“Let's be honest, last year wasn't the year I'd hoped it would be at work” - That's what a therapist said to me last week. They are not alone.
Remember 70% of therapists and coaches fail to earn a living, and give up. The norm is: not getting the results we want in business. However, there are clear reasons why.
In a nutshell, they amount to most of us not knowing how to find clients. We're great at helping the ones who find us, but they are few.
So Ok, let's just accept that we didn't get taught this in our therapist/coaching training and move on to how do we build success in this area. Happy to do so? Great! Here are my top 5 to-do things to see 2017 build into a much better year, where you help a lot more people!
1. Don't wait and see. Start Now!
Most people think 'January will be busy, people will want help with the New Year's Resolutions. It's a time for change. Surely it'll be good. I'll see how it goes and hope for the best'.
Sadly, the people who need help are also going to be adopting a 'wait and see' approach. Most of the people who need your help won't understand how you can help or even that you exist.
If you have a lot of spaces to fill, or have capacity to help a lot of people in January, then you need to start getting that message out now!
Write or record something about the problems you help with. Give people a real insight into the life experiences that people have if they need your help. Get that out there now so that come January, you will already be in people's minds.
Put out something like this each week through December, especially over the holidays. A lot of bored people will be online, reading newspapers, etc. and thinking about the New Year while off work. Give them info and hope and let them make the choice to get help.
2. Be about the help, not the price.
Yes, sales of products will be all about the price at this time of year. We are different.
There are many reasons not to compete on price. The unexpected one is: there is no need to.
There are more people who need help than we could ever assist. It's about reaching them. Connect with your clients and you can be busy all year round.
Offering a lower price sets you up to be pressured to stay at that low price -”My sister said you were less than that...” and so on.
If you're charging a living wage then you probably can't afford to go lower than that for many people. Failing to earn a living is like saying we're going to close down and get a job to pay the rent, thus helping fewer people.
Most therapies and coaching, require the client to be willing to put in some effort. Bargain hunters tend to be less willing to do that work.
The list goes on. However, the key point is if you're about the help more than the money, that message helps. It gives people confidence and takes the focus off 'how cheap are you' and helps put it onto 'how good are you and how valuable is this to me'.
3. Be approachable.
In your posts or videos talk about what you do, the problems you see, and the results that can be seen. Tell people about what you help, how you help, the methods, skills, results, successes and all about your work.
Have a conversation rather than post adverts. Talk about things in the way you would to an interested person if they were sitting with you.
Be personable and explain things simply.
4. Show the breadth of your knowledge rather than doing one-off adverts.
Adverts are one-off and rarely work, compared to showing we understand something from different angles. Here's an example: I could write an advert for anxiety help, or I could write about anxiety from 5 different points of view, say: How anxiety works in the mind, tips to help with anxiety, anxiety in the workplace, famous people with anxiety, and success stories overcoming anxiety.
Which is going to help a lot more people?
Obviously the greater knowledge is shown in an information series on the same topic.
Be consistent and be about something. Keep that going and you get to help a lot more people.
5. Budget for when you expect things to be busy or slow.
This is vital to having a waiting list all year. There will be natural ups and downs in how busy you are. They vary from issue to issue. For example, fitness and personal trainers see a boost in January but Psychotherapists see a quiet month. March sees a jump for most therapists as does September, but most see a quiet summer and end of year.
These are natural and predictable. Again don't wait and see. 3-4 weeks before you expect to get quiet, start talking about some aspect of what you do and keep talking about it each week in the lead up to the quiet time.
Spend more of your advertising budget the month before a quiet time and less leading up to the usual busy time.
Plan for the changes and be ready for them. Doing this kept me with a waiting list all year on less than $300 total spend in 2015. This year has been great too.
A little planning and consistency goes a long way. Start today and build the success you want. By doing so you'll also help a lot more people in the coming months. That's a win for everyone.
Wishing you every success for the year ahead,
If you'd like some help with getting your message out in a way that connects and helps people take action you can get free training at www.TherapyandCoachingSuccess.com
Let us know if you want to stay up to date:
John Prendergast is an award-winning Success Coach and and Psycho-Trauma Anxiety Therapist.
He is also the Founder of Therapy and Coaching Success that specialises in helping Therapists, Coaches and other Wellness Practitioners, connect with those in need, build their diaries and earn the income they need.
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