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Medical Practice Business And Marketing Articles

Article #29 Jan. 2012                               

“Positioning: The Sum of All
Marketing Strategies”

Intentionally Put Yourself In A Place Where
Opportunities Come Automatically.

Paul Harasim, the medical reporter for the Las Vegas Review Journal, in January 2012 likely never realized that his article “True Angels” had much more significance than the single issue of helping each other.

Although Mr. Harasim's intent was to nobilitate the achievements of a group of medical doctors, his impact also reveals a profound marketing "positioning" strategy. The incredible aspect of “positioning,” no matter how doctors go about perfecting their marketing strategies, is that it encompasses several other marketing strategies and benefits at the
same time.

These physicians are offering free medical and surgical care to a filtered group of patients who can’t afford the care they desperately need. This mixed specialty group of physician volunteers at “Helping Hands Surgical Care,” a nonprofit foundation, the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Petersen, offers primarily free surgical care.

Their patients are those without healthcare insurance, are self-employed, have no available credit or other sources of money, yet have severe surgically correctible disabilities that no other doctors will accept as patients. Most physicians recognize the plight of such miserable patients.

With the support of organizations, medical facilities, paramedical volunteers, and donations from many sources, this group is able to move patients from pure misery to life productivity. The doctor’s services, skills, talents, time, and efforts are free to this lineup of patients. Orthopedics, urology, ObGyn, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, and cardiology are represented by those courageous medical doctors who are willing to step out of the box in their comfort zone.

These unique physicians mimic the heartfelt core aspirations of a majority of physicians and other professional medical providers. This sense of responsibility felt by doctors is often clouded by media coverage smeared with medical mistakes, medical malpractice cases, and the common belief that doctors “don’t care” anymore. Rubbish, mixed with malice.

Are there similar physician groups around the country doing the same thing to help those patients without money or health insurance coverage that fall through the healthcare cracks? Probably many!

Most physicians and other professional healthcare providers have a desire to do such things to help the underserved healthcare patients. In most cases, however, the gap between intention and taking action is so wide that nothing happens. Then, once in a rare while, a serious and passionate doctor steps up to the task to bring it to fruition, thank the Lord
for that favor.

Unwillingness to sacrifice time spent with paying patients and family responsibilities along with the increasing restrictions on medical fees with dropping practice incomes, overworked physicians lose their motivation to volunteer to provide free medical services. It's a good example of the metaphor associated with "When your up to your ass in alligators, you don't think about draining the swamp."

However, there’s a rather obscure and undeniable marketing advantage for physicians or any other professional medical provider who are willing to go beyond the self-protective reasoning that holds most physician back from doing the same thing.

In most circumstances these free marketing advantages go unrecognized, nevertheless these significant marketing effects do happen anyway,
automatically. In essence, these physicians reap rewards in return for what they have sacrificed in terms of time that last for years. The rewards are not all about building reputations and self-esteem, although for many onlookers it is only a form of self-aggrandizement and appearing superior.

These hidden rewards come in terms of monetary gain, practice growth, practice income, and personal fulfillment that can’t be attained in any other way… at least not for free! The following may incite you to develop a new mindset about healthcare volunteerism.

Positioning as used here is a marketing term that can be defined simply as a conscious effort to intentionally take the action necessary for placing yourself in a position where you expect to attract the things you desire most. When you volunteer to do something that benefits others, especially involving medical care, that very few will ever choose to do, you place yourself in a position to reap all the other marketing benefits, free of charge, as a bonus.

What happens, in marketing terms, with “positioning” yourself?

You’ll have all these marketing factors working for you in an undercurrent of what David Ogilvy's brother and a marketing legend, might have applied here as, “the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance.”

  1. Publicity: Such unique free services offered by medical doctors attract media coverage, press releases about who is doing what to help the underserved patients.

  2. Differentiation: If you want more patients, you have to stand out above the rest of your competition. You find ways to do what no one else is doing, or willing to do. For example, you differentiate yourself from others by doing surgeries that no one else is doing.

  3. Building Referrals: Such special humanitarian efforts sends a message to patients who find out what you are doing that you are the kind of person who cares for your patients. It increases referrals from everyone connected with your “extra” efforts program as well as from other doctors in the area who want to send their patients to a doctor who will go overboard to treat patients in the best possible way.

  4. Shared Promotions: By working with multiple organizations and people who support your efforts, you share in all their promotions to the public. They like what you are doing, so they tell everyone they come into contact with about you and what you do so well.

  5. Viral Marketing: Every patient that receives this unexpected free surgical benefit will gladly tell dozens, if not hundreds, of others about what you did for them and how they were treated. Your abilities, reputation, and credibility spread
    like wildfire.

  6. Branding: Attached to your persona is a recognizable special attribute that people remember instantly when your name is spoken, mentioned, read, heard, or seen for the rest of their lives. Like—“He’s the only doctor that I know who did all those wonderful things for free and never expected to be paid.” You are branded with that reputation.

  7. Building Relationships: Current marketing strategies become more effective as a result of building friendships with those you expect to become your patients, or those you want to refer patients, promote your expertise by word-of-mouth, and become your patients eventually. Relationships increase trust, dependability, and credibility… later more patients and more income. It avoids prospecting for patients by asking them to join your practice. The relationship creates their need to approach you first—so you get much better and loyal patients this way.

  8. Likeability: People buy from people they like. Patients migrate to doctors they like. It’s how you treat people when you deal with them. Doctors rarely survive in private practice that aren’t likeable. Doctors who volunteer their medical services almost always demonstrate this attribute. The wider you spread your likeability outside medical professional circles, the more patients you gain that you wouldn't have otherwise.

  9. Social Proof: Whenever a doctor demonstrates their expertise, knowledge, and skills to potential patients outside of their own medical practice, it greatly increases favorable testimonials about you and your dedication to healthcare patients without doing any advertising or promoting of yourself by yourself. Your actions market you better than anything else.

  10. Transparency: This factor is especially important in promoting trust in patient’s minds. While working in an environment where you don’t feel compelled to maintain your “practice” persona, you are much more likely to open yourself up to others (become more transparent to others). People love to find out that you are exactly like them (not aloof), have the same life problems and stress, look for the same solutions, and have the same hopes that they do. And that is a person who is admired... well above the stuffy "white coat" model.

You can certainly come up with several more elusive marketing factors which have a great deal to do with influencing those around you without it being intentional on your part. Most of us probably don’t pay much attention to how much we impact and influence other people during our daily lives.

By intentionally positioning yourself in the right place, job, situation, and environment where all the advantages come to you without asking, whatever your desires are, is an incredibly powerful marketing strategy. If you want to attract affluent patients, join their golf clubs and mix with them. If you want to become wealthy, find ways to mix with the millionaires.

One way or another the act of “positioning” yourself brings with it many other spontaneous marketing elements that weren’t mentioned in the article referred to above. These tag-along marketing factors do happen, although they vary in degree depending on the circumstances.

An astute physician can move the effectiveness of this automatic marketing strategy to an even higher level by intentionally adding to the process using other more obvious marketing tactics, which carry the results much higher and more effectively.

These other marketing tactics should include...

  • Professionally designed marketing business cards for your practice…
    different from the usual business cards you hand out

  • Professional practice stationary designed for use as a "marketing"
    mail piece

  • An 800 telephone number using an answering service to give out
    information, provide recorded information for patients, or gain the
    callers contact information for later marketing contacts

  • A short 20 second “elevator speech” that can be spoken quickly and
    lucidly in response to anyone wondering what you do for others in
    your practice or business. It's especially effective when meeting
    someone new at a social affair when you are asked, "What do
    you do?"

  • A method to record a list of contacts and their contact information
    (called leads)

  • A follow-up program organized to maintain contact with those
    potential patients on your list by giving them helpful information or
    advice by newsletters (by email best)

  • Respond promptly to any contact messages sent to you (preferably
    same day or within 24 hours) because most messages left for others to respond to, either are never responded to or when eventually
    responded to, are irrelevant

  • A powerful USP (universal selling proposition)—meaning a short one
    sentence of less than 15 words describing what makes your practice
    from all the rest, what benefit patients get that they won’t
    get from any other doctors, and what it is that you provide that’s
    . Add these words to your business cards and all stationary
    just below your name and address.


Comment about the extent of a doctor’s professional responsibility

Over the last 4 years there have been various estimates of how many people in the USA have no healthcare insurance. Hence, the impetuous to pass ObamaCare legislation believing that approximately 25 million people get lousy medical care or none at all in the healthcare crisis, raised
the ante.

It came to my mind that this serious problem of access to good healthcare
could be resolved by the medical profession itself without the need for passing a national healthcare law. It jibes with the article above
quite well.

By rough calculations obtained by dividing 25 million patients without
healthcare (like in 2008) (other than hospital emergency rooms where quick temporary treatment is available), by the number of physicians in our population (approximately one million), it results in 25 healthcare patients per private medical doctor.

Using these figures, it would be theoretically possible to ask each doctor to
accept and take care of 25 medically uninsured patients each year… free
of charge. When you compare this to the number of "no show" or "cancelled" appointments every doctor sees often, a doctor could very well see an uninsured patient during those appointment time gaps that are nonproductive of practice income anyway.

The process could amount to far more income than expected for any doctor over time. Such free patients may refer paying patients that more than compensate a doctor for his or her time. It also is reasonable to expect that when the uninsured patient finally gets a job, they would become your paying patient.

Of course, this figure would have to be adjusted for physicians in active full time medical practice, for managed care physicians and hospital employee positions where those facilities would be expected to contribute to the process, and for even distribution of those patients to the appropriate kind of doctor needed for that patient’s care.

It certainly would be a challenge to create and manage such a system, to say the least. But it has the distinct advantage of removing the insurmountable debt now placed on those of us who pay taxes, as well as the need for governmental intervention.

My experience in medical practice clearly showed me that any medical practice could accept at least one of these patients per week without suffering much (if any) financially for doing it. Most of the doctors I know, if asked to do so voluntarily, would have agreed to take on that chore for the sake of making healthcare available to everyone and avoiding government takeover of healthcare.

It’s no secret that a large majority of doctors probably have been treating a few uninsured patients in their practices without charge, voluntarily for whatever reason, over the years. And this excludes all those patients who were seen and treated who never paid their doctor bills... there's no shortage of free care given to those patients as well... even if it's an involuntary result.

The one patient I remember so well that I ended up treating for free (an involuntary decision) was an emergency room patient walk-in when I was on call for ER patients that day. Four weeks prior, this young lady had had a C-section elsewhere, went back to that same doctor-surgeon/clinic because of persistent heavy vaginal bleeding post delivery and was patted on the head to reassure her that this was normal bleeding and would stop soon. Even though her heavy bleeding persisted, her second visit to that medical facility resulted in the same response from the doctor.

Two days late she arrived with her military husband in my hospital’s ER with profuse vaginal bleeding, almost no blood pressure, and essentially moribund. I performed an emergency hysterectomy to save her life. Her C-section incision had totally disrupted and was bleeding heavily from open blood vessels across the whole uterine incision which was a mass of friable tissue that could not be safely sutured... at least not in time to save her.

She recovered fully without complications except for her anemia secondary to severe blood loss and after she had been given multiple blood transfusions.

By military payment protocol, the check for my treatment and services was sent directly to the patient, and we never saw her again after she left the hospital. We were never paid.

All case management reviews done about her care concluded she received the appropriate and life saving treatment. It was one of the rare times during a medical career that a doctor actually saves a life for real. For me, it was an awesome experience and added to my medical confidence in myself, as it does with any medical doctor in similar circumstances whose actions result in saving a life. It's an event witnessed by many peers and never open to questioning.

The author, Curt Graham M.D., is a published expert author with 40 years experience in the medical profession. His expertise extends to medical practice business and marketing, coaching, teaching, and consulting for professional medical care providers.

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Article #29A


photo Dan kenney riding on a bull

"Mastering Your Inner Game"

We’re going to talk about the inner game of building your business. I believe that the inner game is simply all-important. “The inner game” is a new term for a classic idea explained many different times, many different ways by virtually every success educator, and even philosophers.

In the book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill reveals the secret using the words, “thoughts are things.” Dennis Waitley has worked with U.S. astronauts and Olympic athletes on their inner games. Author Tim Galloway explores the ideas of his books, The Inner Game of Golf, The Inner Game of Tennis and The Inner Game of Selling.

Interestingly, there is a never-ending connection between the inner game in sport and the inner game in business, allowing experts like Waitley, Galloway, ex-quarterback Fran Tarkenton and golfer Arnold Palmer, among others, to step back and forth between expounding on success techniques in the athletic and business worlds.

In all cases, these people speak much more about attitudes than aptitudes for a good reason. Surveys, studies and research consistently reaffirm that 85% of your success will depend on attitudinal factors, 15% on aptitude.

Yet in your formal education and in most continuing education, the emphasis is on the opposite - 15% on attitude, 85% on aptitude.

Certainly technical knowledge and skills are important. In your profession, you must deliver excellence based on your staying up to date in techniques, products, materials and ideas.

However, such excellence alone will never build a successful, growing, profitable business. The excellence that is probably the most important is that sustained in your own mind.

Yeah, but what is it? So what is the inner game?
The inner game can be broken down into four major components...

  • Self esteem

  • Self image

  • Self confidence

  • Self discipline

Quality in these four areas is a necessary foundation to personal and professional success.

Self Esteem

Self Esteem is essentially your feelings of worth. How much success do you deserve? How much money should you make? How much is your time worth?

Here, briefly, are seven ideas for strengthening self-esteem...

1. Establish worthwhile, meaningful goals and values

2. Take massive action to get your own financial house
    in order if it isn’t now reduce debt, bring expenses under
    income, and invest every single month

3. Give yourself recognition for each and every

4. Manage your time productively. Procrastination and
    disorganization rob many people of their self-esteem

5. Associate with positive-minded, happy people who
    encourage and motivate you don’t hang out with folks
    who are negative, unhappy, critical or jealous

6. Continually acquire new know-how in you profession
    and in the areas of business, sales and communication

7. Regularly invest in improving your office and home
    environments, tools and equipment, wardrobe and other
    external things that impact on your attitudes


Self Image

Self-image is how you see yourself; it’s who you think you are. Your self-image is controlled mostly by self-imposed limits. Very few people ever perform beyond those self-imposed limits.

A salesman whose father never earned more than $25,000 a year in his life may well see himself as a $25,000 a year guy. And he will subconsciously screw up the opportunities to earn more that come his way.

In the financial area, the controversial Reverend Ike calls this a money rejection syndrome, and I am convinced that such a thing definitely exists. One man I know, who made over $100 million in his business in its first three years from scratch, had gone broke in business several times before. After the three years of remarkable success, he said, “Making $100 million is about the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Believing it could happen to me was the hard part that took 20 years.”

Your self-image was created and is sustained through self talk, the use of affirmations - and that is also the method you can use to alter and modify your self image, literally as you wish.

I call the process self image goal setting, because most people who set goals set only “to get” and “to have” goals; they fail to set “to be” goals. I encourage you to balance your approach to goal setting by including some self-image modification.

Self Discipline

Self-Discipline, the fourth component of the inner game, is quite possibly the most important.

Success lecturer Jim Rohn says that most people do not associate lack of discipline with lack of success.

Most people think of failure as one earth-shattering event, such as a company going out of business or a home being foreclosed on. This, however, Jim Rohn says, is how failure happens.

Failure is rarely the result of some isolated event; rather, it is a consequence of a long list of accumulated little failures, which happen as a result of too little discipline. I agree. I find that most people understandably tend to look everywhere but in the mirror for the sources of their failures as well
as the victories.

I’m here to tell you it’s not the town you’re in, not your location, not the economy, not the weather, not your competitors - it’s your own discipline that makes the difference between excellence or mediocrity, between getting by
or getting rich.

It’s interesting to observe professionals. I often say to my associates, “Let me watch the professional’s behavior before, during and after the seminar, and I’ll guess his annual income within a few thousand dollars.” It’s actually pretty easy to do.

Jim Rohn says that discipline is the bridge between thought and accomplishment.

I’d encourage you to take the self-discipline challenge very seriously.

Select those areas that you know are your weakest links - timely paperwork, punctuality, daily self-improvement study, being happy and enthusiastic first thing in the morning, whatever your personal stumbling blocks are - and apply new, tough, demanding disciplines to yourself in those areas.

You’ll find that success in these particular areas of your day-to-day life will roll over into greater success in all parts of you life.

For example, let’s look at the ultimate game players - professional football players. A pro ball player knows that every single moment of his on-the-job performance is recorded on film, to be replayed and reviewed later in stop-action slow motion, for critique by his superiors and co-workers.

If your day was filmed and reviewed, how would you feel during the replay?

Of course, the professional football players who have to put up with this sort of thing are highly paid.

Yes, the inner game stuff is tough. If being a big success were easy, everybody would be one. You’ve got to decide what you really want to be, do, have, accomplish - and decide whether or not you’re willing to adhere to the disciplines necessary to get it.

In order to have the opportunity to accomplish virtually any goals you honestly desire, you must accept the related responsibility for everything
you get.

DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.



masonic emblem bright colored American flag   Curt Graham, M.D.
   2404 Mason Ave.  Las Vegas, NV 89102
    E-mail = cgmdrx(at)
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