Because You Helped Them See Their Better Selves

person holding trophy in reflection

By Ben Montgomery, BuildPT.com*

There’s a famous scene in the classic corporate workforce satire, “Office Space,” where the main characters dream about what they’d do with their lives if money wasn’t an object. Eventually the most pragmatic of the group, Samir, steps in to offer his 2 cents.

“You know what I’d do if I had a million dollars?” he asked. “I would invest half of it in various mutual funds, and take the other half over to my friend Asadulah, who works in securities . . .”

The joke here (as his coworkers cut him off, embarrassed he doesn’t truly grasp the goal of the exercise) is that when you imagine winning the lottery, it’s not about the money. It’s about freedom and security—the ability to do what you want, when you want, without having to worry about barriers.

Sure, money’s the critical differentiator, but the possibilities are what we dream about. And such possibilities are ultimately why we might consider buying a ticket.

There’s a lesson here in branding, marketing, and sales, and it’s that visualization persuades and inspires action. Private practice physical therapists need to harness and embrace this truth throughout their messaging.

For physical therapists, this means always striving to help potential clients and patients see their better selves. Don’t just make your messaging about where people are (i.e., in pain, injured, frustrated, limited); make it about where they want to be.
Help them truly see the potential in front of them. Once they are able to see a finish line, they will be more open to discuss a specific route for getting there.

Here are some messaging tips for helping people visualize their better selves:

Focus on Success: As a physical therapist, you’re not just improving bodies; you’re improving lives. Describing “better movement” is nice, but better movement for what? To play with the grandkids? To work the shipping dock and support a family? To complete a 5K, or simply to bend over in the garden without pain? Find out where your clients want to be, and help them visualize themselves there.

Make It Personal: Tell stories of past patients and the lives they were able to experience after seeing a physical therapist. Focus on their goals and their struggles, then talk about how physical therapy led them down the path toward a better life. Be specific and relatable, and use such stories to introduce your community to aspects of physical therapy or your clinic they may not know about.

Engage the Senses: What does success look like? What does it feel like? Does it smell like your garden during an early morning harvest, or taste like a cold beer after a bike ride with friends? Consider the senses when putting together messaging (i.e., photos, copy, videos, etc.) for any communication channel.

Ben Montgomery

Ben Montgomery is a former journalist who applies years of copywriting and message development experience toward serving physical therapists through www.BuildPT.com, the marketing services arm of Vantage Clinical Solutions, which serves private practice clinicians with content marketing and web development solutions. He can be reached at ben@buildpt.com.

*The author has a vested interest in the subject of this article.