A recent post from AlternativeHealthPractice.com explains why turning your competitors into collaborators benefits everyone.

Recently, the naturopaths in Collingwood and surrounding area got together to discuss some joint marketing for Naturopathic Medicine Week. There are more practitioners here than ever (and many more coming soon), and this is something we’ve been wanting to do for years – to collect all our “competition” in one spot and chat. Why, you ask? Because for us, competition really is good for business and patients. Here’s why turning your competitors into collaborators benefits everyone.

1. Collaboration Creates a Bigger Pie

My guess is that about 5% of the people in our area are users of our particular brand of health care. So of the many thousands or so folks that could potentially use naturopathy, only a fraction of them actually are (and that 5% is being generous, I think). That leaves a really big pile of potential patients. Really, really big. And our area is small – the same idea applies just about anywhere.
The real opportunity, then, is not to fight over the same slice of pie (the 5%), but to expand the size of the slice – to tap into more of the 95% who aren’t users of our profession. There’s a whole world of pie out there – why fight over the same old slice of apple?
The challenge of course, is reaching and engaging that other 95%. That’s where competition helps. The more people who say, “I see a homeopath,” or, “I use a chiropractor,” for example, the better off the whole profession is. Competition raises awareness, which creates acceptance and momentum, and expands the market for your services.

 What to do: Reach out.  Pick up the phone or email a practitioner in your field. You’ll be surprised at how many of your competitors really do want to talk with you. They’re just too scared to take the first step. Open a dialogue with a practitioner in your area. Be generous. Share your vision. My guess is that you’ll all sleep better at night, and discover something marvelous along the way.

2. You Can Flex More Muscle

Of that huge untapped expanse of pie, a huge percentage of them use conventional medical care, so the problem isn’t health care need, it’s health care awareness. You need to reach those folks who don’t use your stuff.  Tapping into that group, though, can be an expensive and time-consuming prospect – it’s hard to make enough noise to get the attention you need.
The good news is that there’s strength in numbers. By combining forces, you can create a larger presence and do some marketing that gets attention. In our case,we’ll essentially becoming our own lobby group, promoting the benefits of naturopathic care in order to reach more people than we ever could alone.

 What to do: Pool your resources to create joint marketing efforts. For example, you can take a full page ad out in the local paper for a fraction of the cost of doing it alone, and make some noise. You can have a large booth at a trade show that really attracts attention, or run some amazing clinics, info sessions or classes that offer some real value. Get five practitioners together and you can do five times as much without spending any more time or money than you would alone.

3. Collaboration Generate More Referrals

You and your “competition” might all be massage therapists, or chiropractors, or acupuncturists, or nutritonists, or herbalists or homeopaths, but you’re all unique, too. It’s the ways in which you’re different from each other that offer the greatest opportunity. What do you each love? What do you hate? What are you best at? What does one offer that the other can’t/won’t/doesn’t?
In our group, for example, there’s an ND who’s a doula, and an ND who specializes in cosmetic / spa applications of naturopathic medicine. They’re both great services that we don’t offer, but that many of our clients would love. We’re happy to refer to them for those things. And in return, we can offer things like IV therapy and colon hydrotherapy to their clients. Patients gets better care, practitioners get more business. It’s great for everyone.

The trick is, of course, you need to connect with these folks to truly understand their specialties and explain yours. You can’t do it by reading each other’s websites on the sly or peeking in their windows after hours. You need to reach out.

 What to do: First, connect. Do a lunch or breakfast offsite, as opposed to in someone’s practice space. Get to know what each of you love and do best. Next – and this is the most important part – refer. Send a client to your competition as soon as the opportunity arises. It’s a smart, patient-focused act of goodwill that will benefit everyone, including you.

Start Now

This is a sum of the parts thing. You and two or three other practitioner can generate more total business cooperating than the three (or 6 or 15) or you can working separately. Don’t be shy. You’ll find most practitioners pleasantly relieved to have open dialogue with you.

Focus on your differences, your passions, and the strengths of your professions as opposed to your practices, and you’ll find more patients, more fun, and more pie than you ever would have alone.

Post from: AlternativeHealthPractice.com