It Is Not Because They Want Physical Therapy

By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

What do you sell? Do you sell physical therapy? How about exercise? Education? Yeah, kind of. However, it is not why our customers buy.

Digging deeper, our clients are buying “the ability to do something.” The ability to live life. The ability to lift the grandkids. The ability to run a marathon.

And there is a distinct difference between selling “physical therapy” and selling a marathon. Marathons mean something to those who run them. It is a life accomplishment. It is an identity. Physical therapy means something to physical therapists. It is our identity.

Our clients do not buy physical therapy because they want physical therapy. They buy it because they want to do their thing—whatever that thing is. Knowing this should shape our approach to our communities, and our approach to our services. Both approaches should have plenty of focus, which is not on physical therapy.

Ready for some tips?

  • Take a look at your marketing materials. Do they focus primarily on your credentials, training, and services, or do they focus on what you have done to get your clients back to doing what they love? Do you use generic marketing language to sell your services or do you let client testimonials do most of your selling for you?
  • Take a seat in your waiting room. As you look around, do you see evidence of the work you do in the lives of your community? On your walls, do you see newspaper articles about those you have helped in your community? Do you see jerseys signed by the local sports teams you have served?
  • Browse your website. Is it focused on your staff, services, and location, or does it highlight the lives of those you serve in your community? If you removed all the content (leaving only the images behind), would you appeal to your target clientele, or would you look like every medical clinic and hospital in your area?
  • Read the last 10 social media posts from your clinic. Is it a one-way conversation sharing evidence that supports physical therapy, or is it an engaging back and forth between your brand and the members of your community? Are you sharing stories about the active lives in your community who represent your value, or are you sharing information about yourself?

I hate to break it to you (and me), but we became physical therapists because we love physical therapy. Those we serve love themselves, their families, and their lives. Physical therapy is a means to an end, and the sooner we focus our message on what physical therapy does (and not what it is), the sooner our communities will choose us first.


Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, is a physical therapist and entrepreneur dedicated to improving the profession through innovative business and marketing solutions. His work can be seen in such projects as PT Pub Night® and He is president of Vantage Clinical Solutions and can be reached at

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

Are you a PPS Member?
Please sign in to access site.
Enter Site!