By Karim S. Meghji Physiotherapist
So you did your research, had 10 interviews and selected your next great physiotherapist hire.
In an attempt to lure this budding all-star into your practice, you decide to offer them a higher wage based on a contractor position. You gave your best offer and landed your next big talent! At least that’s what you thought.
Months later, as the honeymoon wears off and the schedule gets a bit emptier, you’re left wondering what went wrong. You decide to bring in your contractor brainchild to see how you can increase their caseload.
You politely and gently ask them how things are going?
They tell you great but wish they were busier! Well at least you are on the same page!
Then that awkward moment happens, like the end of your first date in high school. You ask the million dollar question… “So __ (insert contractor’s name) what have you been doing to market your practice?” What is even more awkward is their facial expression when they’ve just realized that was their responsibility!
If you’re like most clinic owners or managers you know this conversation all too well. As awkward as this reads on paper you know how difficult it is to inspire health care technicians into marketing magicians in real life. So the million dollar question remains, how do you get your contractor to start marketing?
Before I get to that, let me introduce myself and fill you in on why you should read this article. My name is Karim S. Meghji and I am not your prototypical PT. My primary education was based on behavioral psychology. I have spent the last two decades deconstructing the habits, rituals and execution strategies of the world’s elite achievers in varying industries including health care.
As a contractor, I’ve spent the last 15 years as an elite achiever at independent, small chain and corporate based physiotherapy clinics within Canada. I’ve spent the most recent years lending my expertise to the national association, clinic owners, and individual practitioners on how to make contractors lead anchors in organizations. I believe, done correctly, the contractor/clinic owner relationship is all about the economy of abundance. So if you are ready to make a paradigm shift in thinking, let’s get started.
This story is broken down into 2 major sections, which will be presented in 2 separate articles. This one, and another forthcoming on the blog in the near future.
This story is about deconstructing the key psychological triggers that will allow you to understand and influence your contractor. The second will cover power tools that will make you look like a marketing genius. I promise I will not tell them you got the info from me!
Ready? Let’s dig into some contractor psychology triggers.
UNDERSTANDING THE CONTRACTORS’ Mantra
Welcome to the lonely planet of contracting.
Although it may seem pretty advantageous both fiscally and through tax efficiencies, being a contractor does have some drawbacks.
The contractor is a pseudo team member. It’s not uncommon for the contractor to feel disconnected to the group since they are not an employee. Often there are many perks of the employee status. Much of those employee perks such as discounts, team retreats, educational allowances build team culture and loyalty. Since the rules dictated by CRA prevent some of these perks, the contractor can sometimes fall into an unexpected level of isolation.
Not truly being part of the team, or having team building experiences can often lead to poor loyalty to the business. But here is how it goes from going okay to sideways. There is nothing worse than having a clinic manager or owner who just hired you to be their point guard for the team but didn’t actually take the opportunity to actually get to know you. That’s taking this Hero to feeling like a zero!
Insider Mantra 1 – Influencing your contractor comes from Insight!
What likely motivated your PT to become a contractor was the financial incentive but this isn’t the fire that will keep them a top performer. So before you complain about your contractor not marketing for you – ask yourself a simple few questions.
- How well do you actually know them?
- Do you know what interests them?
- Do you know what their goals are?
- Do you know what they are most interested in learning ?
- Could you decipher the one thing that motivates them daily?
If you’re having issues answering these questions, you’re likely not going to be able to motivate a contractor to get your clinic or brand in front of your target audience.
Highly effective clinic owners and managers are able to establish these points on their interview and not just Day 1 of the job.
Insider Mantra 2 – Turn your contractor into a serious Gamer!
The next critical step is to establish time sensitive and technically specific goals.
This goal setting allows both parties to establish some benchmarks and targets to guide marketing practices.
This is where you need to get creative. Gamification is key.
Don’t just write these goals on a piece of paper and file it into your 80’s three ring binder. If you do, your task master skills are wasting everyone’s time.
Be a Picasso, embrace your inner 3 year old where achievements were tracked on big posters with stickers and glittery stuff. Getting visual keeps things visible and acts as a daily reminder to reconnect with your mighty purpose. Keeping things visual allows for both accountability and execution. Besides it will make it easier for you as the manager to keep connected to your workforce.
Don’t forget that most people want to see the upside in the value they’re creating. So if you have no incentives, these goals they are likely not going to get done.
Incentives and rewards are the fundamental pillars of behavioral change and motivation. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to train your dog to do tricks, teach your kid to use the potty or to train your husband to pick up after himself without some incentives?
Your contractor is no different.
They are in the game with you to increase their value through your brand. In doing so, providing a clear incentive is the octane required for execution. I’m not a tax accountant nor do I intend to advise like one; so to actually get this done under CRA guidelines, I would suggest discussing it with them.
Insider Mantra 3 – Be Bruce Lee and develop their Inner Ninja!
What gets your contractor up in the AM is knowing they are one step closer to their mighty purpose. In terms of PT perspective, you need to take the time to identify their keen interests and how you can help them turn their practices into hyper niches.
We live in a pretty narcissistic age where everyone wants to be recognized both socially and professionally. Being able to develop your PT’s hyper niches not only allows them notoriety as the Goto Person but allows your practice to grow.
For example, it helps further diversify your business’s unique selling propositions (USPs).
I know most PTs are adverse to the words “selling,” but the more USPs you have, the bigger your broad appeal is to the general public. Having your contractor develop their passions into USPs for your business is an effective lead generator and can only strengthen within clinic referrals.
In another article I will share the key secrets I share with my clients about how to build programs around these USPs and how to promote intra clinic referrals.
Insider Mantra 4 – Pull out your Iphone and schedule in love (Most Critical step)
Most clinic directors are quick to pull their grassroots contractor in when things aren’t working.
Despite being a top performer with over 15 years of practice, I can count on my hand the number of times I was actually thanked by my clinic directors on doing a great job. Perhaps the ones I can recollect vividly were from a family owned clinic in the early 2000.
Telling someone they are doing an amazing job goes along way to keep your contractor hungry to slay their goals. You’re Awesome, Great Job, Epic Performance, Spectacular Feat, Thank You – all of these are two words.
Ask yourself how many times you’ve used one of those twosomes ?
Keeping it perpetually positive is surefire recipe for peak productivity not to mention a mastermind method to brand loyalty. So if you haven’t shared some of this ounce of love, schedule it in your Iphone as it is long overdue.
This is simple yet complex stuff. So I’d recommend you read this article again.
But here’s the short of it in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Get to know and understand your contractors
Step 2: Establish time sensitive and technically specific goals
Step 3: Help contractors develop hyper niches in their top areas of interest
Step 4: Share your appreciation and thank your contractor regularly