It was the summer of 2016 and I was seeking a chiropractor to run a new Express Chiropractic location.
Dr. Mike Vilello applied for the job. During the interview, we shifted into the topic of “what do you really want to do?”
He replied with a simple statement: “I really want to get my own practice off the ground and going.”
And after a little more conversation the path became clear. He needed a new and better business model if he stood any chance of surviving even another few months, much less thriving.
Truth be told, if he lived closer to my office I never would have agreed to help him. I liked him within minutes of meeting him and knew he would make a great associate doc. But that’s not where his headspace lived. He had a family and a new baby and was smart enough to know that he wasn’t building his future working for someone else. The disconnect was he was seeing an average of 40 visits a month after being open for almost 2 years.
He was bleeding money every month.
He wasn’t going to make it much longer.
I told him perhaps we should just switch his existing business to the Express Protocols for a couple of months to make sure he liked it and then he could consider joining the Express team formally if we both felt it was a good fit. The switch was pretty simple. Here’s what we did. We simplified his message so new patients better understood what he was ‘selling’ (confused customers don’t buy or if they do it’s only until they are out of pain and then they disappear). We incorporated some simple protocols and scripts designed to better convert patients into lifetime wellness customers. We changed his cost of care to more compelling price points and added wellness plans that bill monthly so we could generate predictable month after month income that would continue to grow as we added new members. We promoted his practice in new innovative ways that highlighted how his practice was different so that it would peak curiosity (he was marketing for pain relief… a common mistake chiropractors make). We targeted his marketing so that it was better focused on people seeking the services he offered.
THE RESULTS OF MAKING A CHANGE
In his first year (2017) as an Express Chiropractic, he jumped from averaging just over 40 visits a month to seeing 419 visits in September and jumping to 489 visits in October. And his revenue climbed right along with it! In 2018, he hired his first associate doc and now practices part time, spending more time with his family (including his new baby). Less stress and more income and bringing more people in his community to life changing chiropractic…all while spending less time in the office. An incredible story of hard work and prosperity that is really just beginning!
Was it a cake walk? Heck no. He worked his butt off using the Express Chiropractic marketing and business systems, but he was smart. He took every step I said to take and now his struggling practice is quickly becoming his retirement asset. Change is hard. But it may be exactly what is needed to change the momentum toward the direction of stronger growth and less worry.
Don’t be reckless but in the same respect, don’t be paralyzed by the ‘what ifs.’