ndrew Cheesman, who has been with NAOMI/RF System Lab since 2007, is Sr. VP of Marketing and Sales for North America. Having an extensive background in merchant banking, Cheesman has lived in eight countries and has done business with 52 various countries over the years. Born and raised in the UK – and now residing in Lincoln, NE – you will see him at all major trade shows for chiropractic, including the Parker show in Las Vegas and the FCA show in Orlando. Having had in-depth conservations with over 2,000 chiropractors, Cheesman has some unique perspectives on where the profession is and, perhaps, where it is going.
TAC: What is the most common problem you see among chiropractors today?
Cheesman: The most common problem chiropractors face is perception; I am still not convinced that people really understand what a chiropractor can offer to the average patient. We are so used to instant gratification in the US today – for everything – that the steady, consistent approach that chiropractors take seems like too much work to the average person living in this era. In a world of Twitter, Internet, Email, On Demand T.V. programming, consumers are just so “want it right now” in nature that the message of chiropractic doesn’t reverberate with most people. I am not saying that it shouldn’t, but, regretfully, it just doesn’t.
TAC: What is the biggest problem or challenge you see in the chiropractic profession today?
Cheesman: I really hope that the biggest problems are behind us; the latest report on chiropractic income levels show growth of around 20% per annum. The fact is that we have a population that desperately needs chiropractors. They can offer the average person relief from pain, and an understanding of how their body works and how their lives can be improved. It is a truly astonishing profession with so much to offer. The biggest challenge is to make sure that everyone understands exactly what they can do for you.
The central message of treating the root cause of a problem instead of just treating the symptom, as allopathic medicine tends to focus on, is just right on so many levels. But, as stated earlier, in this day of instant gratification, the message of pre-emptive wellness is hard to sell. That being said, I do believe – even while a DC is operating on long-term health care – it is critical that patients feel better when they walk out the door than the way they felt entering the practice.
I know that is not always possible, but a doctor should always keep in mind that if you want that patient coming back with his $35, or whatever they pay, it is imperative that the patient feels better when they leave. If not, the odds are they won’t be coming back for very long. And if they genuinely feel good when leaving the practice, not only will they return, but they are apt to mention their improved condition to their family and friends.
TAC: Can you think of one change that a chiropractor can do to significantly impact his/her practice’s growth immediately?
Cheesman: There is a great e-book that I just read that talks about the three ways to grow a business: 1.) add new clients, 2.) increase the average value of each visit, and 3.) increase the number of visits. Everyone focuses on new clients and yet they are the most difficult, and most expensive, to attain. The ability of each chiropractor to analyze frequency and revenue is the key to improved bottom lines and customer satisfaction. Yes, you always need new patients to some degree, but keeping the ones you have, and increasing the case fee – by providing more services – has to be part of the picture of success. Also, if you speak to the leading coaches and management groups, they will tell you that a doctor must make protocol decisions based on the well being of the patient, and not on what revenues it brings to the practice. Many docs who “lost their way” fall into the trap of adding products and services based on profit first and benefit to the patient second. This is a way to falling out of “purpose.” I would say that a DC who has his head space in order finds success almost instantly.
TAC: Do you have any recommended marketing strategies that chiropractors can do to attract new patients? And to keep current patients?
Cheesman: I do believe that chiropractors need to understand their own client base better. Focus on finding techniques or technologies that compliment who and where they are. Not all technologies will increase your client base if they don’t apply socioeconomically. Only buy technologies that apply and then focus on referrals. If the growth is inexpensive and organic, you will be more likely to retain the new patient and therefore increase your income.
TAC: Where do you see the future of chiropractic headed?
Cheesman: I see continued growth with the focus on the core values of chiropractic medicine. The economy is improving, more disposable income will be available and now is the time to blow the horn; now is the time to make chiropractic medicine relevant to each and every American.
TAC: Who is Naomi by RF System Lab and why do they matter to DCs?
Cheesman: Naomi by RF System Lab offers chiropractors a diagnostic digital retrofit x-ray system at an affordable cost. We lead the market, not only in quality, but in the fact that we are the only x-ray company in the US that continues to support our doctors at no cost. We offer free lifetime technical support, upgrades to our computer programs (ensuring that each and every doctor continues to benefit from RF’s development programs), and lastly, we offer radiographic assistance in building technique charts, to maximize the doctor’s digital experience, again at absolutely no cost to the doctor. The cost of ownership is so important to our clinics, as it enables them to focus their resources on other aspects of the clinic and not be paying for something that they already own.
TAC: What are your goals for the chiropractic profession?
Cheesman: Our goals for the chiropractic profession: allow chiropractors who can benefit from a DXR unit to do so on an affordable level. Realistically, as a company that only succeeds when the profession succeeds, we want to see chiropractors continue to educate the public about the positive benefits of seeing a practitioner regularly. I truly believe that we are very fortunate to be able to go to a trade show like Parker and see the energy, enthusiasm and the commitment to excellence that the profession possesses.
TAC: Any final words for our readers?
We at Naomi are proud to be part of the chiropractic family of medical manufacturers. We believe that we are the chiropractor’s choice for digital x-ray and will continue to strive to get better to maintain our position.
Andrew Cheesman is Sr. VP Marketing and Sales for RF System Lab North America, based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Their head office is based in Nagano, Japan. They are now the largest digital retrofit company in the world. You can reach them at 800-905-1554 or visit www.rfamerica.com or email [email protected]