Over the years, I have used a variety of straight-forward statistics to guide my practice building efforts and to evaluate the success of various strategies. As a tool for guidance, statistics help in two ways. First they help clarify the energy needed to produce the result desired. Secondly, they put boundaries on the large, undifferentiated, and, therefore, sometimes overwhelming project to building a Rolfing practice.
As a tool for evaluation, they statistics clarify what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes, this results in doing more of what works and not doing what doesn’t’ work and sometimes in modifying what has not worked so that it does work.
If some of these particular statistics seem appealing as a tool, or if they stimulate ideas for other measurements, give them a try. I offer two cautions: if you have not thought this way before, be disciplined about it for a while, give yourself a chance to get used to a modest increment of precision in this area, and give it time to pay-off. Second, use these statistics to guide you, but be alert to their using you by becoming a vehicle for self-flagellation.
Set a Caseload Goal
Rolfers, as well as other service providers, often do not set clear targets for the number of people we will see per week. Doing this is a starting point in adding more vigor to your practice-building efforts through using numbers. How many sessions per week and sessions per year are you committed to doing? This is a different number, perhaps, from how many sessions you would like to do. Without a clear target of this sort, you open the door to drift.
Track Weekly Enrollment
Having a weekly caseload target determines an average weekly enrollment needed. If you plan toRolf twenty clients per week, you need to enroll two new clients per week on the average or the equivalent of twenty sessions worth of clients in some mix of new clients and post-10 clients. If a client drops out before completing the series, subtract .7 or .5 or whatever from your accumulation of new clients that week
Track Your Post-10 Practice
Calculate the percentage of your weekly caseload that consists of post-10 clients and track the change in this percentage over time. Target a percentage of growth per year in post- 10 clients. If you emphasize post-10 work (See ROLF LINES, May/ June 1990, p.30), target an annual increase in post-10 clients equal to 5-10 percent of your weekly caseload. In other words, in your second year of practice, if 5% of your caseload per week consists of post-10 clients, or one sessions per week average in a 20 session per week caseload, target for an average of two post-10 clients per week in the third year of your practice. One client signing up for a three-session mini-series, plus one client signing up for a single session generate four sessions or 20% of a twenty-session per week caseload and, of course, reduces your need to generate new clients by the same amount.
Track Results of Free Sessions
We (Rolfing Associates, Inc.of So. Burlington) have made good use of free introductory sessions as part of a strategy of reaching potential referents among health and mental health service providers and key personnel at health clubs. We are encouraged to pursue this strategy for several reasons including the tracking we did of the percentage of these people who come by invitation for a free first session who themselves go on to complete the entire Rolfing series.
You can also gauge the effort needed to produce a given result in this area in this way Total the number of calls you make in a week to any given population, e.g. psychotherapists, to invite them to learn about Rolfing by experiencing a first session as a professional courtesy. Include in this count the messages you leave on answering machines and with receptionists. Calculate the number of people per week with whom you actually speak person-to-person and whom you have a chance to invite for a Session #1. What percentage say,”Yes?? What percentage of these continue with the series? How do these percentages change over time? When you are done, you will know how many times per week you need to dial the phone to produce a new client in this way, and you will have much information and results about building referral sources.
How Do Clients Find You?
For a period of time, ask each new client how he/she came to know of you and of Rolfing. How long had this person known about Rolfing before finally beginning the process? In what ways had they obtained information about Rolfing, that is, a demonstration, discussion with a friend, or an advertisement. What precipitated their finally making an appointment?
We did this at Rolfing Associates, Inc. for fifty clients and learned some useful facts. I published the results of this simple, self-study in ROLF LINES a couple years ago. We also noted whether we initiated the contact that led to a first session, for example by calling someone whose name a client had given us, or whether the client initiated the call. The results were instructive.
Track Results of Practice Building Activities
Evaluate how well each of your practice-building efforts works. If you give demonstrations, take time to notiice what strategies produce larger attendance and what strategies produce higher enrollments. Does it make a difference if you offer those attending a free first session, a 50% discount on the price of a first session if they enroll right away, or no incentive at all?
What return do you get on a mail/ phone campaign to massage therapists or physical therapists, sending them literature, offering them a free first session, and so on? Some strategies, notably print advertisement, are harder to evaluate. Try to get a sense of their impact, anyway.
In six-month increments, track your experience with clients who do not complete the ten-session series. How many clients left before completing the series over a six-month period and what percentage was this of all the clients you worked with during that time? Is your drop-out rate changing over time? After what sessions do clients leave? See if there is a cluster of drop-outs at certain point and use that information for yourself. Has the point of drop-out, as well as the percentage, changed over time? What reasons do clients give for dropping out and what reasons do you see? Categorize these two sets of reasons, count the number in each category, compare the match between client assessment and your assessment and see what you learn.
Have It Be Fun
Learn from all this and be energized by it. Have your practice building efforts be part of your work as a Rolfer, not a burdensome necessity, and view these statistical devices as tools for your growth as an effective Rolfer.Statistics for Practice Building