Chiropractor’s! Why patients leave and success – Crossover episode

In the spirit of comic books, TV shows, and super hero movies, today’s post is a crossover episode.

It brings together part 3 of “Why Your Patients Leave” and part 2 of the “Success Depends on Other People” series. However, first we need to deal with Facebook because what blog post is complete without Facebook.

You know that Facebook friend you have that always posts those provocative political posts? Or the one that brings you down each day with their complaining posts.

“It’s so frustrating to know how fake people are etc etc etc”

Do you feel good when you see their posts or do you scroll on past as quick as possible thinking that you should unfollow or unfriend that person but you don’t want to hurt their feelings? What if you could magically not have to see their posts ever again without hurting their feelings? You could just cut them out of your life and you and your friends would never see them again.


Do you know that your patients may choose to cut you out of their life because of your strong political views or complaining? There is no consequences, they can just stop coming and they don’t have to listen to your strong political views. And the best part is that it would save them money.

In part one of our “Success Depends on Other People” series, we talked about Lyndon B Johnson’s 10 steps for people to become likeable. We covered step one (how to remember peoples’ names) here. The second item on the list for LBJ  is: 

Be Comfortable to be Around

So what does that mean? Sometimes it’s easier to say what something isn’t as opposed to what it is. 

So what makes patients or others uncomfortable around someone? What makes us not “gel” with someone?

Invading personal space

  • Talking too much
  • Being too into themselves
  • Being rushed
  • Being overexcited 
  • Strong political views expressed without consideration 
  • Not listening or disregarding peoples’ views and opinions
  • Feeling they are superior to other people (educational/financial etc)
  • Trying to sell unwanted products
  • Only talking about what they want to talk about
  • Negative or complaining 
  • Anxious body movements

There is so much to talk about in being comfortable to be around. So much so that we have 2 modules dedicated to it on my coaching program, so obviously we can’t cover everything. But today I’d like to cover one thing that has been growing in our profession:

Chiropractors that talk about Chiropractic all the time as part of treatment. Constantly educating seems to make sense until you realize you are making it uncomfortable to be around you. You are talking about only what you want to talk about. I’m sure most patients don’t come in to your office everyday and think “Hey, I really want to talk about that new research study on Chiropractic for my whole appointment.” 

When you think about this, it makes you wonder about the advice that has been popular recently. There has been a trend in the last few years where people have been encouraged to only talk Chiropractic the whole visit and if the patient deviates then you should try and get them back to Chiropractic as quickly as possible. 

I understand the thought process on this. Educating patients should help them understand the ‘whys’ of Chiropractic. I get it. But what we all know is that patients come for maintenance because they like you or your front desk staff. If you educate them on Chiropractic all the time to the point of annoyance, then they will find a Chiropractor that they do like. They’ll be very educated, but in someone else’s office.

Why would the patient not like this?  If we check what causes people to find you uncomfortable, we see these listed.

  • Talking too much (the patient won’t be up-to-date on this study so you’ll be doing most of the talking.)
  • Trying to sell unwanted products (they’ve bought the product already. let’s not oversell it.)
  • Not listening to others’ views or disregarding their opinions (what are we doing when we try and get the conversation “back on track”?)
  • Only talking about what they want to talk about (like we mentioned before, I’m guessing the patient didn’t come in today to discuss the latest JMPT article.)

So that’s one reason why I don’t suggest that Chiropractors talk “Chiro” all the time to patients.

Another time that this can cause a problem is in political or pseudo-political areas. If you want to annoy half your patients, talk positive about Donald Trump. If you want to annoy the other half of your patients talk negative about Donald Trump. The same is true in Europe right now with Brexit. If you broadcast a side then you’ll annoy half your patients and make them uncomfortable around you.

Same with pro-gun or anti-gun stances and I’m sure there are many more issues you’d want to tread carefully.

I have this happen a lot to me. I have strong political views around a certain topic, but it seems that everyone I sit down with ASSUMES I feel the opposite of what I do. I see it happen all over the world. People assume that because they feel the media or the rest of the country is on their SIDE then you must be, too.

In America, it’s assumed that everyone is anti-Trump and in the UK it’s assumed that everyone is anti-Brexit. As Chiropractors we should never assume. You don’t assume in a diagnosis so don’t assume things about other people’s beliefs. 

But the thing is, people are way more comfortable around people with the same beliefs. So IF they do feel the same as you, we could maximize on that.

I use a system that helps Chiropractors feel connected to patients with different political and societal views without causing arguments, lost revenue, or referrals.

I call it the 2i System:

The goal of the 2i system is to give every patient a great visit even when they have different political or philosophical belief’s to you. This system works even if your views are strongly opposed to one another. But the biggest bonus is when you find those people that feel as intensely as you do about a political stand point.

The First “i”:

When a patient expresses a view different to your strongly held view, the temptation is to counter their point with your own views and this is where the first “i” becomes important.

The first “i” stands for “I See” or “Interesting.”

These are the stock phrases that you use to give yourself a few moments to NOT instinctively react. There are two ways of saying these phrases and you have to get it right. Just don’t say it sarcastically, say it in honesty. Let’s open our minds to see their view points with integrity. It doesn’t mean we have to take on their view points or agree. In fact, when each patient leaves, they may feel that you agree but you will not have misled them. This is achieved by using the second “i”: Inquire.

The second i” Inquire:

People have the best conversations when they do most of the talking. You don’t want to talk much incase your opposing view point becomes the main focus, which can descend into ill feelings. We need to remember that just because we are open to people with opposing views, it doesn’t mean that our patients are. Some people cannot stand different views and unfriend or cut out friends regularly based on their views. So to avoid this problem and create a gain we “Inquire.”

Inquire means to ask for information or investigate something or someone. This is great as it gives us our two ways to build a bond with our patients.

When someone expresses a different view to the one we strongly hold (Brexit, Trump, Guns etc) we first initialize the first “i”: “I see,” “that’s interesting.” Then, immediately, we carry on with the second “i” by inquiring with W5H1 (who, what, when, where, why and how). We do not need to think too hard about these or do them in any particular order. Here’s a few examples:

Anti-Trump: “So who’s leading the Trump opposition at the moment?”

Pro-Trump: “What do you think gives him his draw for the people?”

Anti-Gun: “Where do you see the biggest cause for legislation?”

Pro-Gun: “When does that bill go through the senate?”

Anti-Brexit: (I know it’s ‘remain’ but it’s easier to follow form) “Why do you think the people are voting for ‘remain’?”

Pro-Brexit: “How do you see this playing out over the next few years?”

These are not stock phrases to remember but to give you an idea of what you can do using W5H1 to see their view points. When you inquire, you ask questions. You do not give your view point.

The first way this helps us bond with the patient is through them doing most of the talking (which is a great conversation for them) without them seeing our differing view point. 

The second way this helps is that after a few questions you may be SURE that the patient feels the same way about a view point or belief as you and then you can really bond with that patient.

So I hope you guys will try out the 2i system and see the benefits in increased treatment compliance, referrals, and joy.


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