Fair value: The cost of free services

free services

A recent presentation at Logan College of Chiropractic raised the matter of free services and screenings offered by chiropractors.

The question asked was, “Do you believe that chiropractors offering free services helps bring in new patients?”

Despite their popularity, if you look closely, you’ll see these marketing techniques do not help a practice. The precedent for offering free screenings was established years ago and likely brought in new patients in some cases. But the real issue is that anything “free” diminishes your value.

For example: A medical emergency might require a trip to the hospital by ambulance and perhaps surgery by a cardiologist. Would you search Google for free ambulances? Would you look for a cardiologist who is willing to charge nothing? So why should anyone expect free chiropractic?

Your skills are expensive

The reality is that you are a doctor. Your analysis is based upon thousands of hours of case management, classroom study, and peer review. You spent a lot of money on your education – so why offer your services for free?

Chiropractic is a skill that can cure symptoms such as migraines, allergies, digestive issues, and other stressors that affect the body’s normal state of physiology. Chiropractic employs a series of treatments that aid a body’s fight-or-flight reaction so that it returns to homeostasis or normalcy.

Unfortunately, many chiropractors subordinate their position because other chiropractors do. Following “the Joneses” is not a good way to operate a practice. Just because someone offers discounted massage treatments, free services, or even exercise classes doesn’t mean that you need to follow suit.

As a doctor, you illustrate your value by providing services that equal your treatment and fees. As Warren Buffett says, “Cost is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Getting what you pay for

In many markets, cost equals value. Think about the huge price difference between the cost of a Timex versus a Rolex watch. Consumers understand the value equation. And this works in medical markets, too.

Consider modalities like concierge services, new fee structures associated with dental treatments, and the costs that differ between inner city and suburban hospitals. The value-fee connection is easy to see. So if you seek to increase your visibility, value, and revenue, “free” is no longer an option.

Apart from the rest

To sustain yourself in today’s highly competitive market, you must think like an entrepreneur. Chiropractic marketing is necessary to make proper connections in the community and position yourself as a thought and healthcare leader.

This is partly why you want differentiate your services so that no other chiropractor in your area can directly compete with you. This helps increase the competitive gap – and reinforces the reason you should offer nothing for free.

When beginning a practice, consider all the options to remain competitive. But attempting to emulate the techniques of other doctors does not necessarily lead to success.

To maintain a profitable practice, you must create your own lock. Free services do not lead to that result; they diminish your competitive position and increase your labor. If you want to thrive in today’s competitive economy, start charging for your ability to cure patient symptoms. Once you escape the “free” treadmill, your confidence and conviction will soar.

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