Ronda Nelson: Welcome back to The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast. I’m your host, Ronda Nelson, and I’m doing a solo show again this week. I have been in a bit of a creative mode. I probably have a list of about 40, maybe 50 different topics that I want to talk with you about. And I’ve really just not taken the time to find anyone that can come on and bring that kind of value that I want to bring to you.
I want to talk to you about how to determine the value that you bring to your patients. How do you determine what kind of value you bring? And then, even more importantly, how do you get paid for what it is that you do? It is important to always charge when you’re in the healthcare field, especially when you have a cash paid practice and you’re a practitioner. However, this can be a bit of a catch-22, as what often happens is, we find that compassion and empathy, the thing that makes us really great practitioners, and we really do want to help and we don’t want to turn anyone away.
At the end of the day, what we love to do is improve people’s health. And you do, what you do, you stay in your lane, you’ve got your superpower, and you’re great at it. But when that person comes in and they don’t have enough money, or maybe they’re not as committed as they need to be, you keep going that extra mile and going that extra mile, right?
There’s a mismatch there in either situation because if the patient comes in and they’re not able to pay me for what I do, then that’s not a good fit. And the other side is equally as true, the person that comes in and says, “I don’t want to change my day, well, it was a bad week,” and they are full of excuses. Then you just keep trying to motivate them, encourage them, and inspire them to take action and want to be responsible for their health and they don’t want it. That’s a mismatch. You’re more invested than they are. In fact, in both situations, you really end up being more invested than they are. And that’s not going to work if you want to scale and grow a thriving profitable practice.
So, I want to start by laying a bit of a foundation out. I want you to start to think differently about what you do. In my opinion, there is not another profession, there may be, but not one that I’m aware of, that is like what we do. What we do as a holistic alternative, whatever label you want to put on it, as clinicians we can completely transform someone’s life. We can completely transform their life in a span of a few weeks or a few months. Their health condition, they’ve maybe gone to a medical doctor and have had no results or they’ve tried Dr. Google and they’ve had no results or limited results.
When they work with us, we can get them on a path or on a road to completely change their life with no side effects, no drugs, no vaccines, no nothing. We’re using the right kind of nutrients, the right kind of dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, there is no other discipline in the world that can do that. And that would include emotional stuff, like emotional NET or EMDR, that kind of thing, but that’s all in our realm. We have the ability to transform someone’s life and my friend, that is worth something. Hello, can I get an amen? That is worth something. It’s worth an exchange of money for time, an exchange of money for expertise.
You can help that person completely, radically change their life. You can help them be a better parent. They’re not angry, they’re not snappy and short, maybe they’re not overconsuming alcohol. You can change their life. You can change their marriage by making that person a better human being in their health. You have the radical ability to impact their children and their grandchildren and their marriages and their friendships and their jobs, which makes them more productive at work that indirectly then is going to help their employers. The ripple effect here is huge, but when you give your services away, or I think more importantly, you don’t have the value for what you do. In other words, you don’t take it seriously. It’s serious, my friend, it is. What you do is amazing. And it’s so important that you get paid for that or compensated for that appropriately.
Now, let’s look at what the differences are, patients that come to you may have been in a medical office where there are long wait times or they’re not getting paid attention to, they’re just a number, and they’re just getting shuttled through it. You and I don’t do that. You’re going to really dial and hone in on that relationship. But here’s what we do instead, we’ll take good care of them and give them great value and good service. But here’s then what we also do, we discount our fees or even worse, give it away for free. We discount our supplements, we feel sorry for them. So, we take them on as a charity case. Never going to work out well.
And here’s another huge one. A lot of practitioners are uncomfortable with the money conversation. I have to tell you, I was too, I know what that feels like. You feel bad saying, “Well, my first new patient appointment is $185.” And to have that conversation with the patient where they’re like, “Oh, oh, $185?” What we naturally want to say back is, “Oh, oh, that’s okay. Don’t worry, it’s fine. No problem, it’ll only be $20 for you” or something like that.
We are uncomfortable with the money conversation and that’s got to change because you bring value, you have the ability to transform their life. The other thing that I see often is impostor syndrome. This is where you think, “Oh, well, I don’t know enough and I’m really not that qualified. I don’t know enough about functional medicine or I don’t really understand about female hormones, I don’t really understand about the thyroid or gut issues. So, I just won’t charge for it.”
Well, hello, what if the patient had to go on their own and learn everything that you know? How much would that be worth? So, my friend, you have to charge what you’re worth and don’t let that impostor syndrome get in the way. Don’t let that loss of ability to have a conversation about money get in the way. I want to help you feel inspired and courageous to be able to draw the line and say, this is what I’m worth and this is what I charge, period. Put your shoulders back, have good posture and stand up strong and say, no, this is how it works around here, this is what I do. And that may not be a good fit for the patient who walks in the door, right? They may need to go find someone else, which is perfectly okay. There’s someone for everyone, right?
All right, here are the three questions that I want you to ask yourself. Number one, the first question I want you to ask yourself is, how much time are you willing to put into this patient, to getting them help? If you’re only going to be putting in a little bit of time, then don’t charge much. If you’re just going to give them a few handouts and you’re going to say, “Hey, listen, here’s a book on how to eat paleo and off you go and I’ll talk to you in four weeks.” If that’s all that you’re investing, then you probably shouldn’t charge a lot for that, but if you’re going to throw your heart and soul into trying to find a solution for your patient or your client’s healthcare issues, the concerns that they’re dealing with, whether it’s bloating or headaches or hemorrhoids or muscle cramps, you’re really committed to finding a solution for them, then you’re going to charge more. But the question is, how much time are you willing to put in? So, that’s going to determine your fee.
The second question is a yes or no question, super easy. Can you change their life? Can you make an impact on their life, a positive impact? Whether you get them to the goal line is not the point, the point is, if they’re starting at the illness side of the scale, they’re sick and you know you can help them. We’re going to talk about 100 yards, like a football field, if they’re down to the one-yard line at the other end and you need to move them all the way down the field, if you can get them to the 60-yard line or the 70-yard line, you get them 60% or 70% there, is that a win? You may not be the one to get them into the endzone, that’s okay, but if you can get them part way and then pass them off to somebody else who can get them the rest of the way, that’s a home run.
So, the question is, can you help them? Can you change their life? Do you know enough to get them moving in the right direction? If the answer is yes, then they’re in the right place. And if you say, no, this one’s over my head, it’s too much, I really don’t have the skills to be able to help this person, it’s okay, then refer them out. But, you do that by having integrity and saying, “You know, I don’t think that I’m the right person to be able to handle your particular case, but I’m going to find someone that is, I’m going to find someone that can help you, that keeps you in integrity and it serves that patient or client.”
The third question, this is the big one. Does your price reflect your impact? I want you to write that down. Does the price that you charge or your fees set up so that they accurately and appropriately reflect the impact that you’re having on the patient? Does your price reflect your impact? And if no, then it’s time to do something about that. Again, shoulders back, stand up straight. You are the CEO of your business, you get to decide what you’re going to charge and you get to decide how much you’re going to invest in that patient relationship and then set those fees accordingly. And it’s okay, you do you.
Now, here are a few guidelines to wrap up. I’ll give you a few of my basic pricing guidelines that I go over with practitioners that are in my coaching groups. Number one, you always want to charge more for that first appointment. It does take you more time, you’re reviewing their new patient paperwork. If you have a team or you have a staff, they’re having to expend some energy, you’ve got some overhead in their time to get the file set up and get them set up in the computer, etc. That first new patient appointment should always be a little bit more expensive. I also recommend that those first appointments are about an hour. If you don’t have that as part of your system for bringing in new patients, you may want to consider that, set that time block for an hour, you’ve reviewed their forms, you’ve spent some time ahead of time. Now, sit down with them for an hour and go over your strategy, what your plan is.
Number two, make sure your follow-up appointments are reasonable. I don’t like to see practitioners that have their patients come back every single week for nutrition work or wellness work. It’s different if you’re a chiropractor and acupuncturist and you really do need to see them frequently, but that’s a hands-on modality. I’m talking about this nutrition/wellness piece. I don’t like to have weekly appointments.
Every once in a while, I’ll get someone that I need to hold their hand a little bit more. And so I will tell them, “I’m not going to let you fly off for four weeks on your own, I want to talk to you in two weeks.” This is because I’m afraid they’re going to go squirrely on me and I need to rein them in and have a little bit more accountability. But, keep your visits reasonable, don’t make them too frequently and don’t make them too long, 15 minutes or 30 minutes, plenty, plenty for a follow-up appointment. I would rather respect their finances because for many people, coming in is a financial stretch because not only are they having to pay for an appointment with me and with you, but they’re also having to buy supplements.
Number three, don’t discount your supplements ever. This is part of your income. You cannot grow a practice based on just fee for service, you can’t. You have to have a secondary source of revenue. And for many practitioners, that’s either supplement sales, bringing in massage therapists, a health coach, associates, or something like that. Don’t discount your supplements. There are plenty of people online that discount them and that doesn’t mean you have to be one of them. When you discount, it’s a race to the bottom because when you start discounting, you can never go back. Because then, the patients will say, “Well, I thought I was getting it for blah, blah, blah price, now it’s higher, I’m out.” Even though I cut off their nose to spite their face, we all will. So, don’t discount your supplements, whatever you do, don’t do that.
Number four, ignore the little voice in your head, that tells you you’re not worth it. Ignore that little voice. That little voice is trying to keep you safe, it’s trying to protect you from failure, it’s trying to protect you from disappointment, it’s trying to protect you from maybe the outcome isn’t so good. It’s just trying to protect you. Thank you for showing up and talking to you and then move along because you can do this, I’ve got your back, you can do this.
If you’re a clinician and you want to be in a group of like-minded clinicians, you can join me on Mighty Networks and you can jump in my group. And it’s just clinical, it’s where I’m cultivating and sharing clinical experiences with a group of other like-minded wellness practitioners. And if you’d like to join me, I’d love to have you. I will put the link in the show notes. You do need to be a practitioner with a practice, so no patients, just practitioners, that’s it. I’m pretty picky about who I approve.
You can join if you need that clinical support, to be able to counter that little internal voice that’s yapping at you, saying you are not worth it, you’ll never make it, you don’t know what you’re doing. We all struggle with that. I struggle with that sometimes. And I just know to say, well, thank you for showing up, but in this case, I don’t think you’re right because I do know, I got this. And even if I don’t know all the pieces, I’m going to figure them out because I’m willing to invest the time and that’s reflected in my price.
So, there it is, then, if you are a coach, this is just kind of an outside question that I want to ask you about. What if your best friend who’s also a practitioner came to you and asked you, “Oh, I don’t know how to set my fees, I don’t know really what to charge, and I’m a little bit unsure. And I think I’m too low.” If you were the coach, what would you say? What would you tell them? Would you say, Oh, yeah, just give it away? Or would you say, “Oh, no, uh-oh, you need to charge what you’re worth, no, your prices are too low or you’re too high.” Which is not usually the case, but if you were the coach, what would you advise someone else to do?
And finally, remember that you are the CEO of your business. Your business grows based on the decisions of the CEO, right? You’ve got to set those prices that are equivalent with the amount of time that you’re willing to invest, your level of expertise, and don’t discount them. And remember, as that owner, you get to say how this goes. You’re the expert, you’re the one, put those shoulders back, stand up big, straight and tall, and say, I am the CEO of my business, I do know how to do this and I am going to make a positive difference in this person’s life because of the skills and the knowledge that I’ve acquired and all the money that I’ve spent to learn what I know. And I’m worth charging that fee.
So, my friend, go off, do you, do you well, be that CEO, and I can’t wait to hear how you end up changing or even looking a little differently at your fee structure to see how you do. I would love to hear from you. You can message me, DM me on Instagram or send me a message on Facebook, I would be more than happy to respond to you. And in the meantime, take care. I’ll see you back next week on The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast. Bye for now.
Ronda Nelson: Well, I hope that episode was great for you. I love talking about money. And it isn’t because I’m greedy and it’s not because I want you to be greedy, but it’s because it’s the thing that allows us to be profitable. When we make money and when we have profitable businesses, it really allows us to serve in a much better way. That’s why I think this conversation is so important. There isn’t one of you listening, I’m sure, that doesn’t have that desire to really make an impact. That’s why we do what we do. It’s why we went to school, it’s why we learned our craft because we want to have a greater impact, but what we also need to do is respect the knowledge that we have by charging appropriately, setting that standard of value, because there’s one more thing I want to tell you and listen carefully here.
Cheap has an energy to it, cheap has a feeling to it. A Lexus is made by Toyota. You can drive a Lexus because of the name and the price. And you think, “Oh, I got a Lexus.” Or you can have a Toyota Corolla or you can have a Toyota Avalon or you can have a Toyota, whatever. They’re all made the same, the engines are the same. It’s the bells and whistles that are different. You can make those bells and whistles, anything you want, inside your customer experience, but what you can’t do is create that customer experience on a shoestring value. So, be sure that you really think hard about what you’re charging, what you’re bringing to your patients. What kind of value are you bringing? How are you changing their life? And once you know that and you’ve got that deep, it’s like in you, then you can stand up and with confidence, say, here’s the fee for what I do. And if they can do it great and if they can’t agree, it’s okay, it’s all good because you are standing up for who you are and the value that you bring to that patient.
Again, send me a message on Facebook, send me a DM on Instagram. Let me know what you think. And I’d love to chat with you. Tell me what it is that you struggle with when it comes to that conversation with money. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Take care. See you next week. Bye-bye.
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