What would you do? Who would you call? It doesn’t matter whether you are innocent or guilty – you have been blindsided by something unexpected, and now you have to deal with it by managing a system you know nothing about….
I suspect you would call a lawyer to help you through it – right? A lawyer is the person who can at least provide the peace of mind that knowledge of the system and a vested interest in YOUR outcomes provides.
A personal health emergency, or being called to attend to a loved one in a health crisis, whether it’s a spouse, an elderly parent, a child – any loved one – when there is an emergency, or a dire diagnosis, or a “turn for the worse” – it is just like being led off to jail. No one plans for it, no one has room in their life for it, and very few people understand how to manage the system to get what they need from it.
For patients, loved ones and caregivers – YOU, as a patient advocate, are the equivalent to the lawyer in the scenario above. YOU will be the one who provides the peace of mind that only the knowledge of the healthcare system and that vested interest provides.
Last year at this time, and over the course of the next several months, I was running two businesses, writing my third book, traveling across the country to speak, consulting – but most importantly, I was the main caregiver for my father, flying back and forth between his home in Florida, and my home in NY. It was like spinning plates on sticks, praying none of those plates would fall, just to keep up with my usual craziness – and to make sure Dad had what he needed, too. Then, in September, I got the call that I needed to be there RIGHT THIS MINUTE – just a day before Dad passed away.
I know the impact that care giving and that ultimate phone call had on my life. Suddenly and without warning, everything else in my life had to to be shelved so I could attend to Dad’s needs. Even though I knew it would eventually happen, it felt like I was being hauled off to jail without warning.
That craziness and the equivalent is lived by millions every day as they try to juggle their usual busy lives, and are then blindsided by their own or a loved one’s medical needs.
But a lawyer can’t help with that scenario. Instead those folks are YOUR potential clients, who should know to call on a patient advocate – someone to pitch in to help them keep those spinning plates in the air, someone with the knowledge of the system that can help them understand the choices they have for the decisions that need to be made, someone to help them navigate those unknown and dysfunctional healthcare waters. Even someone to help them sort out the resulting bills that must be paid – or shouldn’t have to be paid at all.
You are the best resource for their peace of mind.
Do they know that you are available to be contacted when their busy lives are interrupted by a loved one’s needs – or even their own? Do they realize that you are the person to help them keep their spinning plates in the air? Have you made it clear that you are like the lawyer – someone to call to bail them out and provide peace of mind?
That’s your marketing challenge – making sure they do know who you are, how you can help them, the benefits of finding, then hiring you – the great relief and peace of mind you can provide.
No matter what metaphor you use – help them understand. That’s what will make your phone ring.
(Need help with your marketing outreach? Want to be sure people know to call you when their lives are interrupted by medical needs? Check out our APHA Marketing and Business Workshops.)
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