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Two Persuasive Personality Traits that Improve Patient Compliance


Question: Do your friends take your health advice?

Contrary to popular belief, I do have some friends.

They rarely, rarely come in to my office.

And when they do, I don’t feel as comfortable pitching them on the care they actually need. A lot of that is probably to do with my own headspace, however I often feel compelled to give them discounts. Even when I do offer them a deal, they still don’t get the care they need.

The only people who listen to your advice less than friends are family. It’s FUTILE trying to convince family members they should get care from you. I now encourage family to seek care with other chiropractors rather than from me.

You know why this happens? Because they know all about you and your idiosyncrasies, how you got drunk and threw up at that fourth of July party last year, they know about how you blew it with the last person you were dating, they know all about you and your problems.

When it comes to family, forget about it, they used to change your diapers. That pretty much precludes them from EVER listening to your advice.

So, knowing how your friends don’t listen to you like they should, why on earth would you EVER make your patients into friends?

If you are a friend, you aren’t an authority figure.

A doctor is supposed to be an authority figure. You are responsible for getting people better. You can be friendly with them, in fact you have more influence over people when they like you, but I strongly caution you against becoming friends with your clients.

If they know about your personal life and struggles they aren’t going to respect you as an authority. And, just about the worst thing you can do is talk about your business with them or ask their advice about anything.

Do You Want to Serve? Or do you want to Save?

You are in the business of SAVING people, not SERVING them. A mantra of the mission based chiropractors is “serve for the sake of serving.” If you want to “serve” you should become a waiter. “Serving” is practice suicide.

If you serve someone, you are catering to their authority. You are subservient to them. They will end up dictating their care. That means a worse result for you and a worse result for them.

In a restaurant, you may want someone to serve you. To be at your beck and call. When I go to a doctor, I want to be treated well, however I don’t want service. I want an expert to tell me what to do.

“This is not Burger King. You Cannot Have Things Your Way”

-Amiri King

If you have a mentality of service at your practice, you are handicapping yourself.

Lots of chiropractors talk about saving people. You can’t save people if you are serving them. People are coming to you because they want to be told what to do. They are coming to you to get well.

With this in mind:

  1. Most people don’t know about health, nor do they know how to get better. It’s your job to be the authority and tell them what to do.
  2. Serving people prevents them from getting better. Do you think your clients are going to go home and do all their corrective exercises and stretches if you are coming from a “service” mentality? No way. In order to save people you gotta crack the whip on them and keep them accountable.
  3. Your care plans aren’t a negotiation, nor are they a recommendation, or a buffet of options. Your care plans need to be followed to a T or your clients aren’t going to get the results they want.

We are in the business of saving people. Truly rehabilitating their function so they can avoid drugs and surgery and get back the parts of their lives they have lost due to pain or dysfunction. In order to get them better you have to be perceived as an authority, not a service provider.

Now, being an authority for your patients doesn’t mean you should be a prick either.

The second persuasive personality component is likability.

Like I mentioned earlier you can influence people better when they like you.

You want to know one really easy way to get people to like you right off the bat?

Offer them something.

You know how most offices have some self serve tea or coffee, or a 5 gallon jug of water in the corner?

Yea, don’t do that.

Offer a new patient something personally. While they fill out their paperwork.

I like to keep some flavored sparkling water in the fridge. It’s cheap and tasty and refreshing and nice.

Plus it taps into the power of reciprocity as well, which is another key component to influence. They’ll be more inclined to buy from you if you give them something first and it doesn’t have to be big.

As a likable authority you will be much more influential. It’s a bit of a tight rope walk though. Sometimes you’ll have people who won’t do what you say at all. Some people just like to complain and have tied their identity to their physical problems.

In those cases creating an argument, putting someone off or disagreeing with them will throw a wrench in your rapport and then you’ll never be able to persuade them of anything.

I’ll show you some ways to use “verbal judo” on those difficult patients in another installment of this persuasion series, but for now look back to the last episode where I talk about emotions and speaking simply. You can do a lot with just those two tactics.

Just remember: the only person who gets his way in your office is YOU. YOU are the king, and if your clients want to get better YOU are the authority they need to follow.

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