LIVE from the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in Denver, Colorado, I welcome Tannus Quatre on the show to discuss marketing. Tannus Quatre is Vice President of Sales for Net Health, a leading software company serving therapists across the care spectrum. Tannus speaks nationally on the topics of entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance, and has been published in numerous publications including PT in Motion, Impact Magazine, and Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation.
In this episode, we discuss:
-What do new clients look for when they choose their physical therapy provider
-How to ask your practice ambassadors for a five-star review
-What branding strategies hold the best investment for your practice
-How to convert marketing touchpoints to new client leads
-And so much more!
A big thank you to Net Health for sponsoring this episode! Learn more about Four Ways That Outpatient Therapy Providers Can Increase Patient Engagement in 2020!
For more information on Tannus:
Tannus Quatre is Vice President of Sales for Net Health, a leading software company serving therapists across the care spectrum. Tannus studied physical therapy at the University of California at San Francisco, and has practiced as a PT in outpatient, inpatient and home health settings. In 2007, he founded Vantage Clinical Solutions, a business services firm specializing in marketing and revenue cycle management for rehab therapists in private practice. Tannus speaks nationally on the topics of entrepreneurship, marketing, and finance, and has been published in numerous publications including PT in Motion, Impact Magazine, and Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation.
Read the full transcript below:
Karen Litzy (00:01):
Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. I’m your host, Karen Litzy. Today, as you can probably hear in the background, it’s a little bit louder than it normally is and that’s because I am recording this live at the American physical therapy associations combined sections meeting in Denver, Colorado, which has about 15,000 plus people and I am currently in the exhibit hall getting ready for a great interview about why patients come to see us. What is the why behind when the patient coming to see us, what can we do as physical therapists to reach those patients? As we know, there’s a lot of people that need physical therapy and a lot of them do not come to see us. To help me through all this, I’m really happy to have Tannus Quatre here to talk about what we as physical therapists can do to help get patients in to see us and to be happy with their courses of care. So Tannus, welcome. All right, so let’s just jump right in. Why don’t you give the listeners just a little bit more about you and how you went from a practicing physical therapist into more kind of the marketing side of physical therapy.
Tannus Quatre (01:12):
Perfect. Yeah. I started as a physical therapist about 20 years ago. And in my clinical career, I had found that I was much more driven towards being curious about how patients find physical therapists, how physical therapists can run efficient practices so that at the end of the day they can grow their practices and be in business for a long time and care for lots of folks in their community. So I was just really programmed to be interested in those types of things. And so I went off and started my own company that focused in areas like that specifically in the areas of marketing, which a lot of what we’re going to be talking about today.
Karen Litzy (01:56):
So then tell us now, why are first time patient s coming to your practice? So in your experience and what you’ve seen with people you’ve helped, why are they coming?
Tannus Quatre (02:08):
Yeah. So I mean there’s a couple layers to this. So the obvious one is they’re coming because they’ve got something that they need to be fixed or something they need to have addressed, right? They’re in pain or, or some sort of, some level of function that they’re not currently able to achieve. At a deeper level. And I think this really ties into where we need to be thinking with regard to our marketing strategy is a customer or a patient comes to us because they’re looking for hope. They’re looking for some better path towards a better life that they are not currently experiencing due to some type of functional limitation or pain or other illness or injury that they’re undergoing.
Karen Litzy (02:46):
So oftentimes when people are seeking out a physical therapist, do you think the average person is saying, well, I’m going to look up this physical therapist. I’m going to look up their education. I’m going to see if they did a residency. I’m going to see if they’re board certified. Did they do a fellowship or are they saying, how far is this from my home? Do they have parking? Can I get there easily? Do they have appointment times at work for me. So there’s a lot of variables there. So what do you think weights as more?
Tannus Quatre (03:21):
Yeah, so really, really great question. I will answer that with kind of a story that pertains to me. I don’t know the first thing about cars, but I know that I have to have a car that functions in order to have a productive life, get from a to B, take the kids where they need to go and so forth. So when I need to get care for my vehicle, I go to see a mechanic and I choose that mechanic based on interestingly what, what I think is, is a really good parallel to how customers choose us as physical therapists. I assume going in as I choose a mechanic that most auto mechanics are going to hit a certain threshold for quality. I assume that I go in, I pay my money, my car is going to come out and it’s going to work.
Tannus Quatre (04:05):
Sometimes that’s not the case, but the most times, and I’ve used different mechanics over the years, most of the time they hit that threshold. So then the question becomes what are all of the other things that, that not only brings me to find a mechanic in the first place, the one that I choose, but why do I keep going back time and time again? For me, that answer comes down to mostly trust. I in that trust had, there’s a lot of tentacles to that rapport, likability, timeliness reliability and so on. But really I keep going back to someone or to a mechanic for reasons other than the fact that they’ve got the best pedigree and the latest state of the art equipment when it comes to fixing my car because my assumption is my car is going to be fixed when I leave.
Tannus Quatre (04:57):
And I think that that’s a mindset that helps me calibrate around what are really truly the drivers of a consumer that comes in and chooses Karen Litzy as their provider and then stays with you over time. I think that assumption that we should be thinking from is that frame of mind shouldn’t be that the assumption is the customer’s going to get good care and they expect that, but that’s the basic bar. It’s all of the other things. How much do they like you? How quickly do you respond? How deep is that bond and that relationship you’ve created that makes them say, I’m going to come back and see you time and time again and not even bother Googling for somebody else that may be out there in their market.
Karen Litzy (05:37):
And I think, I love kind of taking an example outside of physical therapy and as you are saying that in my head I’m thinking like I get my hair colored and I love my colorist. She moved out of New York city. I tried someone else, like the color was good, but I didn’t have that bond or that relationship. Like the color is just wasn’t, we didn’t click, we didn’t vibe. So now I’m willing to take an hour and a half train ride to New Jersey to get my hair colored because of the relationship that I have with this stylist, with this colorist. And so I think if we can think about it in those terms, choosing a physical therapist should kind of be the same. So I think you are going for the culture, for the person, for the relationship. And like you said, the baseline should be you get better, right?
Tannus Quatre (06:33):
Absolutely. your hair looks beautiful by the way. But yeah, I think that’s a great example. So, you know, another way to maybe say it is how I think about it is we’re looking for peace of mind. We’re going to have different challenges throughout our life, whether it’s our car or our body and we need a doctor as a physical therapist or a medical doctor. We need folks that help us complete our life and our ability to have peace of mind that we have put together that network that is going to help us feel comfortable with the choices that we’ve made and be able to efficiently realize that the outcomes that we’re looking for, even though technically speaking, maybe you could find somebody who is a better colorist for your hair that might even be closer to you, but you’ve got peace and you’ve got everything you need and you’ve got that relationship you need and your meeting that bar for quality. So you go back to time and time again. And I think that’s really the threshold we should be thinking about with our customers.
Karen Litzy (07:35):
That kind of segways beautifully into what I wanted to ask next and what is success? So when we think about a successful plan of care or a successful business, is it good outcomes or great outcomes or is it good relationships or maybe it’s a combination of both. I don’t know.
Tannus Quatre (07:56):
Yeah, great question. So obviously outcomes are extremely important. So I look at that as a baseline. That’s the proof that we’ve set out to achieve with our customers. So outcomes undoubtedly. But when you do look deeper beyond that and you’re looking for metrics that help you understand, am I doing a good job of yes adhering to or you know, treating through a plan of care and making sure that I’m doing good in the moment with this one customer. Outcomes is definitely something you should be looking at. But looking deeper than that are we creating a lifestyle that is going to be sustainable beyond us? I start to think about things like, okay, how compliant is a customer or is a patient with the plan of care that I’m putting into place?
Tannus Quatre (08:50):
How good of a job am I doing at influencing that customer to believe they need to be compliant with what I’m asking or prescribing them to do? And then loyalty. Are they coming back? Are they completing their entire episode of care or not if they, you know, do I see them through one episode and then I never hear from them again for the rest of their life when I know for a fact that they’re going to need myself or a substitute for myself at some point in time. To me those are really, really important indicators of success when it comes to how good of a job are we doing, not just being technicians as rehab therapists but as educators and ambassadors for the profession. That really the better job that we do there to set our clientele up to be able to know when to use us effectively and how to adhere to what we prescribed to them. To me, that’s really where success comes in because by us planting those seeds correctly and motivating an influence in our customers to participate, that’s ultimately how they’re going to keep themselves healthy for a lifetime.
Karen Litzy (09:57):
I love that you use the word ambassador. I use that all the time cause someone asked me a couple of weeks ago, well I don’t want to say, I don’t want to say you’re a referral source, I don’t want to say Oh my patients are referral sources and there’s something else I can use cause it just feels icky to this person. It feels icky to me too. And I said, well I, instead of saying referral sources, I say that my former patients or clients are all ambassadors for my practice. And that’s what I say to them. Like, thank you for being such a great ambassador. So I don’t have a referral fee or anything like that. I just have like a lot of thank you cards. They say thank you for being such a great ambassador. So I’m really glad that you use that because I think that’s a mindset that brass people have to get out.
Tannus Quatre (10:48):
Yeah, absolutely. And I appreciate that point. I would say also that I love the word ambassador and I think that by that ambassador, being an ambassador is very empowering and empowering somebody is a gift. And we have the ability to provide that gift to our clientele by helping them feel like they’re now part of the profession by going out and encouraging others to experience the same benefits that they have. And if we get that mindset right and we’re really have a culture of ambassadorship both within our profession as our professionals and with those that we serve, sky’s the limit for what we can create.
Karen Litzy (11:28):
And I think it goes beyond your individual practice, but it helps to elevate the profession of physical therapy.
Tannus Quatre (11:35):
Absolutely. Yeah. And it makes things like when we’re talking about marketing, marketing is kind of like a logistical, tactical, strategic thing, right? It’s like how do we attract people to us? It makes it very authentic and simplifies it quite a bit when we really think about it from the standpoint of building ambassadors through quality, passionate care that people want to go out and rave about.
Karen Litzy (11:58):
Absolutely. And now I know we’ve been kind of interchanging these words throughout the interview, but we’ve got patients, customers, clients. In your experience, what kind of clicks for that potential person coming to see you? What do they want to be called or what should we be calling them or does it matter?
Tannus Quatre (12:21):
Yeah, I think they probably want to be called by their first name. I think that what we want to I think that the mindset that we want to be in though is that, and this is my personal preference, but I’m an ambassador of this idea, so I’m going to be passionate about this is customers have a choice and choice is the key. If we look at that variable there, a customer can choose to come see us for the first time and they can come, they can choose to come see us time and time again. They can choose to be compliant with their prescribed therapies which sometimes are painful or not very enjoyable at all. Right? The choice is really that key term. And for me, choice equates to being a customer. Customers have a choice. So if when we use the word patient, although it’s you know, in our vernacular and along the health paradigm in healthcare patient to me is being instructed or being prescribed as to what to do. It’s the opposite of having a choice. And so for me, when I’m having this conversation with my customers who are private practice owners like yourself, I really I really advocate for the use of customer because I think it really represents what we’re trying to do, which is have customers choose us. Time and time again.
Karen Litzy (13:46):
Be sort of more active, play a more active role. Patient can sometimes have more of a passive connotation that I’m just here waiting to hear what the PT needs to tell me what to do instead of having a shared decision making about their plan of care.
Tannus Quatre (14:00):
Yes, yes. And, as we know and more proof of the phrase customer. Our customers are researching us out before coming in. They’re looking us up on Google. They’re doing all the things that we do if we’re buying a product on Amazon, right? So that those are customer behaviors. And I think by us really embracing that, it allows us to be more agile and strategic about our marketing efforts.
Karen Litzy (14:24):
So now let’s talk about, you just mentioned Google. So people are going to Google us, they’re going to look at Google reviews, Yelp reviews. So, what drives these positive reviews that people are reading hopefully reading about us.
And on that note, we’re going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor net health and we’ll be right back. This episode is brought to you by net health, net health outpatient EMR and billing software. Redox powered by X fit provides an all in one software solution with guided documentation workflows to make it easy for therapists to use and streamline billing processes to help speed billing and improve reimbursement. You could check out net health’s new tip sheet to learn four ways that outpatient therapy providers can increase patient engagement in 2020 at go.net health.com/patientengagement2020.
Tannus Quatre (15:25):
So interestingly what’s not driving the positive reviews is strictly about outcomes and the quality of care, which is really what we’re all about at the end of the day. Right? We kind of started with that. What’s driving positive reviews? I would just put it into one word, which is relationship. If you have a strong relationship and within that relationship you identify as part of it, like you’re really, really an ambassador raving fan. It’s not even if you were to request a happy customer, Hey would you, would you mind saying some positive about me? Absolutely. They’re going to want to do that. But, if you think about what really drives someone to take it upon themselves to say, you know what, you are so damn good that I’m going to go out and do a solid for you because I want to help build your business for you.
Tannus Quatre (16:14):
That’s based on a relationship. And I think part of it is the identity too, of feeling proud about the fact that like if you get the latest iPhone all right and you’re stoked about it, don’t you feel kinda good about the fact that you’re the one going out bragging about the fact that you’re one of the first on the block that’s gotten the latest and the greatest in that same sentiment or that same idea is what drives us to go online and be public about positive experiences we have with our rehab therapists.
Karen Litzy (16:44):
And now let’s say we’re going to get to marketing in a second, but let’s say you’re a physical therapist, a private practice owner or you’re working for a private practice. How do you bring up to your client or your customer like, Hey, I would really love for you to leave a review on Yelp or on Google, when is the right time to do that? And is there any verbiage that we want to avoid?
Tannus Quatre (17:10):
Yeah. Okay. I love the question. The answer is yes, there’s a right time. What I coach therapists to be looking for is I just call it the opportunity and it’s happening like right now as we speak. By the time we’re done with this, it’ll have that opportunity will have happened in hundreds of clinics throughout the U S as we speak. That opportunity can come by way of a customer saying, Hey, I feel great today. That’s a lead for us, right? That’s somebody who’s happy and they’re expressing that to us. It can be somebody who has achieved an outcome that they had not yet achieved or they met a goal that you had established together and you both acknowledge that in the moment. There’s really deep moments too and we’ve all had them where a customer or a patient gives us a big warm hug and tells us that they love us and they’ve never ever been in this position before having met us and they’re that emotionally bonded to us in that moment.
Tannus Quatre (18:11):
They might even have a tear in their eye. Those are all opportunities and there’s infinite flavors of what those can look like. But the first thing we need to do is identify or be trained, really to like see that as truly an opportunity to now build an ambassador. Because now the next step is to empower that patient or that customer to go out and do something that’s gonna make them feel even better and it’s going to give back to the profession and it’s gonna support your business. So once you identify that opportunity, it’s a very, in a very authentic and sincere way to say, Hey, listen what you just expressed to me as, as my patient or as my customer means the world to me. And that’s why I exist and I want is to help people just like you. Would you be willing to help me help others experience what you’re going through in this moment?
Tannus Quatre (18:58):
Right now the answer is going to be a resounding yes. Now it’s logistics. Okay? Would you like to know how this is what you can do? Are you on Google? Do you have a Facebook account? Are you on Yelp? You figure out what, what flavor suits your business needs best. We find that most, it’s easiest on Google or Facebook because most people are there. But it’s simply, Hey, if I provide you with a link and all you had to do is click that link and leave a positive review, would you be willing to do that? Would you make that commitment? To me, the answer is going to be a resounding yes. And we find that to be highly successful at tying the opportunity to the ask and to the results.
Karen Litzy (19:37):
Perfect. Thank you. I’m sure a lot of people will find that super helpful. So now we spoke about why people are coming to you for the first time. What does success look like? What drives those reviews? How we should be thinking about our customers or clients, patients, customers or clients. So let’s now tie that altogether and talk about marketing. So how does all of that tie into the way we should or could be marketing our practice?
Tannus Quatre (20:09):
Yeah, I mean in infinite ways.
Karen Litzy (20:14):
It’s an easy question, right?
Tannus Quatre (20:16):
Yeah. Well I mean to me that’s all the fodder that the best marketing plans out there for large organizations or small should be using, which is do we have our fundamentals right? Do we have customers that we can benefit? Do they say positive things about us? Are there signs of success that they’re coming back for more and more? Are they compliant? Are they loyal to us? If you have those two things you can now take that and deliver that out into your community as evidence or social proof that you are the provider of choice. And how do you do that? You know, how can that be constituted within the context of a marketing plan? We believe a lot in content marketing because really everything we do, including this podcast right here, it’s all content, right?
Tannus Quatre (21:06):
And content is the best tool that you can be using for marketing. Cause you can use it to draw people near to you. So whether it’s taking that a script that we just discussed to generate a five star review online, that by itself is one prong of a marketing plan. That is a content marketing plan that’s driven by content that’s coming from a happy patient that they’re then posting online, taking testimonials or if you use outcomes tools and you’re able to demonstrate that you’re better in your market than your peers and taking that content and then dripping it out via social channels via the press, via email, name, the channel, it doesn’t matter. But by dripping that out there into the community and using that to pique curiosity, curiosity and interest, that’s basically leveraging your fundamentals into a very, very strong marketing plan.
Karen Litzy (22:00):
And let’s talk about consistency. So we know that it takes a lot of touch points before someone will purchase. Like, I think I was doing some research a couple of months ago and came across this study where I think it took 20 touch points for someone to buy a chocolate bar and it was like 300 before they would buy an expensive set of headphones. And so a touch point can be just like you said, it could be something on social media, could be something they read in, in a publication or a blog or, so we know a lot of touch points are necessary for something that might cost a little bit more money or a little bit more time. Right. So let’s talk about consistency of marketing and what, what can we do?
Tannus Quatre (22:41):
Yeah, it’s a consistency of those touch points is, is really everything. So, we tabulate that basically in terms of impressions. So how many times do eyeballs or ears meet with the brand that we’re promoting. And then in addition to that, you want to have a variety of how those touch points are experienced. So it would be one thing to have you just to use your examples. Let’s say it’s 20 touchpoints or 300 touch points through email. You think about that, that’s going to have one type of impact on you, right? And that impact might be, I’m getting too much email. Okay, well but if you, if you get to that 20 or that 300 points and it’s through a combination of certain percentage of email, social media, I’m getting some through the podcast, a little bit on the new station.
Tannus Quatre (23:34):
I’m getting, you know, something in my snail mail mailbox at home. All of those different touch points aggregated together. It’s really how all the big brands do it. If you think about that when we buy an iPhone or we buy a Nike or something like that, we don’t just see him in sports illustrated or the Apple store, we see it in multi channels every single day. We’ll see. We have about 6,000 brand impressions that a customer is exposed to every single day. Right? And in order to permeate that as physical therapists, we have to have true consistency and volume when it comes to touch points, what that exact number is, if it’s 20 or 300, it’s going to depend on a lot of variables that are going to be unique to your market or your practice. But the key is you have to be consistent and you have to be, you have to be multichannel.
Karen Litzy (24:27):
Different spokes in that wheel, right. In that marketing wheel. It’s not just snail mail or it’s not just a Facebook ad here and there. It’s a lot, especially in a world where people are bombarded on a daily basis by stuff. Right?
Tannus Quatre (24:45):
Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah. So, so then I will sometimes get the same question, like, how many times do I have to, you know, touch a customer with a piece of collateral? Or how many times do I have to market to an influencer or a physician before I can expect them to do X, Y, and Z ? And that’s the wrong question to be asking because there’s no straight answer. It’s iterative. If you track your data, you’re going to know for you exactly how much budget and how many impressions you need to see in Facebook in order to generate a lead, right? It’s going to look different maybe for email, but the key is to really understand your own business and don’t be afraid to try something new. If you’re not doing email campaigns, which I would suggest to you’re doing right, try email campaign, track your conversion rates and see if it’s something that’s working for you.
Karen Litzy (25:38):
And you know, we’ll start wrapping things up here a little bit, but if you could give a physical therapy, let’s say a private practice owner, we’ll use that. What would be, and again, knowing there’s a million tips, but what are your top few tips on how to market efficiently and with integrity and to not feel like a used car salesman?
Tannus Quatre (26:06):
Yeah. okay. A couple of things. So the first thing is believing in yourself and your value proposition. That’s the biggest threat that we have to our profession is that sometimes we feel like we’re too expensive or we feel like there’s too much cash that’s owed up front from a patient. And we start to second guess ourselves so that in any marketing channel we were not as effective. Okay. So, so that would be the first thing I would say is really understand and believe in your value in everything you craft around that’s going to have a lot of authenticity, sincerity, and passion and that will be felt and heard. Okay. And I think the second thing that I would probably offer is know your lane. There are if you take some of the big brands out there, they have resources to be able to succeed at a certain scale that doesn’t work at a smaller scale.
Tannus Quatre (27:05):
Okay. So just because it can be effective to have the name of your company splashed on the, you know, the outfield fence, you know, for a major league ballclub doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Right. so knowing what your lane is and a lot of times if I kind of now bring it down to kind of the micro level and talk about a small private practice, a small private practice trying to do a whole bunch of different marketing things, man, it’s going to be hard to do. And probably what’s going to end up happening is you’re not going to really hit the bar on any one of those things. So I would much rather counsel a private practice to say, Hey, we’re going to dominate these three areas. We are going to lead our community with workshops.
Tannus Quatre (27:54):
We’re going to do better than anybody else with holding workshops in our facility. We’re going to do it consistently. We’re going to pour the resources on and make sure that every single month we’re doing workshops and we’re also going to dominate Instagram. You know, if you said those are the two things, because that’s, you know, it, it comes naturally to you. It’s channels that you’re familiar with and it was just those two things and you didn’t do anything else. I think you’re going to have more of ability, more of an ability to have success. And if you don’t have success or you do to be able to understand and tweak your success if you choose those lanes because they can work for you. And I see far too many people trying to do a little bit of everything, throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks and the reality is you don’t meet the threshold anywhere and you really don’t know what’s working anywhere. So you don’t know how to, how to tweak things and make them better over time. So I think that the authenticity and believing in yourself and really knowing your lane and choosing to stay in that lane are the two things.
Karen Litzy (28:55):
Some advice and it’s, you know, if we put it into our client language, we would never give a patient 10 exercises on the first time we see them. We would give them maybe one or two so they can master those. Because if you are trying to do 10 you end up doing none. So I can understand that. If you’re a small business owner, I’m a small business owner. If I tried to do a million different marketing ideas, I’d be like, forget it. This isn’t, I’m not doing anything. I’m done. No more marketing. Yep.
Tannus Quatre (29:24):
And, and, and, and that’s kinda what happens. It’s a lot of back to you mentioned consistency. It’s a lot of starting and stopping. When you try to do too much, it’s you say, okay, I’m doing a lot of everything. I don’t know what’s working or what’s not. So pivot, try something else. It may or may not be more successful. Right.
Karen Litzy (29:38):
Great. Great advice. All right, now it’s a question I ask everyone. Knowing where you are now in your life and in your career, what advice would you give to yourself as a new grad right out of PT school?
Tannus Quatre (29:52):
Okay. love the question. Leave fear at the door. I spent too much of the early part of my career, probably the first five to seven years or so. Asking for a lot of permission. Thinking that there was a lot of things that weren’t quite right for me and that there was some excuse or some magic wand that other people had to achieve things that I thought were really compelling or intriguing. Instead of just getting out there and saying, screw it, let’s just fail fast, fail often and like get on the path to success. So I think that’s the one thing that I would have told myself to do out of PT school.
Karen Litzy (30:33):
Excellent advice. And that could be at any stage of life. Great advice. So now where can people find you? Tell us a little bit more about your company and where they can find it.
Tannus Quatre (30:42):
Yeah, absolutely. So I am proud to be part of the net health company, so I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on all of the social channels at Tannus Quatre.
Karen Litzy (31:02):
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time out and in the middle of CSM, and hopefully this isn’t too loud for all of you listening. I don’t think it is, but thank you so much, Tannus. This was great. And again, if anyone wants to reach out to Tannus, we will have all of those links in the show notes at podcast.healthywealthysmart.com so thank you.
Tannus Quatre (31:22):
I love it. Thanks for having me, Karen.
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