Word of mouth marketing is critical for growth today.

I wrote a post last week on the topic of getting people to talk about you (word of mouth marketing) but I believe it deserves more attention.

Most practices are so involved with treating and paperwork that they completely neglect the importance of getting patients to talk about them to family and friends.

The top three reasons patients don’t talk about you are:

  1. You’re not passionate about what you do.
  2. They don’t know all the ailments you treat.
  3. You never instructed them to talk about you.

People can get “physical therapy” anywhere. They can get “one-on-one” attention, “hands-on” care, and many other things anywhere. What they can’t get anywhere is YOU. You and your people are the only things they can’t get anywhere else. Make the most of this by training your staff to be the BEST they can be while representing your organization. Take advantage of this unique fact and exploit it. Start training. Train like you’ve never trained before. You can’t become the best in anything without training. Just ask those that ARE the best. But before all this, it starts with you.

“Without passion you become boring and palatable at best.”



  • “If I’m good, people will talk about me.”
  • “I don’t want to tell patients to talk about me. That’s kind of arrogant.”

Word of mouth marketing is a complex skill. Most practice owners do not effectively build upon this important channel in their practice.

“Word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t happen by chance or simply because you are good with your hands.”


Be wary of:

  • Creating disposable patients. If you don’t become good at word of mouth marketing, you will have to go out every 4-6 weeks searching for more new souls to feed your practice. This is too rampant within our industry.

The Solution

Approach your work with passion. Make it about the work. At the same time, do a few little things EXTRA. Go a step beyond. It’s in the small inches, that determine the difference between 1st and 2nd. Most pro athletes know this, olympic athletes know this, the best in the world know this. Everyone will remember the first place winner, and talk about them.

Do the little things that no other practice is doing, or even thinking of. Such as:

  1. Look patients in the eyes.
  2. Say their name as often as possible.
  3. Cut out the “fluff” stuff (like heat/ice, US, EMS, and so on…)
  4. Offer water in the lobby.
  5. Track their progress and inform them each and every session.
  6. Put posters on your wall that promote your services, programs, and packages.
  7. Also, put posters or signs on the wall that send the message you are affordable and effective. People are more likely to refer their family if they know you are affordable.


word of mouth marketing
Word of Mouth Marketing

Get this poster for your office!

More advanced “inches”:

  1. Train your staff on words to use and NOT use. Words are very powerful.
  2. Train your staff to “touch” and use a lot of tactile cueing.
  3. Hand out resource sheets so patients learn something new each session. Have your staff create them during downtime. Very valuable.
  4. Apply “fast-acting” techniques. Get them to think, “Wow!”.
  5. Make it all about performance enhancement. Determine the specific activity the patient wants to be able to accomplish and never deviate from that. Passionately approach their program to reach their goal, not yours. Research on other types of treatments that can help. Offer or point them toward assistive devices and tools that will might help them. Don’t stay within your own current knowledge base, expand upon it. I know some insurances won’t pay you for this extra time so train an aide or administrative assistant and have it be become a regular part of their role.

The more you follow, of the above outline, the more people will start talking about you. Begin today, don’t wait. Then come to the Private Practice Secrets conference coming up for the last 8 steps (very advanced). Hope to see you soon!



James Ko, PT/Founder



More resources:

-How to renew your passion. The Private Practice Secrets course has a section called “Big Inspirations”, it will renew your passion for therapy again!

-Reduce paperwork and day-to-day inefficiencies. “Automation Course” by IndeFree

-How to train your staff for maximum growth. “Team and Front Desk Training” by IndeFree

-The clinical secrets to getting patients to bring in family and friends.  “Clinical Excellence” by IndeFree


Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them below.

About the Author James Ko

James Ko is the lead instructor and founder of IndeFree. He's a physical therapist of over 20 years and have owned 7 private practices and is launching a national chain. He's worked with some of the world's most celebrated athletes, actresses, and X-Game competitors. More importantly, he knows what it's like to fail and succeed. He enjoys reading James Patterson and Nicolas Sparks, and likes to golf, play the guitar and practice martial arts. He loves playing with my Mac and Cozy most of all!

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