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Reverse Marketing to the Medical Community

In traditional marketing to the medical community, personal trainers most often mail flyers or brochures that describe the trainer’s qualifications and what kind of programs they offer. They may even personally drop the promotional material off at the medical office hoping to snag a bit of the medical professional’s time to talk about the program they could offer patients.

Looking first at direct mailings, the average response in 2017 was 4.4% (Pulcinella, 2017), which is actually a bit higher than it has been in previous years. However, mailings can be costly, and you should always consider where your marketing money is best spent.

As for dropping off material and hoping to catch the professional on the fly, not much chance there. Schedules are tight and the likelihood of them having time to chat when you happen in is very low. Even if you try to make an appointment to introduce yourself, you are unlikely to get a meeting. Your best bet may be to get to know the receptionist (this may take multiple drop bys), explain who you are and what kind of results you can offer to patients, and have the receptionist push the idea to the medical professional.

Reverse marketing is a little different. In reverse marketing, you are not going to the medical professional to sell yourself and your services. You are going to medical professional to have them sell you. Picture this, you are a new personal trainer in town. You know the value to your clients when you can refer them to the right professional when they need something that falls out of your scope of practice. You are interviewing doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, registered dietitians, etc. to find the best people for your clients. In essence, you want to send patients to them. That makes finding time to talk with you a whole lot more interesting.

Now, when you do meet with the medical professional, it’s not a trick to talk about yourself. You should, indeed, interview them with the idea of finding someone you can refer your clients to. Come prepared. Bring a list of questions that you want to ask and take notes as you interview them. Questions might include, “How frequently do you recommend physical activity to your patients?” and “Of those that you do make that recommendation, how many do you think follow through with it and become more physically active?” More than likely, they will be curious about you and at some point will ask what exactly you do with your clients and what you offer. But, even if that doesn’t happen at the moment, when you do send them clients they will be thinking of you, and, when they are in a position to refer a patient to a fitness professional, yours will be the name that comes to mind.

So, as you try to get referrals from the medical community, reverse the standard thinking and build your network by finding the best people for your clients through your own interview process. If you send people to them, they will be that much more likely to send some to you.

Mark Nutting, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT *D, ACSM HFD, ACSM CEP, is the Owner/Master Trainer at Jiva Fitness in Easton, PA. Mark is the PFP 2016 Trainer of the Year Legacy Award and NSCA’s 2009 Personal Trainer of the Year. He holds 12 certifications in the field, 38 years in personal training and health club management, and has been educating and coaching Personal Trainers for 36 of those 38 years. 


Why Direct Mail Marketing Is Far From Dead, Steven Pulcinella, Forbes, 2017 August