3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Online PT Workshops

In-person workshops have proven to be the most effective way of converting the general public into direct access patients. 

During the COVID-19 crisis, many owners in the Breakthrough community have experimented with online PT workshops. Making the switch from in-person to virtual workshops isn’t as simple as you might expect, but the results have been similar. 

Here are some ways you can get the most out of your online PT workshops to make them even more successful and worthwhile:

1. More Engagement = More Appointments

Engaged audiences are more likely to become patients than passive participants. 

But holding someone’s attention is much easier when you are giving a presentation in front of them, face-to-face. With virtual workshops, attendees are at home watching on their computer screens and only one click away from checking social media or otherwise being distracted.

Giving simple directions like “Look at the screen” during your presentation can recapture their attention and pull them into what you’re talking about. Give them directives and keep them in the moment. 

2. Stick to the Format

It’s easy to go off course in an online workshop, which is why we recommend sticking to a format that logically moves you through each part. Download the free Online Workshop Template to discover a proven format for structuring your physical therapy workshops.

Practice it to get comfortable in teaching an audience that isn’t right in front of you. 

3. Focus on Your Final Five Minutes

No matter how long your workshop is, the last five minutes are always the most critical, as you’re giving your audience the call to action to move forward with you. The CTA should be clear so that people go right into scheduling an appointment with you.

Make sure your “next step” is congruent with the online format and avoid asking attendees to do anything that would require them to leave their computer. 

Other Ways to Set the Stage for Success

There are several moving parts to conducting a successful online workshop, and knowing these parts can help you get one step closer to your goal.

First, you need to have people in pain watching your workshop. This is where strong workshop marketing skills come into play. If you don’t have the right audience in seats (or the right eyes on your presentation), you’re not going to get the results you expect.

Second, you need to know what to say that’s going to trigger conversions. This is different from in-house workshops. It takes more engagement, more interaction, and more conversations to help people feel safe enough to come in for an appointment.

Also, you need a follow-up sequence to follow up with people who didn’t schedule an appointment right away. Again, this looks a little differently than it does for in-house workshops because it all takes place online. 

And finally, you need to understand the right levers to pull to get the most engagement from your workshop. 

If you’re like most practice owners, online workshops are new to you and you may be wondering how to get started.

That’s why we created a free Online Workshop Template that shows you how to create a presentation that will maximize conversions. At Breakthrough, we’re purpose-driven and want to help people get back to a pain-free life naturally, and the best way to do this is through private practice owners like you. 

Download the Online Workshop Template to get started today!

[Video] Attracting New Patients with Online Workshops

This video is for Private Practice owners looking for strategies to get new patients in the current market.

Social distancing and quarantine measures mean that hosting in-person workshops isn’t an option for most practice owners.

And even as more and more states open back up, it will still take time for the general public to feel safe in group settings.

At Madden PT, my team and I have been experimenting with virtual workshops. The process was modeled after our traditional in-person events, and we invited people from our social media and email list.

We had about 60 register, and from that we had 10 people sign up for an initial evaluation.

I know a lot of owners are considering hosting online events, so I decided to create a short video training to share my tips for getting the best results from this new style of workshop.

I’m also making my Online Workshop Presentation Template available to download for free.

[expand title=”Click to Read Full Video Transcript”]
Chad Madden:
Hey, everybody. Chad Madden here with Breakthrough. This is simply attracting new patients with online workshops. This is specifically for private PT practice owners who want to grow in today’s marketplace with everything that’s going on right now. So essentially, we’re taking the offline, the in-house success that you’ve seen hundreds of owners do, all 50 States, 12 countries internationally, and we’re taking that and transitioning it to an online format to adapt with the times and be able to continue to attract new patients that need our help.

Chad Madden:
So some quick success here. You can see Luke and Ashton down at Texas adapting this already, and then in Michigan, Andrew Gorecki, Andrew applied this, did the online workshop, ended up with 17 free assessments. And by the way, Andrew is a pioneer in this, adapted very early on, took this, ended up doing his own stuff and did really well. So, our hope is that you can get the same exact thing out of this.

Chad Madden:
The purpose and our purpose here at Breakthrough is to help people in pain get back to normal naturally. The best way for us to do that is to work with practice owners like you in your community and help you do these online workshops. So, this workshop deck, where they call it a deck because it’s like a deck of slides, was designed with the same, exact six-step process that I personally use in my own online workshops. And another big point that you should realize is online workshops are different than in-house workshops. For example, we’re going to talk about engagement. Right? When I’m doing an online presentation, I can’t really see what my audience is doing. They could be texting on their phone, they could stand up and go to the bathroom, and come back, and I would never know that. Right? They could be watching a TV program with, I’m in the background. That’s not the case with an in-house workshop.

Chad Madden:
So, we want to be able to change our strategies for online workshops because it truly is different than hosting an in-house workshop or a live workshop. And also, I have training for you which will help you get the most out of this tool in your online workshops. We’ll talk about that here in a minute.

Chad Madden:
So, three tips to get the most out of your online workshops. Number one, we talked about this already, but more engagement equals more appointments. So, very important that you’re bringing people back to the screen. Pay attention to this, write this down. You’re giving them directives in terms of, basically, paying attention. And when you do so, when you get them to share, you’re going to be able to schedule more appointments. We learned that… Significantly, it was a huge change from our first workshop to our second.

Chad Madden:
Number two is it’s going to be easy to deviate when you have online, when you’re doing an online workshop, maybe you get lost in a story or something like that. You want to stick to this exact format that I’m showing you here. Six steps, very, very simple, and most importantly, in sticking to the format is you want to focus on and pay attention to, you want to practice this the most, what you say in the last five minutes because that is the thing that you must nail. You can’t deviate and go into answering questions at that point. You have to have a very call to action so that people are going right to scheduling an appointment.

Chad Madden:
And when I taught in-house workshops, and we’ve been teaching that for the last five or six years, again, with hundreds of owners from everywhere, when we’re teaching that, we talk about the last five or 10 minutes is the most important point. It’s even more so. It’s even more accentuated right now. There is more stress on this in an online workshop than there is in-house, and it was the most important thing, the primary thing to practice and focus on. And in an in-house workshop, it’s even more so important right now.

Chad Madden:
There’s some other things that you need to be successful. I’m going to give you four other steps here. Number one, you need people in pain that are actually watching your workshop. Right? So, you have some workshop marketing where, when we were doing this in house, it was called Butts in Seats. Right? Getting people in the room? Right now, you want eyes watching your presentation. Right? You want people watching your presentation.

Chad Madden:
Number two, is you want to know exactly what to say to increase engagement into conversions. It’s different than in-house workshops, especially during this time. We call it, the pay line has been pushed back. So in an in-house workshop, 60 days ago, 90 days ago, people would register for the workshop, and somewhere between 10% and 25% would schedule an appointment and a plan of care before the workshop even happened. That low hanging fruit is not there in these times right now. We pushed the pay line back. It’s going to take more engagement, more conversations for people to ultimately feel safe enough to come in, regardless of the area of the country that you’re in.

Chad Madden:
Also, you want a follow-up sequence after to convert those who did not schedule right away. That’s really, really important. And also, there are three key levers that you should be pulling to get the maximum leverage out of your workshops. And if you’re not doing these, yes, you can run an online workshop. You can check the box, but pretty good chance nobody’s going to schedule. You want to make sure you’re pulling these three leavers so that you’re getting the most out of your workshops.

Chad Madden:
What I’ve done for you is I created a special training called, How to Deliver an Online Workshop that Converts. And in this, we’re going to be talking about how to market your workshop. By the way, we have the former head of online Facebook learning, who actually worked for Facebook, walking you through this in addition to her, Kathy Borkowski, she’s also sharing and presenting with you in this training with Carl Mattiola, the co-founder here at Breakthrough who was the head of online sales at Tesla. So, they have huge experience there marketing your workshop. That is in this course, avoiding the most common work workshop mistakes. We talked through that as well in this training. And then a step-by-step guide and presentation so you know what to say and why you’re saying it for maximum conversions.

Chad Madden:
Now, normally, we would sell something like this for $500. We’ve sold trainings like this for a thousand dollars or more. But because of the times, because we want you to succeed and remember we’re purpose-driven, so we want to help people in pain get back to normal naturally. Again, the best way for us to do that is to work with you. Dedicate a private practice owner who’s helping people right now. So, we want to give this to you for free, and it’s free for everybody that joins Breakthrough University. What is Breakthrough University? It’s training and content, and it spans your entire organization.

Chad Madden:
The key thing here is that it’s not outdated, ivory tower philosophy, it’s not theory. This is what is working right now in the trenches of private practice PT. Just like you saw Luke, and Ashton, and Andrew sharing their wins of people that are implementing and applying right now. It’s the same thing here. It’s training and content that is up-to-date. This is what is working today. We have that for you at Breakthrough University. You also get access to a community of like-minded private practice owners. And right now, in this group, there are over 1300 owners, again, from all 50 States, 12 countries internationally. I know we’re all different. We all feel like our business is unique. However, whatever stage of business you’re in right now, there’s likely somebody in your area already learning in there and sharing, and they’re likely at the same stage that you’ve been at. Right?

Chad Madden:
So, you can find people that are at the same stage as you, whether you’re a startup or whether you’re a private practice vet, you’ve been in there for four decades. Or, there’s likely somebody that’s in your same marketplace or a similar marketplace like you somewhere else in the country or even somewhere else in the world. There’s also accountability. We have these inside circle implementation calls where we hop on with a group of owners, and we help you implement whatever it is that you’re stuck on. So again, they’re called the inside circle calls.

Chad Madden:
And in the big picture of marketing, what we’re really trying to do is we’re going from a trickle. We’ve all at least been affected in some way by our current crisis and situation, right? So we’re going from a trickle, and we’re rebuilding to a flood. There is an exact sequence of how we do that. And workshops are actually step number four. And online workshops fit in there as well. So, realize that this is part of a bigger picture for you, and we want to make sure you’re able to fill in all those gaps and ultimately, get the most out of, not only your online workshops, but be able to grow and leave an impact in your area, again, far beyond, far stronger than what you were before this crisis. Right? So, very cool stuff there. Again, this is Chad from Breakthrough. Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you in the next video.

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How Private Practice Owners can Create Opportunity from a Crisis [Video]

The fact is undeniable: we are in a crisis right now. And while it’s true that this situation is unique, similar events have happened throughout history.

And we can learn a lot if we take a step back, look at what has happened historically and understand the bigger picture. 

From there, it’s important to adjust our thoughts and behaviors accordingly so we not only survive this, but we can bounce out the other end and rebuild more quickly and help more people.

Cycle of Market Emotions

For a short-term view of this crisis, you can use the Cycle of Market Emotions.

Right now, we are spiraling down. But there comes a point where we reach the bottom and this is also when you reach the point of maximum financial opportunity. 

And this is reinforced when we combine this with a long-term view of this crisis in the context of history. You can see from the last 100+ years of the S&P 500 that peaks never last forever and valleys never continue on forever.

In other words, this too shall pass.

And if you want to see how to best position your clinic to survive this crisis and come back stronger than before, make sure to watch the video above. 

Breakthrough Interview with PT Mike Lewis at COVID 19 Epicenter

Interview with Seattle Practice Owner Mike Lewis: How to Handle Covid-19 at Ground Zero

Mike is a Practice Owner and is currently earning his PhD in Healthcare Leadership.

Mike’s Physical Therapy clinic is 3.5 miles from the Seattle nursing home where the first US cases of COVID-19 popped up.

See what his PT practice is doing to help the community, continue to treat those in need and combat the spread of the virus in this interview.

Highlights from the Call:
– How WAPT Rehab is handling workshops.
– What his team is doing right now with the patients who do drop off.
– How to “Control the Controllable” in your practice
– What your team needs from you the most right now. And what to do if you can’t deliver.
– Why he did not send out an email (as of yet) on the virus – but what he did do on his website.

Video Transcript

[expand title=”Full Transcript”]
Mike (00:00):
And I can give, I mean do you want a little bit of background cause it’s so literally from Kirkland, Washington. So I did hit record so, okay good. Yeah. So Kurt in Washington, you know everyone has met me at you know bootcamps sorta. My joke is always like when you go to Costco and you buy your Kirkland signature toilet paper that they could me cause that’s like right down the street now it’s going to be like Hey remember we’re the coronavirus girls in Washington. That’s me. I’m that guy. So the nursing home where all this kind of really got started, it’s two miles from my house. It’s literally down down the street from where I live. Our clinic is about three and a half miles from the nursing home where all this is going on. Everybody in the hospital that has recorded the first and the majority of the deaths associated with this is less than five miles from my clinic and about three and a half miles from my house. So we really are here in Kirkland. I mean we are ground zero. We have any 569 cases of about the 2,600 total in the U S have been here in Washington. The bulk of them, majority of them are right here in King County where I live. So we are literally right in the middle of the thick of it right now. So Vertel so run information, that’s where I am, that’s where I’m coming from.

Chad (01:01):
Your doors are still open,

Mike (01:02):
doors are still open

Chad (01:03):
and what we talked about is a, you’re probably two weeks ahead of many of us that are going to be watching this video the rest of the country. So you’ve kept your doors open and you’ve made a [inaudible]. Mike, just if you can go again circle around again at both you and your wife are in healthcare and where you’re at mentally as you’re navigating this. That would be great.

Mike (01:22):
You know, and as we talked briefly to before this chat, I think it’s important to understand everyone is going to come at this from their own unique perspective and their own place and you cannot assume that your situation is going to be similar to someone else. My wife and I are both physical therapist. She works at Seattle children’s hospital, like the largest regional, you know, hospital in the area. And so they have all of their policies and procedure in place. Their staff is trained or well versed on what’s going on. I work in healthcare and run my own business. I’ve made keeping up on this. So we’re fortunate in that both of us work in healthcare. We’re both very calm, both very rational. We can convey that to our kids as well. I’ve got two daughters, 14 and 16 I’m fortunate. They’re both, you know, middle school, high school.

Mike (02:01):
They’re old enough they can stay home and distance, learn on their own. They’re smart enough, they’re savvy enough and they can do that. That’s not the case for a lot of people. So I am very fortunate. My personal situation, what I have going on in my home life, we’re able to come maintain a sense of calm, a sense of cool. My wife and I could help, you know, when my kids are seeing things on social media, their friends are posting things. We can help them disseminate fact from fiction. You know very effectively too. So I understand. I am very fortunate that way. And then my wife also works in healthcare and we’re on the same page with all of this stuff.

Chad (02:28):
Great. So your doors are open,

Mike (02:30):
doors are open. And I know you just had a workshop literally propped open. We don’t close the front door anymore. The door enough.

Chad (02:37):
Um, can you give us like w what the, where you’re at mentally, uh, what your team’s doing there, what the workshop like exactly what happened today. That’d be great.

Mike (02:45):
So we just had a new workshop today and we had, there were total, we had over 50 people registered, which is fairly normal for a new workshop. We had an abnormal number move to the next workshop. If they were nervous at all, we immediately offer just to move into the next workshop, even before we offered a free screener. And I will let you know, let’s just stay in contact with these people. The next need workshop is six weeks out. And people were very comfortable with that as well. When I called did all my workshop phone calls in advance, the message that I told people was I was expecting somewhere between five to 10 people to show up. Clinic is clean, clinic is sterilized. We got enough courage to take a shower and if you want to while you’re here and we have everyone have their own space, we have everything spaced out, you’re going to be totally safe when you’re dumping here.

Mike (03:25):
So I said there’s no need to worry about that. We are prepared to have people in the clinic. So I started leaving that message with people on that if I got their voicemail as well. So we had a total of seven people show up, all seven on scheduled screens. We got one, uh, I E in advance, one free screen or advanced that turned into an IEP as well. So again, the numbers are down for what we would normally expect. But the important thing is we’re still doing it. We didn’t, we didn’t call it off. You know, the marketing has to keep going.

Chad (03:51):
Yup. And the, what I’ve internally led with in our team, and I, I you said this before is um, the peop knee pain doesn’t stop back. Pain doesn’t stop. Rotator cuff pain doesn’t stop because of the epidemic because of uh, COBIT 19 absolutely not. So the virus doesn’t change that and people need us now more than ever. And I know you talked about, um, your philosophy that you have with your team in terms of taking care of the people that are coming in. Can you share that with everybody? Cause I think that’s an important part.

Mike (04:23):
Yeah. So the term that we use in our family, we tell our kids all the time, just control the controllables. Focus on what you can control, stay focused on that. And don’t worry about anything else right now. So what we can control in the clinic right now is keeping the patients that we have, keep them safe, keep them coming in, you know, and project a sense of calm and confidence and clean everything all the time in front of them. Let them see you. Perilla your hands. Let them see you cleaning every single piece of equipment. You know the term is laptop down, eyes up, spend more time in conversation with your patients. They want to talk about this. You work in healthcare. They’re going to view you as someone who has additional resources and information, which hopefully most of us do. Spend more time talking with your patients, hear their stories, you know, sympathize with them and that people are really comfortable coming in because they see the extra steps that we’re making, you know, to kind of care for them, but also make sure that they’re staying safe when they’re here.

Mike (05:17):
They laugh, Tammy, I kid you not. A patient gets up from the lobby to come back. She goes and sterilizes the Sheraton sat in and so their family member, the next patient’s laughing because Tammy was over there scrubbing a chair. But the point is did they see us cleaning everything all the time. Appearance matters. Keep the patients you have coming in because that’s something that you can control. You cannot control how people, how people are going to react and perceive this. If they want to stay at home and close their doors, they’re not going to come seek physical therapy. I can’t control that decision. What I can control, keep the patients that are coming in right now, keep them safe, keep them happy, you know, and just make sure that they’re confident coming to see you.

Chad (05:52):
Yeah. I love that Mike. Um, I, I don’t say control the controllables. We just say control, which you can, but it’s the same exact thing. Yep. And, uh, I know for us, um, we, uh, I’m going to try to say this in a delicate way. We had some team members definitely, um, getting very caught up in the hysteria. Um, and then when we looked at all the rosters, all the census of, of all five clinics, um, we had two patients cancel out entirely. But the workshops continue to roll on. Um, we’ve kind of been fortunate, um, like I think most viewers will be today. Um, and I don’t want to jinx this for two weeks from the day because it could change. Um, I know we have people on quarantine in our area, um, but there have been no or minimal cases right now. Um, and I don’t know if it’ll stay that way, but we can’t really change. I can’t control that. You can’t control that. Yeah. And, and it’ll, it’ll drive us crazy if we have 55 team members focused on trying to control that.

Mike (06:52):
Yeah. Andy, you make a great point about staff. I think it’s super important that as a clinic owner right now, you have to evaluate your staff. I am fortunate, all of my staff, we’re all on the same page. Everyone is calm and collected. If you have someone answering your phones that is worried about this, you need to reassign them somewhere else. Great. And if you have a multiple therapists or clinic, you have the ability. If you have a therapist that’s very calm and rational, you might want to put them at the front desk, let them answer the phones, let them answer the, you know, the phone calls and the questions as well. You people, your staff member that’s calm and collected, needs to be the face of your organization right now. What people, even if they’re calling, calling into cancel an appointment, the your front desk staff has to be dialed in with your philosophy and how to have those conversations and I went over my staff exactly.

Mike (07:38):
This is what we’re going to tell people when they call. We’re going to tell them this. We don’t make any excessive promises that we can’t keep but we need to have a sense of calm and we are open. We’re here for you. We’re doing everything we can to keep you guys safe. As a clinic owner, this might be a chance to reevaluate your self and your personal life if it’s going to be challenging for you to run your clinic right now because of your home situation. Again, I’m fortunate I can spend more time at work because of what I have going on at home. Maybe as a clinic owner you need to make decision. I’m going to assign another staff member to basically run the business and you know, at this point in time, because I’m not comfortable doing it, maybe I’m someone who’s worrying about it or maybe I need to go home and care for my family instead. And you convey them. I said, you know what, we have a team member that has been assigned kind of our crisis coordinator. It’s Chad, he’s all set and ready to go is going to be in charge, you know, for the next, you know, four, six weeks or whatever too. Nothing wrong with that.

Chad (08:31):
Love that. Mike. Uh, one more question, um, here and I know you just had the workshop and I want to let you get back to your family. Um, and my daughter’s here, uh, giving me an elephant. That’s great. Um, the, I, I know you’re, um, taking your, you’re earning a degree right now. Um, and it’s in healthcare administration,

Mike (08:54):
I suppose. My in health sciences

Chad (08:56):
and my very concentration is leadership and administration and healthcare. Okay. So what are you hearing in the classroom around this? Because I’m sure there’s you’re, you’re getting access to fresh knowledge that most of us, yeah.

Mike (09:07):
Well the irony is when the first cases in Kirkland actually happened, I was actually in Utah at an onsite for our PhD program. My wife was in it with me as well too. And so our joke was like, we show up to class next day, we’re going to have a special table for us to have you sit quarantine in the classroom for it. Uh, so yeah, I D I am getting some interesting information. The one thing that I’m going to tell you, and I’m going to tell everyone out there too, that you have to impress upon your patients is do not trust information from social media. Do not trust reposts of articles on social media. Go to the source. And so on our webpage, I direct our patients there. They’d go to our webpage on our homepage, there’s a popup comes up immediately. There’s little information on there, a little blurb from me about what we’re doing to keep you safe. And I have links to the CDC, the Washington state department of health, King County, department of health, the city of Kirkland’s web page, all about their response to what’s going on. You need to tell patients to seek appropriate information. So like in my PhD program, one of the big points that they make if you’re going to go into education is there’s nothing you’re ever going to teach anyone that they can’t find on their own. It exists on the internet. Your job is to direct them to the true and correct information, not the false information.

Chad (10:19):
So that’s the big huge message. Awesome point. Did not know we were going to go here. Um, but that is great. The, have you done anything to promote to your patient list via email or direct mail? Anything around the Corona virus? No.

Mike (10:38):
And we made the conscious decision not to do that. We did it on our webpage. We direct people there too cause it’s short and sweet and it helps with SEO traffic of us and people that my web page, Chad.

Chad (10:48):
Yeah.

Mike (10:49):
Um, well we, we debated it, but we, I opted to continue our normal marketing business as usual because email and stuff are things that we’ve used for marketing in the past. That’s what are my patients expect. And so we’ve just been sending everything out that way. So we actually, I kind of made the conscious decision to not do an extra step yet. I reserve my right to change my mind. But again, the marketing machine that’s emailed direct mail, so I’m not changing that. That’s going, I’m not going to take up time and space away from marketing to replace it with something else.

Chad (11:19):
Um, I, I agree with you 100%. I know it’s a very unpopular decision and I did not want to come across as I’m indifferent, but there, there’s too much information as it is. Yeah. And or too much exposure right now, and I love what you said, point people to CDC, world war world health organization, local authorities that are covering this and get the information from the source rather than me reiterating, you know, we’re going to hand sanitize everything and wash our hands. We’ve been doing that forever.

Mike (11:54):
I know how to wash their hands. It’s new information. No one knew how to wash their hands.

Chad (11:59):
Yes. Um, and, and I, um, I, I’m very aware that, um, again that that might be unpopular, but I, I agree with you wholeheartedly that again, our specialty is in helping people with knee pain, back pain, rotator.

Mike (12:16):
Again, focus on what you’re good at at this point in time. And I do want to throw one more little nugget I want to throw out there for you guys as well. Every single day for the last week, um, at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, my front desk and I go through who canceled that day and we’re keeping a list of why did they cancel, you know, or is it we have had three patients who for various reasons, either they’re nervous, where we had a couple frankly that were on pulmonary rehab should not be going out to anyway. So we recommended that they not go out and stay home. We’re giving a list of patients to call back in four, six, eight weeks when this calms down, who dropped off for good reasons. We have a list of those people to call back. Other people that called back it’s allergy season and starting here in Seattle, people are getting, you know, a sniffly nose or eyes running a little tickle in their throat, not knowing what it is.

Mike (13:01):
It’s probably allergies, so our recommendation is, Hey, you know what? Stay home. You don’t have a fever. You call us back. We’re keeping a list of all of those people as well, so if we don’t hear back from that, we’re going to reach out to them as well. Anytime someone calls and cancels, if they’re nervous, we have two private treatment rooms available as the schedule. If it lightens up, I’m actually, I’ve agreed to work extra hours to get people in one-on-one after hours if we need to as well. For me, I can handle that from home. I live less than five minutes from the clinic. If I want to come in at eight o’clock at night to squeeze another patient in to generate some revenue to keep the train running, I’ll do that. I’ll come in on a Saturday morning and treat, you know, several patients if I need to as well. You have a staff member that’s willing to do that. You can flex hours again, even if they don’t take you up on the offer, you are clearly making an effort that you care about them and that you’re going to go the extra mile for your patients as well. So these are little things that, again, every clinic has to do, but we keep a list of every single person that cancels. Why did they cancel? And what’s our followup plan for that?

Chad (13:58):
Like I, I greatly admire what you’re doing. Really appreciate you as a human being, an individual. I know, I know this is a tough time right now for you to top one here with us. Share your knowledge and wisdom. I greatly appreciate it. I’m very indebted to you. Next bottle of scotch is on me.

Mike (14:16):
Can you hold it up in front of your computer in April?

Chad (14:22):
I’m sorry. Uh, we’ll figure out a way to make that happen. But I’m very much appreciate your time here Mike. And also you sharing your wisdom and leadership as well.

Mike (14:30):
Yeah. And again, I want to emphasize to chat if anybody wants to reach out to me individually, they can email me through work, they can send me a DM on Facebook as well. So I’m more than happy to have some conversations with people too. So what’s the best email for me? The best email, send it to my work email. So it’s Lewis,L , E w I [email protected] It’s my work email address is the best one. Got it. Pop up on the website. The website is, it’s WAPT rehab.com yup. And that’ll show you the pop up. Anyone using practice promotions? I think we were the first one that actually rolled that out and I think they actually have kind of templated that now too. Does anyone using dealer practice brochures that they could put that together? I think within just a few hours and get that up on your website for you too. So perfect. I know Neil’s on it. Yeah, he’s on it. Great. Thank you again for doing this. I appreciate it and good luck with all those kids, man. Like I said, my situation is very different than yours. Good luck or a run for our money right now. They’re, they’re giving us a run for our money, so I’ll keep you posted.
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Breakthrough Interview with Tom Dalonzo Baker How To Do PT Telehealth

Breakthrough & Tom Dalonzo-Baker on Telehealth for Physical Therapy

Many Physical Therapists are considering making a switch to PT telehealth during this National State of Emergency.

Here’s an interview I did with Tom Dalonzo-Baker from Total Motion Release on the topic.

Highlights from the Call:
Continue to test-treat-retest as you would in the clinic.
Use “Directional Preference” treatment systems in a scientific manner.
Tom is offering a free training for owners who want to learn more.

Video Transcript

[expand title=”Full Transcript”]
Chad:
Hey, everybody, Chad Madden here with Breakthrough. Today I’m talking with Tom Dalonzo-Baker. Tom, just like you and I, is a private practice owner of Total Motion PT. Now you probably know Chip and Deanna who took over the practice. Tom is also the founder of Total Motion Release, you’ve heard me talk about this. We had a PTA take his course, I think it was 13 or 14 years ago now, and I remember just applying Tom’s methods in our clinic and seeing some ridiculous results that didn’t necessarily make sense to me. Anyhow, during this state of emergency, I’ll call it, as of right now, I wanted to get you some information about how are you possibly going to treat somebody with telehealth? So anyhow, Tom, long-winded introduction, but thank you for doing this. Welcome here.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Hey, thanks Chad. Absolutely. More than happy to help. It’s a great opportunity to telehealth, to hopefully open up to, for people to see that we can maybe help and give you guys hope for what’s going on in your situation.

Chad:
Awesome. So the first thing that I’d love for you to talk about is I from experience in telehealth, one of the biggest, when we’re in the clinic, we can do test, treat, retest. When we’re meeting like this with a patient, essentially we want to have that same exact fundamental element in there so we’re providing a valuable service online even if we can’t provide hands-on therapy or we can’t do hands on motion guiding. So with Total Motion Release, how does that work? How would you go through, and if you want to walk me through an exercise right now?

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Yeah, absolutely. So look, it’s important to have a system down just like you’d have if you’re working with them manually. And the thing you need to realize is that we’re only ever dealing with motion and that’s what’s really cool here, right? You’re either moving them or they’re moving themselves. So all you want to be able to do is to take that area, so if somebody’s got a shoulder problem, what are the motions that we want to take them through? So Chad, do you have a shoulder problem, I’d take you through what? Flexion?

Chad:
Yeah. Great.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Go through. I might take you into abduction. All right.

Chad:
Left is bad, Tom.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
All right, so abduction. I just want to really focus on that area, let’s just say here.

Chad:
Left is-

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Let’s get some-

Chad:
Oh, come on man. You’re killing me. All right.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Awesome. Okay, so is that enough? Is that enough to say that you got what you needed to get there, Chad?

Chad:
I’m aware that my left side has some issues, yes.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
All right, so what are some of the ways that we could go ahead and treat that?

Chad:
Okay, so like you and I talked about earlier, or at least what I would know, is if the right side is easier, most of us are familiar with the idea of a directional preference. So if the right side is easier, what I’ve done when I’ve implemented TMR in the clinic is I would have the person move the right side and let’s say two sets of 12 of abduction and then go back and retest. So we’re still using that test, treat, retest.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Correct. Absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah, one of the things is we’ve got, and I think you were going to share this with us, on the website we’ve got, on totalmotionrelease.com, I’ve got a free training for you guys right now that is extensive. It’s right there. It even gives you two credit hours CEUs. And it’ll get you going into feeling incredibly comfortable on treating people in telehealth. This was just developed about four months ago. I gave you the latest and greatest information. These videos right here that you have are treating. I show you the pretesting, I show you the treatment, I show you the post testing. And it’ll give you a very good, wow, I can do that.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
And there’s three ways in which to test. The entire body. There’s three ways to treat the area of injury and we show you a system to do that so you feel comfortable like, wow, this isn’t that difficult. In fact, it’s pretty simple to do. And my first step is get up there, get the free training. It’s going to take you through 15 steps, and by the end of it you’re going to say, hey, I’m feeling comfortable with doing telehealth with people. On here I show you how long it lasts, I show you why it works, I show you theories behind it that are very simple to get involved with it. That fair?

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
So with your shoulder issue, Chad, we could go and try to treat into restriction. It’s not lifting very well, we could do it like we’re used to, like TheraBands and they don’t have TheraBands at home, so we may just treat it. Now we can also shorten that tissue by coming over here, we’re actually shortening the tissue on that side. So there’s two different ways in which to go about and tackle an issue. It’s either going into the restriction or going into ease. And when you get involved in that, it’s pretty simple and easy for your people, not only just your therapists but also your patients to grab ahold of that and say, I can do this. So very powerful, very good. I always say just get to the website, watch a couple of videos and say, hey, I think you’ll be able to say I can do that.

Chad:
Awesome. So two stories I want to share with everybody watching. Number one is we had a… So again, this is right after our PTA had taken Tom’s course. First patient we ever treated in the clinic had a full thickness rotator cuff tear diagnosed. It was two or three years before. She was in her late seventies or early eighties, and because of all the co-morbidities, did not qualify. They wouldn’t operate on her, essentially. So we had to go through, and we have this on video, it’s actually on an old mini disc. That’s how long ago this was.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
That’s a long time.

Chad:
We had her abduct each side, I think with the left side she ended up having maybe 70 degrees. It was very limited. Horrible scapular winging, the whole deal, just no control there at all. We go through everything, we found a contralateral hip restriction. We ended up having her do some seated straight leg raises, and I remember as George was going through this, I said, there is no way that this works. I can’t wrap my head around this anyhow.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
You’re doing legs to, quote, fix shoulder. Is that correct?

Chad:
Yeah, exactly. So anyhow, and we said, okay. Mary is a fictitious name. And I’ll say, “Mary, raise your arm.” And she said, “I don’t know why you’re having me do all these movements.” Her daughter was there and her daughter is very, very loud and she went off like a… She caught it and the patient, Mary, did not even realize that her arm got better. She was a seven out of ten pain before, now she had no pain at all. Her daughter is freaking out. Everybody in the room is looking over and we’re like, wow, there is something here that we can’t explain but we don’t really care. We just know it works.

Chad:
Second story is when I treated the gentleman from Calcutta, India over 18 months, we did tele-health. He was, I don’t know why I remember this number, 7,937 miles from Calcutta to Harrisburg, so we were 8,000 miles apart. I treated him once a month and I was paid for the entire treatment plan but we got to a point of where… And he had three level disc herniation on an MRI before the treatment. I wrote about this in both of our books on back pain and we were featured in a local paper and got some local press coverage out of it regarding telehealth. Big secret was I used TMR when we got him to a certain point and he still had some restrictions, primarily unilateral hip restrictions. We just couldn’t seem to shake it with normal exercise. I said, “Hey, let’s do a general screen.” We took him through five or six, I forget what it was called at the time.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Fab six.

Chad:
Yep, fab six. We took him through those movements and we found two restrictions. Off the top of my head I believe it was thoracic rotation was one and I think he had a hip restriction as well. We treated him with your system and that was the game changer for him. He was 70% better, and by the way, when he was done with treatment he went back and got another MRI showing complete resolution of all three levels of disc herniation. So if you’re watching this and you’re considering telehealth, you’re going to need a system to treat people where you’re getting effective before and after, rather than just taking people through exercises, which is I think an essential part once you correct their movement. TMR can do that for you. I’ll leave it at that.

Chad:
So if that doesn’t convince you to check out-

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Let me jump in here for a second because you know [inaudible 00:00:09:37]. I just want to add a little bit. We were talking about left to right side and all of a sudden he jumped from shoulder to leg. I want to give this idea that pretty much we as clinicians, if somebody comes in with a shoulder pain, we’re looking at neck, shoulder and ribs. That’s the general area that we go to.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
When you do understand about lengthening and shortening tissue, you’re going to have three areas of the body but you’re going to realize every extremity, every area of the body, the left side and the right side, the left side can be used to fix the right side. The bottom right side can be used to fix the right side. And the left side can be used to fix the right side. When you see that you’re going to be able to go, whoa, I can just move the body, seeing what’s going on in it and have an idea and a system to test and to give them that to treat. Because a big thing that you’re going to notice with TMR is your skillset is going to be given to the patient, which is incredibly powerful. So they’re going to be able to help the other 23 hours out of the day, too.

Chad:
Yeah, and Tom, we’ve seen that time and time again where somebody has a shoulder or a cervical issue, we ask them their medical history and it’s like, oh, nothing really going on. But I do have a total hip, total knee, or an ankle surgery, and then we resolve the restrictions that they have there and then all of a sudden their shoulder or their neck moves better.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
We’ve got jaw pain people, they can open their jaw and we go, “Hey, do a leg raise.” And the right side’s horrible, the left side’s really good. We do the left side a bunch, the right side picks up, their jaw opens up, and you go, what? And it may sound so far fetched, and we’re not trying to do that because the system can start anywhere from single digit addition if you will, all the way up to trigonometry. But it’s very simple and easy to progress through and I do recommend… There’s so many people asking about the telehealth, but some of you guys are so concerned about can we do it and can we be consistent so that people go, well, I don’t want to do that.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
My recommendation is if you’ve got concerned patients that they go, well, I’m not sure that’s going to work, offer them a session. Let them see it. You can even bring into Zoom and you can have multiple people. You can do your workshops via this too if you need to. Or you can just have, hey, on Monday night we’re going to do this, anybody who wants to attend to see how well it works, you can do that if you happen to be one of the places that is closed down. Hopefully you haven’t. I know Washington’s getting pretty bad.

Chad:
I am hoping we are essential.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
I was just at the chiropractor right before this meeting and stuff and he said everything’s flowing really nicely and he said a couple older patients have called in, so he wasn’t… He’s on the same idea.

Chad:
Yep. Yeah, we did have record attendance last week. I’m hoping that holds up this week as well. But Tom, I appreciate your time. I know you’re a busy guy and thank you very much for sharing your system here. I appreciate it.

Tom Dalonzo-Baker:
Hey, you bet, Chad.

Chad:
Thanks.

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Tom and Melissa Cere Breakthroughs Practice of the Year 2019

PT Practice Owner of The Year 2019

Tony & Melissa Cere

Kinetix Physical Therapy
Gainesville, FL

Congratulations to our Breakthrough 2019 Physical Therapy Practice Owner of the Year, Tony & Melissa Cere! You may have seen them at summit riding the bull, or they may have been in your Direct Access Killer Marketing class, OR you’ve seen them ask a question on a Growth X call…

If not, we have a special Q&A with them today! Read the full interview below –

Tony & Melissa Cere Breakthrough POOTY Award Winners 2019

These two are non stop with implementing and they are on their way to open a 2nd clinic! Continue reading to see how they’ve earned the title of “Practice Owner of the Year.

What Breakthrough PT business and marketing systems have you implemented?

“All the KM strategies… green ink letters, 7 Step Killer Exam, Killer Testimonials, Physician Newsletters, etc.”

“We have all new employees go through the Direct Access Killer Marketing course. New hires then pick a couple topics and have to present it to the rest of our team during our meetings.”

“We have 2 workshops a month with Growth X and 1-2 Captured Audience Workshops a month as well.”

“We also have been implementing systems that were taught in Max Value, we outsourced our billing to Bob Kowalick, we outsourced our newsletters and website to Practice Promotions, and we also have two Lightforce Lasers!

“Our sole focus is workshops and community relationships. We’ve started interviewing patients about their experience.. Either written or an in person interview to make sure people are getting the experience we want them to get!”

What results have you gotten?

“ We’ve actually had a lot of headaches in 2019! But, looking at the big picture.. The growth we’ve had.. And the impact we had on the community.. the culture we have developed… We can finally say our team is on board with our vision and mission and that makes it so much better as owners to know we are supporting each other and seeing that change and growth mindset develop with our staff over the last year and a half.”

“We started tracking graduation rate. When we first started, some therapists were around 40-50%. Now we’re hovering around 80%.”

“Our workshops are great. We had 40 people show up to a shoulder workshop recently. We’ve had a lot of new patients which is why we are opening another clinic.”

What did you do to achieve these results?

“ Stick with the program. Meetings – talk about it, brainstorm about it. Meetings are great… if something isn’t working, bring it up and brainstorm.. “What can we do differently?”

“We’ve found that dividing up responsibilities between staff has worked very well. For example, we have 1 person responsible for workshop development, another person responsible for closing, someone responsible for marketing.

Employees with dedicated responsibilities are key.. We have to acknowledge that we can’t implement it all alone.. We can’t monitor it all.. But we need to make sure things are getting done.”

“Promoting morale! We have spirit week and dress down Fridays. Each month we pick a local nonprofit charity that we will donate to…in order to dress down, you have to donate to that local charity. At the end of the month, we match what employees are giving to a local nonprofit.

We also advertise it in the clinic and tell patients, and give them a chance to donate and be apart of something bigger as well.”

Advice for Breakthrough Nation?

“Implement what you’re learning.”

“Talk to other practice owners about how they’ve adapted certain things.. The network and group we have on Facebook has been super helpful in finding out best practices and is extremely encouraging.

It’s so nice to see owners at different stages…. there is just so much wisdom and everyone wants to help each other.”

“We’ve done this multiple times, but bringing our staff to Breakthrough events has really helped get our staff onboard, see what we’re involved in, and why we’re doing it.”

“We are grateful and humbled to be recognized as the POOTY. Our lives are shaped by the people we surround ourselves with and the experiences we have together with them. The people we have met and experiences we have shared since joining Breakthrough have helped to transform us as leaders, and we can’t thank you enough for developing an amazing and energizing community of like-minded practice owners who are on a mission to change our communities and the lives of our patients. Let’s keep working to Flip The Pyramid together!”

Thank You Tony & Melissa for a wonderful interview and Congratulations on being Breakthrough’s Practice Owner of the Year 2019!

Breakthrough PT Summit 2019 Recap

Breakthrough Summit 2020: A Recap of Our Biggest Event Ever

I’m still (almost) speechless at the amazing turnout and takeaways we experienced at the Breakthrough Summit.

This was our biggest event ever, with more than 350 PT’s and professionals joining us, along with a killer list of speakers that shared their strengths and insights to help other PTs grow their practice.

We had a lot of positive feedback from PT owners, and I personally received more text messages and emails from owners about how much their business was growing than in the last eight events combined. It was jam-packed with energy and high-value information, and I can’t wait to see what other PT owners do with what they learned.

It wasn’t all business, either. I’m sure you can find plenty of videos of our mechanical bull riding—more than 100 people tested their skills!

In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of the event, along with some changes in Breakthrough to look forward to.

Breakthrough PT Summit Guest Speakers

An All-Star Lineup of Speakers

Our speakers covered everything from taxes to teamwork and brought their expertise to the stage. Some of the hot topics included:

  • Judy Cirullo on unifying and motivating your staff
  • Chandler Bolt on what he’s accomplished with self-publishing and how to use a book to establish yourself as an expert in your community
  • Karl Dettmann on wealth management and building wealth legally and ethically
  • John Logar on PT marketing strategies for 2020
  • Chris Reading with U.S. Physical Therapy
  • Kathy, Carl, and Mel from Breakthrough on Product X (now Growth X)

New this year, we hosted round table discussions, which allowed the Breakthrough team to sit down and discuss PT with other owners.

We also took a deep dive into the political landscape of PT and how we’re battling things like declining reimbursements. Chris Reading was an excellent resource and was able to provide specifics on how we’re dealing with shifts in PT.

The Future of Physical Therapy Private Practice

Declining reimbursements and dwindling referrals were a hot topic at this event. With many owners wondering about the future of private practice.

The good news is that there is plenty of opportunity out there – all 50 states now have some form of Direct Access.

But Direct Access is simply a vehicle for patients, and it’s up to each of us to seize this opportunity and start marketing direct to the public.

It won’t be easy, but the future is bright for PTs who are ready to stop thinking like clinicians and start growing their rehab practice like business owners.

Developing New Solutions for Private Practice

If you’ve been with Breakthrough for a while, you’re probably already familiar with most of the names on our team. But soon, you’re going to start seeing some new names, including Summit presenter Kathy Borkoski.

Last September, Kathy joined our team as Head of Product and delivered an exceptional presentation on how we develop solutions for your PT practice.

But what’s more important is that Kathy and her team are working on our suite of Breakthrough products that will improve the end-user experience and allow you to achieve a higher level of growth.

Typically, product development initially takes a “duct tape” approach. We’re looking at the issues our owners face, then piecing together solutions that will help to eliminate those issues. Then, once everything is developed, we circle back to connect and streamline each element.

Now we’re focused on systematizing practice solutions that not only solve today’s challenges but will also help to solve future ones that result from growth as these challenges are introduced.

And at the event we revealed the following changes to the Breakthrough product lineup:

Introducing Breakthrough University

Breakthrough got its start with Killer Marketing, which is a Masters-level class focused on ways to market your practice by going direct to consumer. From there, we progressed to Max Value, All Star, and PT Experts, and a whole heap of other knowledge resources. Now, we’ve brought all of these elements under the same umbrella—introducing Breakthrough University.

Our core focus is and will always be to help owners grow their practice. Breakthrough University is an accumulation of all the data and learning resources we’ve developed over the last five or six years.

Product X Is Now Growth X

When we launched Product X, it was the only end-to-end business growth system with guaranteed results that turns people in your community into patients.

That’s still the case, but Product X has been renamed Growth X.

What’s unique about Growth X is that it specifically addresses the cold traffic problem. This is our solution to converting people in your community who may not know or trust you yet into patients.

We focus on building expertise around your name and, ultimately, practice growth.

Get Familiar with Launchpad

If you’re a Growth X user, you’re already familiar with the software component of the product, referred to as the portal. This is the dashboard that helps you manage going direct to the consumer.

We’ve rebranded the portal to Launchpad, which will continue to serve as the Business Growth Dashboard. It will also be the home of the full workshop process to help you manage and view the results of your workshops.

Breakthrough Summit 2020 Awards Ceremony

Surprise Announcement at the Awards Ceremony

To close out the summit, we hosted an awards ceremony to give everyone one more chance to network. Tony and Melissa Cere of Kinetix Physical Therapy took home the title of Practice Owner of the Year.

We also made a special announcement that we are hosting an event here in Hershey, PA over the summer. The event will be held at the Breakthrough office, so you’ll get an exclusive look at where the magic happens. We announced 12 owners who received a coveted Golden Ticket to the event. More details to come soon.

If you missed us at the Breakthrough Summit, we hope you’ll join us in the future. Sign up for details on our next event or contact a Growth Expert today to discuss how you can grow your Physical Therapy practice.

Breakthrough PT Marketing and Diagnostics for PT

Breakthrough Shares Insights on PT Industry in Diagnostics for PT Magazine

In case you missed it, Diagnostics in PT magazine recently featured Breakthrough on its cover, along with a feature story where we dove deeper into some of the biggest issues threatening the PT industry. 

Alongside Dr. Dimitrios Kostopolous of Hands-On Diagnostics, we pulled back the curtain on four of the most important lessons a private practice PT owner could learn and how these lessons can help to guide you through tough challenges like declining reimbursements, talent shortages, and practice autonomy. 

Here’s a semi-quick summary of our feature story:

A New PT Model Is Long Overdue

New PT Model

Change is inevitable in any industry, whether it’s catering to shifting customer preferences, cutting costs, or making improvements to the way you work. But in the case of private practice Physical Therapy, there’s a growing need for a complete transformation of the revenue model.

Diminishing reimbursements, finding the talent, and remaining competitive among HOPTs and POPTs practices are just a few of the serious threats that are plaguing the PT industry. Many private practice owners already acknowledge that something needs to change, but very few realize the power they have to initiate it.

As a leader of a new PT business model, we’re focused on creating momentum that will lead to greater profits, more control, and increased predictability within the practice—so much so that traditional revenue streams like doctor referrals won’t matter nearly as much when those streams run dry.

Lessons in Leadership

Lessons in PT Leadership

No PT owner gets everything right the first time, and I wholly believe that it’s our mistakes that prime us for a role in leadership. Here are four of the biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1. Failure Makes Perfect (Or Close to It)

In my first ten years of practicing PT, I lost my top referral source four times. I remember the first time this happened was just six months after I opened my practice. It was a scary, sinking feeling that I’ll never forget since this referral source accounted for 25% of my business.

This was the direst situation, but because it happened so early in my career, I think it made me more resilient and in tune with what would later become my objective with Breakthrough: diversified revenue streams.

By comparison, the last time a referral source left my practice, it only accounted for 0.5% of the business. That was a smoother pill to swallow—not because it wasn’t a lot of money, but because I had so many other ways to generate revenue because my earlier failures had shown me it was necessary.

2. Keep a Finger on the Industry’s Pulse

We all know that hindsight is 20/20, but there’s not a single one of us who can predict the future with absolute certainty. However, I’ve found that studying the PT industry’s trends can help me to make mostly accurate predictions and allow me to better prepare myself for what comes next.

Case in point: declining physician referrals. No one had to tell me that this problem wasn’t going to get any better, nor was it going to solve itself. With an influx of HOPTs and POPTs practices and PT failing to capture a large market share compared to other methods of treatment, doing the same thing and expecting the same results wasn’t going to cut it.

After looking at the State of PT report, it was clear that PTs were doing more work for less money. What’s more, private practice is having a tough time competing for talent when hospitals are paying $90,000 or more per year to grads who are eager to start repaying student loans.

This, of course, only presses profit margins thinner. 

The only logical remedy is to keep a healthy stream of revenue that will allow you to afford to be competitive.

3. Disruption Wins

When you can’t “fix” the problem, I’ve discovered it’s best to reframe it. In the case of declining referrals, I decided that instead of trying to save a sinking ship, I would leverage direct-to-consumer access to diversify revenue. 

When I first started going direct, there was no road map, no blueprint, no mechanism for me to do this. That’s why I created Breakthrough in the first place, and as a result, private practice owners are disrupting the PT industry as we know it. And we’re thriving.

4. Acknowledge the PT Model Is Shifting Because We Made It Shift

Advancements like Breakthrough or Dr. Kostopolous’ Hands-On Diagnostics are two of the biggest examples of an industry shift. Both of us decided that change was necessary in private practice, so we took action. 

Other PT owners can also take the lead and force change in the industry. In doing so, we’re sending a message about the value of our service, our passion for our profession, and our desire to help as many people as we can gain the quality of life they deserve.

Diversifying Income Is the Key to Longevity

Diversify your PT revenue streams

I mentioned earlier that our feature cover story was a joint interview with myself and Dr. Kostopolous. We’ve each experienced similar pain points in the industry, particularly the major declines in reimbursements and referrals. That’s why it was easy for us to agree that the unique challenges we face in the industry present a need to reframe problems and focus on better solutions.

The solution: diversifying your income sources. 

This is exactly what we preach and teach here at Breakthrough, and we leverage direct access marketing to go straight to the patients who need your services. Direct access can take many forms, but we mainly focus on workshops for specific problems, such as back or neck pain, along with positioning yourself as the expert in your local market. Our goal is to turn our PT owners into local celebrities so that patients will see them as the obvious choice to treat their pain.

By doing so, you set yourself up for autonomous, resilient success that will not only keep your doors open but also help you maintain the spark that got you into PT in the first place.

Breakthrough PT Marketing and Diagnostics for PT

You can read the full issue with Breakthrough’s Chad Madden on Diagnostics for PT here

Or check out the Breakthrough resource center for PT marketing training and tools

sell my physical therapy private practice

How To Sell Your Physical Therapy Practice in 2-5 Years (Part One)

I commonly get questions from private practice owners all the time “I’m tossing around the idea of selling my physical therapy practice in the next two to five years. What do I need to consider?”

I know what you’re thinking…

“Why in the world would I sell my PT practice after I’ve put so much work into it?” As is the case with most topics, my interest in this concept started with a conversation; specifically, a conversation about rates. We’re all familiar with rates in real estate or the concept of price per earning for stocks. This is essentially the amount of money you need to invest in order to receive a dollar of a company’s earnings.

Out of personal interest and curiosity from Breakthrough owners, I wanted to learn what the “rate” of selling a physical therapy private practice was. A great book, Built to Sell by John Warrillow, taught me that there is both a beginning AND end to every business. If this is true, shouldn’t you have a plan for HOW it will end and how to receive the HIGHEST rate for the time you’ve invested?

I certainly think so. 

I interviewed five industry leading experts on selling a physical therapy private practice to bring the best advice to you all in one place. Each of these experts represents a different level of the transaction involved to sell your private practice. Today we’ll cover advice from three of those experts:

Paul Welk –

  • Physical Therapist
  • An attorney with Tucker/Arensberg
  • Founder of Legal Impact

Greg Wappett and Eric Major –

  •  Director and Senior Associate at Provident Healthcare Partners, LLC

Advice From Paul Welk

Paul Welk is a physical therapist turned attorney, who advises owners going through the process of selling their PT private practices. 

EBITDA

When we asked Paul how to determine the rate for a private PT practice, his reply was as follows:  Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization — AKA EBITDA.

The purchase price for your practice is based on a multiple of EBITDA. In short, the buyer is purchasing your earnings (calculated by EBITDA), and this is the main thing they are focused on when setting up a deal structure. This is a reflection of profitability. It is usually calculated on a trailing 12 months and does not include the salary you are taking for yourself. 

For example: If your company brings in $500,000 in revenue, is profiting $120,000 which you take as salary, you cannot expect to sell your company for 2 million dollars. It just isn’t going to happen. 

It is pivotal that you understand what EBITDA is and how to calculate it, in order to get a realistic value of your practice.

2-Step Process

According to Paul, selling your PT private practice is a two-step process:

  1. Get a reasonable idea of the value of your practice (see above)
  2. Determine where to find potential buyers

When looking for buyers, there are a few options…

  • Consider the local market. These might be friendly competitors interested in purchasing or merging, friends, colleagues, or mutual acquaintances 
  • Sell internally to key staff members
  • Use the open market 

Surviving the Open Market

If you choose to find buyers on the open market, there are some key factors you need to consider. The first thing to decide is if you’re going to hire a broker to help with the process, or if you’re going to do it on your own. 

It’s important to recognize, most private practice owners are only going to make this type of transaction once in their lives. This means if you decide to go it alone, you MUST know your numbers. Putting together this information is a lot of work and with a lack of experience, it will likely be pretty time-consuming. While it can be done, if a deal falls through, you’ll likely be left without any other options.

A broker, on the other hand, deals with this type of transaction all the time, bringing experience and efficiency to the table. They will offer multiple options from the start, so you’ll never be stuck back at square one if a potential deal falls through. According to our expert, Paul, a broker brings good value to the transaction. Typically, broker fees are 6-10%, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a small price to pay to save you a lot of time and headaches.

14 Variables That Affect The Multiple

To pull it together, here is a comprehensive list of variables that will affect the overall value of your practice:

  • EBITDA

We ’ve explained the meaning of EBITDA, but here are some examples of how earnings translate into the multiple values of your clinic (data from 2016).

If based on the trailing 12 months, your company has $250,000 in earnings, you can expect around three times that amount, $750,000, as your practice’s value. Similarly, if you have $1 million in earnings, you can expect a multiple of five times that amount or $5 million in value.

  • Profitability/Revenue Trending
  • Payer Mix
  • Opportunity for growth in your area
  • EMR Platform

This becomes particularly important if merging with a company that has an already established EMR system. Who is going to switch systems?

  • Willingness to remain the owner and for how long
  • Number of locations
  • Desirability of locations
  • Diversified referral sources 
  • High Accounts Receivable
  • Owner Reputation
  • Staff Longevity or high turnover rate
  • Non-competes
  • Number of years in business

Advice From Greg Wappett and Eric Major

Greg Wappett and Eric Major are the Director and Senior associate, respectively, of Provident Healthcare Providers, LLC. 

Factors to Consider First Before Selling

According to these two, before considering selling your physical therapy practice, there are 3 things you need to evaluate:

  1. Size of your operation
  2. Goal of the Shareholder (owner)
  3. Financial statements

If you have a good understanding of these factors, you’ll be far better prepared to begin the process of selling your business.  Let’s discuss preparing your finances first.

Financial Homework

First and foremost, you must have a good sense of your earnings. This goes back to our discussion on EBITDA from above, and how this ultimately determines what your practice will sell for. In order to do this, it’s important to complete monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements; and more specifically the trailing 12 months. 

A trailing 12 months financial statement is often abbreviated to TTM throughout the merger and acquisition process and is critically important to remember, as it’s the statement used to calculate your EBITDA. As you can see, keeping track of these statements along the way will allow for a more timely transaction when selling your business. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a lot of labor that goes into this transaction. 

It will be roughly a three to six-month process, so even if you’ve done all your financial homework, you have to have a reasonable timeline in mind. 

Other Factors to Consider

While financial earnings are key, it’s also important to consider other factors that will make your business more attractive to potential buyers.

Some of these factors are:

  • Showing that your business can control growth versus needing to cut staff.

This can be done by opening new locations or hiring new PTs. 

  • Continuing to grow and expand.

Invest in marketing and recruiting. Having marketing systems already in place makes your business an appealing option.

Advice For Selling Smaller Physical Therapy Practices

According to Greg and Eric, smaller PT practices have some additional considerations that need to be made. Their top piece of advice is to focus on cleaning up shop. 

A smaller practice means lower revenue, and this means it will be more difficult to keep up with compliance. More focus needs to be placed on making sure that:

  • Corporate structure is in order
  • Taxes and legal matters are lined up
  • Real estate can legally and ethically be transferred to the buyer

Additionally, payer mix is a consideration for businesses small and large alike. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about this, as it is more of a geographical issue. 

Intangibles 

The following is a list of questions buyers will want to know, therefore preparing for them in advance will be of great benefit.

  • What does the corporate infrastructure look like?
  • What’s the company strategy?
  • What’s the platform?
  • What’s the brand, name recognition, and awareness of the company?
  • What’s the referral base look like?
  • Is there an intangible benefit that passes the test of being real?

An example of this might be a sports team connection where you have ATCs from your locations who are contracted to local high schools, introducing a stable source of new patients.

Nuggets on Finding the Right Buyer

When you’re looking to sell, remember there are many different types of buyers. For example, over the past five years, people buying businesses with private equity dollars have increased substantially. There are now one to two-dozen groups who are private equity backed, so consider this as a legitimate option on the market.

For smaller Physical Therapy practices and clinics, it will be difficult to find relative comparable practices in your area. This means you may have to think outside logical buyers. This could include a friendly transaction with a competitor or even a partial sale where you still have a little skin in the game with a buyout over a few years. If you own between 1-10 clinics, you may want to consider a tuck-in or platform acquisition. An example of this might be a company in your area who owns 10 clinics. This company may buy your one clinic as a tuck-in, expanding their market share and filling a geographical gap.

Benefits of an Advisor

The last bit of advice from Greg and Eric is that there are several benefits to using an advisor during this process. Using an advisor one to two years out from actually completing this transaction allows you time to select a buyer and the ability to explore options you might otherwise be unfamiliar with.

Another benefit of using an advisor is that they can help connect you to an extensive network of buyers and merger partners whom they’ve acquired through past transactions. Additionally, they can introduce you to other business owners who have sold their businesses, which can offer valuable insight into the process. An advisor will know which groups are actively buying and what the current pulse of the market looks like. This means they will be able to help you lay out the groundwork for an optimal deal structure based on the current market.

Finally, due to their experience working with many different practices, an advisor will be able to help tease out what sets you apart from your competitors and use it in the market to your benefit. 

Wrapping up

In today’s post, we’ve discussed understanding the value of your practice, and how planning for the end of your business is in your best interest. We’ve gotten great advice on the topic from industry leading experts, Paul Welk, Greg Wappett, and Eric Major that should have you feeling more at ease about when and how to sell your PT practice. Check back soon for the second part in this series, where we’ll have tips from three more experts to help you round out your plans for selling your physical therapy private practice.

In the meantime, check out some other free PT resources on our website. Here is the continuation of this selling guide!

What Does Marketing Automation Look Like in a PT Practice?

It wasn’t that long ago that marketing automation was something that only hospitals and large PT practices could afford, leaving small and mid-sized practices to do things the old-fashioned way. Luckily, that’s no longer the case, yet many practices are still doing most or all of their marketing manually – by hand.

The whole concept of automation is built on processes and systems. In marketing, this can take a number of forms, depending on the type of marketing you’re doing and the tools you’re using to manage these systems. 

Let’s look at what these tools and processes look like in action and how they impact the level of care you provide (and ultimately, your practice’s overall profitability):

Myth: Automation Means Hands-Free

Hands On Marketing

Before we dive into specifics, there’s a big misconception about marketing automation that needs to be cleared up: automation is, in fact, NOT synonymous with hands-off.

You’ve probably heard phrases like “turn-key marketing” or maybe someone told you that automation saves time because you can set it up once and simply ride the escalator to the top with zero extra effort involved.

These ideas are first and foremost inaccurate, but they also force practice owners to set unrealistic expectations about what automation can and should be doing for you.

What is marketing automation in a PT space?

In reality it is a tool that removes much of the manual labor so you can focus on higher-level tasks in your business and clinic, but there is still some level of involvement from you.

Here’s an example of what marketing automation really looks like in a physical therapy practice:

We recently did a rotator cuff workshop with 110 people in attendance: 55 people came from online marketing automation, and 55 came from offline advertising. When I mention this workshop to the average practice owner, they’re under the belief that those 110 people raised their hand saying they have rotator cuff issues, walked into the workshop, and signed up for an appointment.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

We had to call every one of those patients once they registered—we had about 98 conversations with people who signed up. These weren’t just conversations about the event, either. We spoke with them about their shoulders and asked what they were experiencing as well as what they were hoping to get from the workshop.

Of those in attendance, 47 people scheduled a full plan of care. Automation helped bring the leads in, but we had to pick up where the automation left off to ignite the conversation and get them to move forward with treatment. 

Automation is by no means a hands-off approach to getting new clients, but it can serve as an extra set of hands for lead generation and keeping your sales funnel full of qualified patients who are likely to need what you can provide.

Now, let’s look at some of the ways PT practice owners are using marketing automation to maximize their resources and increase their leads:

Email Marketing Automation

PT Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. Some sources pinpoint the average ROI at around $39 for every dollar spent, while others say it’s closer to $44 per dollar spent. In either case, PT practices of any size can leverage it for less than pennies per email.

To start, you’ll need to build your email list. We’ll talk about some other automation techniques for lead generation, which will help you build up your list. But you can also add your current patients to the mix. They already know you and may end up buying products, starting a new care plan, or even recommending you to their friends or family if you can stay top-of-mind. 

You don’t want to be too promotional with your email marketing—instead, you should focus on delivering value to your audience, especially those who have not come into the office for care. You can use email marketing to share helpful information or blog posts, build your image, and invite people to join a webinar or other event that will get them through the door. 

I’ve also seen a lot of PT practices use email as a communication tool for new patients. On-boarding emails, at-home exercises, setting patient expectations, appointment reminders—anything that creates conversation and engagement to integrate your patient into your practice culture.

Live Chat

Live chat used to be “just nice to have,” but today, it’s becoming more of a necessity if you’re getting a lot of inquiries or visitors to your website.

Live chat is like instant messaging for your website. PT practices can use it to communicate with leads in real-time. Your front office staff will receive a notification when someone starts a conversation. Then, they can reply with information, answers, or even an invitation to an appointment.

Research shows that nearly a third of website users expect this feature, and this number is even higher for mobile device users. People want a quick, easy way to reach out to you without having to call your office.

You might be wondering, “Where’s the automation in live chat?”

There are a couple of things you can do here. First, some patients need a little nudge to get the conversation going. Automation can initiate the conversation based on user behaviors on your website, bring your user’s attention to the live chat feature, and even send a transcript of the conversation to the patient via email.  

Plus, it’s an easy way to add credibility to your website and practice. 

Lead Generation

Web forms and landing pages are digital gold for generating leads, and they don’t cost much to create or implement. 

Here’s the breakdown:

You create a web form or landing page that offers free content in exchange for contact details. This could be a blog post, checklist, e-book, webinar—anything of value that people will want. 

Once the visitor signs up, their email address and contact information are automatically added to your email list so you can nurture your leads until they’re ready to move forward.

Think about it: when someone visits your website, you know absolutely nothing about them. You don’t know why they came, what they’re looking for, who they are, or how you can help them. You also have no way of reaching back out to them (unless you’re using remarketing or retargeting, which we’ll talk about next).

Opt-in forms are priceless in this regard. They help you capitalize on website visitors to give you a chance to continue the conversation without any extra effort on your part.

Remarketing / Retargeting

If you’ve ever visited a website and looked at a product without purchasing, then later saw advertisements for that website and product while browsing other sites, you’ve experienced remarketing. 

Remarketing (or retargeting) is an easy way to remain top-of-mind with website visitors. Maybe they landed on your web page and didn’t reach out. Or maybe they started to schedule an appointment online but didn’t complete the process. Whatever the reason they bounced, retargeting helps you remain connected to them.

This not only creates top-of-mind awareness but also encourages repeat visits to your website.

*Remarketing is a paid advertising service done through one of the major ad delivering networks such as Google AdWords, Facebook or a private ad network.

Social Media

Social Media Marketing for PT Practices

If you’re doing any form of content marketing (e.g., blog posts, webinars, e-books), then social media is a natural part of the ecosystem. It’s a place for you to publish, post, and advertise to build brand awareness, connect with prospects, grow your following, and attract new patients to your practice.

While you’ll need to be the eyes and hands behind the content itself, you can use automation tools to schedule posts ahead of time. Here’s what this might look like:

You write ten blog posts and publish them to your website. You use automation tools to front load all ten blog posts and share them one by one on designated days at the time of your choice.

Content marketing is one of the easiest things to quit. You’re creating all this helpful content to share with your audience, but then something happens, and it gets knocked down on your priority list until it’s not even on the list anymore. But content marketing is arguably the single most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, and you can’t afford for it to fall through the cracks. 

Automation steps in to ensure that even when you take an “off” day on your content strategy, you still have content working for you on social media.

Wrap-Up

Marketing automation is a growing practice, and it’s not just for big-budget hospitals anymore. It’s not uncommon to find freemium products that can help you get your feet wet until you get a feel for automation and how you want to use it in your practice. 

One more thing you need to walk away with today is that automation is never a replacement for human connections. Rather, your digital automation should support the person-to-person interactions you have with your patients and prospects. No matter the type of automation you choose, when you prioritize value, the benefits will easily outweigh the costs.

To learn more about PT marketing, automation and Physical Therapy advertising, please visit our resource center.