Why So Many PT Patients Leave Bad Reviews – Even If You Fix Their Pain!

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True Story:

So there I was in a queue for a cab on Friday night after watching the “Britney Spears” concert at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas…

(She was awesome BTW!)

In front of me in the line, were two girls – both in their early 20’s – both having been to the gig and both staring at a photo of one of them with Britney.

I politely asked:

“Is that real?”

The girl in the photo replied:

“Yes – I got it taken before the show”.


“How much did it cost?”

Britney Fan:



“WOW!…Was it worth it?”

Britney Fan:

“Well, I’m a huge Britney fan – she’s like my idol, and I always wanted to meet her and the photo turned out really well…”


“So, was it worth it?”

Britney Fan:

“Wellllllllllll…… the thing is……
I was a little disappointed.

I paid all the that money to have a picture with her and she didn’t even take the time to ask my name or answer any of my questions”…

Britney Fan:


Way NOT to make an impression on your bill payers!

And it got me thinking…

In every profession, in every city, anywhere in the world, PEOPLE are motivated in the exact same way…

We THINK we want EXTERNAL stimulation (like pictures with celebrities)…

…and yet we judge how we feel about stuff, INTERNALLY.

This girl got her picture taken with Britney…

…but STILL left disappointed.


Or course not.



People are very “predictably irrational”.

The lessons to be learned for PT’s from this?

There’s two:

1. This girl admitted to me that she didn’t really have the money to pay $1500 for a PHOTO – but she paid it any way.

How many patients will this week tell you they can’t afford you?

(And how will you respond?!)

2. The girl paid $1500 for a photo – she got the photo, and yet was disappointed…

In our world we THINK (or are led to believe) that it’s all about the OUTCOME – the relief from PAIN.

The problem is, they judge you on EMOTIONAL and INTERNAL factors…

Don’t believe me?

Take one look at the review sites and you’ll see that almost every review ever left – good or bad – is rarely about the thing that they were buying and is usually about how they were made to “feel”…

(You book a hotel room for a good nights sleep – why leave a bad review about how long it took to check in??)

So the question is, how do you take what I learned from Britney and apply it to make yourself more successful??


You start solving the INTERNAL problem FIRST.

How to do that?

In your Marketing of course.

Acknowledging that you UNDERSTAND that THEY don’t want to live on pills or risk losing their independence is a good place to start if your client is in his or her 50’s – and suffering with low-back pain…

If your client is a CrossFit athlete…

…put it out that you UNDERSTAND the pain and frustration that comes with being told to rest from the gym – and promise to find a solution that lets them keep active while you fix the shoulder pain…

It’s subtle marketing messages like this that checks the box for your patients and has them thinking “this guy or gal seems to get me… I think I’ll give them a try…”

It’s that easy.

After that, it’s up to you to put your great PT skills to great use.

Want some help to get your Marketing up to speed?


Paul Gough

P.S The latest “PT Business School Podcast” – EP10 – is available for download and it’s all about “healthcare consumerism”…

Basically, about how things that are happening to your patients OUTSIDE of the healthcare profession (like the Britney story) are influencing the way that patients view their healthcare providers – and how they choose them.

It’s REALLY important for you to hear early….

Download the Episode here.

Or, go here if you like to listen to it on iTunes!

P.P.S Some photos from the Las Vegas “Meet Up” as the Impact Tour continues:

That’s me and the team with Top PT “RJ WiIliams” after speaking with his staff at “Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centres” in Las Vegas…

And that’s me, Amy and Rachel (two of my marketing team) with RJ who took us out for dinner VIA the famous “Las Vegas” sign at the beginning of the strip…

(I LOVE to mix business with pleasure 😉

Full Tour dates are here.


For more PT Business Education like this:

– Click here to subscribe to my email list and I’ll send you more Physical Therapy Business Education >>>


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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