Transcript: How to Get Clients in Challenging Times
Welcome to How to Get Clients in Challenging Times. Today, I’m going to cover my top seven ways to get clients in challenging times including the single most important thing you can do to thrive in hard times, how to leverage fear and anxiety to sell your practice, what you need to do to have a successful practice, all of which you can do for free doesn’t cost anything, how to design a marketing campaign that works, the single most effective marketing activity that you can do to get clients quick, which is important when you’re starting out or you see your practice dipping, how to be irresistible to your prospective clients, and how to get a new client today, guaranteed today.
This is a big agenda, and I have every confidence we will be covering it. So let’s just launch into it. In the study guide, I’ve included some extra information here especially I’d like you to take a look at an article that I published recently called Hard Times for Private Practice: I Don’t Think So and Here’s Why. And that article was written in response to a specific inquiry I received from someone who was having a hard time in their practice. And it really got me thinking and it really got me going, so I published that article. And then I continued to hear from private practice professionals, who are really struggling in today’s economic times, where we have the housing boom and bust and then the mortgage crisis and the stock market crash. It seems like things are falling down all around us and businesses seems to be drying up. I proposed that that is an illusion.
So, as an introduction, I would like to share with you a little known fact about me, there’s probably, oh, I’d say less than a handful, less than five people in the whole world that know this about me and I’m going to share it with you right now, which is, I’m fascinated by the stock market. I’m fascinated by people’s relationship with money and economic behavior and money on a macro level the way it acts with the stock market. I’m a stock market follower and investor. I invest in the stock market. I have done it for years. It’s been kind of a hobby. And the reason I tell you this is because there’s a truism among investors that the way to make money is to buy low and sell high and nobody would disagree with that. Yes, the way to make money is to buy low and sell high. However, it’s also true that the majority of investors don’t do this. This is the way to make money in the stock market buy low and sell high, yet most people that invest in the stock market don’t do it.
Why? It’s perplexing to me? Why? Why are so many people losing money in the stock market? Why do they not buy low and sell high? It seemed so simple. Well, here’s why. It has to do with the role of fear and greed. Fear comes to play when people are afraid that they might lose their money, so they sell rather than hold on to something that has value to it and will increase in value over time. They’re afraid it’s going to lose its value forever that they lose their money forever, so they sell at the worst time when something’s going down. That’s what’s happening in the markets right now. Fear is driving the market. People are selling and cashing out because they’re afraid that they’ll lose their money forever. I haven’t sold anything because I’m holding on to at all. My portfolio looks a lot smaller than it did a year ago, but that’s okay because the only time you really take a loss is when you sell. I’m not selling, I don’t want to take a loss.
Now, the role of greed is, especially in bubbles, when things look good and we think the money’s easy, and “oh, I can buy stocks. I can buy a house, I can make money easily. All I got to do is do this.” It’s working for everybody else. So when it appears to be easy and comfortable and convenient and it’s working for everybody else, everybody jumps in, and that’s the role of greed. So it drives up the prices until they are beyond valuation and then when things start to go down a bit people get scared, so then they sell. So what happens is actually the reverse of what should happen, people tend to buy high because of greed. “Oh, everybody else is buying it and it appears to be easy and comfortable and convenient to make money doing this, I’ll jump in.” So they buy high and then they see it going down, and then they sell low.
And I tell you this because this is what I see going on in private practice. I see private practice professionals getting scared and convincing themselves that nobody’s going to want to hire them, nobody has the money to hire them. Well, this is not the case. Because when things are challenging for your audience, the people in your niche, that’s when they need you the most and we’re going to talk more about that. So let me tell you another little story. I wanted to tell you that investing metaphor because I really see the parallel between the behavior of stock market investors and the behavior of private practice professionals.
Another little story, true story. When I got the idea for this seminar and I sent the announcements to my network, I saw a huge spike in my unsubscribes people were dropping off my list. They received this announcement and then they unsubscribe. This had never happened before. Usually, when I conduct a seminar that has any perceived value at all and I announce it to my list, “Hey, no charge. Come and join me for this seminar.” Typically, people are excited and they either sign up if it requires registration or they show up like this one doesn’t even require registration. However, for the first time ever, I’ve had all sorts of people in droves unsubscribing.
Why? Wow, this is another perplexing riddle. So I thought about it and I don’t really know the answer, but here’s my speculation, which is people are scared and there are lots of private practice professionals or people that want to get clients on my list, that’s why they’re on my list for building up their practice and they see this seminar, How to Get Clients in Challenging Times. They’re feeling challenged themselves. They’re discouraged, they’re frustrated, they’re scared, they tend to give up and think about getting a job. They tend to not want to look at the problem. They are uncomfortable. And so this goes back to the fear and greed of investors example, this is the prime opportunity for private practice professionals yet more and more are becoming discouraged and scared.
Why would people who joined my list who want practice building information, why would they get off my list if I’m offering it? Because they’re scared. Because it feels too risky to them. So, people end up looking for a job and looking for some security. And it’s my nightmare when private practice professionals or people that want to be in private practice look for a job or give up on self-employment as a private practice professional because there is no security in having a job. You get paid way more working for yourself and you have control of your destiny and you have way more security working for yourself. I wouldn’t accept a job if you offered me a million dollars a year.
I couldn’t handle the stress of, “Oh my God. What happens if I lose my job?” I know as a self-employed person, I will never lose my job. However, in the culture, I’m aware that a lot of people equate a job with security. Well, if you look around, the unemployment rate is rising. It’s pretty high already and it’s going up. There’s fewer jobs to be had, so you would think that more and more people would want to be self-employed, would want to go into private practice if they’re an expert of some kind. So, that’s my little introduction, and I look around and wow, it’s a mess. The economy is a mess and people are scared. What are we going to do about that?
So, turning to page two in the study guide, here’s what we do about that. In my opinion, the single most important thing you can do to thrive in hard times is to inspire confidence. Inspire confidence in your audience, the people in your niche, the people that you serve. They look to you for support and inspiration. They want to feel better as a result of their engagement and interaction with you. So, how can you inspire confidence? You need to be the expert. They feel confident in you if you have an expert role and status. Now, what happens a lot with private practice professionals is we are a student of our profession. We feel like we’re learning all the time and we have, a lot of us have a very healthy humbleness in our attitude towards our profession.
“Oh gosh, I’ve got so much to learn.” Well, that does not inspire confidence to your audience, to your clients. Yes, you are a student of your profession, but you are also an expert. They need you to be the expert. Don’t be humble when you’re giving a talk. Don’t be humble when you’re working with a client or when you are talking to a prospective client, be the expert. Project that confidence and then offer real solutions, offer real solutions. I’m repeating these things because this is where the blanks are. So if you want to follow along, fill in the blanks. These are the words that go in the blanks on the study guide.
So offer real solutions. People want real solutions they don’t want made up BS. They don’t want abstract ideas. They want real practical applied solutions. And you know what? You have them. You got them, but you might need to shift your mindset a little bit if you’re the kind that loves ideas, and you love theory, and you love to talk about it and think about it. Well, realize that the people you’re talking to, what they need from you, is practical applied solutions. So you might need to shift your mindset just a little bit, because that’s what they really need from you.
I talk to a lot of very, very smart, intelligent private practice professionals. I love exchanging ideas with them. They really know their stuff, but I can tell the difference very, very clearly between something theoretical and something applied, an idea and something practical that you can do something with. Your audience wants something practical that they can do something with.
Next, in order to inspire confidence in my opinion, you need to watch your attitude and your fear level. You have fear. Let’s admit it to ourselves. We look all around and things look scary and it’s hard and it’s challenging and we experience fear. Fear is normal. Fear is okay, but we have to be conscious of our own fear level and watch what we do with it. We have to watch our attitude. Our attitudes include our beliefs about our fear. So if you feel fearful and your attitude is, “Oh my God, my business is going dry up and I’m going to die homeless.” Then you’re going to be shaking in your boots. If you experience fear and your attitude is, “You know what? I’ve lived through three recessions, I’ve been in private practice for 25 years, I will be just fine. I will get through this. My survival is guaranteed.” And if you think about it, if you’re 30 years old, 40 years old, 50 years old, 60 years old, you’ve survived X number of years on this planet. You’ve gotten through hard challenging times, you’ll get through this time as well. And the proof of that is that you’ve gotten through the previous times, so it’s guaranteed. Your survival is guaranteed. You will survive. It’s just a matter of getting through this time and this is a temporary time.
If you think about the stock market investors analogy that I shared with you earlier is they assume that, “Oh, my gosh, the stocks can go down to zero and it’s never going to go back up.” And back to the stock market analogy. I can’t resist sharing with you that the smartest, most successful investor on the planet today, his name is Warren Buffett. He personally has not bought stocks for his personal accounts in decades. Guess what? He’s buying now, big time. Now, this isn’t about Berkshire Hathaway. This isn’t about his business and what he does professionally, this is for his personal accounts.
So the smartest investor in the planet today, who’s made many, many people wealthy, he’s one of the wealthiest people on the planet himself, he’s investing in stocks. Why? Buy low, sell high. They’re as low as you can possibly imagine right now, if you ever wanted to own blue chip stocks like GE and Pfizer, which I do own by the way, Now’s the time to pick them up. They’re really cheap along with a lot of other stocks. So now is the time to buy. When everybody else is selling, when everybody else is scared to touch it, that’s the time to buy. And when everybody else is fat, dumb and happy and confident and jumping on the bandwagon, that’s the time to sell, so watch your attitude. Warren Buffett’s attitude about stocks after decades of not buying them is, now’s the time to buy.
Our attitude about our practice in getting clients needs to be now is the best time to get clients, now they need us the most. I really, really honestly believe this and because I’ve lived through three recessions myself, in my private practice, I’ve seen other practitioners fold up shop and go out of business, yet I’ve survived and thrived, I know this. I know that there’s plenty of clients to go around when times are economically challenging. Those are the times that your clients need you the most. So watch your attitude and fear level. Attitude is what you believe about things. Fear is a natural, normal experience that you’re going to have. You can’t control it. It’s going to happen anyway, but you can choose your attitudes about your fear.
And lastly, you can inspire confidence by having absolute trust and belief that it will be fine, you’ll be alright, that your survival is guaranteed that this is not really about survival, it’s about fear. They’re two different things. If you’re going to eat, drink and be merry tomorrow and the day after and the day after and the day after and yes, while things are economically challenging and the stocks are really low and fewer people have jobs today than they had yesterday, it will still be fine. So if there’s a problem, it’s really about fear. It’s not about the reality. So trust that it will be all right and inspire confidence by sharing that trust with others. This, in my opinion, is the single most important thing you can do to thrive in hard times. This will cause you to be attractive. People will want to be with you, to get this inspiration from you. Whatever your specialty is, they will benefit more from working with you if you are confident and you inspire confidence. This is number one.
So, number two. Number two is how to leverage fear and anxiety to sell your practice and honestly, it’s not cheating. I mean, the fear and anxiety is going to be there anyway, so you might as well leverage it, you might as well use it. Here’s how. Turn up the heat. Turn it up. And how do you do that? You do it for yourself and you do it for your audience. Now for yourself, there’s a little thing that I like which is necessity is the mother of invention. Necessity is the mother of invention. So, if you’re experiencing fear and you’re worried about paying your bills tomorrow and next month then it becomes a little more necessary for you to market your practice. You’re going to get into action, you’re going to have a little more energy for it, maybe you’ll be a little bit more creative.
So you turn up the heat on yourself by using your fear to get yourself into action and make it necessary. “It’s necessary for me to pay my bills, what am I going to do about that?” And you have this tremendous resource, your expertise and your practice and if you can get a client, then you have income, so all you got to do is get a client. The way to pay your bills is to get clients. The shortest distance between you and surviving and thriving is getting clients and getting clients is absolutely doable, and we’re going to talk about how a little bit later. So, turn up the heat on yourself. Necessity is the mother of invention, and get into action, build your practice, market it, focus on getting clients, channel your fear into action, but be positive about it. Remember the attitude thing.
And turn up the heat on your audience, the people you reach. Turn up the volume. If they’re scared, they might need you to be stronger and more assertive and louder to get through to them. They might need you to be creative. They might need you to be repetitive and do it more often. So, for this seminar I sent out no less than three, I think it might have been four, but three broadcasts to my entire professional network about this seminar. I turned up the volume. My goal is to be in your face and say, “Hey, you’re experiencing challenging times. Come to this seminar. I want to share some things with you.” And a bunch of people left. They didn’t want to hear it.
Okay, well, what’s left? The people that do want to hear it the people that are what I call “go-getters.” The people that I call dabblers, the people that were trying it out, seeing it as an easy way to make money or maybe they really want to do it but they’re not really committed to it because they’re scared, they’re leaving the room and what’s left? What’s left is you and me. That’s how I got through three recessions in my practice, because I stuck it out while everybody else was leaving. So we’re the go getters, we’re the ones who are going to be successful, we’re going to be the ones serving the people that need us. So, turn the heat up on your audience. Get louder, get more persistent, be more in their face, be more creative, do what you can to get out there. Realize they’re going to be experiencing fear, they really need you. You’re going to have to cut through noise in order to reach them, more noise than was there before.
So turning the page to study guide. Page four, what you need to do to have a successful practice. All of this is free by the way. You don’t have to have a huge budget to build your practice. In my opinion, what you need to do to have a successful private practice is to focus on the basics, and what are the basics. I have six basic strategies for you that when you do all of them, you will have a successful practice. And by the way, all of them we support you to do in our RCI Coaching Business Mentoring Program. So I do have a practice building program and for the folks at Relationship Coaching Institute, they are automatically members of it. If you’re not a member of Relationship Coaching Institute and you want to, go to relationshipcoachinginstitute.com. If you’re not a relationship person, but you want to join our program, you’re absolutely welcome. We provide a specific strategies and support for all six of these things and I’m going to cover what they are.
So, the information is one thing. I’m going to share with you this information. I’m also going to share with you some very, very powerful, very specific strategies that normally I keep pretty close to the vest. Normally, I don’t share it for free. Today, I want to share them with you because I really, really want to support you to get clients and have a successful practice and counter all this fear that’s going on. I see it as a serious problem. All the subscribers that left, my heart goes out to them. It’s a serious problem that they’re so scared that they’re just leaving, leaving the room. So I’m going to share with you some very specific very powerful strategies today, but in our Mentoring Program, we cover things like this.
Six strategies. This is the basics. Strategy number one, you need to have a clearly identified niche and some people just roll their eyes and groan, “Oh, my gosh.” But for your marketing to be effective, it must be targeted. For you to actually get a customer or client, you have to tailor your services to them, therefore, you must know who they are, you must choose a niche. Now, you don’t have to have just one, you can have a number of niches, but I consider it basic to have a clearly identified niche because everything follows from that. If in your practice you don’t, it’s a serious problem. It’s going to hurt you, it’s going to make it hard for you and so you’re just going to have to suck it up and get past your resistance to this and just choose a niche. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to be doing anything else. It’s for marketing purposes. Consider it one of your many lines of business. So, strategy number one is have a clearly identified niche, that’s basic.
Strategy number two is market research your niche to identify what they want and what they need. This is the way to be successful, guaranteed. If you’re giving people what they want and need, they’re going to hire you and buy from you. If you’re offering them what you want to offer them what sounds good to you or what you think they need, you’re going to have a bit of a harder time. So I strongly advise you to do your market research with your niche, so that you can identify what they want and they need.
And then strategy number three is package your services for your niche. You’ve done your market research, you know who they are and what they want and what they need, now you package your services for your niche. Packaging your services means you don’t just offer counseling or coaching or therapy or assessment or sessions by the hour for X number of dollars. It means that you are putting packaging on it. It’s the Relationship Success Program for Couples, it’s the Get Healthy in 30 Days Program. You’re offering your services as a package. You’re making it more tangible. You’re tailoring it for the people in your niche.
Strategy number four, you need effective marketing strategies to reach your niche and create prospects. Now, here is something that I learned the hard way, which is marketing at its very foundation is simply communicating what you do. That’s it. You’re communicating what you do in various ways. On your website, in an advertisement, when you speak in front of groups. You’re communicating what you do. That’s what marketing is. The primary outcome of marketing, you might think and you might want, would be create clients. No, I learned the hard way that the primary outcome of marketing is to create prospects and then we have to convert those prospects to clients, so that they hire us, which is an extra step, which is a critically important step.
So we must first have effective marketing strategies to reach our niche to create prospects. We can’t be sitting in our office and imagining that people are just going to hire us because we put an advertisement out there or we get ourselves booked for a presentation or you write an article or we get some referrals. It is naïve. It isn’t effective. If you don’t have as many clients as you want, then we need to do something about that. You need to get prospects first. So we need to design effective marketing strategies to reach our audience to generate prospects and what’s going to be effective. We’re going to talk about that in a little while. But our first goal is to create as many prospects as we can, and to be realistic that it’s a multistep process. We’re not just going to do a little bit and then create a bunch of clients. And this is just basic information. It’s a basic mindset. It’s basic strategy.
Strategy number five is to leverage your network and build your referral systems. This is very, very basic for private practice professionals because the most effective way that we get clients is by word of mouth referral. By far, the most effective way that private practice professionals get clients is word of mouth referral, that is well documented and researched. So the best thing you can do is to leverage your network, the people that you know and build your referral systems. You want people that are in a position to reach your audience. You want them to recommend you.
So if there’s one thing that you can do to help yourself, it would be to build your relationships, build out your network, and leverage it so that they are referring to you. Forget advertisements. Forget getting on radio or TV. Writing a book is great, but this is the most direct line between where you’re standing now and having a full practice is building your referral systems, however, it takes time. So you do it over time. You never stop doing it and this is just basic.
Strategy number six is effective enrollment skills to convert prospects to clients. So marketing is communicating what you do, the primary outcome is to create prospects and then we need to have effective enrollment skills to convert those prospects into clients to get them to hire us. And since we’re relationship people and since we connect with people and we talk with people anyway, we should be pretty good at this, but there are some strategies that you need to learn on how to enroll. I’m going to share with you a couple of enrollment strategies in a little bit.
So these are what you need to do to have a successful practice. None of them cost anything. They are what I consider to be the basics. So, please do not go into debt buying expensive advertising. Do not do what I did and hire a marketing consultant for thousands of dollars hoping to spend money to fill your practice. This is the basics. This is what works.
So turning to page, page five in the study guide, how to design a marketing campaign that works. The key strategy here is to create a timely marketing campaign. That’s how you can make it work because what’s on people’s minds? What do they want? What do they need? What are they thinking about? What are they worried about? What’s their problem? What solution do they need? Your marketing campaign needs to be timely.
Now first, let’s talk about the concept of a campaign. A campaign is an organized systemized marketing activity that’s time limited. So for example, Valentine’s Day is the anniversary of the publication of my Conscious Dating book. And every year on Valentine’s Day, I announce the results of the Conscious Dating success story of the year contest and it is part of the marketing campaign. I started in January after the first of the year by getting the word out about the contest, which by the way, gets the word out about the Conscious Dating book and then I get submissions and then the winners are announced on Valentine’s Day. So it’s a whole marketing campaign around Valentine’s Day designed to reach singles and reach singles that had become couples, so they’ll recommend the book and singles will buy the book and there will be lots of buzz and talk about the book. And there’ll be lots of interest about the success stories around the book. That’s one example of a marketing campaign. It’s time limited. It has a theme and it’s very timely around Valentine’s Day. It’s on people’s mind at that time.
And take a look at this seminar. I’m giving this seminar in response to what’s on people’s minds. So, when you respond to what your niche needs and wants, what’s on their mind in a timely fashion, you get their attention. They understand that you care about them, about who they really are and what’s going on for them. They will trust you. They will respond to you, and how can you know what’s on their mind? Market research. So, in your market research, as you get to know them, as you collect information about them, you’ll see themes coming up. Like this was a theme. The economy is affecting my practice, the economy is affecting my practice, the economy affecting my practice, how am I going to get clients, how am I going to get clients? I’m worried, I’m worried, I’m worried. It’s recurring theme that caused me to pay attention. Oh my gosh, I got to do something about this. So create a timely marketing campaign to respond to what’s going on for your niche, that’s how you can get their attention, that’s how your marketing campaign will be guaranteed to work.
So number five, on page five is the single most effective marketing activity to get clients quickly, and actually, the principle is very simple. Get in front of people. That’s what the blanks are. Get in front of people. That’s how you can market effectively to get clients quickly, get in front of people. Now, how do you do that?
Strategy number one is presentations. Getting booked to give a presentation is pretty simple because there’s lots of groups and they meet and they have programs and they would just love it if some expert came to talk on a topic of interest to them. So, getting booked for presentations especially when they’re free is pretty easy. All you’ve got to do is make a few calls and when you stand in front of this group and you’re talking, you are perceived to be the expert. You will develop prospects and clients with every presentation. Word will get around and you’ll get more and more requests for presentations. And you’ll get more and more referrals, you’ll become the go-to person in your niche.
So strategy number one is presentations. In my opinion, we all need to have at least one what I call signature promotional seminar and it’s the seminar that you designed for the people in your niche that you hope to just give over and over and over to anybody that will listen and offer this seminar as well as a couple of other topics and give it for free as far and wide as you can. Get in front of people, even in this economy. They will be happy to hear what you have to say, they will be interested in working with you and they will want to work with you and they will become clients if you know how to enroll them. And we’re going to cover a little bit about that.
Strategy number two is getting in front of people with seminars and workshops. So, this is a little different from presentations. Presentations are free and it’s to a variety of groups and audiences. Seminars and workshops are very specific for the people in your niche and typically you will charge for them. Typically, there’ll be a low fee, because you want to get people in the door. You want them to be committed though. You don’t want looky-loos. So, conducting seminars and workshops is a group service. You’re reaching groups of people.
And whatever your expertise is, you can do a seminar on it, you can do a workshop on it. And if you don’t have that in your mix, what you do in your practice, this is a great time to get started. So simply set a date. Okay, I’m going to do a two-hour seminar at the local community center three months from now on a Thursday evening. Design the seminar, give it a title, put the announcements in the newspaper in their calendar section and tell your network about it, your referral sources, your clients, your former clients, everybody you know. Ask them to pass the word about it. Your job in the three months leading up to the seminar is to market the seminar as far and wide as you can. That will help you market and reach more people.
And isn’t it interesting that instead of marketing your individual services, which might be high cost, you’re marketing this low cost seminar. You’re reaching more people that are more likely to listen and to show up and to think about it and refer to you than if you are marketing your individual services that are high cost. But very, very important, a very effective strategy to get clients quickly. They’re more likely to listen, pay attention and consider attending a workshop or a seminar than working with you individually.
Strategy number three is PR and media. Get in front of people by conducting PR activities. And by reaching out to the media. PR activities might include things like bookstore appearances. Guess what? Even if you haven’t written a book, you can appear at a bookstore and you can endorse a book that’s in your field that you really like and believe in and give a talk to the people in the bookstore about your area of expertise. Bookstores love it because they want a way to bring traffic in and motivate people to buy book. It doesn’t cost them anything.
So anything you can do, to increase public relations, to reach the public, gets in front of people and then the media, radio, television. Now, you might think, “Oh, God, I’ll never get on television or why would a radio host want to talk to me or why would a newspaper reporter want to interview me?” Well, get together a press release and make it very timely. Remember that timely marketing campaign idea of strategy four? Make it very timely and in response to your niche in your area of expertise. So put together your press release, and send it to print, radio and TV and follow up with them and offer to appear on their show or do an interview, submit an article, offer to write a column, offer to appear on a show.
You really want to make a difference. You want to play large. You want to spread the message. You want to what? Inspire confidence. You want people to know it’s going to be fine and that you have an area of expertise to help them. You have real solutions, remember that? And you want to spread them far and wide. PR media is a great way to do it.
Strategy four is reach out one-to-one. Reach out to individuals, get in front of individual people. This is funny because we get in this mode of reaching large groups. “I want to get on TV and reach a national audience. I want to go to a bookstore and talk to a group. I want to give a workshop, a seminar. I want to do an email blast.” We tend to think about our marketing in terms of reaching out to groups. Well, actually, let’s not forget reaching out to individuals, the individual people in your network on your database, people that might have contacted you years ago, but ended up not hiring you or the individual standing next to you in line at the Starbucks. Reach out to individuals. Very, very effective marketing activity because enrollment is an individual process. We get clients by connecting with people one-to-one.
So in my opinion, the most effective marketing activity to get clients quickly is to get in front of people and here’s four strategies for doing so: Presentations, seminars, workshops, PR media and reaching out individually to people.
Now, it bears repeating, if you haven’t heard it before, that there are three primary ways to market in my opinion. You can speak, you can write, and you can network. So, as a private practice professional, as an expert of some kind that has a niche, that has an audience of people that you want to reach, you can speak to them, you can write for them, or you can network with them.
So, we’ve talked about speaking a bit. Writing: Writing a column, writing articles, writing a book, writing a blog, writing press releases, writing letters to the editor. It’s funny, one of the most successful marketing things I did early on in my private practice career was to write a letter to the editor and I just wrote it because I was incensed and I wanted to add my opinion about something, and people read it and they recognized it was me and they responded to it. It was great.
And networking, we talked about the power of networking and how most of our clients will come to us by word of mouth referral and so we need to build our referral systems and networking with people in groups and individually. Networking is about relationships. It’s about connecting with people. It’s about building trust and confidence, and relationships and connection. This is what we’re good at. This is what we do very, very well. So those are, in my opinion, the three primary forms of marketing for private practice professionals; speaking, writing and networking.
So page six, number six, how to be irresistible to your prospective clients. Now, when you market and you reach people and you create prospects, wouldn’t it be nice that you’re irresistible, that they really want to work with you, that they really trust you and consider you different from all the other alternatives out there and how can you do that?
Here’s some strategies. Number one, definitely package your services. We talked about that. Number two, provide entry level options. So many private practice professionals just do one thing, individual sessions for X dollars per hour or maybe they get smart and they’re starting to package things. Here’s a workshop. Here’s a month’s worth of my services for X dollars. So they start packaging things. That’s great. That’s progress, but oftentimes, people need an entry level option. They need a way to get started that’s low risk and low cost. A place to get started.
And in my opinion when you market when you reach people and when you give a presentation, you are going to reach what I call three constituencies, three kinds of people. You’re going to reach people, I call them bluebirds, that they just love you and they’re so attracted and so excited about you and what you do. They say, “Oh my gosh, when can we get started? We love them.” Unfortunately, there’s never enough of them.
The second kind of people we reach are the people that when they find out about you, they’re interested and attracted and they’re ready for a place to start. They’re ready to get started. They’re not ready for a big commitment. They’re ready to get started. So, these are the ones that need an entry level option. And the third kind of people that you’ll reach are the people that are interested and attracted. They are prospects for you. They’re not ready to buy anything. That feels too risky for them, but they’re happy to get free information and follow up if it doesn’t cost them anything.
So in my opinion, those are the three constituencies, the three kinds of people we reach. We need to keep them in mind all the time, because we need to have options for all of them when we market. The bluebirds, here’s my gold package. The ones that need an entry level option, here’s my entry level option. I’ll meet you for one hour for $20. For the people that need something for free, you want more information? Here, download this free e-program, audio program, catch my next free seminar, this date, this time, this place.
So strategy number two is provide an entry level option. Create something where you’re giving people a piece of your expertise, a piece of your time, a piece of what you offer, very low risk at very low cost and that might be the first thing that you market. What’s interesting is that if you offer people free things, like you offer them a silver, gold and platinum package, some people will go right for the platinum, some people will go right for the silver, some people will go right in the middle and select the gold and you need to offer all three and you’re going to make more sales, you’re going to get more clients if you have something to offer all three.
Strategy number three of being irresistible to prospective clients is groups. I consider groups to be the single most effective, fastest way to sell your practice and it becomes irresistible to people when you offer a group. If they are in your niche and they are a prospect for you, chances are the fact that you offer a group will cause them to make the decision quicker to hire you, even if it’s to work with you individually, because the group doesn’t fit their needs.
It’s really interesting how this works. It’s amazing. But groups are more affordable to people because they’re paying half or a percentage of your normal rate. You make more money because you’re working with a group of people at a time rather than an individual and it’s a very effective modality for most private practice professionals. Oftentimes, your services can be delivered more effectively in a group and individually. So really, it’s a win, win, win for a lot of us. And one phenomenon I’ve seen over and over again, is that when you market a group, you get way more referrals, you get way more signups than anything else and I’ve always scratched my head trying to figure this out, but marketing a group is the single most effective thing you can market to bring people into your practice.
And so I consider it a way to be irresistible to prospective clients that you have a group and especially when people are in challenging times and they’re feeling fearful, they want community, they want social support, and the depression, the worst economic time in 100 years, it is community that got people by, they helped each other out and nowadays we don’t have as much community. People do not live and work in the communities in which they grew up. They do not have the tight communities that we had back in the depression, so the need for community is even higher now. So if you can offer them a community in the form of a group or some other, or a class, some other form, it is like manna from heaven, it’s very reassuring to be part of a community that’s supportive and affordable, so it’s very irresistible.
Strategy number four is learn to overcome objections. Now remember, we’re talking about enrollment skills. This is one of the important enrollment skills is overcoming objections. Now, there’s something interesting about objections. When somebody says, “Oh, gee, I need to think about it. Oh, I have to talk about it with my wife. Where did you go to school or what’s your success rate?” Well, even when they say things like, “I’m not so sure I can afford it right now.” The great majority of the time when they say things like this, it’s in the context of you talking with a prospective client. You’re talking about your services and what you do, they’re talking about their situation and what they need, and then they come up with this stuff. In my opinion, it’s not that they really need to think about it, it’s not that they really don’t have the money, it’s not that they have to talk to their wife. In my opinion, it’s about fear because working with a private practice professional is a big risk. It’s scary. I mean, you don’t feel scary, but they’re scared.
So, we need to overcome objections, we need to help them have confidence and trust us and make the decision to hire us so they get the benefit from working with us. If we don’t help them overcome their objections, they’re not going to work with us, they’re not going to work with anybody else either. So that’s a big problem. The problem goes back on the shelf, and they live with it until the next time they can’t stand anymore. They bring it off the shelf, and then they encounter the same fear. So I’m a little bit of an evangelist around this. If you’re talking to a prospective client, and then they bring up objections, it’s not about what they’re talking about. It’s about their fear and we need to help them overcome it, so that they can make the decision to hire us, so they get the benefit of working with us. I strongly believe this.
So here is a gem for you and it’s something that I rarely if ever, will share for free. I want to share it with you today because I really want you to have this strategy. The number one objection that we get as private practice professionals and remember, it’s not really about what they say. The number one objection would be, “Well, gee, I’d like to, but I just can’t afford it right now.” They bring up money. Well, if they need you, it’s not really about the money because if they were guaranteed success, they would spend the money in a minute, they would find the money, because the problem they’re talking to you about is serious.
We’re private practice professionals. We work with people’s lives with serious stuff. This isn’t about a vacation, or a bowl of ice cream, so when they bring up this objection, I really believe it’s not really about the money. However, you do need to counter the objection. So the number one objection that I’ve found over the years is, “Well, gee, I’d like to, but I just can’t afford it right now.” Over the years, I’ve tested and tried various ways of countering this objection, and I’ve come up with a winner.
The number one strategy for countering the I can’t afford it objection, I call sponsorship. And so write down these words. It goes like this. “Well, who do you know that can help you by sponsoring you to work with me? Who do you know that cares about you and really wants you to solve this problem or get this support or achieve this goal.” Word it in a way that fits for you in your practice and your niche. “Who do you know that cares enough to help you, sponsor you, to get the support that you need to solve this problem and achieve this goal.”
And several things happen. Number one, the wind is out of their sails. They can’t say they can’t afford it because they know people that might be able to help them. Number two, they start getting a little nervous and scared because they don’t really want to talk to other people about their problems. They don’t really want to ask for help and actually that is a problem because we live in kind of a lone ranger culture, the culture of rugged individualist, “I can do it myself” and we are disconnected from the people around us. We need community, we’re social beings and we generally don’t have enough of it. Whoever you’re talking to, they need to talk to their friends, their family about what’s going on for them. They need to ask for help.
In the depression, that’s how we got by. That’s how we survived a really, really bad hard time before the government had the ability to help us the way they do today, so we need community and this question raises the possibility that your community can help you and you can’t argue with that. So I can go on and on about this, but in the interest of time, I’ll cut it off here. This is the single most common objection and this is the most effective strategy that I’ve found to counter this objection is the idea of sponsorship. “Who do you know that cares enough about you that will help sponsor you getting the help you need with this problem.” And maybe it’s one person, maybe it’s a bunch of people. Maybe it’s for one month or two months or three months, or maybe it’s just one session. But the reality is that they’re not alone, they do have people who care about them, they do have resources beyond what they say they have.
And it’s not really about not being able to afford it, it’s about their fear. But of course, they can’t say that. So it comes out like, “Well, gee, I need to think about it or well, gee, I’d like to, but I just can’t afford it.” So when you counter that, it just takes the wind right out of the objection. So it’s my gift to you today. Have fun with it, give it a try. Hopefully, you’ll get way more clients now because you have a strategy for managing that objection.
Speaking of getting clients ladies and gentlemen, number seven on page six of the study guide is how to get a new client today, guaranteed. And my strategy for that, again, this is something I usually charge for and again, it’s my gift to you today because I really, really, really want you to have the skills and strategy to get clients. I want you to be a successful private practice professional. I do not want fear to run the show. So my strategy that I developed years ago, and I’ve been sharing with the folks in my Practice Building Programs for years now is the 24-hour challenge. So plug this in the empty holes and next strategy, how to get a new client today guaranteed strategy is the 24-hour challenge.
Here’s how it looks. You put together all the people you know, all the prospects, people you talked with in the past, all the people you’re aware of that are remotely interested in what you do, you put them together in the database or you just put them on legal pads where all the business cards you’ve collected in the back of drawers over the years. All of the people you went to school with, the graduate school, training workshops, all these folks, and go ahead and rank them in rank order of people you’d like to contact first, second, third, fourth, fifth. And then sit at your desk and get on the phone and contact these people and connect with them. Let them know what you’re up to, ask for their referrals, ask them about their situation.
I mean, that’s the best way to connect with people is to ask them how they’re doing right? You don’t want to call your old buddy from graduate school and say, “Hi, Joe. It’s me. I’m calling to see if you have any referrals for me.” No, don’t start the conversation that way. Ask how they’re doing, ask what they’re up to. And chances are, you can engage them in what I call an enrollment conversation, which is related to your area of expertise, so you might even be enrolling them into working with you. I mean, that’s not the only possible agenda here. I mean, the very simple agenda is just to connect, that’s it.
The secondary agenda is maybe they’re potentially a good candidate for working with you and also, maybe they know somebody that might benefit from what you do. So you ask them the referral question and the referral question goes like this, please write it down this way, “Hey, Joe, who do you know that could benefit from what I do?” And of course, that assumes that you’ve explained what you do and who you do it for. “Who do you know that can benefit from what I do?” And asking the question this way causes their mind to go over people they know, and you’re asking for the referral. It is a very, very effective way to get referrals is to ask for referrals.
And so the 24-hour challenge, I encourage you, if it would help to make it a game. And here’s how you make it a game. Pretend that you’re going to win a million dollars if you can get a new client or new referral in the next 24 hours. So if you were going to win a million dollars, you would sit at your desk, you’d be excited, you’d be motivated. I want you to have that level of excitement, energy and motivation. And then when you make those calls, you connect with people and then you find out what they’re up to, you share with them what you’re up to, you ask for referrals, and they might be a candidate for working with you. I guarantee you this has happened over and over and over and over.
Everyone that has tried the 24-hour challenge has gotten results, provided you give it a good go. Meaning, you sit there and you make those calls and you keep on doing it until you get the results. The reality is most people get results after one, two or three calls, but if it takes you five, six or seven calls, if it takes you five, six or seven hours, if it takes you overnight, do it anyway. Why? Because you’re going to win a million dollars if you do. I guarantee you this works. It has worked for everybody in my program that has done it. Of course, it helps to have some strategies and a script and a checklist and we cover all that in my program, but just get started, you don’t need all that. It’s better to get started than to try to do it perfect.
So that’s the 24-hour challenge. It’s very, very, very simple, but very, very, very powerful and I guarantee you, if you do it and you stick with it, you either get a referral or you will get a client in much less than 24 hours and this is a very important strategy because it’s about follow-up and it’s about enrollment. It’s about you following up with people, connecting with them and enrolling them. That’s how you’re going to get clients. That’s how you survive and thrive in private practice. That’s how you get paid. That’s how you get hired.
And if you’re not familiar with my saying that I have said over and over again and I hope to make famous someday, is “you can market until the cows come home and not get any clients.” You can market until the cows come home and not get any clients. If that’s new to you write it down, please, because there’s a huge difference between marketing and enrollment. You must enroll and enrollment is a one-to-one activity. The 24-hour challenge is about connecting with people, reaching out to them, one to one. In the worst of times, when people really, really need you, maybe it looks like they can’t afford you, but the reality is if they really needed you, they would find a way to work with you. And you can always make accommodations for them, you can always package your services so they can choose an entry level option. They can choose a group option, they can choose a seminar or a workshop, so when you have these choices, you have many ways for them to benefit from working with you, much more powerful and much more effective than just one way, paying you per hour.
So ladies and gentlemen, that is my top seven ways to get clients in challenging times. It’s actually my top seven ways to get clients anytime, but during challenging times is when it’s especially important to focus on the basics and do these things and reach out to people because they really, really need you.
So let’s address some questions. Kate from Hartford, Connecticut, says, “My practice has been very reliant and clients pay via credit card and that seems to be drying up. Would you recommend a pricing strategy for this market or just better to actually charge more to turn off those who might become strapped anyway? Thanks.” So, I do believe that accepting credit cards is the most effective way to get paid. People are much more willing to put it on a credit card than pay you cash or write a check and if that’s drying up, it’s because the clients are drying up, not because credit cards are drying up. So I wouldn’t worry about credit drying up or people being able to use credit cards drying up. I would focus on the basics. I would focus on getting clients how they want to pay you. You can always have that conversation with them. It’s not really about credit cards drying up. It’s about marketing and developing the prospects and working with the prospects to motivate them to hire you, how they pay you any number of ways. Credit cards is the most popular, most effective way.
So, Pam is asking, “I’m more of an introvert and though I can do speaking in presentations, I find them exhausting. I’d like other options for building a practice for the quiet type.” Well, remember I mentioned the three primary forms of marketing, speaking, writing and networking. For introverts that don’t want to speak in front of groups, then you can write and you can also network because introverts have a much easier time one-to-one or in small groups than with large groups and they are all very effective. Anyone is all you need to do a combination would be even more effective.
Joanne is asking, “How can a person who is licensed, but can’t accept insurance have a successful practice?” Well, the way to have a successful practice, whether you can accept insurance or not, is to not accept insurance. Now, I can get in a soapbox and tell you lots of reasons. For example, difficulty getting paid clients getting denied limited sessions, discounted fees, paperwork, all sorts of reasons not to bother with insurance. So, private pay practice is what most licensed professionals would like to have. There’s no reason why you can’t do it.
The best day of my professional life was not the day I graduated from graduate school, it’s not the day I got licensed, it’s not even the day I opened my private practice. The best day of my professional life is when I let go of all my managed care contracts and PPOs and HMOs and consulting contracts, and I went 100% private pay. That was the best day of my professional life. There’s no reason why you can’t do that. All the marketing and enrollment strategies that we teach you will help you do that. And of course, if you rely on insurance then it becomes about getting more insurance clients and that’s a dead end. You’re not going to be fulfilled doing that. You’re not going to make the money you want to make doing that.
So let’s see. Dina from Florida has a huge question here. It’s a very, very good question. There’s a lot of parts to it. So I’d like to mention some of them that she has been fairly busy. She’s been doing free screenings, and one hour classes and oh, gosh, things on stress, depression, meditation, improving relationship, PTSD. And so she’s been doing the screening classes and she’s only got a few calls, a few responses. She’s listed these classes in screenings, online and on calendars and cable TV, and she’s paid for advertising. She paid for advertising, big bucks for advertising, and so this is her primary form of marketing now, and she’s concerned why it’s not working and things are starting to look bleak.
Well, I’ll tell you. What I’m seeing here is a whole lot of external marketing and not a whole lot of internal marketing. So external marketing is the activity of communicating what you do to people that don’t know you, so the cable TV shows and the advertisements and posting your seminars in the calendar section in the newspaper, all these are external marketing. Internal marketing is the activity of building a relationship with people that know you. So once they become a prospect from your external marketing then you build your relationship so that they hire you and or refer to you.
So from what I can see, Dina, you’re doing a whole lot of great stuff for external marketing, then you need to follow it up with internal marketing and enrollment. We can’t just rely on these things to create clients for us. They will create prospects and it’s our job to create clients from those prospects by following up and enrolling, and don’t forget your referral systems.
Janet is asking, “I’ve decided that rather than to panic and reduce my rates since I don’t take insurance, I’m going to spend more on advertising the paper, would it be better to reduce my fees rather than spend more to get the work out better?” Well, I’m glad you’re asking me this question now, because I want to tell you, Janet, do not spend the money in advertising. I mean, just take a look at Dina’s example. She’s doing some great stuff, putting herself out there and getting very little return for it. It’s about connecting with people. It’s about your referral systems. It’s about enrollment. It’s about creating prospects and advertisements create the poorest prospects if they create prospects at all, usually, for private practice professionals.
So, yes, don’t panic, don’t reduce your rates. I love your attitude about that. However, the answer is not to spend more in advertising. Actually, I don’t want you to do that. I want you to review this program, review the basics, and focus on getting yourself out there developing your prospects following up and enrolling them, and being the expert and getting in front of people.
Here’s a great question from David in Portland, “One of the first points that I made in the seminar was to be the expert, as a coach that goes against our training where the client is the expert. Can you speak on that?” Yes, absolutely. As a coach, when we work with our clients, we empower the client by making them the expert we don’t tell them what to do. We don’t spend our time and coaching giving them advice. “Oh, here’s what you should do, do this and do this. Oh, that’s wrong. Don’t do that.” So in coaching with our clients, we do not play the expert. We want to empower them and treat them as the expert on their life. However, in our marketing and when we do seminars and workshops in our writing and whatever else, we need to be the expert, we are an expert in a particular topic for our niche, so share that information. And as a coach, you can still share information as an expert.
I’m a relationship coach. I’m sharing relationship information all the time with my clients. As a practice building coach, I’m sharing information all the time and ideas with my clients. So, it doesn’t mean that you cannot be a coach and an expert at the same time. All it means is that when you’re working with your clients, you have the attitude that they are the expert, you’re not going to impose on them your opinion, you’re not going to tell them what to do. But you are an expert, you definitely need to inspire confidence by being an expert and communicating your expertise in your marketing and enrollment and you need to offer real solutions, even as a coach. So David, thank you very much for the question. That allowed me to speak to the coaches in the audience.
Jill Marie: And I just had a question regarding online marketing. Any kind of strategy you might be able to assist us with when it comes to that? I know you’re talking one-on-one is really important and so forth. What about newsletters, announcements, different strategies there?
Jill Marie, you really, really have to keep in mind that the primary outcome of online marketing is to create prospects. When they sign up for your newsletter, when they download your E-program, whatever it is online, then they’re becoming a prospect in your system and then it becomes internal marketing, it’s become building a relationship with them and we have to move away from our perception of our prospects in our database as a group, and balance that with reaching out individually. So the biggest mistake that practitioners can make in their enrollment is if they are not trying to enroll one-to-one.
Your online marketing, just like any other marketing is designed to create new prospects and your job is follow up with those prospects, convert them to clients, that is an individual enrollment activity. So you can consider it like a funnel where you got the whole wide world out there and they come in through your website and then they have different E-programs and different sub lists that they might be part of and then as they get down and down and down towards the funnel, you’re having more individual interactions with them.
Here’s a tip for you. So let’s say one of your activities in your online marketing, like my online marketing, is by doing teleseminars like this one. Here’s a tip, that whenever anybody asks a question or communicate problem on a teleseminar or in person live, when you’re with them in person, pretend that they are waving their arms wildly and yelling, screaming at the top of their voice, “Hello, I’m a prospect for you.” So don’t just answer their question or respond to their problem, take note of who they are, their name, and follow up with them. That’s an example of an individual enrollment activity that you can translate from online marketing and then doing teleseminars to individual engagement.
Jill Marie: That’s very good. Thank you.
All right. You’re very welcome.
Speaker 4: You mentioned about not spending money on use of advertising and I’ve been in this business for over 25 years and it goes against what you’re saying, but for me personally, whether it’s the way I put the ad or whatever I do, because certainly I make it authentic, but I’ve always had a lot of success with the display ads, so I’m just wondering if that seems unusual?
Oh, no, it’s not unusual and by all means, if it works, do it more. That’s my motto. If it works, do it more. The thing about advertisement is that you need to track your ROI, your return on investment very carefully and you need to balance it with your other marketing activities. When you rely on advertising for getting clients, given that we conduct a very personal intimate service. As private practice professionals, we conduct a very personal intimate service. People really need to know you, like you and trust you in order to hire you. Advertisements are not the best way to get people to know us, like us, and trust us for a personal intimate service.
So by all means. I’m not against advertising. I am against most people advertising though, and I am against advertising and relying on it, because I have personally spent money to try to solve the problem of getting clients and honestly, it’s a lazy approach. It doesn’t work. So we need to focus on the basics before we spend money and rely on things like advertising. So for most people, I’m trying to steer them away from advertising because they need to focus on the basics.
Speaker 4: Right. Okay, thanks.
Okay. Very welcome.
Thank you very, very much for joining us. This has been an important program for me. I really, really wanted to address this topic of how to get clients in challenging times. This is everything I could think to put together that I wanted you to know and do right now. So thanks for joining us. We will see you next time.