The things that will make the difference
(that no one tells us)
The thing that I found the most frustrating when I finished my therapy training and quit my lovely well-paid safe job to set up my own therapy business, is the stuff they didn’t tell me in my therapy training.
Stuff like how to find clients who would actually pay for my services, how to market myself and how to do the business stuff. I mean how much should I spend on a website, what are ‘good’ images to use, should I put my prices on my website, should I stand at trade shows and offer freebies? How do I boost my SEO, what on earth is my USP, how do I stand out in a saturated market and how do I connect with people who want my services without it costing me a fortune.
You see, I was a pretty great therapist, my training made sure of that, but it didn’t show me how to attract clients, how to fill my diary and how to replace that corporate income I had just given up.
I struggled so long because of that lack of knowledge but luckily I found someone to teach me (of course that was the lovely Emma Holmes from Rebels and Rockstars) and now I spend my days helping therapists fill that knowledge gap so that they don’t have to struggle to create the business they dream of.
So, let’s take a look at something that will make the difference to your therapy business (that no one ever tells us).
1. You don’t have to spend a fortune before you start
Websites, business cards, branding, adverts, leaflets, registration, insurance, CPD – it all can cost a fortune and all before you’ve even seen a client.
However, all you really need to get started is a business name and a Facebook page; both of which are free. All the other stuff can wait until you have clients coming in and money in the bank.
Don’t start your business in debt because it’s stressful and it brings a negative feeling to your business.
Start with the essentials and then have a wish list of what will come next.
2. If you don’t sell, people can’t buy
As therapists we are TERRIBLE at selling our therapy skills.
We don’t like to offer guarantees, we tell clients we need to chat to them to work out how many sessions they will need, we don’t like to tell them we can fix their issue and as such it makes clients nervous about spending money with you.
Imagine going to a garage and the repair person telling you they need to get it on the ramps to have an idea, but then it might be more depending on what they find when they’re there and even then they might not be able to fix it. You’re really not going to want to leave your car there, right?
Well, clients feel the same. Offering packages of sessions works better than selling single sessions, if you don’t know how many sessions it will take why should a client trust you’re not just going to say 12 and if you can’t tell them it works for their thing, then why will they ever book up.
You don’t need to offer promises but you need confidence in your skills. Do you know it usually takes 4 sessions to help with anxiety or 3 months to help with fertility? Does your therapy work in most cases? Have you helped loads of people with their problem? Then you need to tell them. Therapy selling works much better (i.e. clients are more likely to say yes and pay).
Also, you need to talk about how people can work with you. Don’t assume they will go off and search your website for what you offer as they probably won’t.
Talk about it in your social media, share testimonials of people you’ve worked with before and show them that you can help with their thing.
3. Opening/starting a business isn’t enough, you have to show them the way
I’ve posted on Facebook and no one booked up.
I hear this ALL the time. Facebook and social media are great places to be as a business. You can talk about your business for free, you can connect with people through videos, you can share stuff they will love and find helpful BUT social media is only the first step. If that’s the only place you are spending your time then you are going to struggle to get clients booked in.
Think of marketing your business as a journey that leads clients to your diary; social media is the first step but it’s still a big leap to your diary.
Your website, blogging, videos, a freebie and a mailing list are all important to get in place as well. Having these means clients can find you in more than one place, get to know, like and trust you, try your therapy skills before they buy and know that you are the right person to help them. Only then will they decide to pay for your services and book into your diary.
4. In a saturated sea of therapists you need to be the lighthouse
There are SO many therapists and new ones training every day so how do you stand out so clients choose you?
Well, firstly you stop chasing them – no more discounts, offers, in fact nothing for free. Your skills and talents are worth every penny you charge so show them. Share testimonials, connect with them through videos, talk to them through your marketing like you’re having a chat, make them see that you understand.
Then make sure you are doing something different. I look at a LOT of therapist’s websites and I the thing I notice is how similar they are. It’s the same if you look at entries in a therapy directory. How is a client supposed to choose when everyone is saying the same thing.
Choose different images, don’t blind them with a list of your qualifications, remind them how wonderful life could be if they got help with their thing. And most importantly – BE YOU. Show up, let them feel like they know you before they even get in touch. Don’t ever apologise for the therapist you are.
There are clients out there looking for you right now, you just need to shine your light so that they can find you.
5. Without a clear message you can’t fill your diary
Now, this is my secret weapon so use it wisely!
When therapists get this right, magic things happen in there business. You can’t fill your diary if you’re telling everyone that you can help with everything. If you try then no one hears anything. In order for people to stop and read more you need to grab their attention. You do this by talking to them about the thing they are struggling with. So, if you’re talking about weight loss one day and stress the next then the chances are that your message is getting lost and clients aren’t noticing what you have to say but if you choose one thing, let’s choose pain, and talk about that all the time then people will notice.
You don’t just need to tell them you can help with pain either. You need to talk to them about how their pain is affecting them. What’s it stopping them doing, how is making them feel, how is it affecting their thinking, their sleeping, their relationships? Now, yes you can make them feel better but they probably don’t believe they can ever feel better, they might have tried everything to feel better, they might have been told they can never feel better so you need to remind them what ‘better’ looks like. What will they be able to do, feel, have, that they can’t do now? How will life be? How will it affect their marriage, their job, their time with the kids? And then show them that you have helped other people just like them by sharing testimonials so they see that you are the real deal.
Connecting with how people are feeling right now makes them stop and want to read more, showing them how life could be without their thing offers them hope, showing them that you are the way they get from A to B is how you need to be selling your therapy skills and then clients see that you’re the real deal and want to work with you.
^^^^ this is the secret to filling your diary.
Lovely therapist, you’ve done your training, you have the ability to heal and transform lives.
Don’t let a lack of clients ever make you feel like you’re doing something wrong because you’re not.
All you need to do is learn to sell your therapy talents and fill your diary in a way that allows you to stand out in a saturated market and shine and sadly that’s not something they teach in therapy training but don’t worry because I’ve got your back.
I love Sarah’s work – assisting and supporting therapists to make a sustainable business from their training, skills and talents. So often therapists have stacks of support in developing their therapy skills but there’s not enough valuable input into the development of their business. Sarah plugs that gap and ensures therapists have all the skills they need in order to get AND keep their diaries full…..