“7 Networking Mistakes to Avoid!” By Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMANetworking is the little known secret weapon of practice success. It is the most cost effectivemeans to a referral based practice and creating ‘Raving Fans’. In business, you don’t wantsatisfied customer’s, you want ‘Raving Fans’. These are devoted patients who believe you arethe BEST and ONLY doctor worth visiting.How do you do create Raving Fans? One way is networking. 70% of your business will comefrom some sort of networking. Word of mouth advertising is the key to long term practicegrowth and establishing a strong foundation for new patient acquisition. Failing to develop thisskill will negatively affect your financial future. Avoid these mistakes to ensure you don’tbecome just another doctor in town. 1. Don’t Have A ‘One-Liner.’ In most instances you have about 10-seconds to describe who you are and what you do. Failing to develop a powerful one-line description of your services can make or break first impressions. Here is a good way to start. Take five pieces of paper. Assign one of the following sentences to the top of each sheet: *Who you are *What you do *Whom you do it for *How you do it *What happens as a result Write down all the words, characteristics, ideas and phrases that pertain to each of these areas of your introduction. Have fun! Spend at least a few minutes on each sheet. The whole point of starting with this activity is to make your prospective patient feel you really understand what they are all about, and you’re there to solve their problem, fill their need. Now it’s time to create the liner. An example might be: “I‟m Dr. Xyz, and I renew people‟s quality of life by eliminating pain with my hands!” 2. Networking Part Time. There is a time and place for networking: ANY time and ANY place. There is never a wrong time to make a new connection and meet potential patients. Networking is an attitude. Every time you go outside, be prepared to tell others who you are and what you do. The biggest obstacle to success is anonymity. If they don’t know about you, how can they come to see you? Learn to be approachable in life. You are not only a doctor; you are an entrepreneur who must master the art of marketing to set yourself apart from the competition. Read a new marketing book per month and implement one unique strategy.
3. Wish I Had My Card NEVER leave your practice without business cards! An effective card is arguably the most valuable tool you can have in building a business. For those just beginning, sometimes it’s the only tool. Nothing is worse than being in a situation where you say, ‘I wish I had my business cards with me.” When you give out cards, make sure you give out two at a time. People have a tendency to misplace cards, so give them a second chance to find you. Networking etiquette 101; don’t give out a card until someone gives you theirs, they ask for one of yours, or you ask for theirs first. Business cards should have some type of offer on the back. Use that space to promote your uniqueness. My most successful offer was a FREE Laser Therapy treatment.4. Taking Before Giving Building relationships is about giving. Provide something for others before you try taking something for yourself. It’s not about selling your services to everyone in the room. Hard selling will more than likely alienate half the room in the first 10-minutes. Network with an open attitude of learning something new about the people you meet. Express interest in them and I guarantee they will be more open to helping you. Engage in meaningful conversation, not simple fluff talk to fill space before handing them your card. People can sense when you are genuinely interested in them. An example: Send your new contact an article related to their field of interest.5. Too Much Too Soon Building relationships via networking takes time. Don’t expect to get 20 new patients at your first meeting. Trust is a big factor in networking. Prospective customers need to know you truly care before they decide to use your services. They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. People buy people first. People like and want to do business with their friends. True friendships don’t happen overnight, so be patient and enjoy the moments until they start paying off. Trust me, they always do. Most people will begin the trust connection after three encounters. Your goal is three individual networking interactions with a new contact.6. Desperation Never network for new patients out of desperation. Being in a state of ‘lack’ permeates all of your actions and activities. People can smell desperation like a shark smells blood in the water. It is an automatic turn off, which can make you do things to compromise your integrity and character. Marketing is not something you do when business is slow; it’s something you do ALL the time so you never get slow. Plan on attending two networking events every month and incorporate this action step into your monthly marketing calendar. You do have a marketing calendar don’t you?
7. Follow Up Just because they have your card does not mean they are going to call. As a matter of fact they probably won’t. It’s a hard truth, but people don’t care about you or your business. They care about themselves. You MUST follow up with every contact in a timely fashion with value added information. It’s called „Keep In Touch Marketing‟ and it is an art form worth mastering. At regular intervals contact your network via phone calls, e-mails, newsletters, e-zines, blog posts, special offers and information pertaining to their industry. Investing targeted effort into cultivating your network will pay high dividends in the future. There are numerous software applications to help establish a systematic keep in touch system. A scrap piece of paper with notes won’t cut it in today’s world.Networking is an art. And just like any artist, it takes repeated strokes on the canvas to reveal amasterpiece. Don’t get discouraged if you are shy or reserved. Remember that most people youmeet are just as nervous as you are. It’s human nature to fear rejection. The easiest way toeliminate this fear is by ACTION. The more you do it, the better you become. Don’t takeyourself too seriously…and make this an on-going life skill. Network and prosper!_________________________________________ Stopchasingpain.com Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA 973-800-6570Laser Photomedicine for Pain Relief