Three therapists went into a bar…no wait… wrong story.
Three therapists tried marketing activities but their phones weren’t ringing. I’d like to share their stories and my thoughts about why they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Then I’ll give you my input about what actions they can take to improve their results and attract more clients.
1. “Networking doesn’t work” claimed Jennifer, a marriage and family therapist.
“I went to a Chamber of Commerce meeting, talked to several people but, no referrals.” Because of her lack of success, Jennifer stopped attending the meetings after 3 visits.
My input: The purpose of networking isn’t to get referrals. It is to build relationships that will lead to referrals. Think about it for a
minute. Would you refer your clients, friends or family members to someone you just met a couple of times causally at a meeting? Especially for something as important as therapy? Not likely.
If Jennifer enjoys meeting new people, then networking might be a great place to build those relationships that will lead to referrals. Getting to know people better at the meeting might help Jennifer to build those deeper relationships needed before the referrals come in. I would encourage Jennifer to invite some of these people out for coffee to learn about their businesses and to build deeper relationships with them.
2. “Speaking doesn’t work to get counseling clients” said Carol, a psychologist.
“I have given five (yes, five!) talks at the local women’s shelter on a variety of topics – and nothing – not even an inquiry call.”
My input: I admire Carol quite a bit. She is consistent in her marketing and she gives back to the community. But from a marketing plan point of view, there are two problems with Carol’s outreach. First, she is speaking on so many different topics that most likely she won’t be memorable.
To become memorable as a speaker, it is often a good idea to have a ‘signature talk’ or set of talks around an issue or theme. When program directors or potential clients think about the topic, your name will come to mind.
The second reason Carol’s marketing strategy isn’t working is – you guessed it – her choice of venue. This shelter has several speakers a week and Carol is not highlighted. Further, the women there are given no-charge counseling while they are at the shelter. When they leave, they are directed to community resources for continuation of free or low-cost counseling.
Carol, who has a for-profit practice (and expensive office rent to pay) may be better served speaking for groups where the participants have more discretionary income.
Of course, I do encourage therapists to give back to the community. If Carol feels called to speak at the shelter to support these women, I heartily encourage it. I would advise her, however, to develop her marketing plan by broadening her choice of speaking venues if she is looking to increase her income.
3. “Social Media doesn’t work to get clients. I am on Twitter every day and my phone is not ringing,” said David. I could hear the frustration in his voice. He was working so hard.
My input: I admire David’s dedication and he actually brings up a great point. Many therapists are reporting similar results.
Twitter is a tool that can help therapists with branding. It can help people get to know more about your practice.
But the question is, “Are people on Twitter for the purpose of finding a therapist?” As I write this, I think the answer is no although I can see that might change in the future.
Before looking at social media to attract clients, I strongly encourage therapists to make sure they have covered the basics. Make sure you have:
A. A client-attractive website that shows how much you care about and understand the pain your potential client has. Advanced features can include a compassionate welcome video and an online appointment scheduler.
B. Community referral sources who know you and respect you and who are likely to be in contact with your ideal clients. Like all relationships, referral relationships take time to build. They need frequent attention and focus. One causal meeting does not a referral partner make!
C. Speaking opportunities to audiences filled with your ideal clients. Even better, have a feedback mechanism/process to invite them into your practice. Make it easy for audience members to become clients.
Jennifer, Carol and David are all on the leading edge of therapists in that they understand they need to market their practices. With some slight adjustments, I predict their marketing with start producing the results they want – more clients and more money.
Now – your turn: (I look forward to reading your comments below!)
Where do you find your marketing is not producing the results you want?
After thoughtful consideration, why do you think that is?
What actions steps might you take to improve your results?
Don’t quit before the miracle! There are people out there who need you and your services. Help them find you.
As always, I am holding the vision for you.
Love and blessings,