get more buy-in from your team
3 ways to get more buy-in from your team
As a doctor, you are wearing multiple hats. The expert, the specialist, the surgeon. The business owner perhaps, if you are running a private practice. Today, we focus on ways to get more buy-in from your team when it comes to building a strong practice and a brand.
more buy-in from your team
3 Ways to get more buy-in from your team as a doctor
December 20, 2022
#1 Make your team part of the bigger picture
Brand awareness in a health practice is not a given. That’s mainly because the core of your service is all about diagnosing and treating people, using science as the underlying method and focusing on care.
You are not in the business of pitching a new soft drink, watch or car model.
"Yet, brand awareness is happening, whether you are making an effort to influence it or not. Your team is a key aspect of how patients and referrers perceive your clinic as a brand."
Many doctors see the structure of their practice as a vehicle for their work in the private sector, and their team as support workers who…support them in achieving wealth, success, good clinical outcomes, or status.
Leading doctors build a culture around their core work in theatre and in the consultation room. They recruit people who resonate with the purpose and mission of the practice and check in with their team on how the company values are being applied on a daily basis.
Making your team a part of your brand is not easy. But once you try it, your clinic, your practice and your work with patients shift into a higher gear and become something new.
How this applies to your digital marketing: Quite often, building a storyline together and making it clear to your referrers and patients why you do what you do, is a game-changer. It really shifts your online conversations when you start building a clear story together as a team. Not just adding profile pictures and individual profiles to your About section, but using story-telling techniques to speak with one voice, when the patient lands on your website.
#2 Be clear to your team about their role
finding healthcare staff
Finding healthcare staff seems to be the big topic across the industry. When we unpack the conversations, we find that many professionals simply set higher the bar higher for their work-life balance. And it means they expect a job to be more than a job.
Once you take the time to discuss the value of a person’s role in your private practice, everyone is a winner.
The team member gets total clarity about the value they bring to the team, the patient, their colleagues, the other stakeholders in and around your practice and your referring GPs. All of a sudden, it becomes clear what they can do to keep bringing value and help you grow your practice. If your highest value is efficiency and getting more patients through the door, share this reality with your team so they know it’s a joint focus for the entire team. If your highest goal is to get more speaking gigs at scientific meetings this year, share it with the team so they know why you are focusing your energy there.
The practice owner and manager get more clarity about their priorities as they recruit new people. It’s no longer about having experience with reception work, Excel sheets, or the patient booking system. It’s about attitude, spirit, and the energy that is brought into the room when this team member becomes part of your organisation.
Clarity sometimes means you have to sit down and create clarity for yourself first. Many doctors have run their business lives on autopilot for years because they never started looking at their private practice as a business in the first place. Clarity is a great value because it optimises everything else.
How this applies to your digital marketing: Some doctors have anonymous icons on their team page and it makes me wonder how important their team members must feel when they look at the brand they are representing. If you happen to have a business structure that involves contractors who might not be there all the time, at least have the conversation about their commitment, their involvement, and their role in the business and make sure your website visitors perceive the team members as a group of people who work together, not a scattered overview of individuals.
#3 Get more buy-in for the brand story
What is your marketing story? I am aware that you might find this a fluffy or even a dirty word in the context of running a medical practice.
Your brand story may be built around your surgical excellence, your research and ongoing efforts in the academic realm, or the culture of genuine care you have created in your practice.
It may be built around the use of less invasive techniques. The attention you pay to the smooth recovery process. Or your holistic approach as a team of multi-disciplinary experts across prevention, treatment preparation, patient education and recovery.
"A brand story is not something you create once and then put on your website to forget about. It’s a compass for your day-to-day work as a surgeon, doctor, nurse, practice manager or allied health professional."
How do you create more buy-in for the story of your practice? We noticed that it starts with the little things. The specialists we help and who manage to build an amazing brand story, are human beings in the first place, before being amazing surgeons, successful academics or business owners. The authenticity you attach to your efforts will resonate if your team truly believes you deserve the success you are aiming to achieve.
In other words, spending time on your brand story has a double benefit:
- Your referrers and potential future patients get to know you as they to over your profile
- Your team now has a clear visualisation and representation of what their practice stands for – their daily compass provides clarity about the goals and objectives of the business.
The simple question to focus on: Why would patients want to be here, not in another specialist’s consultation room?
The pitfall of ‘empty brands’ and how to avoid it
Private health practices are often empty brands because they are merely the vehicle of a single specialist. If your brand is ‘empty’, these are some of the symptoms:
- When you show your website to a stranger and ask them why they would choose you as their preferred specialist doctor, after visiting your website, they do not know or come up with generic cliches.
- When you ask a random team member why they work for you and not for anyone else, there is an awkward silence, an uncomfortable smile or contempt.
- When your brand promise is not linked to anything deeply personal, a unique quality of your career in medicine, and focuses on ‘offering excellence’ and ‘the highest level of care’ only.
"Leading surgeons and specialists in private practice have understood that spending time on the story behind their brand, the content that makes them visible and helps them attract more referrals, is an investment in the future of their practice. They don’t see it as a burden or a waste of time because it creates a foundation that will work for them in years to come."
There are many ways to fill your brand with purpose, brand story and authority, and this is a blueprint of the Digital Practice method, used to power dozens of leading Australian medical marketing strategies for surgeons and specialists:
Reconnaissance: The process of mapping clear goals, and they can be built around pure business goals for a practice, clinical/academical/surgical preferences, as well as reputation management if you want to be seen as the thought leader in a (sub)specialty area.
Research: You can have the brightest brand story on your website, however, it might be completely invisible when referring GPs or patients are doing a Google search. In-depth marketing research to make decisions about content involves mapping what patients are actually searching for.
Strategy: You want your brand story to be built around your strengths, and personality, tailored to the information needs of your patient avatar and the demographics of your catchment area. This requires knowledge of your local market and an ability to integrate strategic work, market research and the input you have provided about your unique career pathway.
The other pitfall: Delegating your marketing decisions
medical marketing mistakes
As a side note, I want to unpack one of the biggest medical marketing mistakes. Although it is a rather exceptional one, it happens and when it does, the foundation of a private practice can be at risk simply because a disconnect occurs between the practice owner and the online content.
I get it. You are busy. If you are too busy to work together on your own online profile, you are simply too busy. It might mean that the last thing you want to do is improve your marketing.
Delegating your marketing to a specialist medical marketing agency such as Digital Practice is good because you tap into the decades of experience of senior professionals with a wide range of skill sets: journalism, digital marketing, content production, social media and patient search behaviour data for example.
Delegating your internal decisions about marketing to your team, however, can lead to chaos. They will often try and please you, by commenting on the process, bouncing tasks back to someone else or defining their main role as giving feedback on other people’s work.
Ideally, you get buy-in from team members who are willing to work with you and your medical marketing agency to get your brand in the best possible position to attract patient leads, enquiries and GP referrals. Ideally, you don’t delegate it to people who are merely transferring information or playing the middle person.
Let’s talk about your brand and your team
marketing your team
Marketing your team and the individual members of your team as a healthcare practice is a balance exercise. It requires a custom approach, based on your business goals, your specialty and your local market. If you want to create a clear roadmap for your business development as a doctor in private practice, why not book a free 1:1 Strategy Session via Zoom with me to discuss in more detail?