Sunday, February 4, 2007

Networking Strategies ( and a couple other thoughts) for Doctors

1. Find Out Where Your Patients Go Before They Go To YouAlways ask who your patients other physicians are. Doesn’t matter what specialty, it’s an opportunity to meet another professional and expand your network and reputation. It doesn’t matter if it is a dentist, optometrist, podiatrist or maybe even a massage therapist pf a faith healer; whomever they sought out before they came to you - you need to meet them. Pick up the phone and invite them to lunch.

2. In A (Medical) World of Specialists, Seek Out The Generalists
Since the focus of my practice is sports medicine, sports injury related treatment, as well as treatment of general musculoskeletal aches, pains and injuries, I seek out general practitioners and internists. These physicians see a multitude of problems. Offer to help them help their patients by being their “go to guy” for the specific systems, disorders and/or conditions you specialize in. Again, pick up the phone, invite them to lunch. Or better yet, bring lunch to their office. And yes, treat their staff to lunch as well.

3. Tell Your Patients What Else You Do.
If your patient sought you out for their neck pain & headaches, often they will think you primarily treat patients with neck pain & headaches and therefore will only refer people with those types of conditions. Don’t be afraid to tell your patients the various conditions you treat BESIDES the one they came to you for. Then, ask them who they know, love and care about right now who is suffering that they would like you to help and ask your patient to call them when they get home.

4. Don’t Just Join, Get Involved.This is one of the keys to developing a stable community based practice. Join the local hospital foundation, chamber of commerce, B.N.I. and other similar groups. However, just joining will get you nowhere. You must get involved. Get yourself out of your practice and on some committees and boards for those organizations, offer your help, your wisdom and give from your heart. In time, the people you meet along the way will become eventually become your friends and the best source of referrals to your practice. Joining an organization gives you access to that organization. Go to the parties, go to the fund raisers, go to the meetings because that is where the people are who make the organizations work and pull the strings in your community.

5. Practice What You Preach.I can’t stand doctor who smoke. Come on man, that’s so 1960's. (maybe get rid of the brown paneling and shag carpeting too). You might be a genuinely nice person, but who the hell do you think you are giving advice about health? Walk your talk. You’re a doctor. Besides the responsibility to your patients, you have one to yourself and your family. Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you would go to you? Otherwise, why should your patients believe you? You apparently don’t believe yourself. Practice what you preach. Get rid of your unhealthy vice no matter what it is. Set the example - be the example.

6. Lose The Arrogance.
You’re a doctor, not G-d. You may be able to save a life, fix a broken part or fix someone’s aches, pains or infection, but I have yet to see a doctor create a life from scratch. So, until then, lose the arrogant attitude. I have had way too many patients who leave their other doctors and come to our office because of the other doctor’s attitude. If you are bothered by a patient asking you a question, you’re in the wrong business. Be humble, caring, genuinely concerned and empathetic. Your attitude comes through loud and clear when you’re with other people. My wife always taught me to “kill ‘em with kindness”. And yet again….She’s right.

7. Relationships Are The Key
It’s not just meeting more people that makes the difference, it’s getting to know people well. When you’re out at a networking event, at dinner with a new business contact or at a party, lose the small talk and really get to know the people you speak with like you are holding an interview for a new best friend. It’s not whoever dies with the most toys wins; It’s whoever dies with the most friends wins. Read Keith Ferazzi's book Never Eat Alone and you'll understand.
Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

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1 comment:

Dr. Rob said...

Dr. Todd,

Great words of wisdom. You hit the nail on the head with sound advice of logic.

Dr. Rob