Kareem Samhouri is a pioneer in physical therapy marketing and is a PT based in Philadelphia. He is also the owner of Global Fitness, LLC.
I caught up with him for an interview on effectively marketing physical therapy private practices. He had a ton of outstanding ideas. I started by asking him about the importance of referring patients away from your practice, at times.
KAREEM: Referring out is not a big deal since you are telling your patients and clients that this is the best thing you can do. Don’t think of objections, negativity and competition. Think about how you want to work with them at your side. If you are meeting with a medical doctor, understand that the best thing you could ever do is not have an academic competition. We as physical therapists are experts in biomechanics, and this can be our USP since it fascinates medical doctors, and that should be your aim.
NITIN CHHODA: In an earlier interview on physical therapy marketing, you talked about the shock and awe principle and putting people through the four stages now. I feel certain our readers have learnt a lot. Now I want them to get the maximum number of prospective patients to go through this funnel. You mentioned two specific ideas, one was the leTip international and you the importance of going to business networking meetings, and do you have any other suggestions of how physical therapists can reach out to a high number of people and then put them through your 4 stage process to boost referrals? In other words, how do you get access to a large section of doctors, or a large section of patients in your community and then put them through your 4 step process?
KAREEM: Start with the low hanging fruit always. The first thing you should do is go and represent yourself in the community and meet your neighbours. If you haven’t introduced yourself to every neighbour within a five-mile radius, and I am going to tell you that it is a mistake. Make it a point to meet one or two new individuals every week. The easiest and most effective way to introduce yourself is simply knock and say “We are your neighbours and would love to get to know you” People want that old fashioned treatment and its missing today. You should be the one to bring it back. Everybody misses the fact that the internet has made the world smaller. We have forgotten the art of being personal with referral sources. So if you add a personal touch, you immediately stand out. Combine this with an effective follow-up system and you have a winner. It is important to speak to each medical professional properly for your follow-up system to work.
You have to put your face in front of everybody and at some point, things will click, and click so rapidly you will be caught unawares. The referrals will keep coming in with a minimal (maintenance based) time commitment.
NITIN CHHODA: Essentially, you initiate contact and then follow a 4 step process to build a relationship with them. This is smart, automating physical therapy marketing. How do you come up with the right phone script and mechanism to automate phone calls?
KAREEM: I strongly recommend you go to the local high school and put a posting up, to get candidates who speak well on the phone. You need a dedicated ‘phone attendant’. You need to have a script because systems work. They minimize human error. You want to make the first ten calls yourself, and you want to see what works and what doesn’t. You want to give constructive feedback to the phone attendant till he/she gets it right.