#003 How 6 words changed the life of Dr. Kelly Dullenty and how those words made her one heck of a great Chiropractor.
October 22, 2018
Tabitha Thomas: Welcome to the Chiro Business Builders Podcast. The podcast that gives you a peak into highly successful chiropractic offices and the marketing techniques they use to get there. Today we’ve got a very special chiropractor, one who helped me get through my last pregnancy. I don’t know how I did it without her. A woman I admire, Dr. Kelly I’m so thankful to have you with us.
Dr. Kelly: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited.
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah, you’re like a saint in my eyes because that last pregnancy that I had was awful.
Dr. Kelly: Well I appreciate that. Thank you.
Tabitha Thomas: And you made it much more comfortable every single week, so thank you.
Dr. Kelly: I appreciate it. Oh yes, good good.
Tabitha Thomas: So let’s go ahead and dive on in. Let’s get into your story. So, did you always want to be a chiropractor when you were a kid, like was that your dream job?
Dr. Kelly: I wouldn’t say it was my dream job but you know I always liked math and science and I knew that I wanted to do something that would help people. I’m a very service-type personality. A how can I help you personality and I had a lot of family in healthcare and I was just kind of lead to that direction. I’ve had family members that were chiropractors and I think that just kind of all made sense for me to go that direction.
Tabitha Thomas: I like it. So was there a tipping point, any one moment or any one person where you were like, this is the path that I want to take. This is definitely my career choice. I mean you don’t just wake up one day and go well yeah I want to be a chiropractor.
Dr. Kelly: Well, it was probably a little different for me. I didn’t have one of these stories where, you know, chiropractic saved my life. I always, like I said, had family members that were chiropractors. After I got my degree in Biology, I took a couple of years off because I found myself working in a family member’s office as the CA. And one day we came in mad at the world, mad at me, I don’t know but he said you will never be able to do what I can do. And at that moment I sat there for about two seconds and then I just picked up the phone and I called Logan right then on the spot and I had my transcripts sent, my letters of recommendation, applied everything by the next day and then I started school about four or five days later. So that was the moment that I was like, you don’t too me what I can do. You know you get hit below the belt sometimes, you got to come up swinging and that was what kind of pushed me to do it.
Tabitha Thomas: I love, love that story. That is incredible.
Dr. Kelly: And I think it’s important for women, you know, there’s probably more male chiropractors than female and I think it’s important that, you know not all stories are I used to have terrible headaches and this happened. Sometimes it takes a negative thing to push you into a positive situation and that’s what happened for me.
Tabitha Thomas: Well I love that you see that as a positive thing now because a lot of people could definitely go the other direction.
Dr. Kelly: That’s true.
Tabitha Thomas: So that was several years ago, how long have you been in practice?
Dr. Kelly: Oh lord, ten years. Almost eleven. So it was a while ago.
Tabitha Thomas: So when you got out of Logan, did you go work in the family practice again or did you open your own?
Dr. Kelly: I actually, while I was in Logan, I met my soldier husband and after I graduated I didn’t really know where I was going to go. We got married and I actually found a job in Illinois. It was about an hour from where he was living and so I worked as an associate for about four years there and it was a really good experience.
Tabitha Thomas: So what brought you to the point of owning your own, because I know you own your own business, how was that transition?
Dr. Kelly: Well I had a couple of kids and I was living six hours away from my family and I liked working as an associate. I learned a lot but I thought, you know, I need to get back to my roots a little bit where I can have a little help here. So I was looking and I touched base with one of my old classmates and he was working pretty close, owned his own practice pretty close to where my family was from. So I called him up and he was like come on down and I did and then lead into me eventually buying him out and here I am.
Tabitha Thomas: I love it, I love it! Success story for sure and closer to home. I know how that feels. You want to be close to family. Especially when you do have the kids. Yes!
Tabitha Thomas: So let’s get into the marketing of the chiropractic office. So who would you say that your ideal customer is inside?
Dr. Kelly: I love all of my patients. It’s a family practice. I kind of focus around newborns and kids a little bit more. That’s just what I love to do, you know, it’s amazing how quick you see results in kids and babies. It sometimes take longer when you’re an adult and everything, so they’re my ideal patient you know that I would like to see. But in general I love any patient that is all about health and wellness and wants to stay healthy. We can patch you up and fix you up but it’s always a lot easier if you’re maintaining your body with chiropractic, your spine, to just maintain it. You heal up a lot faster if you do have injuries so anybody that is health-minded we’re on the same page.
Tabitha Thomas: I love it. So would you say that there is anything that you did different, that made you stand out from your competition?
Dr. Kelly: Well yeah there are several things. One thing is Ben Adkins was my partner before and he really introduced me to things on social media. And this was ten years ago so things were just kind of coming around and he was ahead on his game so I learned so much from him about, you know, you got to put yourself out there, get involved in the community. Ask for referrals, ask for them, ask the people that come into your office. And I really learned that technique to ask people, you know, people are so afraid to say hey I need some help here growing my business and I think that is very important. Social media was huge with that because it would give you good reviews. That’s the biggest referral ever, you know, somebody gets on your page and says hey I’m giving Delany Chiropractic five stars, and this is why, that is like reaching a lot of people instead of reaching one person at a time and I think that that was huge, huge deal for growing the practice that we are in. I mean it was just great.
Tabitha Thomas: Well you also, I’m going to pull this one out of you, you also did something a little bit different than most everyone else did. You wrote a book for people who were suffering with headaches, is that right?
Dr. Kelly: I did, I did. I wrote a little book, it was about headaches and things you could do at home to prevent them and that was really good for me locally. You know, it was on the radio and it was good. People would come in the office and ask for it because you know a lot of people suffer from headaches. So it’s a really common ailment that people have and that was just a little quick reference and it did great for me as well.
Tabitha Thomas: So what would you say, in your practice, while you’re in your practice, what is the most effective thing that you do to bring new business in the door?
Dr. Kelly: It is our social media pollster website and asking for referrals. I mean I really think that that keeps things going. I’m very involved with the community. My service-type personality, I’m in more clubs than I probably should be. And it really … and keep your name out there and people know you, and then they refer back to your page. You know if somebody says, oh I need a good chiropractor on Facebook, you’re going to get a list of names. You know what I mean? And you’re going to have, this is why I go to this one, and this is why I go to that one. So I really think that the social media and the great referral bases that comes from that is so important.
Tabitha Thomas: I love it. So outside of asking for it how do you get people to refer business to you?
Dr. Kelly: Meaning just how do you get a marketing?
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah.
Dr. Kelly: You have to just put yourself out there. You have to get out there and be seen and be known and then just getting them to come in that way. You know, word of mouth and just doing what you can. I do run some promotions and things like that from time to time with my massage therapist and things and then there’s marketing. Way to get people in the door, they start out with them and then if there is something else going on, you know, sometimes the massage therapist will come in and ask me to, hey can you take a look at this and see if it’s something that, you know, needs some help fixing this issue or whatever here and there. And that always helps too but again it’s just getting out there, getting your name out there.
Tabitha Thomas: So is there any kind of a marketing or business trick or technique that you could share with our listeners to help them out?
Dr. Kelly: Don’t be pushy. Be genuine in what you’re telling people. Don’t lie to them. Tell them the truth and do not throw it all at them like it’s a life or death situation. Don’t keep hounding them. I think people see your true intention and your values in the way that you present, you know, the answer to their questions. And I think that if you’re too pushy and you’re trying to sell them something out of the door it’s never going to work. I think you need to just let people realize what’s helping them and what’s not and go from there. I think just cramming it down them is just not going to help you. It’s not. Just be genuine and yourself and tell them the truth and tell them what they need. They want to know what’s wrong and I think that if you tell them that, it’s going to work out for you and it’s going to work out for them, and I think that that’s just the main thing people and chiropractors especially should pay attention to.
Tabitha Thomas: Be genuine. I love it. So who would you say has been the most influential person for you to help you build your practice?
Dr. Kelly: Oh that would be Ben. Ben Adkins for sure. He, like I said, before he really introduced me to social media when it was coming around in the beginning. You know, I’m a little older than Ben and I was kind of not knowing, you know, how great of an asset it is and he really taught me how to use it; utilize social media and to grow your practice. So I would say that it would be him.
Tabitha Thomas: So what kind of things were you posting on social media?
Dr. Kelly: You know, just health tidbits. There would be things about drinking water, there would be things about hey this is an exercise that helps the sciatic, and then sometimes it would be nothing chiropractic related. It would be just hey it’s Monday, have a good day. You know, just different things to keep your audience engaged in your page. So, and you know, Facebook’s probably the ancient form of social media at this point. There’s so many other ones, but that’s what we started out with and it did great.
Tabitha Thomas: Do you focus only on Facebook or did you guys expand to anything else?
Dr. Kelly: We’re starting Twitter. I’m a little slow to this, uptake there on that but we’ve mainly stayed with Facebook for the most part and that’s worked out well.
Tabitha Thomas: Well that’s good. We always, always recommend sticking with one and dominating it. Like, being really good at one instead of being mediocre in five, you know.
Dr. Kelly: And that’s, yeah, and that’s how I figure too. And I’ve really just started on twitter myself, and I’m like, we might start doing that. I haven’t really pushed it because it’s still, Facebook is still our go-to. I mean it’s been so great because that’s where people go. I mean they Google you and they see, okay here’s these, let’s get on Facebook and see what people close to me are saying. So that works out great. Especially people my age, that’s where they’re going.
Tabitha Thomas: Yes, yes. So, this is my favorite question to ask. If you could talk to someone just coming out of chiropractic college, what is one piece of advice you could give them about starting your own business?
Dr. Kelly: Go work as an associate first. I feel like you don’t go to chiropractic college to be a business person, you go to chiropractic college to be a chiropractor. It’s very lacking in what we get from business.
Dr. Kelly: I had no idea how to run a business and I learn stuff every day. Ten years in I’m still learning how what I need to do differently and this and that. It changes so I feel like working for an associate you’re going to learn what you like and what you don’t like. How do you want to be, how you don’t want to be, and you’re going pick up on okay I need to know this about coding, I need to know this about licensures and permits and things like that. And just all in all business that you don’t know, accounting things that you don’t know, so I think it’s very important to work for someone and see how they’re doing it.
Dr. Kelly: If they’re successful, they’re going to be hiring an associate. You know what I mean? They’re going to need somebody to come in and work for them. If they’re that busy, if they’re that successful they need someone. So they’re going to know a thing or two that you don’t know coming right out of school. I mean I just preach it because I live it, because I had no idea what I was going to do if I had to open up my own. I just knew what I didn’t know, you know?
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah.
Dr. Kelly: And I worked as a CA before so I had a little bit more experience from that end than most of the people in my class. I can honestly say that and I still knew that I didn’t know enough. So I did all the insurance, billing, and this and that, and I still did not know what it took until much, much later. And working as an associate really, really did that for me.
Tabitha Thomas: Well wonderful. All right. Well I love that advice. Actually the last couple that I’ve had have said the same thing.
Dr. Kelly: You know people say it all day, so there you go.
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah, it is the majority so far. Go work for somebody else and learn it, and then start your own. I love it. Thank you so much for being on this show, I appreciate it. I love having you on here and I love your story, and the comeback girl who’s not going to let anybody stop her.
Dr. Kelly: Oh no, you got to keep pushing. You do.
Tabitha Thomas: I agree. Well if you like this episode of Chiro Business Builders make sure to subscribe. We will see you next time with another amazing look into the world of chiropractic and marketing.
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