family thanksgiving dinner

‘Tis the Season to Extend Your Outreach

(Updated 2020 in the midst of the pandemic!)

Who hires you to be their advocate?

It’s rarely one person who decides to hire you. No matter who your usual target audiences are – seniors, the elderly, adult children, parents…. the answer today is that families and loved ones come together to consider hiring an advocate for a loved one when they recognize that loved one is having challenges related to their health and medical care.

  • Spouse discusses the idea with sick spouse.
  • Adult son discusses the idea with sister to hire an advocate for parent.
  • Brother considers hiring an advocate for brother – or sister for sister or another combination of siblings.
  • Friend recommends an advocate to very sick friend.

But here’s the important part: They only have this discussion if they know advocates exist to help out to begin with! So that’s the focus here – to let families know you are available.

Now – at what time of year do families tend to spend more time together than any other time? Of course – the end-of-the-year holidays. Thanksgiving, Hannukkah (or, in 2013, Thanksgivakkah), Christmas, New Years….

This year, daughter will realize that elderly mom just can’t cook one more Thanksgiving dinner. Older mother will realize that daughter who lives across the country just can’t fly home each time Dad has another “episode.” Sister will discuss with sister-in-law her brother’s heart condition and their fear that he may have another heart attack.

One of our marketing best practices is that “timing is everything.” So how can you leverage the knowledge that so many families will spend time together over the next six weeks to put yourself and your capabilities to help them in front of as many families as possible?

A simple, inexpensive, proactive marketing task:

  • Make a list of things you can do in general that families will take interest in (counsel on advance directives, oversee safety by sitting by a bedside, review Dad’s medical bills, etc).
  • Make a list of 1-2 dozen families you know could use your services, and pull together their postal mailing addresses.
  • Get yourself a supply of inexpensive Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas cards to send them.
  • Write a personal note that addresses their needs – generally (don’t get too specific because it may make them uncomfortable). Example,

As your family comes together this holiday season, you may find yourself discussing health and medical care challenges. If you have questions about topics such as hospitalization, or healthcare proxies, or even just discussing how to get the most from a doctor visit or reports on the outcomes of those visits, please feel free to give me a call. I’d be happy to help out.

  • Include your business card in the greeting card so they’ll realize this is a friendly offer – but a business offer, too. If you have a well-written brochure, throw that in, too.

Then put them in the mail, of course. The sooner you send them, the better chance they will arrive before the family does, (or that the family comes together through Zoom!) and the better chance this little piece of marketing advice will work.

While you’re waiting for the phone to ring, decide how you’ll handle the calls you get. Will you call on them in person? Will you give them 15 minutes on the phone? Practice asking for the contract.

Even if the phone never rings, you will have sparked their conversation. It may not be fruitful for months, but just like planting Fall bulbs so you can enjoy beautiful daffodils and tulips in the spring, these marketing efforts will have been worth your time during the holiday season.

I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving, and your phone plenty of minutes for you to handle all those calls.


MASTER LIST OF PRACTICE RESOURCES | LEARN ABOUT APHA MEMBERSHIP | REASONS PATIENTS NEED ADVOCATES


 

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