Ask, Listen, Share and Give to Network Your Way to Success
Meet Dr. Dave Candy. He is a networking superhero that we all can learn from! As a Physical Therapist, you would think that that much of his business would come from marketing to doctor's offices. However, it does not. Business comes from networking.
Dr. Dave moved to St. Louis with his wife and daughter only a year-and-a-half ago with few pre-established personal or professional contacts. He briefly started working in a small private practice, but when that practice was acquired by a larger healthcare system, Dr. Dave had the courage to walk away from the security of a salaried job with benefits to continue to be able to treat patients the way he sees fit - with the highest level of clinical care, compassion, and one-on-one attention. And thus, Movement 4 Life Physical Therapy was born!
The question is, what did Dr. Dave do that put his practice on the road to success? Dr. Dave got out into his community and gave value to other business before he received one referral...he networked. Dr. Dave reported that, “Most people are eager to hand out a business card, but networking is about building relationships and trust.”
During my conversation with Dr. Dave, when I asked him where is one place someone new could go to start learning networking and how to build valuable relationship and he said, “join a BNI group.” Now to be serious about making a networking group work he explained that, "It's important to have a community that you see regularly where you can form solid relationships built on trust. It takes multiple touch points before people will trust you enough to send you business."
I asked Dr. Dave for some practical tips about networking during our conversation. Dr. Dave reported to me the following:
- Ask- Everyone knows someone who has health issues
- Listen - Don’t Hijack the conversation. Let the other person talk, and truly listen....don't just think about what you want to say next.
- Share - Talk about why you are passionate about your profession
- Give - Give to establish trust. Give, give and give again, then look to serve others
Don't just satisfy them...AMAZE them - The key to providing a "WOW" experience is to under-promise and over-deliver. This helps the customer understand that your service is above and beyond their expectations because you helped frame those expectations.
Summarize the entire visit for the patient - People will forget some or all of the information you told them. Dr. Dave likes to provide a follow up email with all of the information he covered during the patient's visit. Because this email is always personalized for each patient, they get tremendous value out of his email follow up.
Over-communicate and be accessible - No one ever gets a personal call from the doctor, they always get the call from the staff. Dr. Dave says he gives his patients his email and cell phone number. He is accessible on evenings and weekends. If he hasn't heard from a patient in awhile, he gives them a call with a genuine interest in their well-being, not just when they can come back in for their next visit.
Understanding how to network is important in treating patients with chronic pain, because people need to be able to trust their healthcare providers. Just as building a referral network requires that your referral sources can trust you, customers need to know that you care about them as a person. They need to understand they are not, "Just a chart number" or "A revenue source." It's easier and less expensive to form lasting relationships and keep your current customers happy than to go out and find new ones. Dr. Dave is a networking superhero because he gives value first, and everyone can feel that commitment from him!
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Information and Contributions by:
Dr. Dave Candy, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, FAAOMPT