By Freddie Ulan, DC, CCN
One of the most important things that I have found is the necessity to establish patient rapport. Don’t forget that what we’re trying to do is to establish a connection with the patient. After a new patient has finished their intake paperwork, and before they see you, have them read your story.
Tell them why are you in this practice. Do you have any personal experience worth imparting? Do you think your patients will appreciate you more if they knew more about why you’re doing this particular form of healing? Every one of the practitioners I have met has had, as part of why they got into this type of practice, a personal reason. Maybe you don’t have any personal physical situations, but maybe you’re doing this because you have a close relative who got better, or some close friends. Certainly you’ve helped enough patients for you to know that this is the right thing for you to do.
I have a great story; I was almost dead. But you don’t have to be almost dead to have a great story. I’ve seen plenty of great stories and some of them were based only on the results that they get. The point is having a personal communication from you to the patient.
And by the way, don’t write it to the patient. Writing it as if you are “letting the patient eavesdrop on a conversation you are having with somebody you respect” turns out to be better than a “Dear Patient” letter. “Dear Patient, I just want you to know why I’m doing this…” That’s a form letter. I’ve experimented with all these things; this wasn’t just a bright idea that came out of the blue. I’ve experimented with the “Dear Patient” stuff, I’ve experimented with all kinds of things, and I’ve experimented with not having anything.
What I found is that the most effective thing you can do before ever having the patient ever see you as a doctor is having them read your story. Some people say, “Oh, people don’t like to read.” People don’t like to read boring things. That’s a more truthful statement. People will read things that are interesting, and they’re interested in this. I have my patients read this, and by the time they come in to see me they say “I feel like I know you.” You know? And I know you’ve been there. You’ve been there and done it. They have a lot more respect for me, I have a lot more altitude with those patients because of that.
Now, I’m going to tell you something else that just happens to be very interesting. I’ve had doctors who said, “But I don’t have a story yet.” So, I give them two assignments. Read my letter that I wrote a long time ago and see if there’s anything about your life that you can fit in to some similar parameters. Then write me a letter! “Dear Dr. Ulan, I just want to tell you why I’m doing this work.” Write it to me. I love it, I collect these things. It’s kind of a nice exchange for me too.
Then you can create this letter. And while you’re writing it, if you don’t have a letter, I’ve had doctors who’ve said to me, “I still didn’t get around to writing my own letter, but I’ve been using yours and it works perfectly.” So, you have permission to use it. I mean, they’ve used it – I said, “What do you mean you used mine? You rewrote it on your letterhead?”
“No, I just made copies of yours.”
“And that worked?”
“Yeah, it works great!”
So, OK, if it works it works. But the ideal scene is to have your own letter.
One of our clients who is very successful recently sent me his letter. He rewrote my letter! He said, “I’ve got this great letter, it works really great.” I said, “Really? I’d like to see it.” He said, “Yeah, I think you’ll like it.” And he finally sent it to me, and I’m reading the letter and I say, “I recognize this.” He made a few minor changes to mine to personalize it.
The bottom line is, it’s really good to have a personal letter in which you’re allowing the patient to eavesdrop in on a private conversation. People love that, by the way. So it’s a very, very nice touch.
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