The 3 Keys to Building an Epic Online Training Program

Online training has grown in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It dramatically increases your ability to help others reach their goals from only those within a 5-mile radius of your gym to people anywhere in the world.

We built out the start of our Champion online training platform over a year ago and recently updated it.  We spent the year learning, tweaking, and evolving.  Along the way, we learned a bunch.  If you want to build an epic online training service that maximizes its effectiveness, retention, and scalability then there are 3 major keys that we feel you have to master.

One of the people we learned a ton from is Jon Goodman.  Jon runs the PTDC and the Online Trainer Academy.  We sat down with Jon during a recent visit to Boston to discuss these 3 keys, and a bunch more.  Check out our interview and read more about our 3 keys below.

 

Become an Educational Resource

As a coach, if we are to label ourselves experts in the field and expect others to trust us enough to choose us to help them get the results they’re looking for from a training program then we have to do more than send them a list of exercises to perform.

This is one of our core values in everything we do from our social media posts and online training programs to our in-person coaching. It’s not enough to simply tell people ‘what’ to do. Educating your clients on the ‘why’ behind everything in your programming and coaching will empower your clients and make them more likely to succeed and to rave about it to others.

Remember you are not a technician, you are a coach.

A lot of coaches are afraid to show their whole hand and give away too much information. They’re afraid that if they do, then their clients won’t need them anymore and they’ll leave to do it on their own, when in fact it’s often the exact opposite. Helping clients become a better version of themselves by understanding why they’re doing what they are will lead to greater buy-in, results, and longer retention.

 

Provide Accountability

People need more than a program.  In fact, the program is often the easiest part of the process.

Often times, the people coming to you for online programs and coaching have tried numerous other programs in the past. Maybe it wasn’t the right program or didn’t provide enough education, but more often than not, it simply didn’t provide enough of a community of people that supported them, encouraged them, and held them accountable for sticking with it any longer.

Building a community lead by accountability and coaching that provides support for everyone involved will without question foster longer relationships with your clients. Knowing that you have others supporting you, and more importantly, relying on you for their support gives every individual a sense of purpose and ownership over their part of the community.

 

Assure Scalability

You have to remember, people are coming to you with so many different backgrounds, goals, needs, and experience level.  You have to create an option for everyone.

Everyone has a unique starting point and it’s your job to find a way for them to belong.

People fail other programs because they don’t continue to evolve or have options for them once they’ve graduated from a particular plan. If you want to combat this, you have to figure out a way to scale your online training business to the point that it can continue to serve your clients no matter where they’re at in their fitness success path.

There are pros and cons to every style of online training. Individualized coaching can be hyper-specific to a client’s goals and needs, but is limited by the price point and the number of people you have feasibly serve. Training templates have the ability to help an infinite number of people at a low price point but are limited by their generality and lack of customization.

By having a variety of coaching levels to meet people’s goals, needs, and budgets and thinking ahead enough to provide the coaching to answer the potential questions you can maximize your reach and client retention to scale your business.

 

Want to Learn How to Start Your Own Online Training Program?

Online Trainer AcademyMy friend Jon Goodman of the PTDC has a really amazing online training certification program.  Kiefer and I both went through the material several times, it really helped us when developing our programs.  The program is absolutely amazing, not only in how comprehensive it is but also in the quality of all the materials.  I have no doubt that this investment will save you a ton of time and help you get started on the right path.

The program opens a couple of times a year, so if it’s not open now, be sure to sign up for the waitlist to be notified next time it’s available:

 

Want to Join Our Online Training Programs?

champion online personal trainingIf you want to see these principles in action, I encourage you to check out our online programs and “learn by doing.”  I think that really helps with your own authenticity when you can say you’ve been through this type of programming yourself.

We really do pride ourselves in the 3 principles above, so I know that you’ll not only get a great training experience for yourself but also a great educational experience as well.

We have a variety of programs depending on your goals, check them out below:

 

 

6 Things You Do That Your Clients Hate

6 thing you do that your clients hateIt’s funny, over the years you start to accumulate several thoughts on a subject that one can only do through experience.  The old saying “if only I knew then what I knew now” is certainly true.  I often laugh at some of the things I did and say to my clients when I was less experienced.  We were having this discussion with our students at Champion the other day, and I consider this a normal part of your career advancement.

In addition to reflecting on your own personal practice, I think there is also a lot to learn about from your clients when they tell you their past experiences with other professionals.

I tend to see a lot of clients that have tried other health care and fitness professionals and for whatever reason find themselves with me after not achieved the results that they wanted.  In my experience, this is often due to a few reasons:

  1. They didn’t listen
  2. They didn’t connect
  3. They didn’t put in the time

 

Notice how none of these things are “clinical” in nature.  Sure, I see my fair share of clients that were not diagnosed well or treated properly, but in all reality, I’m not perfect either.  But I listen, connect, and put in the time.  This allows my the luxury of being able to call an audible with my clients when I feel we may have started down the wrong path.  They trust me.  If they didn’t trust me, they’d move on to the next clinician.

How about these two comments I received recently from clients about their past experiences with other professionals.

  • “All my therapist did was tell me what I was doing wrong.  I know what I am doing wrong, that’s why I went to therapy.”
  • “I left my last therapist and always felt bad about myself.  They made me feel bad about myself.”

 

For the young clinicians (and I guess the more experienced one’s too!), I want to share some of the things I have picked up over the years that clients hate.  Remember, you need to connect in order to do you best with your clients.  Learn from my mistakes and errors and avoid these 6 things you do that your clients hate!

 

Stare at Your Device

I can’t think of a worse way to start off your experience with a healthcare professional than having them stare at their computer and typing while asking you a series of questions.  Not a great way to connect and help your client feel like your are compassionate about them, rather than just trying to finish your “task” of their evaluation.  I still take notes briefly when pencil and paper and do my documentation afterwards.  Sure, it takes more time out of my day, but it’s the right thing to do.

This also goes for staring at your phone their whole session.  You could be responding to a highly urgent and work-related email, but realize your clients will just assume your are posting pics of your kittens on Facebook.  Excuse yourself and respond to an urgent message if you must, but don’t do it right in front of your client.  This looks like they are not important to you at the moment.  Otherwise, keep your phone in your pocket.

I’m not sure if the Apple Watch is going to help us here or hurt us, we’ll see!

Your client needs to feel like they are the most important person in the world to you during their session.

 

Don’t Listen to Them

Your first interaction with someone is really important for several reasons.  Obviously you need to determine where to start with your client, but it’s also the most critical interaction to development a connection.

This starts with letting them talk.  You want to hear their story.  Some will want to get right to the point, while others will want to elaborate.  Let this happen.  Don’t interrupt if you can, and let them lead the discussion.

As I get more experience, the subjective portion of my exam could really only last 30 seconds for me to have enough information to start looking at the client.  However, I have learned that a big part of connecting with your clients is listening to your client.  You need to provide the platform for them to share what they want with you.

 

Force Feed What You Want Instead of What They Want

It’s not about you.  Starting with this simple concept is a great start.

As an example, perhaps a client comes to you and says “kinesiology tape really makes me feel better.”  How do you think they’ll respond when you say, “Your shoulder pain is coming from signals in your brain, kinesiology tape won’t help that and doesn’t really do anything.”  Ummm, probably poorly.

You said that kinesiology tape “doesn’t do anything” and they said it “really helps.”  That sounds like conflict, not connecting, to me.

In all honesty, we don’t know as much as we think we do about the human body.  I have no problem providing a treatment, such as kinesiology tape, if there will be no harm, no long term consequence, and there is no definitive research saying it is ineffective.  Obviously, if scientific evidence is available to completely say something is ineffective that changes the topic.

Don’t get me wrong, I will do what I want to do with that client, but may also try some kinesiology tape as well.  Perhaps that makes my treatments even more effective.

Another great example in the fitness world is the focus on movement and corrective exercises.  I think this is great, but don’t lose focus.  If someone comes to you for fat loss and all you talk about is how poor they move and how you want to fix their asymmetrical 1 on the FMS straight leg raise, you are forcing what you want on the client, and not focusing on what they want.  They don’t give care at all about what their straight leg raise looks like.

Again, I think you should work on that movement pattern.  But that can’t be the focus of the program.  It has to meet their goals first.  Sure, we sneak our goals into our programs too, but be careful here.

 

Tell Them Everything That is Wrong with Them and Nothing That is Right

I think we all get carried away sometimes with finding “deficits” during our assessments and evaluations.  That is normal.  But we need to be careful with how we present this to our clients.

Some people will focus too much on the little things, while others will seem just feel bad about themselves.

Every client should leave your facility feeling better, more optimistic, and in a good mood.  You want to be one of the best parts of your clients’ days.

I’ve actually talked about this in the past in an article on The Dale Carnegie Approach to Assessments.

 

Talk Over Their Head

As you can see, communication and people skills are pretty valuable in our professions.  Another area that I often see as being an issues is not bringing the discussion to your client’s level.

Just like you should be trying to match your clients’ energy levels, I also try to bring my discussion to their level as well.

Students and young clinicians are often guilty of this for a few of reasons:

  1. They are used to talked scientifically to justify what they are doing to their professors
  2. They haven’t accumulated that database of analogies we all use on our heads
  3. Unfortunately, they are a little too egotistical and trying to impress the person with how much they know

Confusing someone and talking over their head is not going to impress someone.  Some people like to hear all the detailed scientific things, while others just shut you out.  You need to feel this out and adjust.  However, your ability to convey your points and messages in a manner that connects with each person will impress them.

I use several different tools to accomplish this based on how I feel the conversation is going, but my go-to methods are:

  1. Using pictures and videos during my evaluation
  2. Using analogies to compare a complicated point to one they understand.  Car analogies work well!  Things like, “it’s like driving with your wheels out of alignment, eventually your tires are going to wear down unevenly.”
  3. Using a whiteboard to express thoughts.  This doesn’t always just mean drawing a picture.  I also often write and make lists.  Some people are more visual learners.  You can usually tell when they whip out their phone to take a pic of the whiteboard when you are done!

They key is to give them the science but don’t stop there, back it up with something they can understand.

 

Criticize Their Other Healthcare Professionals and Past Experience

I’m surprised at how common this point is in our professions.  I have many clients that have commented on how other professionals they have worked with in the past just criticize everyone else they have and had worked with in the past.  Like a personal training putting down their physical therapist or their physical therapist putting down their chiropractor, as a couple of examples.  Realize that your client has probably built up a lot of trust and respect over the years for the other people they are working with, which have not currently built up.

Not only does this make the person feel bad about their past choices (see above), but it’s also very transparent that you are just slamming someone else to try to make yourself look good.

I have a general rule of thumb that I developed over the years after seeing many “prestigious” people commit this error – Don’t make others look bad to make yourself look better.  It may work in the short term, but always catches up to you.

Yes, you are a genius when you have the power of hindsight.  Everything is clearer in retrospect.  Be respectful of their other people your client is seeing and has seen, you aren’t always right.

 

In reality, I probably could have listed another dozen, but these are a great start.  Avoid these 6 things that you do that your clients hate and focus on connecting, listening, and putting in the time to maximize your own effectiveness in helping people achieve their goals.

 

 

 

7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness Professionals

The latest Inner Circle webinar recording on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness Professionals.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness Professionals

7 Habits of Highly Effective Rehab and Fitness ProfessionalsI’m always getting questions from young professionals (and older ones too!) about what they can do to get ahead in our profession.  It’s one thing to simply want to get ahead and another to actually make daily habits designed to help you get there.  It takes effort.  Here are what I consider 7 of the habits that I see many of the top rehab and fitness pros stick to in their lives to get ahead.

The Power of 1%

Today’s post is a guest post from a good friend of mine Pat Rigsby.  Pat is a fitness business genius and has helped us enormously at Champion PT and Performance.  This article really resonated with me, as I am a big believer of constantly tweaking my systems.  This goes for all my “systems” – my manual therapy system, my corrective exercise system, my program design system, and even all my business systems.  I’m constantly trying to improve myself everyday, and this article really put it in perspective for me.  If you aren’t trying to get 1% better today, you are falling behind.

The Power of 1%

The Power of 1%One of the biggest differentiators between the great business and the average ones is that the great ones keep improving.  They kept evolving their training system and making it 1% better, over and over.

Someone who looks at their sales system or their assessment system may say “that doesn’t look that different from what I do.”  But again – the great ones keep improving things, 1% at a time.

And if you look at their businesses, all the things that they do from their Initial Consultation to their Referral Systems to their Training System don’t necessarily look like something you’ve never seen before…they just do them all a little bit better than most everyone else.

That’s why the best businesses succeed…they take what works, they plug it into their businesses and they ‘plus it’ over and over…improving each component by 1% time and time again.  And when it’s all said and done you have a business that has maybe 20 different components which are each 10-20% better (at minimum) than the competition.  But because of the compound effect, this doesn’t make their business 10-20% better.  Because every piece works synergistically with the others their improvement actually multiplies the improvement of the other areas.

It’s the difference between 100 clients and 400.  The difference between $150,000 a year and $750,000.

If that seems hard to believe, here’s how a 20% increase compounded changes things, illustrated another way:

  • 10 X 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000,000,000
  • 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 x 12 = 61,917,364,224

12 is only 20% bigger than 10, but compounded the difference is HUGE.

So how can you put this into action?

Model Success

That’s what you’re doing by reading this, so you’re already off to a good start.  The best business owners I know may have invented a few things from scratch, but most of the components of their businesses were things that they learned from other successful fitness pros and businesses that they adapted, improved and made their own.

So study what’s working.  Borrow from successful businesses.  Model their success.

Implement

We all see dozens of good ideas…in products, at events, in Mastermind Meetings. But I’d guess most people actually implement about 2% of what they learn. The best businesses are living, breathing pictures of implementation.  All the things people say they’re going to implement – the best ones actually do.

Remember – It’s not what you know.  It’s what you do.  You can say you’re a relationship business, but if you drop the ball over and over – you’re not.  You can say you’re all about referrals, but if you don’t have referral systems in place that are working – you’re not.

The best implement. So should you.

Plussing

‘Plussing’ is a Walt Disney term for continually improving and it should be a regular part of your vocabulary.  You may learn a referral system from someone and implement it, but you shouldn’t settle for it ‘as is.’  You should always be looking ways to make it a little more effective.  We often talk about getting 1% better.  This is getting 1% better in action.  Improving your referral reward or the way you ask.  Improving your internal language.  Improving your training system.  1% at a time.  This ‘plussing’ will eventually give you that 10-20% edge in every area that the best business owners have.

So that’s it.  Your ‘all too simple’ way to build a powerhouse business.  So put it into action and reap the same rewards that the industry’s best business have reaped.

Get Started Today, 1% At A Time

fitness business blueprint[Note from Mike] Here is your first step towards 1%.  When I was just starting Champion PT and Performance, I sought out as much information as possible to assure I started in the right direction.  I’m not a fan of making rookie mistakes when I can learn from the mistakes of others.  One of the best resources I discovered was the Fitness Business Blueprint by Pat Rigsby, Eric Cressey, and Mike Robertson.  Even if you aren’t starting a “fitness” business, this is a great resource for physical therapy business.  It is very comprehensive.  It covers everything you need to start a successful business with things like:

  • How Eric Cressey performs his assessments to build his programs
  • How Mike Robertson designs his programs, sessions, and staff meetings
  • How Pat Rigsby identifies his ideal clients and gets them in the door

I asked Pat if he could offer anything special to my readers on this product so they could benefit as much as I did and they responded with a huge discount!  I love being able to help my readers get access to things like this at such a discounted price.  The program is normally $299.95 but they are offering my readers ONLY a special price of $99.95 if you use the link below:

About Pat Rigsby

Pat RigbsyPat Rigsby is the CEO and Co-Owner of the several of the most prominent brands in the fitness industry including the Fitness Consulting Group, Fitness Revolution, Athletic Revolution and the International Youth Conditioning Association. Along with partner Nick Berry and an incredible Team, Pat has helped Fitness Revolution develop into the fastest growing training based franchise in the world and Athletic Revolution develop into the fastest growing youth fitness and sports performance based franchise. Together they have also led the Fitness Consulting Group to becoming the world’s leading business coaching and development organization for fitness professionals and establish the International Youth Conditioning Association as the world’s leading educational organization on the topic of youth fitness & sports performance.

Pat is the author of the only book on the topic of Fitness Business ever to reach #1 Bestseller status, The Little Black Book of Fitness Business Success. He’s also authored or co-authored several other best selling books, is a popular public speaker on the topics of business and marketing and writes the most widely read newsletter on the business of fitness in the industry, reaching over 60,000 fitness professionals.  Learn more about Pat Rigsby here.

5 Things We Can All Learn from Derek Jeter

5 Things We Can All Learn From Derek JeterGrowing up in Boston as a Red Sox fan, I never thought I’d be writing an article about Derek Jeter (we all know that Nomah is bettah than Jettah…).  I think that working in Major League Baseball for so many years and having the opportunity to work with players from every Major League team has made me a bigger fan of the game in general.  (Photo Credit)

Perhaps I’ve lost some of the magic, but I’m just as much of a Yankees fan as I am a fan of the Red Sox and a fan of every other MLB team. 

I’m a fan of an excellent performance.  I’m a fan watching young players blossom.  I’m a fan of watching the game played the right way.  I’m a fan of the players I work with and help become better.  I’m a fan of the game, so I’m a fan of Derek Jeter.

5 Things We Can All Learn from Derek Jeter

As Jeter says his farewell to baseball, it made me think about what we can all learn from his amazing career.  Here are 5 things about Derek Jeter that stand out to me.

Discipline

There is a big difference between willpower and discipline.  Chris Brogan speaks about this well in his latest book The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth.  People often ask me how I have the time or willpower to contribute to my website, make more programs, own a physical therapy and performance center, and still somehow have a life and family.

As Chris says, it has nothing to do with willpower, it’s all discipline.  Chris says:

“Willpower is when you want to do something different and force yourself to do what you believe is the better choice.”  Discipline is actually working hard to REPEAT the task that you know will make you better.

Do you think Jeter took a lot of days off from batting practice?  Do you think Jeter had donuts for breakfast every morning?  You think Jeter showed up late to the park and was unprepared for the game?

Nope.

I get it, there are a lot of conflicting interests in this world.  Discipline is crafting your long term vision of what you want out of your life and then making decisions based on this vision.

Consistency

Honestly, what good is discipline with out consistency?  I would say the two things that impressed me most about Jeter’s career were his discipline and his consistency.

Take a look at Jeter’s career stats over at Baseball-Reference.com.

Notice a trend here?  There are really no significant dips and jumps in his performance.  Sure there are some years that are better than others, but that is one heck of a consistent career.

To illustrate this, lets compare his rookie year of 1996 to 2012:

  • 1996 – 157 games, .314 batting average, 104 runs, 10 home runs, 78 RBIs, and 14 steals
  • 2012 – 159 games, .316 batting average, 99 runs, 15 home runs, 58 RBIs, and 9 steals

Pretty impressive to be that consistent over 20 years and 2700 games. 

Consistency breads dependability and trust.  We are developing a systemized approach to our model of integrated physical therapy, fitness, and sports performance at Champion Physical Therapy and Performance.  Why?  So we can build a reliable service to our clients with repeatable and predictable results.

Want to get ahead in life?  Focus on consistency.

Lead By Example (Positively)

There are many different kinds of leaders in this world.  There are the loud and vocal leaders, the motivators, the “pump up the crowd” kind of people.  The ones that want the attention and lead to gain the spotlight.  The manic-depressive crowd.

There are also the quite and consistent leaders that lead by example.

Leading isn’t necessarily a good thing, there are many examples of “negative” leaders.  People that are captivating and engaging and actually set the WRONG example!  Like it or not, these are leaders. 

But luckily there are also the “positive” leaders.  The leaders that set the example, that push others just by being so disciplined and consistent. 

In the long run, I’ll take the type of leaders like Jeter, the positive leaders that consistently lead by example.  To me, this is as much educating and motivating, as it is leading.  This is what young professionals need to learn.

And don’t forget, this applies to anyone.  You can lead others in any direction, meaning you do not have to be in a position of authority to be a leader.  John Maxwell has an excellent book on this call The 360 Degree Leader

Don’t Rock the Boat

One of the most interesting things about Jeter to me is how neutral he has stayed on everything throughout his career.  While I’m sure he had plenty of opinions, it’s usually not in anyone’s best interest to blurt them out every night on SportsCenter.

Many of the “guru’s” on the internet should really take this one to heart.  Unfortunately controversy sells.  However, realize we are all probably going to change our opinions and adjust our thought process based on past experiences and knowledge gained.

Don’t be that person that is so definitive in their thought process AND doesn’t mind telling the world about it!  Have an open mind and try to avoid rocking the boat, it always comes back to haunt you!

When you are so vocal about something, you start to focus on defending your stance instead of keeping an open mind.

Treat Everyone the Right Way

One of the sentiments within baseball is that Jeter is a “good guy.”  I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jeter several times.  I’ve seen him walk into the training room of an All-Star game just to introduce himself and say hello to the staff.  Not everyone does that, in fact most don’t.

Baseball has a funny way of changing people.  The players have everything in the world given to them and are treated as rock stars at all times.  Imagine arriving at a hotel at 4:00 AM and having a line of people asking for your autograph as you get off the bus!  It’s hard to stay grounded.

Treating people the right way is the corner stone of any relationship.  You are not a better human or person in this world because you can hit a fastball, or because you have accumulated $275 million dollars over your baseball career.  These may be extreme examples, but it applies to us all.

 

As we move on today as the first official day in the last 20 years that Derek Jeter is not a professional baseball player, keep these 5 principles in mind.  Yankee fan or not, there are plenty of things we can all learn from Jeter’s amazing career.

Choosing a Social Media Platform to Get More Clients

Today’s guest post, written by Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen, reviews the many social media platforms that are available to help promote your practice and get more clients.   With the many social media options available, there are a few factors to consider when designing your online presence.  This is a great start for many, hope it helps you get up and running – we need a stronger online presence and sharing of knowledge!

 

Choosing a Social Media Platform to Get More Clients

social media more clientsUnless you’ve been living under quite the rock for the past decade, you may have heard the words “social media” from time to time—okay, you’ve probably been bombarded by at least one example of social media in almost every conversation you’ve had, every commercial you’ve seen, or any time you check your email. You probably have an account or three. But here’s something else you may have noticed among the constant stream of Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, and Instagram plugs: social media is no longer just a platform for, well, being social. It’s also a way for companies to connect with current and potential consumers—which in your case means patients, clients, and referral sources for you.  (Photo by Khalid Albaih)

Let’s start off with the basics. Social media is a conversation platform first and foremost, so it’s probably not the best idea to go from 0 to 60 in less than a minute and create a profile for your business on every platform that exists. In fact, one of the most damaging things you can do is create a profile and then abandon it—and your followers. It can communicate all sorts of negative things to prospects about your company, your brand, and your business. Instead, choose the right social media platform for your business and your audience, and then focus on making it represent you the right way.

So, with so much information out there—much of it advertising—how do you pick the right social media platform for your practice?

 

How to Pick the Right Social Media Platform for You

First, consider your goals. Are you hoping to educate current patients and clients; entice potential consumers; engage referral sources; or simply stay up to date on the latest industry news? Based on your goals, you can then figure out whom you want to reach. In other words, who is your target audience? Then, go where they go. Ultimately, you’ll want to get involved on the sites that best allow you to achieve your goals and reach your audience. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular:

Facebook

Everybody and their grandmother are on Facebook. Although it’s may have lost its hip, cool factor, it’s an ideal place for businesses to connect with current and potential patients as well as demonstrate a level of relevancy. And, because everyone else is on Facebook, you should probably be, too. Here, focus on providing valuable educational information about your industry and your specialization. Your posts should be more than sales pitches—make sure you’re offering your readers content with value. And, it’s all about reciprocity. Participate in the conversation; get involved. Friend and like.

Here are some great Facebook pages to like and share with your audience:

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Twitter

140 characters has become the slickest form of online communication—short, informational bursts of copy followed by a descriptive hashtag and maybe a supporting photo or link. If nothing else, Twitter is a great way to force brevity in your writing. Most people online have way short attention spans (squirrel) so being forced to fit your comment in 140 characters will ensure you only write the things that absolutely matter. Additionally, Twitter is a fantastic way to generate instant conversation and gain valuable insight into just about any industry or topic you wish from experts. For PTs, we recommend hopping into #SolvePT on Tuesday nights to get started. Watch for a while, and then when you’re comfortable, jump right in with your thoughts. Here, you’ll meet some of the heavy hitters in the physical therapy Twitterverse and maybe take notes as to how they generate interest in the profession and their services.  Here are some great hashtags to keep an eye on:

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LinkedIn

The world’s largest professional network has more than 161 million members. Here, you’ll do less interacting with patients and clients and more with your peers. It’s a great way to connect with fellow therapists and referring physicians. And for any savvy patients who go searching for you online, they’ll find a robust resume of your accomplishments. You can also join groups within LinkedIn to discuss topics that interest you.

Check out some of the great groups that you can join:

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Pinterest

It’s a virtual pinboard that allows you to tell your story and inspire through compelling photos or images grouped into specific, searchable categories. Here, you can build pinboards—and research others’ boards—for treatment ideas, infographics, best practices, and happy thoughts.

Give these pinners a follow to get started:

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Blogger or WordPress

These two very easy and intuitive platforms make it easy to create your own blog, which is a great way to promote your expertise and provide excellent, valuable content to patients, clients, peers, and referrers. Just note: your blog is public—just as all social media posts are—so you obviously can’t share individual patient data or recommendations.

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Google+

Similar to Facebook in that they both share the concept of profiles, Google+ also offers hangouts and circles and is fully integrated with your Google (Gmail) account. Most importantly, however, Google+ is a Google product, so a detailed Google+ profile can help increase your practice’s visibility and ranking in search.

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Now Get Started!

Once you decide which social media platform(s) you’re ready to commit to, get committed. Create your profiles and start speaking with your audience. Just be sure that what you share relates to your goal and is meaningful to your followers. And stick to it. Reciprocity and engagement can take time; make sure you’re dedicated with your efforts.

 

get more patientsAbout the Authors

Charlotte Bohnett and Erica Cohen are both Senior Writers at WebPT, the leading cloud-based EMR software designed specifically for the rehab community. For follow-up questions or additional information about WebPT, email at [email protected].

 

 

 

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Quality Over Quantity

Quality Over Quantity

Quality over quantity – It is a phrase that we have heard countless times before, though probably could apply it more.  This simple concept has been one of the most recurring themes in my teachings as well as my core philosophies throughout my career.  But, this took me some time to fully understand the true power of “quality over quantity.”   (Photo by David Gallagher)

This is how I learned that lesson.

 

My Experience

I started my career off in an outpatient setting that thrived off quantity.  Our clinic was huge and always packed.  We could churn out some patient care, that is for sure.  Call it what you want, but it was a high volume machine.  Was it an awesome experience?  Absolutely.  Was it an invaluable learning experience?  Absolutely.  You can learn so much by seeing so many different patients in such a short amount of time.

At the time, that was the culture.  Mass market rehab centers were popular and spreading, and why not, I am sure they made a killing in profit.  Funny thing was, I had no idea why the turn over rate of therapists was so rapid, usually coming and going within a 1-2 year span.

Then one day I figured it out.  I am sad to say that I have treated 40 patients in one eight hour work day with no assistance.  I remember that day clearly.  My assistant had an illness in the family and I had a full schedule.  As I plunged my way through the day, I remember clearly thinking to myself

[box size=”large” icon=”none”]“I am not giving my patients quality care today.”[/box]

I remember that feeling clearly and it was awful, I bet many of you have felt that too.  I marched in my clinic director’s office at the end of the day and said to him (and really myself) that I would never do that again, sacrifice quality because of quantity.

 

Quality Over Quantity in Our Practices

My experience above is probably not that uncommon and a major reason why so many therapist are willing to take the risk of moving into private practice.  The changes in healthcare and insurance reimbursement is creating a huge challenge for physical therapy clinics that are seeing their per-patient reimbursements shrink.

To me, the solution is obvious – we have to move to include more of a cash-based practice.  But we as a profession just aren’t there yet, people routinely pay for chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, fitness, and other services out of pocket, yet balk at a $20 co-pay for physical therapy.

[box size=”large” icon=”none”]But can you blame the consumer?[/box]

Think about it.  What do they get from the above mentioned providers?  They get quality.  They get individualized care.  They get one-on-one attention.  These are all things that we sometimes miss in physical therapy as we schedule overlapping patients.  What would you think if you went to the dentist and they cleaned two teeth, then went to help someone else, came back to clean a few more teeth, then moved on to someone else, and so on?

Unfortunately cash-based practices aren’t always possible, especially in more rural areas.  (As a side note, Jarod Carter has a whole website dedicated to starting a cash-based practice that is worth checking out if this interests you).  And seeing multiple people at once isn’t always bad.

In the past, I wrote articles about what we can all learn from a barbershop and what we can all learn from Steve Jobs.  If you haven’t read them, this would be a time to go back and take a peek.  The message on both is the same – people come to you for an experience.

[box size=”large” icon=”none”]Don’t be content provided mediocre care.  We are better than that.  [/box]

For the young clinicians, get better at using your hands and less machines.  People come to you for manual therapy.  If you aren’t comfortable yet with your manual therapy skills, keep working on them and attend seminars to continue with your development.  It is well worth your investment.

 

Quality of Quantity in Our Programs

While the principles above apply more specifically to the broad sense of our business, the “quality over quantity” concept also is important in our programs.  In both the rehabilitation and fitness settings, I have seen many people get locked into a program that they wrote without:

  1. Individualizing the program
  2. Adjusting the program based on the person’s response
  3. Paying attention to the detail

Many times we get caught up in the fight to get from point A to point B that we forget that sometimes the journey is the greatest part.

Rushing through an exercise just to say you finished it without assuring movement quality is just as bad as selecting poor exercises.  You essentially are strengthening the person’s compensatory pattern and fostering poor movement quality.  This is probably what led to their tissue breakdown and into your clinic or facility!

I have talked about this quite a bit as it comes to core training.  This is an underlying theme in my Functional Stability Training of the Core program, quality over quantity.  This serves as a good model for discussion but it really goes well beyond the “core.”  As an example, the internet is filled with aggressive and advanced core exercises that realistically are not appropriate for many people.  Forcing these on your patients and clients just to seem cutting edge will only hurt them in the long run.  The body will find a way to accomplish a task, sort of like the path of least resistance.

While there are a million bad examples on the internet, I’ll use an example of myself showing poor technique during a plank:

Poor Plank Technique

 

This is a great way for me to perform a plank poorly, using too much of my right side wall and right hip flexor.  This avoids my deficiency with my left side wall and kicks in the psoas for lumbar stability.  In long run, doing this will feed into my poor motor patterns and cause more harm.

Remember motor control is one of the bigger issues we should all be addressing, not just stretching what is tight and strengthening what is weak.  Remember that next time some is performing an exercise with poor technique right in front of you…  correct them!   This is again another example of “quality over quantity.”  Help people move better and help them feel better.

Think about this next time you are working with someone.  Be a stickler for technique.  We have to do this to truly enhance performance, wether it is athletic performance or just simply human performance.

 

Sorry, I rarely take advantage of my audience and use this forum to “rant.”  I much prefer teaching!  However, I can’t tell you how many people ask me where to get started when trying to improve their own skill set.  Quality is a good place to start!  What are some of your experiences as you have learned the concept of quality of quantity?

 

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How Self-Pay Patients Have Made Me a More Effective Clinician

self-pay patientsToday’s post is a guest article by Jarod Carter, owner of a cash-based physical therapy practice, describing how self-pay patients have made him a more effective clinician.  I think this is a great thought and something we should all work towards.  His thoughts can apply to many different fields as well, especially the fitness and performance specialists with self-pay clients.  Here is the real challenge, though, if you aren’t in a self-pay situation, or you are an employee, how can you use these tips to make yourself more effective?

 

How Self-Pay Patients Have Made Me a More Effective Clinician

If I have to see a patient with an ankle sprain for more than 4-5 visits, I start to get nervous. Why? Because my patients pay $120 out-of-pocket for each one-hour session, and they expect to get better very quickly with that kind of expense; and the same expectations exist for just about any fairly recent non-surgical injury.

Aside from avoiding the hassles of Medicare and Insurance reimbursement, cash-pay patients can have another positive impact on your practice.  In many ways their presence both requires and leads you to become a better clinician. The ways in which this occurs are numerous, but I will expand on a few of them below.

 

Self-Pay Patients Are More Motivated

Whether you have an entirely fee-for-service clinic like mine, or just see a few private-pay patients here and there, you will likely notice a distinct difference between them and insurance-utilizing patients. On average, they tend to be more motivated to get better quickly and are more compliant with their home program. When they are paying 3-5 times more than a co-pay for each session, there is an inherent financial motivation to minimize the amount of needed treatments. I could be wrong, but if you were to grow the private-pay portion of your patient population, I imagine you would start to see faster and better outcomes solely for the above reason. Another positive side effect of this is that when the majority of your patients are highly motivated and compliant, it makes your job more enjoyable and rewarding.

[Editor note – I agree with this 100%.  This is also probably a big factor in the recent study that was published reporting that direct-access physical therapy produced better results with fewer visits.  Patients that choose to go to PT are going to be the most motivated.

 

More Hands On Time Means Better Patient Satisfaction

There are a variety of approaches to treatment and scheduling in the cash-based practices that I know of, but in general they all seem to provide more than average one-on-one time with each patient. There is also less (or no) utilization of techs or PTAs, and often modalities are not used either. In these situations, the added one-on-one time with the PT is another reason why clinical outcomes tend to be better with self-pay patients.

This is what compels the majority of my patients to forgo using insurance and pay up front for my treatments. My focus in the clinic is primarily on Manual Therapy and anything else that the patient can’t reproduce on their own time (I should also note that I don’t see a lot of post-surgical rehab patients, but see plenty that are trying to avoid surgery).

Trust me, you can get a lot done in 60 minutes of individualized treatment, and it’s quite luxurious for you as the Physical Therapist as well. In a normal clinic you may only have time for a few Manual techniques and some Therex before it’s time to move to the next patient. With a full hour available, if the first couple things I try don’t make an immediate and significant difference, I can keep trying new approaches and techniques.

For this reason, it’s rare that a patient leaves my office without having some type of significant improvement in their symptoms/movement. Simply put, if all else is equal in terms of clinical skills, the PT who spends an hour with each patient is going to produce more results per session than the PT who races from one to the next every 15-30 minutes.

 

Motivation to Improve My Skills

Returning to the first paragraph, one of the biggest motivating factors for me to always improve my skills is the pressure of higher expectations from my patients. Most self-pay patients will be paying out-of-pocket in hopes that fewer total visits will be needed. I’m not saying patients in a traditional PT clinic don’t expect you to do a great job; but I’ve worked in both insurance-based and cash-based settings and I assure you that the expectations are not quite the same.

To live up to this (especially as a fairly young PT), you tend to go beyond just the requisite CEU hours and continually seek out new information to improve your skills. If you’re a subscriber to Mike Reinold’s website and newsletter, you’re already displaying this type of drive to be better.

After all, if self-pay patients can get similar results by going to the insurance-based PT down the road, why in the world would they pay top dollar to see you?

 

My Patients are My Biggest Referral Source

This pressure to perform does not just stem from patient expectations, but also the nature of how referral sources shift in a cash-based practice. At least in my experience (and the experience of other private-pay PTs I know), a cash practice relies on word-of-mouth to produce new patients much more than it relies on Physicians. The reason why is beyond the scope of this article but is explained in more detail here if you’re interested.

In no way am I saying that every patient doesn’t count in a traditional PT clinic; but when your primary referral source becomes the patients themselves rather than physicians, you tend to go that extra mile for each individual on a more regular basis. If you disagree, please think of the times when you’ve had a referring physician come to you for treatment. Now imagine that every one of your patients was a referring physician. Interesting concept isn’t it?

 

About the Author

Jarod CarterJarod Carter, PT, DPT, MTC is a private practice owner in Austin, TX.  Jarod has formed a successful cash-based physical therapy practice and now has a website to help others do the same.  Check out his site for more information on cash-based physical therapy.