Dr. Troy Dreiling is a licensed chiropractor who operates Zenaptic Chiropractic in Vancouver, Washington.
The following is our interview with “Dr. Troy.”
What inspired you to become a chiropractor?
Great question! Well, it all started when I was 11 years old. I had a three wheeler accident where I went off a jump, landed on my back onto the concrete. It knocked the wind right out of me, I literally thought I was going to die because I couldn’t breathe.
The next day I couldn’t stand up straight and my grandmother’s neighbor said, “you need to go to a chiropractor”, so my parents took me to one. It was an old school chiropractor, orange carpet, shag, wood paneling, the x-ray room was super cold. He X-rayed me and told me I had a misalignment in my spine, he started adjusting me and within 4 weeks I got full use of my spine back.
I never thought about chiropractic until I got into high school. I was playing football and hurt my shoulder real bad taking a tackle. My friend said, “you have to go see my chiropractor”. I went to see him and within about a month I got full use of my shoulder back.
About that time I was thinking, what am I going to do with my life. My grandfather asked me what I was going to do and I told him I didn’t know. He told me I should be a pharmacist and I said okay. I went to Oregon State University, thank God for out of state tuition, I didn’t become a pharmacist.
I said I was going to be a physical therapist because I thought that is what chiropractic was. I went to Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. I was competitively body building and wouldn’t you know it I was doing some deadlifts one day and I stirred up that three wheeler accident from 10 years prior.
I went to a chiropractor in Cheney, Washington. I was laying on his table and he was getting ready to adjust me. He asked me what I was studying and I told him physical therapy at Eastern. He got upset with me and told me I should be a chiropractor and not a physical therapist and explained the benefits being your own doctor, not needing referrals, you’re primary care, and it sounded great to me. That is what I have been looking for.
He encouraged me to go to chiropractic school, that is what I did. Once I was in chiropractic school, I found out it was bigger than back and neck pain. I had a chronic sinus issue my entire life. Severe sinus attacks, headaches, sneezing attacks, all through chiropractic school. It wasn’t until my second quarter in chiropractic school that I decided to go and get my spine checked and adjusted every week. I did just that and within two months my ten-year-old sinus issue cleared up.
I said this is amazing, and that is really what got me into chiropractic. My personal experience. I figured if my lower back, shoulder and sinus problems could get help through chiropractic adjustments then I can do that for the world.
How do you make money?
How do we make money? That is an awesome question.
The biggest thing is, we provide awesome service to people who are suffering and in exchange for that they pay us for our services. Zig Ziglar always said, “if you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want”.
My mission has always been to keep care affordable so people can get regular chiropractic care. Taking care of people, making sure they are comfortable and feel good, they will come back and use your services. That’s how we’ve stayed in business for 21 years.
How long did it take you to become profitable?
When I first started there was a chiropractor that lived right next to my office, he used to stop by and say hi. He knew I was new and he told me it was going to take me about 5 years to really get solid. He told me I wouldn’t have any downturn and that I would never have to worry about money again. He was right.
The first 2-3 years it was a struggle and a challenge, but we kept on going. I knew we were on the right path. After about 5 years we never really had to stress too much about taking care of people, making money, keeping our overhead covered. Once we hit that 5-year mark it was game on.
Was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle it?
When I first started we built our own office and there were a few issues with the construction. We were opening on a Saturday and I remember thinking, how are we going to do this? We stayed up all night, put a fresh coat of paint on the office, did some finishing touches, and the next morning it was game on, the door was open.
We worked around the clock to make it happen. We said we have to do this and we’re not going to say quit and we didn’t. We knew that once we had a mission and ours was, we got to get this open, we put our heads down went to work and it worked.
I think determination, drive, and focus are the key to making sure that things go out right.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customer actually came from my parents. They were doing a home loan and mentioned I just graduated from chiropractic school and said that they were sure I would do a home visit. The lady called me up, she had insurance; I remember thinking, my first insurance case! I took my portable table, went to her house a few times, adjusted her, she had a great response and I just knew I was on track with taking care of people.
What is one marketing strategy other than referrals do you use that work really well for generating new business?
One of the strategies that I use, it’s on video, an old timer said W.O.C. which stands for whip out card!
When I first started in business I had 3,000 cards made and on the back it would say “My Card”. I would go up to somebody and ask them if they had a card? They would say yes and give it to me. I would then ask them if they had my card, when they said no I would give it to them and when I did it would say “My Card” on the back so they remembered me.
I remember 10 years into practice this guy came up to me and said, “you gave me your My Card 10 years ago, I still have it and now I need your help”.
So, handing out cards, W.O.C., whip out card, I think is really the biggest thing for me.
What is the toughest decision you have had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision is if you have somebody who is on your team and is a nice person but they just aren’t carrying their weight. That’s probably the toughest thing you have to do is to let somebody who is nice and who is friendly go but is really not carrying their weight in helping serve the needs of your patients.
That’s really the priority of our office, take care of our patients. If you have issues and needs, address those outside of our clinic time, our adjustment time. We are here to serve people and you have to put your best foot forward. If not, we don’t let them on our team because people’s time and money are valuable and we want to give them the best possible service.
What do you think it is t0 that makes you successful?
Looking back over the last 21 years, people say I am just lucky, but I really think that after just listening to people and listening to my own heart, is the drive. The drive being somebody is suffering and I know I can help get them better.
There are thousands of people out there suffering and something gets me up in the morning to just help. I guess it’s because I have been helped so I look at my story and say, those guys were there to help me.
There are people out there taking medications or getting surgery that many times can be averted by using chiropractic care. That is the drive and focus, to help get sick people well.
What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?
The future of our business is looking bright. With Obamacare, healthcare, and peoples deductibles going up, their coverage is going down. They can’t go to their traditional doctor anymore, they need an alternative.
That’s what’s cool about chiropractic, it’s an alternative to what’s out there. Our business is unique in the fact that it is a technology of healing that nobody else is trained in. Even the young chiropractic kids getting out of school today, they don’t teach them this lost art of healing, the technology of health.
Every day I am in the office we get people who call that are new patients who have heard about us, our technology and they want to check it out for themselves.
I don’t see a downturn in our business, I see more and more people running towards chiropractic to help them restore their health and their function.
What business books have inspired you?
The first book that I read, without putting down, was Harvey Mackays “How To Swim With The Sharks”. It was a great book on business, so I dove into that.
Then I got into Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Earl Nightingale, Mark Victor Hansen, Norman Vincent Peale. A lot of other different, amazing, motivational speakers. I kind of got into the motivational circuit.
I guess the biggest guy that really inspired me is Zig Ziglar. I would listen to his stuff, love his stuff. I actually met him one day and he said he wanted to be a chiropractor which I thought was cool. Obviously, he didn’t become a chiropractor.
There are a lot of great books that I have come across over the years!