July 13, 2015 admin

Should I Wear A White Coat In My Chiropractic Office? Will It Build Or Burn My Clinic?

Should I Wear A White Coat In My Chiropractic Office?  Will It Build Or Burn My Clinic?

One of the questions that I commonly get asked is… “Should I wear a White {Doctor’s} Coat in my office?

There are basically 2 lines of thoughts on this matter….

  1. Wearing a white coat makes you look like a medical doctor… we’re chiros NOT M.D.s (says many chiros)
  2. White Coat Syndrome – scares patients away.

Before I address these 2 issues, let me tell you what you want you CAN’T wear 100% of the time.

Shorts and Sandals!

I know that there are those docs out there that’ll say differently… that there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s never had a negative impact on their clinic, but I cannot tell you how many patients (mostly female patients) that have come to my office from another chiro that wore shorts and sandals.

And they always had these  2 main complaints…

  1. They say it’s a highly unprofessional look (especially when patients are seeking care for a serious health concern).
  2. They hated that feeling of hairy bare legs rubbing across theirs when they were getting a side posture adjustment. They felt it was an invasion of their personal space (even though chiropractic treatments are generally done in very close proximity to the patient).

Listen… when people finally make the step to actively seek help and enter a health professional’s office, they have now made their health (or lack thereof) a priority and above all, they want their condition “corrected” and addressed properly.

So if they see this doctor wearing a t-shirt (perhaps a golf shirt), shorts and sandals… really.. are they going to take you seriously?  Is their first impression of you going to be “Man, this guy knows his stuff!  He’s/She is going to fix me right up!”

No… Probably not!

In fact, I can almost guarantee that it’s the polar opposite!

When someone is seeking help, they want to be greeted and treated by a “doctor” looking individual.  Someone who looks serious about what they do.  Someone who looks competent.  They don’t want to be treated by someone who looks like some UPS driver dropping off a box of head rest paper at the chiropractic office.

Well I hope I’ve made myself clear on that point… let’s talk White Coat.

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Now… I personally never wore a white coat, however 3 of my doctors did and they did exceptionally well and RAPIDLY built up their clinics!

The rationale behind wearing a white coat was to

  1. Look more professional
  2. Look more like an M.D. (OMG! Did I just say that?!)

The psychology behind this is that people view M.D.s as the authority when it comes to health care. It’s a sad fact… but we all know this to be true.   Patient’s mindset IS of the medical approach.  People equate the white coat with authority and professionalism when it comes to health care.

This may be a hard statement to take it, but you need to accept it because it’s simply the case (for those who greatly oppose this, please feel free to leave your comments below)

As such, wearing a white coat will give you near instant credibility when it comes to a patient’s first impression of you.

But I’m not an M.D.! I’m a chiropractor!” you say.

My response to that is, it’s not about what discipline your represent.  It’s about patient psychology, addressing it and making your consult to new patient conversion easier and removing potential barriers.

The fact of the matter is, the patient’s mindset has always been aligned with the medical model.  Nothing has ever changed.  But chiros have been so resistant to accepting this fact and have been wanting to change their patients belief system, that for the most part, chiropractors are finding it difficult to build their clinics and are having low consult/new patient closing ratios.

Now… if  the above statement didn’t pop your top, here’s a concept that’ll probably send you into a frenzy and goes against probably everything you’ve  been told…

You have to “give the patient what they want

Now before you have a seizure from reading this statement, since the explanation of this statement is out of the realm of this article,  I will go into detail on this matter in the next blog.  So save all your angry comments for that article :)

As for point number 2, “White Coat Syndrome”.  If you aren’t familiar with this term, there are those people that suffer anxiety when dealing with doctors (generally wearing white coats) and as a result, these patients will avoid going to see the doctor. Therefore the doctor losing potential patients.

Should you be concerned about it? Absolutely not.  This is a very small minority of people and those who appreciate the white coat far outweighs those who don’t like it.  So really the White Coat Syndrome should be a non-issue to you.

As previously mentioned, I never wore a white coat and I had an insanely busy office.  However, I did dress very professionally and I did…. dare I say…. look “sharp” ;)

All my office clothes were designer (Boss, Cavalli, etc).  Essentially I dressed for success.  The primary intention was that I wanted my consults to walk into an office that looked successful.  I wanted them to immediately feel that I was the doctor that they needed and that they were in the right place to get better.

With this is place, it instantly took down a lot of barriers to the consult conversion.

Let me put this into a bit of perspective to you…

If you’re a patient, which doctor would you most likely undergo treatment with and PAY MORE FOR TREATMENT (which I’ll talk about in another blog)…

DOCTOR 1: Stereotypical chiro office, with the standard metal and fabric reception chairs, standard chiropractic posters, drop ceiling with florescent lighting  and a chiro wearing beige Dockers and a golf shirt with their logo embroidered on it and brown Sketchers dress shoes.

DOCTOR 2: Sharp leather furniture, dark earth tone colors, sconces and nice fixtures with calm lighting, sharp lined designer dress pants and dress shirt and Torresi shoes.

Probably Doctor #2, right?

You’ll also notice something else.  If you’ve seen other chiropractic offices with doctors dressed like the examples above, you’ll notice that their offices typically match the way they look.  In addition, those that mimic Doctor #2, are generally the more successful of the two!

Coincidence? No not at all!  It has to do with a little thing called “Perceived Value”
(which I’ll discuss in a later article)

So to answer the question of whether a white coat matters… the answer is YES and NO… however more on the side of YES.

If your clinic looks sharp and you look sharp, you don’t really need to wear one (but wearing one can boost your consult closing ratio).

If you have a stereotypical replicated chiropractic office, then for sure it’s a must.  Again when people finally seek help for their health, it’s of top priority for them and they want to go to the person that they feel will give them the highest probability of success.

And as insignificant as you may feel a white coat is, from a patient’s perspective it plays a massive role in their perception of what a professional and competent health care practitioner is and it will directly influence them to become your new patient.

My advice to you is to give it a try for just a month and see the effect that this simple change will have on your clinic.  I guarantee that you existing patients will compliment you on it too.

And if you’re existing patients (the ones that know you well) compliment you on it, imagine what your consults will think of you when they first walk into your office and meet you?

So to sum it up… wearing a white coat will only benefit your clinic.  There are no downsides to wearing it.

I know not everyone will agree with this blog and we’d love to hear what you think.  So  write your comments below.

Lastly, if you know another chiropractor that could benefit from this article, please share… Sharing is caring!

Also, check out our Crush’n It Chiropractic Podcast – where we interview experienced and successful chiropractors as they reveal their secrets to success!
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/crushn-it-002-power-hitting/id1046174018?i=353975655&mt=2

http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=74707&refid=stpr

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