I recently had the pleasure to chat with Dan Young, Certified Naturopath from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dan runs an interesting practice, and he’s got a great method for getting new clients in the door. He also has some interesting ways that he’s able to retain his existing clients and develop fantastic word-of-mouth referrals for all the hard work he puts in.
Jeffrey: I’m pleased to have Dan Young, board certified naturopath from Cheyenne, Wyoming here, with me, on the call. Dan, it’s great to have you here.
Dan: What an opportunity, thank you for the time we’re going to spend together today.
Jeffrey: Dan, I wonder if you could explain to everyone a little bit about your practice.
Dan: In 1998, my father found himself retired as a master herbalist, and because of some of our past history in our family, he was very moved and wanted to get back into doing some form of work. He actually became a master herbalist as a hobby. It wasn’t really intended to be a business per se, but in Torrington, Wyoming, a little town just north of Cheyenne, he started consulting and working with people, and that was 1998. Today, several years later, we have found ourselves in a rather large business situation here in Cheyenne, close to 2500 square feet of just clinical office, plus we have a registered FDA lab for manufacturing our herbal-based dietary supplements, and we are very blessed to see over 4000 office visits a year now. So, it’s been quite a journey.
Jeffrey: Now that’s a fairly sizable practice. What are some of the techniques that you use to get new clients in the door, as well as to service your existing clients?
Dan: One of the things that we have found, from our experience over the years, is that pre-education, helping people fully understand or get a really good picture of what nutritional therapy is about, what a naturopath does and doesn’t do, what the fees and services can be, what the time frame is that’s involved, all of these factors. We’ve have found that the more people know about those and have those answers in place up-front, the more they’re willing to come to you, spend time with you, follow your recommendations that you give them, and become successful, happy clients. So we use what’s called a “clinical orientation class”. What I mean by that is, the first and third Tuesday of every month, I do a 30 minute class, me personally. It’s not done by any of the staff. I do a class with the public, and people are invited to come in and meet me, hear about our philosophy on nutritional therapy, ask questions. And in 30 minutes, from start to finish, we lay out to them the overview of what their experience will be, the time it can take, the fees involved, the different approaches we use to evaluate their health, and determine if what we do for them is a great match. And in the class, their first visit, the initial consultation, and follow-up are complimentary.
So we really position them to be embraced by the process without having to spend a lot of time and money, and learn as much about it up front without having to make a commitment. And we have found, for my little practice, and I am considered a pretty small practice in the big scheme, we are averaging anywhere from 18 to 22 new clients a month, and working part time, which is four days a week, about a 32 hour work week, we’re able to maintain that new patient flow, and bring people in, in a manner that they just really enjoy. It makes it a very simple process for them to engage with, and experience natural medicine.
Jeffrey: That sounds like it’s a really great way to, like you said, bring people into the practice, and get them educated. What are some of the other ways that you use to market your business?
Dan: You know, one of the things that we started here in Cheyenne that we’re very pleased about, is we started what’s called the “Total Wellness Initiative”. The Total Wellness Initiative is a group of practitioners who are single in purpose, meaning we might have an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a chiropractor, myself as a naturopath, and we have teamed together in a free, non-profit approach to our community. We offer free education, on-site, to businesses. Businesses that may already have a wellness program in place will be enhanced by this type of education, and then give us an opportunity to be in the community, to meet other businesses, to meet their employees, to share education for fun and for free. And at some point in the future, should they choose to want to be a part of, or experience, say, chiropractic, or acupuncture, or nutritional therapy, then they’ll know who to contact in their community for those future services. But the educational platform is free, and we’re actually doing that with all the businesses here in the community. We just launched that this year, we are working with the Chamber of Commerce obviously, different organizations, associations that one might find in the local newspaper, which the newspapers keep a free listing of those organizations online, very easy to contact, doesn’t take a lot of time. But it’s very, very effective.
Jeffrey: Now, with all these activities going on, it sounds like you have a pretty full plate over the days that your clinic is open. So, a question that a lot of people have been asking is, how you efficiently manage your time?
Dan: Yeah. Well, you know, you have to break it into segments, into the pieces. What do we want to accomplish in a certain period of time? Me, as a clinician, I spend a full 15 minute visit with each client, and in that 15 minute visit, there’s 3 things that we must accomplish. We have to evaluate, determine, and educate, and let me just take 30 seconds and explain that. We have to evaluate the current status of our clients. We have to determine a course of action for them to follow, based on our experience and our evaluation process that makes the most sense, to take them in the direction of their health and their goals. And then we have to, at the end of that 15 minute visit, we have to educate them as to why. So, in my clinic, I don’t make a lot of major adjustments too soon. What I’ve seen practitioners try to do too much of in the past, having worked with many across the country to help them get their businesses established, is I have seen that they try to accomplish too much too soon. They get frustrated, the client gets frustrated, the client’s overwhelmed, the expense is too high, and they can’t maintain the level of compliance necessary to truly restore health. With our approach, small visits spaced appropriately, we give out client small tasks, easy to comply with. It doesn’t overwhelm them financially. It doesn’t overwhelm intellectually. It makes good sense to take these steps and let’s see how you respond, and we get much better resolution in all the cases we accept.
We actually maintain about 90% or greater success rate in all the cases we accept, by doing this method. First, introduce them with education to what we do, and is this what you want to have happen to your health? And then secondly, when I am with clients, I evaluate, determine, educate. And I hammer this into people, as far as my interns, because you have to stay focused. The best use of time is to evaluate, determine a course of action, and educate them as to why within the next two or three weeks, when we get back together, these are the one or two pieces of the puzzle that they’re going to work on and take responsibility for. And its a very stress-less, very harmonious journey, and these people, over time, restore their health. They just love it.
Jeffrey: Yeah, it sounds like that’s a great approach, and like you said, it sounds like you’re getting great success with it. And obviously that will bring a lot of word-of-mouth, and help with the new client flow. So, the final question I have is, if you had to change one thing about your practice, what would that be?
Dan: I think the only thing I’d change about my practice is integrate, maybe, more associates, or somebody to come in and do more of what I just described, which is the development of new clients, on a regular basis, and the day-to-day evaluate, determine, educate approach to helping these clients achieve their goals, so that I could focus more on some of the national projects that I have going with national radio, and the Total Wellness Initiative, and the other projects, the internship programs that we’re trying to move forward a little more. We have been very blessed to be placed in the position we’ve been in, in the last fifteen years, and we’re certainly willing to share any of that success. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we have a few, and we’re certainly willing to share them with others.
Jeffrey: Dan, that’s fantastic. Thanks again for sharing your views. I know that everyone really appreciates it, and take care. We’ll hopefully talk to you soon.
Dan: I look forward to it.