The question I get asked most by fellow therapists is, “How can I attract clients?”.
Not being able to attract clients is not a reflection on the ability of the therapist. Quite the contrary, there are many highly skilled therapists of all disciplines, from counselling, psychotherapy, coaching, complimentary therapy, massage, hypnotherapy and acupuncture, who hit a stumbling block around how to market themselves.
This is understandable since as therapists we are trained in our therapy – it is only when we set up our therapy practice that we realise that we need to be business people and marketers too.
However, there are some very simple and inexpensive things a therapist can do to begin marketing themselves and attract clients. The first step is to get business cards made. This is essential.
I know there are many therapists out there who have been working for thirty years already who do not have business cards, but they have already built up a name for themselves in their local area – it is a different story if you are starting out now when there is significantly more competition.
Business cards, brochures and postcards do not help you attract clients unless they are actually put in places where prospective clients might be looking. So they are no good in your handbag or desk draw!
I’d like to attract just a few new clients..
If you are looking for just a few new clients then putting your business cards on noticeboards in supermarkets, health food shops, pharmacies, therapy centers and libraries, in your local area, should help you achieve this.
I’m keen to attract 8 or more clients..
For those of you looking to attract eight or more clients per week, then approaching referral sources and asking them to refer their clients to you, will be key. Referral sources are often professionals in related disciplines whose customers are a perfect match for your knowledge, skills and the services you offer.
I know what you are going to say, “That’s all well and good about approaching referral sources but I feel nervous about approaching them and I don’t know what to say when I see them..!”
Developing confidence in talking about your services to referral sources is a skill and something I often mentor therapists with. I will be addressing how to identify, approach and talk to referral sources so you obtain referrals in my online client attraction course (find out more below!).
A friendly first referral source to approach is your own doctor. This can help build your confidence if you are new to talking about your services. The next step is to identify key referral sources who have clients who have issues that you have specialist knowledge in working with.
For instance, if your area of specialist knowledge is sports massage then your ideal referral source is likely to be a personal trainer or manager of a sports team. Likewise if, like me, you offer fertility counseling or coaching, then acupuncturists who work with fertility issues are a perfect referral source for you to approach.
Building strong relationships with a few key referral sources will help bring a steady flow of clients to your practice.
I’d like to attract enough clients for a full time practice…
Of course, the internet is a very important way of letting potential clients know about your services. In this day and age having a website for your business is a necessity not a luxury especially if you want to build a full time practice.
Getting your website found by clients generally involves optimizing your website for search engines like Google, advertising via Google Adwords or on social media like Facebook.
The benefit of this approach to marketing is that it is more direct, because done correctly, you can ensure that your website gets found by those who are searching for your specific services exactly at the moment they are searching for them.
For those therapists wanting to build a full time practice, I would recommend investing your time and money into get your services found by prospective clients searching online.