The Hard Truth About Attracting High Value Patients To Your PT Practice

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In this PT Profit Academy Tutorial we’re going to show you how to avoid the common mistake that sees many PT’s playing the equivalent of a game of “blind archery”, with their Marketing efforts.

And to do that, we’ll start with this question:

“I like to work with Weekend Warriors,
how do I 
target more of them?”

That was a question I was asked by a PT Owner (from MI) this week, during a Live training event.

We were mid-way through a Learning Module about “Identifying and targeting your ideal patient” with your Marketing.

The ability to identify your ideal patient is fundamental to ALL marketing activities and a pre-requisite for business growth and sustained success.

If you don’t know who he or she is, you’re not going to be able to find them. And if you’re running an advert without having a clear picture of that person in your head… it’s a lot like playing a game of blind archery – there’s very little chance of winning.

Now I know that in PT Land we know what a “weekend warrior” is… but here’s my question to you:

“Do THEY think of themselves as a Weekend Warrior?”

Do they realise that you’re talking directly to them if you mention “Weekend Warrior” in your marketing?

I suspect NOT.

And even if they do, the next question is this:

“Are enough of them motivated to, and happy enough to pay you their COPAY, that you’re able to make the handsome profit that  you want at the end of each month?

…Not to mention scale and grow your practice – and be able to do business on your terms… confidently and authoritatively being able to prescribe treatment plans, and even charging higher prices??”

All of the latter being a LOT easier, when you know you have a constant supply of your ideal patients ASKING to do business with you.

My FEAR for PT’s who say they like to work with “Weekend Warriors” is that I don’t know if enough “Weekend Warriors” actually know who they are.

Weekend Warrior!

And therefore, are likely to completely ignore the message in your ad – even if it’s good!

To be more successful with your ads… think about what words you have to say that will resonate with THEM, as they see THEMSELVES.

See, it is THEIR perception, NOT ours, that counts.

Our perception of them is a “Weekend Warrior”.

I know a few equivalents of a “Weekend Warrior”, but if I said it to them, they would not have a clue of what a “Weekend Warrior” actually is – and what I was going on about…

So, you need to be more specific.

Something like this:

“Are you a regular at triathlon events?”

“Are you currently frustrated by your lack of ability to get past the 12 mile stage in your run, because your lower-back gets tight or stiff?”

“Are you a golfer who can’t make it past the 13th hole without needing to hop in a buggy, because of dull knee pain, or a constant knee ache?”

You’re still talking to this GROUP… but probably with something more personal to them… that they can associate with, and understand that it’s them you are talking to.

And that brings us to another point of this PT Profit Academy Tutorial…

Here’s another question I received during the same Live training event:


“Paul… Is your ideal patient real? Or are they fictitious? Are they crafted around your favourite activities and what you like to treat?

Or, are they centred around real people’s interests?”


My ideal patient is real.

In fact I have a video of her, I’ve written a blog post on her as well so I could share it with my staff, and what I did was I compared and contrasted her against the polar opposite – somebody I don’t want to work with – you can get an idea for yourself by checking out that blog post here.


But if you’re choosing your ideal patient purely based on your interests and your skills, you might be limiting yourself.

A real life example:

I worked in professional soccer for 5 years … I was the head PT at two major soccer clubs in the UK. I love soccer. Played it all my life and watched my local team since I was a young boy every Saturday.

When I left professional soccer to start my own PT practice… everyone assumed I would set up a practice to help people with sports injuries, as that was my thing…

And I would have done “ok”…

But not as well as I am today running 4 practices and helping more than 2000 patients per month across my company “The Paul Gough Physio Rooms”.

See, local Sunday morning soccer players (“weekend warriors”), are NOT likely to be motivated enough to pay me the equivalent of $1000 to get back to playing their sport.

It was an obvious decision to make that if I wanted a better PT practice, I wouldn’t get it with an ideal patient who wanted to get fit to play soccer next weekend.


Yes. They have a proven buyer behaviour of investing a LOT of money into course fees ($2000+) and golf clubs…


Yes… they have likely bought a bike worth $10,000 +… and so if they have a bad back and can’t ride that bike, it irritates them that they can’t get on that expensive bike, therefore they have a higher motivation to come and see me, than just ending back pain.

A previous PROVEN history of spending money on themselves is something I look for as I choose my target patient. I do not want to be the one that has to kick-start that buyer behaviour.

So my answer to the question…

Yes, you can possibly get better outcomes for those patients if it’s your interests your working with… and I like that… but where I don’t think it works, is if it’s all about you and your interests – there might not be enough people out there who have problems associated with your interests and specific skills.

My advice if you want to make more money and grow your practice more quickly?…

Switch your target audience to people aged 50+, people who VALUE their health too much to risk losing it… THEN fit your skills and choose your Con Ed. courses to be able to better serve that person.

That’s stark contrast to a lot of PT’s who will say “I’ve got all of these great skills, I’ve been on all of these great courses that interest THEM, then they try to find somebody to match those too – which is actually the wrong way to build a business.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong in wether it satisfies or gives you what you want out of your life… but ultimately, if you’re asking me a flat out business growth question, any successful business starts with the “WHO” – and everything else comes after that.

You start with the WHO you want to sell to, and then you find the product.

The business that can’t get off the ground has a great product, it’s unique, brand new, completely different and the owner of the product can’t wait to Market product… but the problem is he doesn’t know who is going to buy it… he didn’t identify his “who”… therefore his marketing fails – and he thinks no-body wants his great new product.

That’s a familiar story in PT Land…

I was once at a Mastermind Event with “Damon John” (from Shark Tank) – and his whole concept is that as long as he has an audience – a “WHO” – he can sell anything to them.

When his clothing company that he built up in the 90’s went out of fashion, it didn’t affect him. People stopped buying HIS brand, but his profits never dropped because he had a huge list of people with the same interests and buying habits.

All he did was he went out and found a new clothing range to sell to that exact same buyer. He separated the emotional aspect of no one wanting HIS designs, and was more profitable because of it.

And that’s one of the mistakes that I think most PT’s make – we get so attached to the one thing that we love, but it’s not necessarily what the patient and the audience who have the revenue to keep us in business, and to grow businesses successfully, actually want to pay for.

It’s up to you wether you want to pursue your interests, or wether you want to try and find an audience that you can help – that have a track record of spending money on their health… and in exchange for your great health care service, they’ll part with their COPAY, or an excess of cash…

…And then you go and study and go on courses specifically to serve that group of people.

I’ll finish todays tutorial by saying that at the Paul Gough Physio Rooms, any course that my PT’s want me to pay for, I will only pay for that course if it’s in line with being able to treat our ideal patient (Mary!).

If the course isn’t geared up to being in line with helping the typical problems that Mary presents at my practice, I’m not going to invest in the course because it isn’t taking my practice in the direction that I want it to go in – that being better able to help people in their 50’s + who want to keep active and mobile, and live free from pills or bothering the doctor!

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About Paul Gough

PAUL GOUGH is one of the top Marketing and Business Coaches in the physical therapy industry and his Systems are helping clinic owners all across America run more profitable clinics. He is a published Author, Newspaper Columnist and before his stunning success in business was hired by top professional soccer teams. HIS SUCCESS STORY is one that inspires many pt's around the world - at the age of 26 Paul QUIT a high profile job in professional soccer to begin his own clinic. He had NO money, NO business or marketing skills and NO experience - and yet now owns and runs 4 pt clinics and has a proven track record of growing a physical therapy business from 0 - $2m in record time.
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