Questionable Marketing Skills

As a future (hopefully) private practice owner, I spend a lot of time considering how I intend to market myself as a neurocentric physical therapist in an orthocentric world. I have come up with few answers, which explains my continued employ in the home care environment. Still, I continue to keep Seth Godin’s blog in my RSS reader for pearls of wisdom and insight into what I might to do myself one day…

“Perfecting your talk… And polishing your service until all elements of you disappear might be obvious tactics, but they remove the thing we were looking for: you.”

My efforts to perfect my talk or polish my service is not a means to disappear or hide who I am; it is a way to evolve into who I wish to be. What if I need to eventually sell not what I do, but rather what I understand?

“Sometimes,’ never let them see you sweat,’ is truly bad advice. The work of an individual who cares often exposes the grit and determination and effort that it takes to be present.”

Perhaps one of the difficulties that many physical therapists have with self-promotion is the necessary dichotomy between the caring clinician and the marketable persona. Often, the most successful clinicians are those who approach their patients with a quiet and outward confidence. They listen more than they speak. They provide nonthreatening input in the context of patient-centered conversation. It is never about them, or how hard they are working on their craft; it is only with effort that they are able to create a therapeutic alliance with their patient while it is the illusion of peaceful effortlessness that breeds confidence in their patient.

Meanwhile, it is the bombastic and charismatic self promoter that so often succeeds in marketing his latest tools, techniques and equipment in his “state of the art” facility. Unfortunately (for them), they are selling “small promises” according to Mr. Godin, “features added” to their service that eventually let everyone down.

It occurs to me, however, that the goal for marketing genuine and authentic care should be an easy sell:

“The big promises of transparency and care, of design and passion, of commitment and stewardship–we ought to be demanding more of this.”

Selling understanding is a challenge, especially when the person you are marketing to considers your craft a commodity and unjustly believes that understanding is universal while skilled care is rendered by the hands, not the mind. But it is only with a deeper understanding of who I am (and what I represent) that my own “big promises” can be appreciated.

I still don’t know how I will sell this…


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