The New Selling Paradigm


To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

By Daniel H. Pink | Reviewed by Gene Shirokobrod, PT, DPT

We are living through a paradigm shift. Have you felt it? In our new, hyperconnected, global culture the old methods of “selling” are not effective. Today’s environment demands new thinking and new action.

The essence of relationships is communication.

Communication is crucial for developing genuine, sustainable, deep-rooted connections with others. Humans are social creatures. We build communities, find partners, share our journeys, and tell stories. And we sell every single day. Whether we are selling for a business or selling to make our kids eat their vegetables, to sell is human. New York Times best-selling author Daniel Pink agrees.

In his keynote speech at the 2015 American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Private Practice Section (PPS) Annual Conference, Dan presented an overview of his concepts around selling. Dan’s book, To Sell Is Human, outlines the current state of selling.

In short, as the title suggests, selling is part of the human fiber.

How is selling different now than 30, 10, or even 5 years ago?

The paradigm shift of communication and information has resulted in an asymmetry. Years ago the asymmetry was in favor of the seller. Now, the asymmetry is very much in favor of the consumer. The consumer has information from social media and the internet within minutes, and social media and the internet are made up of other people. While social media is technology, without people it is nothing (see Myspace). Technology is the vehicle we drive every single day. Sometimes we wave politely, occasionally we use a finger, but mostly we focus on our destination. Technology allows for scalability of communication and connection as we travel toward the destination.

Physical therapists are the worst best salespeople . . . in the world.

Let’s delve a little deeper into selling. As mentioned, we are always selling. Dan breaks this down into categories: sales and nonsales selling. Sales is the typical process of convincing someone to make a purchase. Nonsales selling is what we do every single day in attempting to convince or influence others for an exchange to occur. For example, a physical therapist is clinically trained to convince hesitant people in pain to do exercises. A physical therapist has to sell the person, fairly quickly, on the belief that they will eventually feel better. If that’s not skillful selling, I don’t know what is. Yet physical therapists are very hesitant to participate in “sales.” The fear of being perceived as a salesperson is so strong, most therapists never move beyond it. As a result, many physical therapists do not adjust to the market. If we are not careful, we might not feel the paradigm shift until it’s too late.

How can you become an effective salesperson?

According to Dan, becoming an effective salesperson is as simple as ABC:


Attunement is the process by which we think like someone else—it is the cousin of empathy. I believe that attunement is a critical step in effective, genuine communication. As humans, most of us have a difficult enough time figuring out our own emotions, let alone “feeling” as someone else does. Thinking like someone else is only slightly less difficult. Skillful attunement to another human being’s thoughts and perceptions, when supplemented with empathy, can help us become relatable.

Buoyancy is the ability to keep going in the face of constant rejection. I relate business to baseball. If you are successful 30 percent of the time you will be in the Hall of Fame. You need to be able to strike out four times one day and look forward to getting another chance at bat the next day. Your ability to keep going through failures and rejections is critical. The journey to success always passes through the lessons of failures.

Clarity is the ability to wade through nonstop rhetoric, information, and problems. The information asymmetry means that most people have too much access to information. Your ability to guide them to the relevant information to solve their problem is crucial. If you and your customers are working to solve the wrong problems, then you are wasting precious time.

The ability to connect the ABCs will result in genuine connections and relationships.

Those relationships are what great customer experiences are based on. We are all consumers of something. We are all in sales. Don’t let yourself be the limiting factor because of preconceived notions of selling. Allow your customers to decide.

Can you feel the shift? Your customers can.

If you were unable to attend PPS Annual Conference, you can hear Dan on my podcast Therapy Insiders, where I interviewed him (available free on iTunes).


Gene Shirokobrod, PT, DPT, is an entrepreneur who began his career as a physical therapy clinician. He started Therapy Insiders Podcast, which grew into a top 100 show. Gene is also the cofounder of UpDoc Media, a digital marketing and content creation company as well as chief operating officer of TerraFlix, a GPS and video tech company. He can be reached at

The Basics


Performing a HIPAA risk assessment for a suspected breach.

By Paul J. Welk, JD, PT
October 2016

Most private practice physical therapists, even those who devote only limited time and attention to current events surrounding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), are aware of the risks associated with a breach of Protected Health Information (PHI) and the potential negative ramifications of the same. That being said, many of these individuals nonetheless believe they are “careful enough” that neither they nor their practice will ever need to assess a potential HIPAA breach. The purpose of this column is to illustrate that breaches do occur in private practice physical therapy offices with more frequency than practitioners might imagine and to review certain steps in the risk assessment process that are undertaken should an impermissible use or disclosure of PHI occur.

Mastering the Org Chart

By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

Does your physical therapy practice have an org chart (organizational chart)?

For those of you who do, your answer is probably something like, “Um, duh . . . how would I survive without one?!”

For those of you who don’t, your answer might be something like, “Hmm, I should probably read on.”

All teasing aside, if you don’t have an org chart, I don’t want to cause you panic, but I do want to be clear that you need one. No matter how large or small your practice is.

Org charts are critical to efficient business operation, and form the foundation for growth through clear delineation of responsibilities and reporting assignments. Furthermore, you will learn a ton about your business as you go through the exercise of building an org chart for your practice.

To highlight the importance of an org chart, imagine for a moment that you didn’t know to whom you were ultimately accountable within your business. You may have one direct supervisor, but maybe two or three. You’re not totally clear.

Perhaps when all appears to be working well, this may not seem to be much of an issue, but now take a scenario where performance falters. A productivity measure is unmet, a customer is unsatisfied, or financial stressors have made their way front and center. When performance breaks, somebody is going to be looking to hold staff accountable for resolving the issue. If you are the owner, that somebody is probably you.

But who is accountable?

An org chart is your road map. It’s a top-down and bottom-up chart that provides each member of your organization a direct reporting relationship to someone else within your company. The flow creates specific accountability in a simple, easy-to-understand format.

For managers, it provides clarity for whom they are responsible. For nonmanagers, it provides a clear hierarchy that allows them to understand to whom they are directly accountable.

I find good org charts to be in equal parts insightful, beautiful, and fun. Putting them together can be a challenge, but the end result is nothing short of an artistic (albeit quasi-corporate) overview of how your company works.

Follow these tips to create a simple and effective org chart for your physical therapy practice:

  • Start at the top. Somebody—possibly you—is ultimately responsible for the entire company. Place this person at the top. If it’s a board that governs your organization, place the board at the top. However or whoever your topmost responsibility is structured, determine next who reports directly to them. They will be your second-tier management structure in the org chart. Continue down the organization until all leadership roles are identified.
  • Respect the “one boss rule.” All (or at least most) within your organization should report only to one person. If you find that your org chart has a web of connections whereby one person reports to more than one supervisor, clean it up. This is usually a symptom of lack of clarity for those responsible for running the organization (this might be you!). With few exceptions, each member of your team should report only to one supervisor, and this will show through on your org chart.
  • Titles carry meaning. Your titles are meaningful; they should be succinct and accurate on your org chart. Making sure your team understands their titles, and the duties required of them, is critical to the creation of an org chart that works.
  • Be neat. I am a big believer in the mantra that “doing is better than perfect”; however, when it comes to an org chart, we are focusing on clarity. Clarity is facilitated by a clean, organized look that is professionally presented. Make sure that your final draft of your org chart is done in a software program that presents the chart clearly and can be easily updated and maintained.
  • Publish, publish, publish. You’ve got a beautiful org chart, but it is only as good as those who rely on it. Publish your org chart on your company’s intranet, bulletin board, or wherever else your employees consume company information. An org chart is a working, living document, and it should be easy to find for those who need to rely on it.

If you don’t have an org chart, commit to making one before the year is over. You will be amazed at the clarity it brings. If you do have one, get it updated and review the tips featured here to make sure it is ready for prime time as 2017 approaches.

vantage_TannusQuatre Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, lives at the intersection of physical therapy and entrepreneurship, spending his time helping physical therapists build and operate successful practices through his company, Vantage Clinical Solutions. He specializes in marketing, finance, and business planning, and authors and speaks regularly for the APTA and PPS. He can be reached at

Orthopedic Physical Therapy Services and Refresh Pilates and Wellness Studio

Helen Owens, PT, DPT, is the founder of Orthopedic Physical Therapy Services, LLC, and co-owner along with daughter Stephanie Owens-Burkhart, PT, DPT, CSCS founder of Refresh Pilates and Wellness Studio, LLC. Helen can be reached at orthopedic, and Stephanie can be reached at
Practice Location: Homer Glen, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago Tell us about your practice. The physical therapy practice was founded in 1984. Helen was the sole practitioner with a single receptionist for a number of years. As a manual therapist, with additional training in cranial sacral and myofascial release techniques, Helen guided the practice to primarily deal with orthopedic dysfunction with a niche practice in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and head and neck dysfunction. In 1989, she and her husband, a chiropractor, built a large office building where she and Stephanie continue to share space with his separate chiropractic practice. Interestingly, Helen’s son is now a practicing chiropractor with his father. This is a unique family owned and operated wellness business. In 2012, the building next to the office became available and Stephanie, a new doctor of physical therapy graduate, also trained in comprehensive Pilates for rehabilitation through Polestar Pilates, opened a studio. Since inception she has expanded to include four additional Pilates instructors, two yoga instructors, and a massage therapist. She sees her physical therapy patients at this location as well where she too specializes in manual therapy, TMJ, and head and neck, cranial sacral, and myofascial release techniques. She has further added functional movement screening, dry needling, strength and conditioning, pre- and postnatal care with pelvic floor rehabilitation, and specialty Pilates for golfers and equestrians. Describe your average day. Helen sees patients three days per week and manages the practices on the other days. Today the practice employs three physical therapists, three physical therapist assistants, an office manager, and a biller. Pat, the office manager, has been with the practice for 24 years and has been an asset to the success of the practice. Stephanie sees patients five days per week and teaches one or two Pilates classes per day. The group classes are performed on the Reformer and are limited to 10 participants. Private and semi-private classes are also offered. Stephanie has developed specialty classes for spine care and restorative Pilates that include patients as they transition from formal physical therapy into a home program. Patients have reported comfort in having an instructor who is their physical therapist and therefore feel that their condition is understood, allowing them to exercise without fear of re-injury. One of the physical therapist assistants is also Pilates trained and oversees the evening Pilates classes. Describe your business philosophy: Treat every person with kindness and provide the best personalized care possible. We try to go the extra mile and let clients know they can count on us even when not actively under our care. Our clients are our best referral source. Best learning experiences since the inception of the practice: Health care has changed considerably since the start of our private practice and having a niche practice has been advantageous to our growth. The addition of the Wellness Studio has provided a needed community business as well as a cash-based revenue source in the ever-changing picture of insurance reimbursement for private practice. Benefits of Private Practice Section (PPS) membership: The high caliber of professionals that contribute to the PPS shows their passion about the success of private practice. They are unselfish in sharing their expertise. PPS’s resources and educational sessions help us as a small private practice stay connected to the constant changes of the health care industry. New opportunities planned for the year: We plan to continue to expand the Wellness Studio and offer more community workshops to educate the public on the benefits of private practice physical therapy. We would like to expand into the youth fitness through Pilates and yoga to prevent sports injuries and combat childhood obesity.

Choosing a President


How will your choice affect your business?

By Jerry Connolly, PT, CAE
October 10, 2016

The conventions of the national political parties have come and gone and a historic presidential election approaches. It has been a tumultuous primary season with results that few predicted; a political outsider as the candidate of the usually more traditional GOP, and the first woman as the nominee of a major political party.

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