofessional activities.
Would you like to receive a copy of the latest snail mail campaign? Leave your mailing address in the comment (see top of post) and I will send you one right away. What are you doing to promote your practice?
Path to Success
I’m trying to write myself out of a funk. This winter – “Chiberia” – has been the worst of my 10 years in Chicago. Right about now Dallas looks pretty darn good. But the dark, cold winter is a fraction of the blues I’ve been suffering.
I had high hopes for CLP Consulting as it was conceived on that Chilean hillside several years ago. The book has been well-received by a small group of readers. Even enthusiastically praised by a few. But the reactions of a few close colleagues have discouraged me more so than the general lackluster growth of book sales and consulting gigs. A close friend’s reaction during dinner recently is a good example.
Dr. P. and I were at dinner at The Gage, a local favorite, catching up on things in general but especially about my having covered his practice during his recent vacation. As a part of the wide-ranging conversation I told him of my idea to interview a series of psychiatrists in order to gather information about thinking of our practices as businesses. His comment during this chat was right on: “Of course I want to make money, but I am uncomfortable when I focus on that too much.”
When I wrote Starting and Growing Concierge Psychotherapy and Psychiatric Practices I was clearly focused on building and growing cash generating businesses. It puts my people off. I’ll try to engage as many colleagues in this conversation as possible. One vision is that this project of self-exploration through others will develop into a second book on the topic of making a living as a clinician. But this time including what looks to me like a massive ambivalence in doing so.
Are you ambivalent about maximizing your profit in your practice? Tell me all about it!
Thanks. I found it incredibly useful and will refer to it often. I’m … now in academic child, adolescent and adult psychiatry at Brown. I’m feeling fairly fed up with the university practice, its limitations and my inability to deliver the kind of care I think patients deserve. I know Dr. Anders has a thriving practice in Chicago and it’s great to see that you are both doing so well and have used your years of experience to build a business with motivated and appreciative clientele. I’m looking at perhaps moving to private practice in a year or so and may be turning to your consulting services to build a concierge service.
I love getting emails like this one from a former acquaintance of my wife’s. A book purchase is satisfying but when it’s followed by this kind of feedback I’m moved to put more energy into the project. For the next book I’m planning on interviewing psychiatrists about their attitudes about marketing their businesses. But really whether or not they think in terms of their practices as businesses. I expect to have a lot of fun with it.
Path to Success
“Bill, it was a surprise (pleasant) to hear from you. I’ve quickly read through your work, and found it pithy and insightful.”
Jim was surprised that I sent him an email as soon as I saw that he had bought my book. PayPal automatically sends notification of each purchase. It would not be such a surprise if he realized that that is a sample of how I run my business generally. Believe me, I put things off like everyone else, but when it comes to people buying my book, potential consulting clients contacting me, or patients contacting me, I do all I can to respond immediately.
A perfect example from my clinical practice occurred just minutes ago. A young lady who left my practice well over a year ago emailed asking for an appointment soon. We’re meeting tomorrow morning at 9am. In my book I stress the importance of providing remarkable service in a concierge practice. On our practice’s website we promote excellent psychiatric care delivered in a “premium” and “responsive” manner.
How do you differentiate your practice?
Get Better at Marketing Your Practice
Strange title, yes? Well, it was inspired by the title of a paper in the current Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association – “Psychoanalysis as Poetry”. To be fair to the author (I know tons of hard work goes into writing) I didn’t read the piece. Never will.
I told my story of working my way from the deep woods of East Texas into Psychoanalysis, then the pinnacle of a quality psychiatrist’s development, in my book on developing Concierge Psychotherapy and Psychiatric practices. Graduating from the Dallas Psychoanalytic Institute filled me with pride and disillusionment. You see, by then even I had begun evolving away from the pursuit of the ever more precise interpretation toward doing my best to help my patients quickly resolve their problems then move on. Poetry? No, more like battlefield medicine.
This is one clinician’s opinion, but we don’t have time for all the fancy foot work that once made up my clinical day. Especially when we now know that depressive syndromes cause brain damage there is no excuse for anything other than aggressive pursuit of symptom remission. Poetry? Please just give me a patient willing to engage in a fight for their life and my tool kit full of effective medication. Poetry is wonderful, poets shine a new light on experience, but there is no place in my office for it.
Harsh? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment via the link at the top of this article.
Let's Get Started!
A client recommended this read a few days ago and just today I dug into it during a free hour. Within the opening pages I began to feel inspired. We clinicians have so much to learn from the business world. This is a great place to start.
Get it. Read it!
Get Better at Marketing Your Practice
I haven’t published much here lately. There are tons of excuses and a few very good ones, but lately I’ve felt twinges of motivation to get back in the game. I enjoy writing but the love just disappeared. I vowed to myself that upon my return from visiting my brother, Mark, down “behind the pine curtain” in Deep East Texas this weekend, that I would rededicate myself to these extra-clinical interests.
The spark that got me to the keyboard this morning was receiving an email from CopyBlogger offering a course of sorts on internet marketing. It looks interesting and will be reading material for the plane ride to Texas. I’ve begun to miss the hustle. Where have I been? What has been keeping me quiet?
The twinges and flickers of motivation keep catching my attention. Earlier today while reflecting on them I thought of the concept “to lie fallow”. Exodus 23:11-21 says, “1 but let the land rest and lie fallow during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest any volunteer crop that may come up. Leave the rest for the animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves. 12 Work for six days, and rest on the seventh. This will give your ox and your donkey a chance to rest. It will also allow the people of your household, including your slaves and visitors, to be refreshed.”
My donkey and I have been busy in another field, several other fields. This weekend I am allowing my mind to “lie fallow” in order to enjoy the distinctly non-intellectual joys of life in the woods. Mark and I will likely launch assaults on the wild hogs infesting our land down there. Once back to Chicago next week I aim to ramp up my work with Keith to promote my book and with my son Aaron to further our joint project of building an innovative billing system for shrinks with cash-based practices.
For another perspective on lying fallow see Dr. MacKinnon’s post here. Can you relate? Take a little lying fallow time, check out the stuff at CopyBlogger, stay in touch with me and we’ll all get on down the road.