Many counselors ascribe to a “build it and they will come” philosophy. But what happens if that doesn’t work out? Not having enough clients can leave practice owners feeling disappointed, frustrated, and uncertain.
I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way. There are steps you can take to build great relationships with potential and current clients. It all starts with paying attention to the Full Client Experience.
The Full Client Experience begins when a potential client or referral source learns of your practice. It continues in the way a client experiences your practice the first time you meet, and every time he or she enters the door thereafter. I like to think of this occurring in three very important stages:
- Before your client actually meets you
- The client’s impression of you and your practice at first contact
- The client’s experience with you and your practice over time.
With over ten years’ experience as CEO of The Stone Foundation’s Counseling Group, I have learned that creating a Full Client Experience can make or break your practice. So for the next several weeks, I will be featuring a blog series focused on how to optimize the client experience at these three very important stages.
Now, before we dive into the series, there is one important thing I MUST highlight. This one thing is powerful enough to render all your marketing efforts ineffective!
Let’s focus for a moment on your Marketing Mindset! What’s that, you ask? Well it’s all of your thoughts and gut feelings about marketing as a whole...and it will determine if your efforts in private practice are a success.
Some counselors feel like marketing is something that you do “to” people. It feels like trying to get something or taking advantage. It brings to mind being self-centered, manipulative, and only focused on getting clients--nothing else.
Is there a part of you that believes this is what marketing is all about? If so, this perspective will seriously impact the effectiveness of your efforts, for those negative thoughts will eventually come across in the way you communicate.
A Fresh Perspective on Marketing
Let’s consider another way of looking at marketing. You have something very valuable that your potential clients need. To help you realize that, think of a time when you needed help with something that required support from a professional. Maybe it was a car issue, a leaky pipe, or an accounting problem. Do you remember the sense of relief you felt when you finally found the right person to help you?
Someone Needs What You Have to Offer
That feeling of relief is the same thing your clients will experience once they learn about what you have to offer. For a couple who is struggling with communication, learning of a private practice that specializes in helping couples communicate better feels like an answer to silent prayers.
For a parent who worries about their child’s behavior problems, hearing about your expertise in developing effective and creative strategies for difficult children will be exactly what they need.
In this way, marketing is something that we do “for” people. Marketing allows you to tell the people who are hurting that you have a solution to their problems. You are there to help them be better than before.
Isn’t that what you came to this field for in the first place? To make a positive contribution to others? To help people aspire to more?
Do you feel the difference in that? Seeing your practice as a helpful and supportive resource is key to approaching your marketing efforts with the right mindset.
I want you to try something. We’re going to do a little mindset inventory. Write down all of your thoughts and feelings about marketing. Recount past experiences that you have had, both positive and negative.
Next, reflect on what kind of experience you want your clients to have. Write it down, and include as much detail as you can. Remember….this is YOUR practice. You get to build it, and market it, in a way that feels right to you.
Now compare the lists. Do the thoughts and feelings in the first list hinder your ability to provide the experiences you aim for in the second list? No? Then we’re good to go. Yes? Well that’s what the rest of this series is for…
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as our blog offers insight on how to build your practice in a client-centered and positive way. For this to really be successful...I want to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments along the way, be sure to email me at [email protected]. I would love to hear from you.
As always, take good care, and LET’S GROW!