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3 Reasons Your Business's Success Does Not Depend on Marketing

Updated: Apr 4

Today we are going to be talking about why marketing is not your problem. Since I started my own private practice in 2019, I have worked with patients privately in my cash practice, (in my garage gym, at gyms, going into their homes, and online), developed a business coaching program called DPT to CEO, and now I also have a tiny digital marketing agency. I build websites and do content marketing for other practices. Having added each of these new ventures, I think it's safe to say that I have like a little bit of experience with marketing and what is going to help businesses initially grow. I wanted to bring this up because I feel like whenever I have come across other business owners who are struggling to find their next clients or they feel they're not really getting any bites. The first thing that always comes up without fail is marketing.

"I just need better marketing and then everything will be fixed."

"If only I had this then it'll be great."

Some of these thoughts I'm even trying really hard to put out of my mind. I want to focus a little bit more on the here and now and stop trying to look for the grass being always greener somewhere else. I'm trying to make the most out of what I have available to me now.

Marketing is such a big term and it encompasses so many things from basic principles and foundations to all the different tools that you could possibly use, both online and in person. Just saying "do better marketing" is not really going to help get you anywhere. Maybe it's a good place to start, but ultimately you need to look at what is in your entire sales process:

Where in that entire lifespan are things breaking down and why? Because marketing might be involved and marketing might not. It might be more of a sales problem too. Today, I want to talk about the top three things that come to mind when I hear somebody says that they are having trouble getting patients to stay, pay, and commit to their plan of care. They're having trouble converting leads into clients or they just don't have leads at all. I want to talk about a few reasons why those things might be happening.

#1 It's a sales issue

Okay so let's talk about the first thing. You're having trouble converting a lead or somebody who's potentially interested into a paying client. It seems like people are making inquiries, they're calling, they're emailing, but you're having a hard time actually getting people onto caseload.

Too many options

One thing that I know was definitely hard for me at the beginning was I always wanted to make sure that I was giving people enough options to show how flexible I could be. I wanted them to see that I could help in any way. Because I really just want them to feel better. I would put out a whole buffet of options, kind of like those restaurants that have 13 page menus. It was just too many things. It was too overwhelming! It was a little bit difficult to even understand where to go from there. So when I would lay out all those options on the table for my potential patients, they would end up saying things like, "Let me think about it", "I'll get back to you", "I'll call you later", "I need to talk to my spouse and I'll let you know." I think those are all really nice ways, nine times out of ten, of saying "This is too much and I don't really understand. Because of that, it doesn't feel like the right thing for me right now." It has nothing to do with you personally. That's a big hurdle to get past when it comes to sales, but it's too confusing. If it's too much, then the person is not going to stay because it's stressful. They're not there to be stressed out.

One thing that I always coach practice owners on is whenever you do your evaluation, your objective is to 1) figure out if they're a good fit for you/ you're a good fit for them, and 2) prescribe them the best plan that you think will solve their problem. Top tier plan. What you really think is going to solve their problem. For example, "I'd like to see you once a week for four weeks. What do you think?", instead of saying things like what I used to say: "Well, I usually see people once a week, but I could see you every other week. Or I could see you twice a week for a half hour. Or maybe I could see you once right now and then once in a month and we do other things online." It's completely derails and it ends up being so messy. Keep it simple: "Here's what I would like to prescribe to you. Here's what I want to offer you in order to help fix your problem."

The one thing in very rare cases may be it's one of two things, but that's it. If you ask somebody to choose between three or more offers all at one time, very rarely will somebody actually like that and like those options. Most people it's too overwhelming, so two or less choices, (best option being one choice of yes or no).

Then, the other side of that is the same thing with pricing. It's really common for us to say, "I charge $100 per session, but if you buy four then they're $90, or if you buy eight then they're $80, but if you buy 12 then they're $70. Or if you want to pay for half now, you can pay for half later..." It just is a ton of word vomit and again, too many options. I go over a lot of the stuff in the sales training and my DPT to CEO program. I go through step by step on how to have a sales conversation so that it's easy for you to understand and it's also easy for your patient to understand. You need to make sure that the offer that's on the table is ideally one thing and it costs one price. Maybe you have package rates as well, but you always want to get the buy-in first on the offer and then you can discuss pricing after. It needs to be very concise and simple. If there's too many options it will result in somebody saying that they need to think about it.

Schedule a follow up call/meeting

Tip number two is if somebody DOES say that, they need to think about it or check something, that's totally fair. I've said that plenty of times myself. My pro tip and the advice that I give is to always set up a follow up call with them. Because I know that I want to make sure that my sales process and also my like delivery of care to the potential patient is efficient. I want to make sure that my business runs efficiently. I never leave a conversation with somebody saying, "I'll let you know." I don't like that. If they seem like they would be a good fit and they are interested and they need to check on whatever it is, my best recommendation is to always set up a follow-up call or meeting with them. Schedule a day and time. You never leave the initial meeting without setting up a specific day and time to follow up with them. The reason for that is because there is a set point where a decision is going to be made. Whether it's working together or not. Either way totally fine, but both you and the potential client need to know what is happening moving forward.

If you leave these open ends, it adds a lot of stress on to you. It might be weighing on the other person's mind as well. It makes it hard for you to figure out how many new patients you can take because you're not sure if this person is going to be working with you or not. It needs to be clear and finite on what is going to happen. Then, that way when it comes to that follow-up conversation, if the client cancels you know where they stand. They don't show up, you know where they stand, **in most cases**. If they do show up, you have the opportunity to have a discussion with them. Even if it means you guys aren't going to move forward together, you can help point them in the right direction and be of service. Then, on the back end, in your CRM, you can note that they decided not right now, but you'll follow up with them in the future. It makes it really clear.

The long-term follow up

Speaking of follow-up, that might also be another reason why you're having trouble converting leads into patients is because you have zero follow-up. I'm thinking about when when I first started, when somebody would tell me no or that they need to think about it and I wouldn't hear back from them, I just didn't really think past that. What I want to encourage you to do is to think about the next opportunity that you have to touch base with that person. That is how you start to develop your follow-up process. Maybe you have an initial conversation, a follow-up conversation, they say not right now, make a note to follow up with them in a couple of months, and then again and again and again. Most people you come across are not going to be like, "Yes! Absolutely! Sign me up and let's do this right now!" With most people you talk to, there's going to be some time period between when you first talk to them to setting up the initial appointment.

What I really want you to know and what I wish I had internalized earlier on, is that just because somebody is a no right now doesn't mean that they are no forever. It's more of a "not right now" versus a hard no. If you put in the effort to follow up with them when they were a good fit originally and they just had stuff going on, there's a fair chance that they might be a yes in the future. They already have a ton of stuff going on. If you can take that little bit of burden from them and make a point to check in with them, they're much more likely to work with you in the future because you are putting the effort in to continue to build that relationship.

#2 Patients don't stick around

This might mean that they come for an eval, maybe a follow-up, and then they just fall off the wagon. This is something that I remember I tried to fix originally by creating different offers. Offering a monthly thing rather than a per session thing. I've worked with patients in both capacities and both can be good options. What I really learned though and what I really appreciated learning from Daniel Matta is that sometimes if people don't stick around or even sign up it's not necessarily that you could have done a different offer or a different way of doing things. It just might not be clear enough or you didn't necessarily do a good enough job discussing with them why it's really important for them to solve this problem right now and how fixing the problem will impact their life, both short term and long term. Connecting the entire conversation within an evaluation, back to how does this directly impact this person's life and why is it important is really key in order to get the buy-in.

It can be really hard to motivate yourself to do most things and so if you don't see how taking an action, doing physical therapy for example, connects directly to goals or desires that you have down the road, it's hard to stay motivated with that. It's really important when you are talking to a patient on eval that you figure out their motivation for being there and what they ultimately want to do and craft the offer that will work best for them. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy. Discounting your prices is not really going to change things too much. The pathway for that patient to get to the solution and fix their problem needs to be clear and it needs to be connected to something that's important to them.

Going along with that, making sure to check in with them on the progress that they're making at every appointment, if you can. Comparing week to week or month to month what kind of progress they're making. That is something that I have definitely seen with my patients has been one of the most motivating factors. If you can keep track of things, and better yet, if you can make a graph to show the increase or decrease in metrics that you guys are tracking, that visual can be really really powerful for the patient.

You're not a good fit

The last thing that I did want to mention with a patient not sticking around, and this could even come up with a lead not becoming a patient, is the fact that they might not be a good fit. That's something that I think was harder for me to realize at the beginning. It's still something that I have to coach myself through. You might have a person who's interested in working with you and you meet with them and either you are really not vibing with them, they do not like what you have going on, it's hard to communicate, something is not matching up and it's going to happen. Not every single person you talk to is going to work with you and that's okay. I know at least for me and most of the people reading this, you're probably a single person practice owner or small practice owner. If you were to take on every single person who ever came your way your caseload would be bananas. It's more important to slowly build your caseload and your practice with people who are a good fit on both sides of the equation rather than trying to get everybody in. When you come across somebody who doesn't convert or stay for whatever reason maybe they just weren't a good fit and that's okay.

#3 It's a messaging problem

Lastly if you are a practice owner and you're not getting any leads at all or they're far and few between, one thing I would really encourage you to do is look at your messaging and analyze whether it's clear. It needs to be understood what problem you solve and for what group of people. If that is not clear, people are not going to seek out your services and they're not going to refer people to you because they just don't know. I see this most often with therapists who want to work with adults and do general ortho. It'll come in the form of, "I do orthopedics, musculoskeletal stuff, but also vestibular, and neuro, and work with kids..." It's everything that a general outpatient ortho clinic might do. It's really hard to figure out who you are the person for.

I always try to tell my clients that I work, you have to become like "that guy". If people don't know you as "that guy", you're going to have a really hard time attracting referrals and even attracting patients in the first place. They aren't really sure what it is that you do or who you help, so it has to be clear enough. If somebody were to come to me with a particular problem I would think, "Let me put you in contact with them because I know that they are the person that deals with this." An example would be if somebody were to contact my practice and they are a runner, they're trying to run a marathon, or trying to do anything running related. While I can probably help them, I'm not the expert in running. I think that somebody who is more of an expert would serve them better. My husband Kyle really likes to work with runners and that's kind of his niche. He would be, if he wanted to build a caseload, the running PT in this area. He would become that guy. If you find that there is confusion and you don't have any leads, there needs to be a lot more thought put into your messaging and more specific information.

Out of those three things, if you are having trouble finding or converting leads into patients or if you're having trouble getting those patients to stick around, it is most likely related to some kind of messaging thing, you're really just not a good fit, it could be a sales problem, or it's that there's not a lot of clarity around the situation. That could include the options that are available, and what the potential outcome could be.

Overall the biggest message that I wanted to put out there with this video is that just saying "I need to get better at marketing" or "do more marketing" is not going to magically fix all of your problems. That means nothing. There has to be a lot more thought put into where the breakdown is and what potential issues or barriers there could be. Then you tackle those rather than just saying "I need to do more marketing".

I want to encourage you to think deeper than that. Look at it from multiple different perspectives and all the different stages of your sales process, and what could potentially be happening. If you have any questions about this, I'd love to hear from you. You can send me an email at

Listen to this episode on my podcast!


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