There are a plethora of doctors working in private rooms, so what would make your medical practice stand out from the rest? Many practices seem to adhere to a cookie-cutter model which is likely to diminish the core value of their clinical services. When establishing your private practice marketing and branding strategy, there are many important things to consider. However, the astute doctor knows that to create lasting impressions and build genuine relationships with their patients and referrers, they need to develop what is known in marketing as a practice USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Consider your USP in your private practice marketing strategy
Doctors perceive selling to be a cringe-worthy term. Be that as it may but as businesses, practices need to become skilled at how to develop great relationships with patients and referring practitioners, relationships that are based on trust and respect and not clinical skills alone.
A wise doctor spends their time determining strategies to stand a head above the rest in an already saturated market before commencing private practice, would carefully consider how their practice differs from the rest and what their unique service offering (or USP = Unique Selling Proposition) is.
It’s not about being ostentatious in approach, it’s about developing a clear and consistent service.
There is an old saying in marketing, “Tell the market who you are, or the market will decide.”
Therefore, you will fall prey to the market should you fail to define who you are and what you stand for before establishing your practice.
Most crucially, a doctor must ask themselves:
1. What do I value?
2. What services will I provide? and
3. How will I convey this to my ideal patient?
So, to begin the doctor needs to define their practice values.
Align your private practice’s values to yours
Start the ball rolling by defining what your values are as a practitioner on a clinical front and the type of patient care you will offer.
RWS provides an extensive range of services for doctors in private practice and has helped doctors develop successful private practices for over 15 years. Over this timeframe, it has become clear that it is the doctors who build a business centered around their core values, and not simply their clinical skills who find more contentment and success in private practice.
To set your private practice apart from the others, devote time to meticulously construct the practice you want. It is of paramount importance to give your referrers insight into what you stand for, thus allowing them to refer patients who align well with the services you provide. Many doctors make the clinical skills crystal clear to patients and referrers but struggle to provide a clear sense regarding the values of the practice. Achieving this will help your private practice stand out from the rest. To summarise, the key step in establishing your dream private practice is to clearly define your values. Once you’ve successfully done this, your next step is to create an action plan.
Know how to communicate your vision for your private practice
Once you have decided your practice drivers, the next step is to brainstorm how your practice will be presented to your avatar (this is a marketing term for your ideal patient – it’s a valuable way to understand your ideal client base when establishing your private practice marketing strategy!).
To your people, inside your practice
Take time to write down all the steps in the patient journey from the creation of your website, how the phone is answered and what correspondence will be sent to stakeholders. All elements of the practice journey must align and serve to reinforce your vision. Your vision is only as strong as your weakest link so ensure your team knows the message and emotion you wish to convey. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to measure how often the phone didn’t ring, so it is important for your future success that your team is on the same page.
To your referrers, extending your practice’s network
Your referrers are crucial cogs in your private practice wheel. Without referrers you won’t have a practice. In addition to your patients, you must ensure that your referrers are clear on the services you offer. Once again, you will be required to thoughtfully outline strategies to convey messages to your referrals prior to any face-to-face or online meetings.
A point for reflection when doing so is to consider if your message would give referrers a clear sense of how their patients will be treated. To build trust and bridge relationships with them, assess your intended method for written correspondence to determine that letters, information packs for new patients and marketing materials also align to ensure consistent delivery across all mediums of communication. Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.
The multifaceted challenges for your private practice to stand out from the rest essentially comes down to your ability to relate to your referrers as opposed to simply informing regarding your clinical skills. Many referrers won’t be able to differentiate your clinical skills from another doctor’s so they will choose you based on the relationship you develop with them.
Do you make the referrer feel important?
Is your communication timely and thorough?
Will you be an advocate for their patient?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you will go a long way towards developing great rapport and trust with referrers and in turn greatly increase your chances of ongoing referrals – RWS has the data to prove it!
In addition, a great referral relationship is built on helping them in areas such as education and communication. Offer your mobile number and even a dedicated phone line for referrers, which will show respect for your time-poor referrers.
To your patients, bringing salience into their experience
Finally, let’s look at your physical rooms.
Does the presentation of your rooms also align with your values and reflect who you are? For example, if your services are catering for elderly patients, consider your chairs. Are they comfortable and easy to alight from? Similarly, if your goal is to be welcoming, is the ambience of the rooms inviting? It is wise to ensure that the décor, layout and ambience of your rooms meets the needs of your avatar and aligns with your practice values.
Stand out with USP, values and vision
For your private practice to stand out from the rest, it is about knowing your core values and communicating them to patients and referrers and being consistent with this message. Your avatar should know within a few minutes what you stand for and the level of service you will provide. It is also about forming great relations built on mutual respect and trust; being consistent with regards to your approachability, communication and patient-care.
Achieving this will result in referrer relationships that will stay with you throughout your years in practice, will set you apart and put you on the path towards a very successful and rewarding private practice life. To find out more about RWS’ private practice services and how it can help you click here to learn more or get in touch with the team at RWS directly for a complimentary consultation.
Disclaimer: The content of this article was written by Caroline Chaplin, Director at Rooms with Style (RWS). The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice as your personal circumstances have not been considered. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain personal advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.
As featured at www.dpm.com.au.