By Freddie Ulan, DC, CCN
What are the key ingredients of a successful nutritional cash practice? I’ve really studied this one and I’ve identified these factors. I can tell you that there’s three major ingredients. There may be some sub-ingredients but there are three major ingredients.
The first one is: great products that you can count on. I’m talking about products that have been around a while from a company that has a track record where you know they’re going to be producing the same thing so you get a consistency of product.
That’s very important in your practice because it’s very upsetting to your patients if you’re continuously switching products and going to this one and that one, following the latest multi-level marketing trend. I’ve been there and I’ve done that, so I can tell you that it’s not a good idea for your practice. You need to find great products that you can count on that will do the job. You need to learn how to use them well. You need to put your homework in. This is part of your professionalism, it’s part of the requirement.
The second ingredient is a workable system of zeroing in on the patient’s needs. While there are many workable systems out there the system that we’ve evolved, Nutrition Response Testing®, is for us the most effective thing that we’ve ever seen. It gives us all the answers we need in a relatively short visit so that we can provide a high quality, competently delivered service in a short enough period of time to fit within the economics of a cash practice.
For me the ideal is a 10-minute visit. However, if I had a 15-minute visit I could be making a ton of money, I’d just have to work a few extra hours. And anybody who does the work that I teach, Nutrition Response Testing, once you get skilled enough at it there’s no reason you should have to spend more than 15 minutes on a visit and 10 minutes becomes routine after a while.
Whatever system you are using, it needs to be a system that allows you to get the job done that you need to get done in that visit in a short enough period of time so you can charge a low enough fee to be able to see a volume of people.
The higher your fees, the less people you see. There’s a datum here about how to build a practice. The way you build a practice is: you keep the front door open. That’s the very first rule of building a practice. Get the front door open. What’s the first thing that happens when somebody walks in the front door on their initial visit? If they have to pay $200 for an examination, your front door might as well be closed.
I built my initial practice in Glens Falls. I started from absolute scratch, didn’t know a soul there. I had my wife go out and do some surveys on the public to find out what they were interested in so I could figure out how to market to them. But she got into such good communication with these people that she would tell them that they really needed to go see her husband, which she was telling all from the heart. You know, you get somebody telling you their horrible stories and you know your husband could fix them and she would say, “You should come in and see my husband.”
I never charged for the initial visit for the first year. Never. I didn’t charge…why? To keep the front door open. My cash receipts on that first year were $175,000. And that was a very, very, very part time practice. It started out with under 2 hours a week that I was actually seeing patients. Get it? Yet, I turned in $175,000….that’s what’s on my income tax return for that year. And of that $175,000, approximately 1/3 of it was nutritional supplements.
So, I went from zero to a $5,000 a month Standard Process account. My overhead was practically nothing and the rest I used to pay off some of the incredible debts that I had accumulated from my years of being sick. But that’s what it took. And I never charged for a new patient visit during that entire time.
When my wife went out on the street she surveyed approximately 180 people. Out of that 180 people, 60 of them actually completed the survey. We knew what they needed. Of those 60 people, she gave each of them an invitation to come in for a free health evaluation to see if we might be able to help them with that particular situation that they brought up. Of those 60 people, approximately 35 of them showed up. Fourteen years later 30 of them were still patients. You got to know that we figured out how to handle these guys.
But the wonderful thing was, these people came in for a free initial visit. They would come in and when they started getting results, they would say, “I have a friend I’d like to send in. Can you give her a complimentary visit too?” I said, “Absolutely.” And I did that for over a year before I started charging. So, you keep the front door open. But you need a workable system for zeroing in on the patient’s needs otherwise you don’t even have to have a front door.
What’s the third key ingredient to a successful nutritional cash practice? That’s patient management, and we’ll get into that in the next article.
For more information on Nutrition Response Testing call 866-418-4801 or email us at [email protected]. You can also download our FREE Nutrition Response Testing E-Book here.