Dr Ray Drury of the Upper Cervical Health Centers of America is a leader within the upper cervical community. Recently I had a chance to speak with him about the power of focus in marketing and a whole lot more. I think you are going to love this interview!
Dr. Bill: Alright. So Dr. Drury, why don’t you start by giving us a little background on you. What got you started in chiropractic?
Dr. Ray: Well, since ninth grade, I knew that I wanted to help people. And at that time, all I knew was being a medical doctor, and so I turned my grades around and then about the time when I was in 10th or 11th grade, my father who had a life-long history of low back pain and prostate problems called me up. We didn’t live together since the divorce. He called me up and started talking chiropractic, I don’t know what he is talking about, I don’t know what chiropractor did, all I know is that it has something to do with the back. And I sort of, “Okay good luck to that.” And I went on my way. He had such great results with chiropractic that he decided to go to chiropractic school himself.
When he graduated, I was in undergrad in my junior year studying for the MCAT. He started explaining chiropractic to me again. So, buy the time the week was over, I was pretty hard headed I really didn’t listen to him. But I’m thinking in my mind if I did go to medical school, my dad would make me feel like an idiot probably for rest of my life. Chiropractic made more sense to me anyways, to figure out the cause, instead of masking the symptoms, so that’s when I decided to go to chiropractic school.
Dr. Bill: That’s interesting. So your dad was a chiropractor?
Dr. Ray: Yeah, he was 43 when he graduated.
Dr. Bill: Wow, okay. So late in life, he became a chiropractor, right now is he still practicing at this point?
Dr. Ray: He does part time, and what is even more amazing is that my stepmother after he graduated, five-six years later she went to chiropractic school too. She was 42 or something.
Dr. Bill: So a chiropractic family in full force. So where did you go to school?
Dr. Ray: Well, that’s kind of funny too. My dad wants to go to Cleveland, he knew somebody that went to Cleveland so we didn’t go to Cleveland, and he knew somebody that went to Palmer so we didn’t go to Palmer. For us, we are in Kentucky and we are six hours from Logan and we don’t know anybody from Logan, so we went to Logan, that’s where I want to go. So I didn’t have anybody to steer me away from there which I kind of wish I had so that’s where I went anyway.
Dr Bill: So you went to Logan College, and when did you first get exposed to Upper Cervical?
Dr. Ray: Well, so when I was in Logan I was learning, trying to be more specific but anyways, some friends of ours, some friends of mine, a couple semesters ahead of me said they were going to a seminar in Atlanta. They said man its a great seminar you need to go, you know I was like yeah you know I’ve been to a few seminars they're not really that much fun. And he was like, just go. So I followed some friends of mine I said you know I've heard of this place in Buckhead in Atlanta that is a lot of fun. Lets go there. If the seminar sucks we'll just go party in Buckhead for the weekend. So they were like, yeah lets do it. So we went down there to Dynamic Essentials (DE) Seminar. Went down on Thursday heard Dr Sid drop the keys and our jaws dropped.
We never heard a Chiropractic talk like that, being from Logan and so we stayed there all night and got up early the next morning and we were there for 3 days. But while we were there we heard Dr. Kale, who was the knee chest guru back in the day. Who the only person that I know of at that time that was actually doing it, teaching it and I have never seen anyone so passionate about anything in my life. I mean he was so sure about what he said. So, that was my first exposure, then I went back to Logan and got back in the medical model of Logan college. But then I got sick and I met another Chiropractor that gave me his first upper cervical adjustment and that was it, after that first adjustment my whole life changed.
Dr. Bill: And so, tell me more about that experience
Dr. Ray: So Rob Kessinger had just started learning from Dr Kale, he was at the DE Seminar while we were there, he said I'm in Cape Gerardo an hour and a half from where you go to school, come down and check it out. So I called him up one day. I had been sick for a while, been getting the crap manipulated out of me and still feeling worse and worse I wasn't sleeping. I couldn’t think right, my gums were bleeding all the time and I was a mess. So I called him up and I went down and he x-rayed me and gave me my first adjustment. Afterward I laid down to rest and thought this is different, but not that different and so I drove home. As I got to my house I opened the door and all of a sudden this nausea hit me within seconds and I was throwing up all over the porch and I couldn't even make into the house. So I called him back, crawled into my bed, lights on completely dressed, cussing him because before that at least I wasn't throwing up…I was sick but I wasn't that sick. Woke up 12 hours later the same exact position fully dressed lights on, thought that’s weird maybe that dude drugged me.
So then I go in and brush my teeth and for the first time in 6 months my gums didn't bleed. Thought it maybe was a coincidence. But over the next several days, my mental clarity was better, I slept better, my energy was better, the aches and pain I had all over my body went away. Over the next several months’ life long allergies just cleared up. Chronic mid back problems cleared up. All from just one bone at the top of the neck. From that point I was sold. I said I got to do whatever I got to do to learn this.
Dr. Bill: So you get that upper cervical adjustment and you're on track with upper cervical at that point during school and so you just made you way through Logan college and eventually you come out of school and you start your own practice. When was that?
Dr. Ray: That was in 1993.
Dr. Bill: Ok 1993 you graduated and did you move to North Carolina at that point to start a practice?
Dr. Ray: Yeah, you know my dad was in practice; my dad actually had two practices in Kentucky and that where I'm originally from. And I knew that my dad did full spine, did therapy and I knew that there was no way I could my type of practice in his practice, even though he tried to convince me to come and take one of them over. So at that point I knew it wouldn’t work out with my dad, so I asked one of my mentors at that time and I ask him if you are opening up a practice where's a good place to do it? And he looked at me and said "What? That’s a dumb question." I said "What?" He said "Well where do you want to live? As long as there's people there you can make a living." So I said ok, make sense.
So I always loved the Carolinas I used to come here back and forth on vacation, lived in Hilton Head one summer. Just loved this whole area, I'm a fresh water kind of guy. So what I did, I drew a 30 mile radius around every lake in North and South Carolina spent a week driving through South Carolina, two weeks driving through North Carolina while I was preparing for what they used to call North Carolina state board exams. After I answered that last question in the boards and walked out that door of that hotel before I made it to my car, it hit me immediately Mooresville, in North Carolina which is a little town just North of Charlotte on Lake Norman which is where I opened my first practice and that was February of 1994.
Dr. Bill: So you open up in North Carolina, and you're doing specific upper cervical work only. Tell me about how the practice grew over time? I know you started opening other clinics eventually?
Dr. Ray: So to start with, they give you this false impression in Chiropractic College that once you get out of school that’s the hard part. Then the world owes you something, the doors just open up and patients will just come flooding through your practice. I lived in a little cheap apartment, with one window on each side. I didn't have cable; I didn't even have a TV. All I was worried about was that I moved our here all by myself, opened up this practice building it up from nothing. So I had a little 600 square foot office, and opened my doors, threw up my sign and sat around twiddling my thumbs. I became the South Eastern United States solitary champ, while I was waiting for the herd of people to line up around my office. It never happened. I got to the point where I needed to get motivated. They are 2 great motivators, inspiration and desperation and my inspiration was gone, it wasn't paying off so desperation was merely to eat and be able to have gas to come back and forth. I started beating the streets.
I literally started knocking on doors, I went to neighborhoods introduced myself, I made some cheap ugly nasty looking flyers that were cut and pasted and glued and photocopied a 1000 times and all the different fonts and type sets, it was just so hideous on this bright blue paper, looking back I wish I had saved some of them because it was unbelievable how bad it was. I went and knocked on doors, I put together a little special offer, first visit for $29 and just went door to door to door through neighborhoods, through businesses. I'd this on Saturdays, on Sundays I had my certain times when I'd be sweating like a pig and that’s really how I first got started and how I first got people to come in and then I would go and speak anywhere I could speak.
I spoke at fire departments, police departments, rotaries, lions clubs, any support group, anywhere I could find where there was more then 1 person meeting I would call and see if I could come in and share with them something about this revolutionary new health care system. And I got to a point where I averaged a couple speaking events a week. That’s what really got me going. Mid way through, 6 months in I was seeing probably 60-70 people a day. But a lot of them were coming from charlotte, because a lot of the speaking engagements I had were in charlotte which was about 30 -40 minutes south of me. So before the end of my first year, like an idiot I opened my 2nd practice in charlotte. So before being in practice for 12 months, I was running 2 practices, 3 days a week in each. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in one, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at the other. I did that for 8 and half years. until I finally sold the original office.
If anybody is reading this and thinking hey I'm gonna open two offices, take my advice and don't do it. Although I was seeing 70-80 people a day in the one office, when I opened the 2nd office you know what happened. I wound up splitting that because my energy was split, so I was doing 30-40 a day now between two offices. I was seeing the same amount of people I just had doubled my overhead. So that wasn't a very good move and then as soon as I sold that other office and went full time into the office in Charlotte, the first month my practice doubled, by 3rd month it tripled. Just because of my focus and energy. It had been so divided. By the time I was finally able to center my focus on one practice then things just started to blow up on me. So I had half the overhead and 3 times the income so that was a whole lot better for me.
Dr. Bill: Yeah that was a whole lot better. It’s amazing how much of a difference having that proper focus on a practice makes.
Dr. Ray: No doubt about it. What's love grows and where you put your energy is where things manifest.
Dr. Bill: So tell me about the Upper Cervical Health Centers and where that started and how it’s gone over the years.
Dr. Ray: So we'll fast-forward a few years, this would have been 8 years ago. About 8 years ago, I had 3 offices and I had 5 doctors working for me so I had 6 doctors with 3 offices. And what I had started doing was creating systems because I would hire somebody then I would have to take all my time trying to teach them. Whether it was the front desk person, an office manager, a doctor, so I started writing scripts and started creating manuals like training manuals so that doctors comes in, they get the training manual and go study this. You need to learn this stuff word for word when a new patient comes in…this is what we say to them, when they come in for their x-rays this is what you say to them, when they come in to their first adjustment this is what you say to them. And kind of scripted everything, kind of cookie cuttered the marketing program that I was using so then I could open an office put a doctor in it, hire the staff and kind of have the turn key operation already in place and all I had to do, was have them train at one of my offices for a couple weeks and then study the manual, they go in and boom.
So ultimately I had friends of mine that had really struggled in practice that were great technicians, great upper cervical doctors but had a hard time covering their overhead and making any money out of it. So, my dream is always been that every body in the world knows that there is an alternative, that there is a way to be well and drugs and surgery will never make you well. But there is a way to be well that they don't know about and so our biggest enemy is ignorance. So I thought if I can help some other doctors build their practice but if they can brand it then we can create some brand equity, people will understand what we do, people will start to get familiar, they'll see the logo, they'll see the name and they'll start to look for it.
I wanted to differentiate us from chiropractic. When people hear chiropractic they think, I've tried that, I’ve already been to one of those guys he plugged me up to 4 different machines and I never got any better. So I wanted a way to differentiate us inside the profession, so that’s kind of where it started. We started teaching doctors to build a business, you learn some your technique from your technique people and we're going to show you how to get paid for it and build a big practice and then you’re going to brand it so that now we get some brand equity and people start to look for it. Make sense?
Dr. Bill: Yes, absolutely. So essentially they are turn key franchises, that a doctor can step into and learn all the systems that you have created and the support system that’s involved with that instead of trying to start their own practice from scratch.
Dr. Ray: Yeah, you know they don't have to reinvent the wheel. We've already done it. We have systems that already work, so we're going to plug you into those systems and then just turn the crank. We also have a full time marketing director that works for you to help you create your marketing plan, follow through on your marketing plan, holds you accountable to make sure you're doing things that we know you need to do to get your practice off the ground.
Dr. Bill: So lets put our attention there for a minute, on marketing. Obviously this upper cervical marketing and we talked about marketing every week on the blog and in newsletters and so forth. Over the years as you have been practicing with upper cervical health centers, if you had to talk about what you found to be the most important thing when it comes to marketing, what would you say it is?
Dr. Ray: You know unfortunately I feel like a lot of us, we practice in fear that patients aren't going to like what we say, we practice in fear that the board is not going to like what we say, that other Chiropractors aren't going to like what we say. I think we need to shed that fear and stand up for what we know is right. Say “this is what I do and this is why I get the results I get, don't be afraid to run an ad in the paper on crohn’s disease, don't be afraid to market to people with fibromyalgia, ALS and seizure disorders.
So sometimes I think you have to make people understand what you do, you're better off losing the ones that don't get it, but the ones that do get it…they really get it. And you know that 80/20 rule and it’s kind of like the 90/10 rule in practice. 10% of your patients are going to refer 90% of your referrals. So if you really spend your time and educate those 10%, well actually educate all of them, but 10% are going to get it, and when they get it they're the ones that are going to send you the other people.
Dr. Bill: It kind of goes back to what we mentioned earlier, that focus. As you have that proper focus and you're able to tell people about what you do and why you do it, and that is in any type of marketing you do, and I'm hearing from you is whether you're marketing from within your office which you need to be internally marketing but also externally marketing out there that you're consistently telling that story and that you have that proper focus.
Dr. Ray: That’s right, education. You've got to teach them that, they don't know. Our biggest problem is ignorance. And that’s why you know; you're specifically focused on a market for upper cervical doctors because they need it. Because it’s a different marketing approach, you can't market upper cervical like chiropractic, it’s a different approach. You got to make if something different, something they haven’t heard before.
Dr. Bill: And that’s the thing, upper cervical is a completely different language, its a completely different mind set and world view.
Dr. Ray: We did a study about 5-6 years ago, in my offices and we found 70% of our patients have been to other chiropractors before. Now why would they come to us if they have been to other chiropractors before, and I’ve even told patients before, and sometimes they'd say well you know you're too expensive, and I’d say well why do you say that? Well because the other chiropractor I went to was half as much as you are. I'm like well why aren't you still going to him? Well because he doesn't do what you do. Exactly. So you know it’s a different language, but they're looking for it. They want to find it, a lot of them have been to other chiropractors and didn't get results and if you don't speak a different language they're going to put you in that same box and think that they've already tried that.
Dr. Bill: Exactly. So if you have that, you know how to communicate upper cervical and you show them this is something different they're going to value you in a different way then they do the chiropractor down the street.
Dr. Ray: Absolutely, they're going to love you because it makes perfect sense.
Dr. Bill: Absolutely, it’s the most logical thing in the world. Dr. Drury, two more things I wanted to talk to you about and that’s, one is your book The Best Kept Secret in Health Care. Tell me a little about the book? And how its being used at this point in marketing?
Dr. Ray: Well people usually ask why I wrote it? The reason I wrote it was I’ve had people come to me from all over the world for 20 years I’ve been in practice, I’ve had them come here. I had 8 people at one time at the same time in Italy, staying in the hotel some of them needed ambulances to bring them back and forth and most of them had some sort of terminal conditions supposedly to be dead in two or three months or whatever. And what really keeps bothering these people that understand, that get it, are coming to me here in Charlotte from all over the world when there are people driving right by my office everyday with the same conditions that have no clue that what I do could help them or benefit them.
So I wrote the book, anybody that reads the book, by the time they're done they're going to get it. They're going to understand it and also the time they wind up getting more books sending them to their friends and family members in different parts of the country. So the book is written for patients, for prospective patients, I give them out to my patients all the time. Usually I give them as a referral incentive. I sell them so people can buy them and I’ve sold about 4000 books so far, and doctors all over the country are using them and they're giving them to their patients who are then in turn are giving them to other people.
We figured the average new patient is worth about $1500 in our office; maybe more or less in your office but 100 books at the discount price is $1500. I will guarantee you; if you have 100 books you're going to get way more then 1 patient, probably more like 20-30-40 from it because it tells a story. Its a 3rd party endorsement, basically endorsing you saying you're one of the few people in the world that know this special secret, this best kept secret in health care and that’s why they need to see you. I think its very well written, every body I’ve sent it to people, non chiropractors, chiropractors, I’ve had tons people that have endorsed it, presidents of colleges, and my mentors and I am doing radio shows about on average about once a week, there for a while I was doing a couple a week all over the country. Nationally syndicated a lot of them and we have people going to the web site looking for doctors. It’s been very well received; I’m very excited about it.
Dr. Bill: That’s great and it goes back to what we were saying, it’s all in the story. And anytime you can get a third party to tell the story for you that could be even more powerful.
Dr. Ray: Well it also has over 50 personalized testimonials written by the patients themselves throughout. You're hearing other people talking about what you do, how it works and and how it has helped them. It gives hope for sure.
Dr. Bill: I think that’s an easy investment $1500 and getting 100 books is something that makes sense for any doctor out there.
Dr. Ray: The face value is $18 you can sell them $3 a book make your profit there, or give them away as incentives for referrals which is what I’ve been doing and they love it, and they turn around and send them to other people.
Dr. Bill: So when someone refers you give them a book?
Dr. Ray: Yeah. And you know when I first got the books I gave them to some people, you know those 10% that refer anyway. Give them the book; write a little special note in it. Dear Ms Ellis, Thank you so much for all your referrals. Give them a book; you know sometimes I used to give car washes, full service car wash when they refer somebody written in a little thank you card. Now I just give them a book, a write the thank you in the inside of the cover of the book and mail them the book or give them the book when they walk in the office. They love it.
Dr. Bill: That’s perfect too, because you need those people, those people become your evangelists. They're gonna be telling their story, they already referred someone so you want to continue to feed them with good information, with information that they're gonna be able to turn around and use for others, I love that idea. It’s a great idea.
Dr. Ray: Yes sir and that’s it.
Dr. Bill: Dr Drury I really appreciate your time today. Some great information that will really help our doctors. Anything else you'd like to leave with out audience before we go?
Dr. Ray: No man, I appreciate what you do too, Bill, helping every single doctor be successful it helps us grow as a whole. So just keep doing what you're doing and we will all keep working together and I don't care if someone opens up next door to me. The more awareness we create around upper cervical the more awareness we're gonna create around what we do. We need to lock arms and go change the world.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]