Dr. Justin Brown
Dr. Justin Brown has built one of the largest upper cervical clinics in the world in just over 8 years. Dr. Brown and his associates consistently see over 500 patient visits per week. In this interview we discussed his first upper cervical experience, his marketing approaches and much more.
From Chronic Fatigue to 1000% Upper Cervical
Dr. Davis: Dr. Brown, great to talk with you today. Glad to have you on.
Dr. Brown: Thank you, Dr Davis. I appreciate the opportunity. Always happy to share about upper cervical chiropractic and how to serve more people, so I appreciate what you’re doing with upper cervical marketing. I’m glad to be a part of it.
Dr. Davis: Awesome, all right. Well I would like to start with just hearing what inspired you to become an upper cervical chiropractor.
Dr. Brown: It’s really my favorite thing to talk about. I actually get the opportunity to interview a lot of doctors and one of the things I always ask first is exactly what you just asked me. It’s really, “How’d you get into chiropractic and then what attracted you to upper cervical?”
My journey is not unlike a lot of chiropractors in that I did have an experience. But, the thing that was so interesting in my experience is that I was first attracted to chiropractic in that I was out training for soccer. Big soccer player, so had to do a lot of running and put that time in training into it.
I was out on a training run and about a mile, maybe a half mile from my house, and my spine felt like it collapsed in on itself. I could barely get back to my house. It’s basically just had the sheer will to make it back to my house. Then I ended up going to the hospital, they give me the cocktail with the painkillers and muscle relaxers and said, “Good luck.”
What happened was ultimately, when that didn’t work and when I suffered over the next three to six months, a friend of my mom said, “You really should take him to a chiropractor.” So my mom then, not really knowing what chiropractic was or not having any kind of experience with it, not having really any idea if whether it would help, but basically went to a chiropractor. He took x-rays and he found I had Scheuermann’s disease and I had small nodes up and down my spine and the compression fractures in my thoracic spine.
So he started adjusting me. He didn’t really teach me much about the principle of chiropractic or what was really happening inside my body through the process. But essentially, what I saw was that he took through a process of healing that I hadn’t received anywhere else.
That really was a starting point for me; I was 14 years old at the time. As I was going through school, I really always had a passion for serving people, helping people, just kind of a naturally a leader whether it’s in sports or in school, which I held a number of leadership positions.
Essentially, it got to a point where I thought, “Well, how am I going to put my passion for serving people to go with my passion for science, human performance, exercise, fitness and well-being. Chiropractic came back to me, like, “Okay, that’s the thing that really made the biggest impact on my life.”
It kind of came to be that I said, “Yes, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be a chiropractor.” But as I went to Palmer College and I was getting adjusted and getting adjusted and getting adjusted, it didn’t make sense to me that I really can never maintain an adjustment. Understanding the beautiful philosophy that the body was all self-healing, self-regulating, self-feeling organism, why will my body never stay that way? It just didn’t make sense to me.
Then in going through school, I started to experience some fatigue issues that were completely out of the ordinary of what a college student should be feeling. I mean, I was waking up more exhausted than I went to sleep and sleeping through most of my classes. My friends would ask me, “Why do you go to class? You’re sleeping through all your classes,” which isn’t me.
As a student, I mean, I wanted to learn but I was just exhausted constantly and I wasn’t really figuring out why. Through that journey of trying to figure out this issue, I found research about upper cervical chiropractic – which, to mean, I had never really looked into it too much. I went to go see Dr. Marshall Dickholtz Sr. in Chicago, because he was a person who actually did this research that showed favorable results with people suffering with chronic fatigue issue.
Through that journey, I went to go see him and I never felt anything right away, though. I mean, even as a patient, we want to feel something right away. Even as a chiropractor, we want to be cured right away. But I didn’t feel anything right away, I felt nothing. I felt like I got ripped off and I felt the whole thing was a scam.
That was outrageous; I just wasted three hours in this office. This man took a picture of my neck, points to the x-ray and said, “So, that’s your problem.” He lays me on my side; he takes his teeth out. He took his teeth out and put them on the shelf, just to make matters weirder, right?
Then there’s this powder, this talcum powder on his hands, and he bends over and he’s groaning and groaning. I’m thinking, “This guy is going to die. I don’t know what’s going on here.” I’m done going through this thing. I’m thinking, “This is the most wild thing I’ve ever experienced.”
He’s like, “I’m going to take x-rays now to make sure we got the correction.” I’m thinking, “Correction? You didn’t do anything.”
After that ordeal, I drove home saying, “I guess that was garbage.” He’s 80 years old, so I just did what he said because I was desperate. Sometimes you just make decisions based on desperation, that’s where I was at.
I mean I was so fatigued. I had crashed through a construction zone, because I fell asleep at the wheel. There was a time I was so tired, just driving home at night that I would just contemplate, like, “What if I just drove into this ditch? “That’s the terror of it.
It was really bad. It was a bad, bad place to be in. So ultimately, what happened, as you probably realized, three months later — my energy starts to come back, I stopped taking the energy pills every morning to get through the day. I regained the sense of who I knew I was – that I had completely lost.
From that point, I just never turned back. I just started going to the NUCCA conferences; I was just a thousand percent into NUCCA. That’s all I ever did in the clinic and then went on to associate with Dr. Yardley in Seattle for a couple of years. He was just so gracious to give me that opportunity. Then eight years ago, I was able to set up down in South Florida.
750 Doors in 100% Humidity
Dr. Davis: Awesome. What a journey, that’s great. Yeah. Dr. Dickholtz Sr. of course recently passed away and we all know he was one of a kind, without a doubt. That’s a great story. You came out of school, like you said, you did and associate position for a few years with Dr. Yardley who is just a great leader within the upper cervical world and excellent trainer of doctors.
When you started in practice, tell me about some of the things you did to get your practice going and to get it to the place where it is now. I know you have an extremely successful practice and so, tell me about those first few years. What was that like?
Dr. Brown: What I wanted to do when I got down to South Florida is I just wanted to, literally, just meet as many people as I possibly could. Because I didn’t know anybody. I’m not from South Florida, my family’s not here. I mean, I knew zero people.
When I opened fresh, I opened fresh. I didn’t know a single soul in this community. What I knew was if I put together a plan where I was going to get out and meet as many people as possible. I believed that would be successful because I had the passion, I had the desire, my enthusiasm for upper cervical is very high and my determination – I knew I’d just persevere there.
Whatever it’s going to take, I was going to do it. The most powerful word that I used in getting started was the word “yes.” So, if I got asked to clean the streets, my answer was, “Yes, I’m there.” And I did. Me and my team would be out there cleaning the street, just for the opportunity to meet somebody, say, “Hey, what are you doing out there?”
I knocked on doors – I knocked on over 750 doors and I realize now, this is in South Florida, in a shirt and tie. Where it’s ninety-two degree with like a hundred percent humidity. Obviously, there was some times when dogs would chase you off the property, but there were other times where people would invite you in.
There’s one lady who I met who let me in and I knocked on the door and I said, “Yeah, I’m a local chiropractor and I’m here just to introduce myself. And we brought something brand new to South Florida. I’d love to have the opportunity to spend a couple of minutes telling you about it and then introduce or invite you and your family to our grand opening.”
She said, “Well, I don’t like chiropractors because I don’t want anybody to crack me.” I said, “Perfect. We don’t crack. May I just take a moment of your time?” and she said, “Sure.”
You know, I just recently looked, that one lady has actually, since in the last eight years, she’s referred to 75 people.
Dr. Davis: Wow.
Dr. Brown: Yeah, right – from that one thing that I went and did. So it just comes down to that work. And we’ve done a lot of screenings. We’ve done screenings in the community because again, you just never know who you’re going to meet, you never know the opportunity that you’re going to have to share with people, and people say, “Well, I don’t need to do screenings.”
Well, we don’t really need to be screened here but we feel like it’s part of us being a chiropractor is to sharing what we do with as many people as possible. We love doing screenings. We love doing talks.
We do dinner talks. It’s been one of the staples of our marketing, is dinner talks. We usually did a dinner talk. We had twenty people there; we scheduled twenty appointments that pre-paid that night. They don’t all end up that way, but it’s often they do – so, great investment of time and energy.
I spend probably 45 minutes doing my talk. My assistant scheduled everybody there. Some people were scheduled that weren’t there, family members, typical thing. My associate did a dinner talk at a community center yesterday, he was able to schedule thirteen people, yesterday at a men’s club.
It’s a big part of what we do. We find opportunities to get in front of people that are willing to listen and then we share our message with passion and enthusiasm, logic. People definitely, I think when they hear our message, it just makes so much sense.
When you explain it, everybody understands the importance of your brain inside of your body, and that, of course, your connection of your brain and your body are vital for your health to fully function. Yet, when you go to your doctor, are they checking your posture? No, so they’re not addressing the underlying fundamental cause of most people’s health problems.
They’re simply trying to mask it or drug it, which we all know doesn’t work when the system’s very broken. Taking people through some really simple steps and then helping them understand it doesn’t hurt, this is really, really focused on science and powerful when done right.
When we teach that message, it’s irrefutable. I don’t think there’s anything there that’s illogical. I think it’s simple. I think upper cervical can be made very, very simple if it’s just done correctly.
Dr. Davis: Yeah, what I’m hearing a lot from you, Doc, and I know just from knowing you personally is, you have a strong level of confidence and certainty and that comes through when you speak with people. Whether you’re standing at the door of someone’s house doing a survey, which I did myself, I did about five hundred of those when I first started my practice.
Dr. Brown: That’s right.
Anchored by Results
Dr. Davis: It sounds like what you’re saying is, when you get in front of people, whether it’s a screening, whether it’s door to door, whether it’s at a grocery store or a talk, whatever it is. If you can get in front of them and tell them the upper cervical story with confidence and certainty, people resonate with that message.
Dr. Brown: Yeah, they do, and I don’t think it’s really me. I mean, I think I’m just really an average guy. I think that what has been created and developed within me is just being able to see what we get to see in our offices. Day after day of seeing people get better, it builds such a level of certainty inside of you that you just become a rock.
That, regardless of the storm, regardless of the condition, that you can stay anchored and just see – you know what you know. I mean, to me, Bill, some of the stuff that we’ve seen and do, I think it’s almost out of this world. It’s just incredible, some of the changes you get to see in people.
So yeah, I think it’s just the people that I have been able to surround myself with has helped. I’ve always be a student of the profession. I mean, I love what we do. I love the freedom that we have within our profession to create processes, to do marketing to hire you to work your wizardry online to get these people onto our offices.
I mean, all the aspects, I really love the business of chiropractic, I love teaching chiropractors. I’ve had the opportunity to teach eight chiropractors in the last eight years as interns and associates in my office. I have a real passion for expanding chiropractic, extending upper cervical and really helping this become just certainly much better known. But more than better known, just common practice that, yes, you’re going to bring your kids to get their upper cervical checked.
That just becomes the norm. Actually, a vision that I hold, and I think that the vision drives the practice in what we’re able to now see.
We’re seeing today between five and six hundred visits a week now, for over a couple of years. We averaged eighty-seven new patients a month last year – and it’s wonderful. We’re constantly have a foot on the accelerator though, because there’s people that need us.
We got twenty new patients scheduled for our patient appreciation day tomorrow morning, between 9 and 12:30. It’s just a pedal to the metal, constantly, unapologetically tap into the world about what we’re getting done here in the office. There’s just so much that we can offer people to just enhance their experiences in life and to get families involved with upper cervical care.
Dr. Davis: Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned something I want to talk a little bit more about and that’s developing associates. I know that you said, you had an opportunity to develop some great associates. So talk a little bit about that, as far as the things that you probably learned under the tutelage of Dr. Yardley originally.
But I’m sure that you put a lot into it yourself and so, talk about first, what you look for when you’re looking to hire an associate. And then number two is what you found to be the most important thing for an associate to be successful in your practice.
Dr. Brown: Great, that’s perfect. What I found in going back to my journey is I realize that although I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, just from my own experience in upper cervical, I realize I didn’t really know how to run a business. I didn’t know really how to do chiropractic per se. I mean, I really didn’t. I just had a piece of paper that said now I was legally able to take care of people, but it didn’t mean I had any idea how to do that.
I can really just humbled myself to the fact that, all right, if I look around it, the people who I would say I look up to the most, most of them really spent time under another doctor, training. I really looked for the very best opportunity possible to do that myself. Dr. Yardley was gracious enough to take me in.
Funny enough, there was a time when he actually, I was kind of a wild jerk, I know that would be hard to believe. He almost wanted to revoke the opportunity because I was a little bit too wild and I think just kind of snot-nosed due to the fact that I thought I had it figured it.
He was gracious enough to let me continue on under his leadership and I learned a ton, in a couple of years. He helped me so much technically and really gave me a lot of confidence technically. He loved obviously the opportunity that he had in teaching a crazy guy like me, so it all worked out. From there, I felt like I was ready to go after two years so I came down to South Florida.
In looking for associates, I mean, the first question I ask when I interview is the same question you asked me, it’s “Tell me your chiropractic story.” I just had an interview last week and I had the doctor tell a story, but I didn’t know if he was going through a coma or what was going on, but there was no life in him.
What I realize is that if you can’t tell your chiropractic story with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and passion, it’s going to be a hard road for you. I mean, you’re just going to have a hard time. That’s just the most common thing I see amongst people that are struggling out there. They just haven’t figured out how to get a lot of energy and passion around it.
When we think we’re, maybe out of ten an eight or seven, you probably are out of five or a four with your energy and enthusiasm. What I really want to see is I want to see somebody that’s just ready to rip. That’s really, really excited, that’s just willing to go out there and do whatever it takes to learn. Humble to the process but at the same time, they bring a lot of great ideas and energy and enthusiasm around the opportunity to serve.
There’s no entitlement. Just because you’re a chiropractor doesn’t mean you’re entitled to patients coming to see you. It doesn’t work that way. It’s an opportunity that you have to be able to take care of people. The level of passion that you have around that is going to largely dictate how successful you’ll be and how many people you’ll get on your tables to take care of.
So I look for passion, I look for enthusiasm; I look for somebody humble and ready to learn. Those are the primary, I would say, traits that I’m looking for in an associate. I think everything else can be trained.
Nobody really comes out of chiropracticcollege knowing how to run a chiropractic office. Even if you’ve run a different business, it’s a totally different thing. So I believe it should be a requirement, at least for anybody that just really wanted to take this thing very, very seriously and achieve high things in chiropractic.
I think you really just need to humble yourself. Spend a couple of years and learn the ins and outs; build yourself up technically and build yourself up from the professional standpoint in how to create processes. Have a marketing plan in place that will generate new patients – how to communicate chiropractic properly; how to manage patients; how to handle the difficult cases; how to handle challenging people in practice that can drain energy, how to take care of those people — how to handle that.
I mean, you don’t take care of everyone. The person that you shouldn’t take care of, that will take way from three others that want your care. There’s so much involved with it, not only just perceiving value. How to show value for care, but being able to manage the person and then bringing them into a lifetime of wellness. There’s a lot that goes into it.
Dr. Davis: Absolutely. I know some things that are very difficult to learn in school at all because you just don’t have the opportunities that you have in practice. When you have somebody that is mentoring you the way that you do with your associates, it’s just invaluable. As you mentioned with your experience with Dr. Yardley and I’ve just went said this over and over and that’s what I recommend to students over and over is – you have got to get a mentor.
You got to get someone that will lead you through this work to be successful – as you said, in all the different aspects, technique, practice management, patient management, being a business owner, running a team. Doing all these things, that you just don’t know, there’s just no way of knowing through school.
Dr. Brown: Right, exactly. I don’t think it’s the fault of school. You know, the school is there just to get you through your boards, doing what the schools do. When it comes down to it, practice is a very different — it’s unfortunate why…It kills me actually, just to see that the upper cervical doctors or any of the chiros have that struggle. It’s a real shame to see that.
I just started a program recently where I’m reaching out to specific upper cervical doctors and if they’re looking for help. I’m actually starting to acquire practices and help them to really start to succeed the way that they should be succeeding. We just recently started a program doing that. We’ve got a couple offices that are… We’re in the works of making that happen so that we can teach those processes.
You know what I find? Sometimes it’s the smallest tweaks. Just a little tweak here and a little tweak there, you could be doing 80-90% of everything almost spot-on. But, if you can just make a couple of tweaks here and there, it can make all the difference in the world. It can take you from, literally, not being able to provide for your family to being able to have a very successful practice. Create a lot freedom and a lot of abundance in your life and just inner joy from what you do.
What Is the Value of Upper Cervical Care?
Dr. Davis: Give me an example of a tweak that you’ve seen make a big difference in the practice. Something small that you’ve seen that made a real big shift.
Dr. Brown: I think the number one thing is really people’s perception or value on what we do. A lot of people have money issues. That’s a general statement, but when I say that, I mean the perception, the perceived value on what we do can be minimized. Meaning that, if we start to go through and just talk about different things such as – people spend $250 a month on TV, on cable. People spend literally $5,000-6,000 on braces just to straighten teeth. That doesn’t even have anything to do with your central nervous system, it’s straightened teeth.
People go on $4,000-5,000 cruises without blinking an eye – no big deal. They’re going to drop a couple of thousand dollars at Disney over the weekend. When you start to look at these things and then you say, “So what’s the power of having a child that can now hear and listen and develop their speech properly and get the proper education, just like Reed did in our office from the last three weeks.”
What’s the value of a woman that her first hour of her morning is trying to find some level of comfort and doing anything, taking any kind of pill, having to put herself in ice packs? I mean, doing all these outrageous stuff to get any kind of feeling in her legs so that she can drive to work.
That’s your existence, day in and day out, and you haven’t ever experienced that? What’s the value of that? I think it’s challenging when people tend to be younger and healthy. Dr. Davis, you probably could speak into this just from your own experience, but it’s so easy to take for granted our health and a lot of us, as younger chiropractors, are typically healthy people.
It’s easy to take for granted the health we have and what power we have to help people to accomplish a greater sense of health and wellbeing and freedom to live life, and what it actually means to have quality of life.
So mindset I think is really, really important. I think people often don’t realize how valuable their care is. I think they don’t charge enough often times. I think people are scared to see people frequently for what people might think. Just a little tweak in value and mindset, I think, can change practices and just change people’s lives.
Dr. Davis: Yes, health is never important until you lose it, right?
Dr. Brown: Right.
Dr. Davis: Everything else is important. Everything else is more important, going on the cruise or going to Disney World or whatever else we’re spending our money on but when we lose our health, then it becomes important, right?
Dr. Brown: Right.
Dr. Davis: Yeah, when you start to shift it in your own mind, that’s what I hear you’re saying. In fact, it’s one of those little things that can make a huge difference.
Dr. Brown: A huge difference, absolutely.
Dr. Davis: Absolutely, I totally agree with that. All right, doc, let’s wrap this up. I wanted to give our readers the opportunity to get a couple of resources I think that’d really help them that you have put together. I know you’ve been able to, as you mentioned, just have some incredible success with your dinner talks and with your screenings. You’ve put together a couple of resources that could really be a blessing for some practices out there, some upper cervical doctors, and some students coming out of school, and so forth. Talk a little bit about those resources.
Dr. Brown: Yeah, so what I did once I realized that a lot of chiropractors didn’t actually know the best systems in regards to screenings or dinner talks and so it would be a good idea to simply, even in sharing with my own associates, just create a couple of DVDs that were really all-encompassing and that take you through not just the actual events but what would you do up to the event.
Because I think, really, the event is probably 20% of it. 80% of that happens before you ever show up. What we did is we took people through the actual ins and outs of what it looks like to have a really successful dinner talk. What it looks like to get people there – to confirm those people, to get guests there, to get a lot of energy around it, and then have the proper staffing. How you do a proper introduction, how you do a proper body, and the proper close to get results.
I mean, we’re not there to really teach people about upper cervical. We’re absolutely there to get people under upper cervical care because now without an action, it’s just nothing, right? It’s useless. What we wanted was we want people to actually get in the office and that’s what the whole chiro-talk is geared towards at.
I created these DVDs almost a bit self-serving, for my own associates just so that we could simplify some training processes but at the same time I wanted to make it available to chiropractors that would like that resource.
They’re on Amazon. If you go to Amazon and research them, it’s called The Million-Dollar Dinner Talk and also the Million-Dollar Spinal Screening. I’ve gotten really great feedback from the people that have purchased those. People are starting to implement them and it’s a nice addition to the practices. People have commented and that they’ve easily been able to get people to these events now and they’re making those events a lot more successful.
If you have $4,000 case average, $5,000 case average and you’re able to generate, let’s say, 20-30 patients from the cycle of events, month after month, then easily, you’re going to generate a million dollars in business and I know that because we’ve done that. That’s why I thought it’d just be so fitting to be able to call it The Million-Dollar Dinner Talk and The Million-Dollar Spinal Screening.
I appreciate the opportunity of speaking about those and I hope some readers will go out and take advantage of those resources because it can really help you with your chiropractic practice and serve more people and have more fun.
Dr. Davis: Very cool. We’ll put the links in this article so people could easily get to it and check the resources out and hopefully, take them home because it sounds like some really good things. Most people don’t know those steps and the importance of all those steps you mentioned, so great stuff.
Again, doc, I really appreciate your time today and just a final thought for a lot of student and doctors that read these interviews, final thoughts for them before we go.
Dr. Brown: Final thought is definitely get a mentor and make sure you build yourself up in the philosophy and the principle of chiropractic and certainty, keep on working hard and realize that you will ultimately achieve the success if you keep up on your determination, your hard work.
Do not slip and slide towards the gimmicks out there. Stay true to chiropractic because chiropractic is what makes us unique and it’s the most rewarding profession in the world. Make sure you build yourself up in your passion and your enthusiasm because ultimately, that’s what’s going to help you serve people and be rewarded financially and otherwise.
I’m super grateful for all the people that have helped me and I hope that this short interview is going to be something that you’ll bank as something that’s a catalyst to your success.
Click these links if you are interested in the Million-Dollar Dinner Talk or Million-Dollar Spinal Screening. To learn more about Dr. Justin Brown and associate positions in his office go to http://familyspinalcare.com/