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Practice-Building Lessons from the Blueberry Farm


How do you attract more patients to your practice? Some lessons from the blueberry farm may help.

Picking Blueberries

My son and I pick blueberries each summer. Sounds like a nice relaxing family activity, right?

It was in years past. Now, however, my son is a highly competitive adolescent who wants to win. Even though I am no slouch, my son can pick two to three pounds of berries in the same amount of time I pick one.

On the way home I asked for his high-performance tips. I share them because I believe the same tips can help you build your practice by attracting more of your best-fit patients.

Begin with a plan.

My son points out that he used to arrive at the blueberry farm and start picking at the first bush that attracted his attention. Or he would stroll down the rows of blueberry bushes reaching for a handful from one bush then the next.

High-performance picking is driven by a plan—not a whim. Even before we arrive at the blueberry farm, he has a picking plan. He tweaks his plan.

Referral patterns are shifting. Do you have a proven system to get in front of more patients? Do you try new things to see if they can be even more successful?

Identify your favorites.

The blueberry farm has many different kinds of plants that grow blueberries of different sizes and tastes. My son has his favorite: a plant that produces a large, sweet berry. He knows how to identify it.

Out of all the patients in your community, have you identified your favorites? Can you describe your ideal patient?

Identify the high-performance opportunities.

My son has a picture in his mind of his ideal picking opportunity: it’s a bush with big clusters of ripe blueberries. He knows what ripe berries look like.

He will pass up good bushes to pick at the great ones.

Once he finds a great bush, he picks the whole bush before going on to the next.

Do you know where you can find the bigger marketing opportunities that get you in front of groups of patients?

Pick the ripe ones

. My son sits down in front of a great bush and “milks” the blueberries into his bucket. Ripe berries will fall off the bush with just a gentle rub. If he tries to do this too quickly, he’ll get stems and twigs and must spend time cleaning the berries.

Do you know the signs of a patient ready to take action?

Strategic focus will help you thrive in the era of the Affordable Care Act.

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