Connecting With Your Patients To Avoid Drop Offs

avoid drop offs

Today, what I want to talk to you about how physical therapists or occupational therapists losing tough patients. Sometimes, you can never fix this problem totally. You're going to lose people, there's nothing you can do about it and people are going to leave. 

There's a couple of tips to getting ahead of the problem. So you’re losing that tough patient. Sometimes, the problem happens, it's something bad, and people just drop off. Sometimes, people are just idiots and not nice people. It happens. That's just the way things go.

I'm sure everybody's lost patients. I'm sure if you're in this profession, you've lost patients.

Someone was telling a story about a patient that they had lost because a machine that they wanted wasn't open. What's going on that person's life, it's easy just to say that this person's an idiot and you lose them.

But what's really going on with their life? Reach out to them and find out exactly what's going on. People have other stuff going on their life and it manifests in different ways. So try to be understanding and try to help people. Sometimes, they're an idiot, so there is nothing you can do. But make sure that you step back.

What I want to talk about in this process is actually something I learned from Dave when we were in Phoenix and he was telling his story. He was teaching me this. We're sitting there and he tells his story. This is what connects us. People that you don't have a connection with, they don't know you and they don't understand you.

This is Jerry Durham's thing. Number one, you get their story on that first phone call. You let them tell their story. You ask them to give it to you, ask for permission to hear it, get their story, and let them tell their story. This starts that emotional connection that's happening between you and him. Then, reinforce that story and tell it back to them. That story then connects the two of you.

But that's not enough. When they come in, you need to slow down and tell them your story. Tell them what happened with you, your experience that you had with therapy, the difficulties that you've had.That emotional connection when you tell them about your struggle, how you're making it through, and that you're having a hard time with something, it connects with them on a deeper level. It can instantly make you their friend and instantly create a connection with somebody that you don't have that connection with. 

It starts to create that connection and they're not going to go away. They're not going to leave if they have this understanding for you or they're going to let certain things slide because they care about you a little bit more. 

I want you to connect with people. I want to connect with people. In order to do that, you need that emotional connection or it's not going to work. It just doesn't work unless it's this deep emotional connection with the other person. Once it is, then they're not going to leave. They will tolerate a lot of crap from somebody that they're really emotionally connected to.

So this deep connection that you create with other people by telling them your story, then instead of them being upset and walking out with the things that are going on in their life, maybe they'll pull your side and talk to you. Maybe not, maybe they're an idiot and they just want the world handed to them

But maybe there's something going on in their life and you'll have that connection. And because you confided in them your personal stuff, they'll turn around and they will confide in you. They will see that vulnerability in you that they have in themselves and it will connect the two of you.

I can't even express how strongly what I learned this weekend from Dave and from some other people. It is incredible the way that people can connect off the story.

You will have the drop off stop, if you do that. That's the point of that first phone call, to start getting the story, start giving a little of your story back to them. We're starting to create a relationship.

Then you follow up with that email with it, the video of you embedded into it. Now they're starting to get to see you. You're starting to develop this relationship and emotional connection with this other person, then you bring them in to tell them your story. Tell them about your struggles, how you overcome it and be positive.

Don't be a Debbie Downer with people like dragging them into the mud. That's not what anybody wants. They want to hear your story, but they want to see that positive spin that has been able to make you do and how you can help them to be able to do the same thing.

Is this research-based or evidence-based practice?

No, it's not. It's human-based practice. It's how we treat one another. It's how we deal with one another. It’s how we interact with one another. It's what takes two people that aren't connected and connects them. 

That's what it is. Is that emotional connection, that relationship like this. This physical therapy thing is about relationships. That's why a lot of us are drawn to it because we'd love to have relationships with people.

I didn't want to be a doctor because I don't develop relationships. They walk in, you're in there in the room with them for 5 minutes, and you ship them on their merry way. 

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and any therapy is different. We sit down and spend a lot of time with these people. Slow down and connect. It's not always the technology or the great enlightened thing. That's not always the answer.

Sometimes, the answer is the old school thing, like two people connecting and having a relationship and saying, “Hey, I see you. I see you here. And not just that you're sitting here, but I see the person that you are I see your struggles. Hey, here's the bricks that I'm carrying. But look, we're going to get through this together and we can make your life better. I've helped people just like you before they're struggling with the same thing you aren't getting better.

All those things, it's always about this. Everything.

But seriously, just with connect people. There's not a lot of information in this one other than share your story. Don't be afraid to share. Sometimes, it's hard and there's emotion in your story. You don't want people to see that you're vulnerable but they need to see that as they're vulnerable to. Share with other people and you're going to find that they're going to share with you.

This is how it relates to drop offs and how it will help with those drop offs. There are crazy people that just walk off for God knows what reason. Maybe it's us, maybe we haven't connected, or maybe we didn't do a good enough job. 

Start on that first phone call. Don't miss an opportunity. Start that connection immediately. The second that they call, start to connect with them and start to build a relationship. From your practice, you and your front office, everybody should build a relationship. Show other people love,and they'll keep coming back. And if they don't get that, they won't.

Jerry says it all the time -- it doesn't matter if you’re the customer, patient, or whatever -- everybody is the same. It doesn't matter if you're selling them widgets, online success courses for their life, physical therapy, or software. It doesn't matter.

We're all the same at the core of this. We have problems. We want to know that other people can understand us and that they can help us through the problem. If people get that, they don't leave because they care about you. 

Thank you everyone for checking in. If there's anything I can help you with or if anybody has any questions, please feel free to message in the comments below.

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