Avoid the 5 Biggest Mistakes When Acquiring Doctor Clients


Vicki Rackner MD August 2013

doctorWould you like to acquire more physician clients?

There are two kinds of financial advisors in the medical market: the high-performers and the hobbyists.

The hobbyists tinker with doctor clients, and their marketing efforts generate the same results as a stationary bike ride.

High performers, on the other hand, go places and get results.

Join the high performing financial advisors in the medical market by avoiding these common hobbyist mistakes.




Mistake #1: Hobbyists try to be all things to all doctors.

High-performers strategically choose groups of best-fit doctor clients.

How does focus contribute to success?  You already know that people work with people they know, like and trust.  Now neuroscience explains why.  Our brains are wired with cells called “mirror neurons.” Think of them as “rapport cells.”  The statement, “I like you” really means, “I’m like you; I see part of myself reflected in you.”

So, if you want to conduct business with doctors, conduct yourself as one.

Doctors specialize, and  respect the noted experts. If your loved one had a serious medical condition, your doctor would refer you to the specialist who sees similar patients every day.

Doctors want to work with financial advisors who have lots of experience helping physician clients who are just like them.

Mistake #2: Hobbyists fail to understand physicians’ relationship with money.

What would you think about sitting down with a complete stranger and talking about your bowel function or your sexuality?

That’s what it’s like for physician to talk with a new financial advisor about their wealth. For doctors, money is the ultimate taboo topic.

The money taboo is built into the culture of medicine.  Medical ethics mandate  a separation of a patient’s care and a patient’s ability to pay.  In my years as a practicing surgeon, ordering diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for my patients was much like ordering off of a restaurant menu with no prices.    Small wonder that health care costs soared out of control!

Practical considerations contribute to physicians’ low financial literacy.  Doctors want and need to master an ever-exploding body of medical science. The medical journal takes priority over the Harvard Business Review every time.

Further, some physicians have guilt about their high earning potential.  They answer a call to service, and may have ambivalent feelings about generating wealth from the suffering of their patients.

The best way to close down a conversation is to talk about money prematurely.

High performers build trust before they discuss wealth.

Mistake #3:  Hobbyists address prospects’ needs instead of their wants.

Sure, physicians should plan for retirement , minimize their tax burdens and protect their assets. Kids should eat their broccoli, too. Unlike your children, physicians have the ability to ignore you.

High performers deliver what prospects want, and earn the privilege to deliver what they need.  It’s like sneaking the healthy vegetables into foods kids like.

Physicians want information that will help them thrive as the Affordable Care Act becomes a reality. Here’s a short list of topics that engage physicians:

•How to generate revenue streams outside of traditional fee-for-service insurance billing.  Medicare fees may be cut by as much as 35% in the next few years, while the cost of running medical practices  continues to rise.

  • How to get more best-fit profitable patients.  Even the Mayo Clinic markets.
  • How to avoid embezzlement
  • How to get the sale best price for a medical practice and negotiate  an employment contract.  Hospitals and clinics are on a buying sprees.  Within a year or two, it’s expected that only one in three doctors will have an ownership stake in the practice; the rest will be employees.
  • How to avoid lawsuits.

While you’re not a practice management expert, you can identify and vet reliable resources.  The more quickly physicians achieve their full revenue potential, the more quickly they build wealth.

Mistake #4: Hobbyists put themselves in the limelight.

Imagine each client encounter as a scene in a play. There’s a stage with a single chair in the limelight. You have two choices: you can sit in center stage, or you can sit in the audience and let the limelight shine on your client and prospect.

High performers put their clients in the spotlight.

Hobbyists talk about themselves, their products and their services.  High performers talk about ideas that deliver value and help their clients get their desired outcomes.

Mistake #5: Hobbyists fail to build on their successes.

One of the major benefits of the medical market is the potential to build a referral practice.  I got the names of almost all of my advisors in the surgeon’s lounge.

Hobbyists fail to harness the referral engine.

High performers build a culture of referrals from day one.

The Bottom Line

The medical market offers financial advisors the potential for tremendous personal, professional and financial rewards.

Many advisors try to acquire physician clients, and explain why they abandon their efforts.  They say, “I couldn’t get past the gatekeeper.”  Or, ”Doctors are just too busy.”  Or, “It’s just too expensive to wine and dine doctors.”

I believe that the biggest barrier to success is the failure to understand the differences between a business-minded person and a physician. High performers make a prudent investment to understand:

  • The political, cultural and economic forces that shape the practice of medicine
  • The neuroscience of decision-making
  • The way physicians interact within their professional networks.

There is no magic bullet, or seven simple steps to overnight results in the medical market. Success is constructed with a smart strategy and consistent execution of tactics that work.

You have everything it takes to enjoy personal, professional and financial rewards in the medical market.  All you need is the blueprint.

Youtube  video : Overview of the medical market


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