The Ripple Effect of Referrals

The Ripple Effect of Referrals

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Picture what happens when you throw a stone into a lake – the ripple effect! Compare this image to a new client being referred into your practice. If one person refers someone, that’s nice but it’s just a tiny ripple that doesn’t go very far. If 5 people each refer someone, that’s 5 ripples that go farther, overlap and last longer. If those 5 each refer 5, that’s 25 ripples creating an unstoppable current in your business!  Do your referrals create a tiny ripple or a tidal wave?

Research shows that on average most people know about 300 people. The 300 people that you know each know 300 people, and they each know another 300, and so on.

Do your 300 people all know about your wellness business? Do they all know that you want to get referrals through word-of-mouth? Do they know how to refer people to you? They probably would be happy to send others your way, but you need to educate them on how to refer, using these 3 criteria:

1. Why to refer (the best clients come from trusted sources)

2. Who to refer (your target market, your Ideal Clients)

3. How to refer (with a system or process)

The ultimate goal of marketing is not just to attract clients; it is to develop a 100% referral-based practice consistently filled with Ideal Clients. So ideally, as you implement various marketing strategies, all of your clients eventually will come by word-of-mouth recommendations from people in one of four key contact groups:

 1. Personal Contacts

2. Professional Contacts

3. Prominent Contacts

4. Power Contacts

 Let’s explore each of these 4 referral sources in detail as they relate to your marketing:

 4 Referral Groups

1. Personal Contacts: Family and Friends. These are people who know, like and trust you the most. They are your unpaid support team – ambassadors of goodwill for your business! These are the people you market to in Everyday Marketing – family and friends you see frequently and casually as part of your normal, everyday life.

Sure, most of them know basically what you do for a living. But do they really know exactly what you do? Do your parents know? Do they know what services you offer? How about your siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins? Do they know who’s in your niche and what their challenges are? What about your best friends? Do they know the benefits, results and solutions you provide?

Have any of these people experienced your work? Could they accurately describe your work to a potential referral? Have you educated your Personal Contacts on how to identify Ideal Clients and refer them? Start with those you know best. Start informing them, educating them, and asking them for referrals! Go ahead – don’t be shy! They love you and want the best for you. They will take pride in helping you be successful!

2. Professional Contacts: Clients, Customers, Colleagues, Business Associates. This group is made up of people you meet in your business environment – clients, colleagues and business associates. Your clients are a goldmine of referrals! They could be your most reliable referrers – even more than friends and family – because they are currently working with you, making them genuinely enthusiastic, with your benefits fresh in their mind! Former clients are also a good source of referrals. People are more likely to act on a recommendation from a happy client than from your doting dad!

The second group of Professional Contacts is colleagues – other health professionals with whom you have a lot in common because of your similar work. You may already know them through structured or informal networking, through other business endeavors, by reputation in your community or from a social setting. Some of them might be your friends, or your competitors, while others may serve the same niche but with a different service from yours.

Business Associates are people other than colleaguesthose with whom you come in contact in the course of doing business – both retail and services – such as your landlord, mail carrier, office janitor, web designer, bank clerk, florist, plumber, pharmacist and so forth. They usually have at least a general awareness of your business or know you by reputation. Their work connections make them particularly suited to recommend you to others. Just let them know in a friendly chat that you welcome their referrals!

I have gotten clients from all of these Professional Contacts, and more! Think of everyone you do business with in one way or another. How many Professional Contacts can you add to your list?

3. Prominent Contacts: The Millionaire Matchmakers of the Business World! They are natural networkers who know many people, are popular and well-connected, and have a knack for matching up people who can help each other in some way. You may meet them in many places – work, family and social events, community work, church, school, café, sports or networking. They connect with a lot of people on a regular basis, they are skilled at making connections between people and enjoy making referrals.

You don’t interact with Prominent Contacts as often in your everyday life. It is a more formal business relationship, so you will need to make extra effort to connect with them. But it is well worth your time to do so, because they hold a key to much potential growth for your business.

You don’t need a lot of Prominent Contacts – because they know so many people that they will do a lot of promotion for you in the natural course of their life. But you do need to keep in touch consistently over time with your Prominent Contacts. Don’t drop them like a hot potato after you meet with them or after they refer someone. Keep them up-to-date on your progress. Once they refer someone to you, they will take a more personal interest in your expanding success because they have helped make it happen, so their reputation is on the line, as well as yours! They have invested in you by trusting you with someone they know. They will most likely continue to refer if you keep yourself and your biz fresh in their mind with regular contact through email and postal update letters, your weekly ezine and personal meetings.

4. Power Contacts: Major Source of Your Niche. Power Contacts connect with many people and have the potential for many referrals. Power Contacts are individuals, organizations, services, companies or stores that serve your target population. They may or may not be in a business similar to yours, and you may not know them as you do your family, friends and colleagues.

Their customers may be your Ideal Clients, even though people go to them for different reasons than they go to your business. For example, customers don’t shop at a natural foods store for acupuncture or a neck adjustment. But the store can be a rich source of clients for you as a practitioner – once you learn how to open this treasure chest of referrals! You may meet some of these key people or businesses through a networking group, through a mutual acquaintance, by their presence in your community or even cold-call them from the phone book.

Make lists of everyone you know in each of the four categories of contacts: Personal, Professional, Prominent and Power. Call or write them one-by-one, until you have reached everyone on every list! Invite them to meet with you to discuss your business. Make it easy for them to refer by giving them coupons or vouchers to give to their contacts. And of course, make sure all your referral sources have a stash of your business cards.

By tapping into these 4 profitable sources of referrals, you will grow your business and be able to share your gifts with a larger audience of Ideal Clients! The Ripple Effect – tiny splash or tidal wave – the choice is yours!

Enroll New Clients with the Comfortable Sales Conversation!

Enroll New Clients with the Comfortable Sales Conversation!

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Selling your wellness services should not feel like pushing a rock uphill – for you or the client. Luckily for you, there’s a system for selling your work that magnetically draws clients to you in a graceful and comfortable way!

This word-for-word conversation helps you to comfortably and confidently enroll clients in your services. It is based on offering free treatments or consultations to interested prospects, serving two purposes:

  1. Familiarize people with your work
  2. Offer them ongoing care and support

When a prospective client comes in for their no-cost Discovery Session, schedule enough time to sit down and have a conversation about their needs. If you include a sample session or treatment, allow time to talk with the person afterwards.

The Sales Conversation consists of a series of 7 key questions to ask, to engage people in a talk about their problems and your solutions. Practice and memorize the questions so you can ask them comfortably and confidently. These 7 questions will help you convert prospects into clients:

1. What is your main health challenge or goal? Their answer to this question will help you know how to explain your services to them, to show them how you can help achieve their goal. Most people have some type of health issue or a wellness goal. You want to understand what is important to them. Also, you need to be well-informed about the value of your work for a variety of conditions or situations.

2. How will it affect your life to achieve this goal? Once they clarify their main goal, you need to know why it’s important to them. Of course, you know the benefits. But you want to understand why it is important for that person, such as “My back pain keeps me from playing with my kids” or “I want to run my personal best in a marathon.” Part of our job with our marketing and our sales presentation is to perceive people’s emotional needs.

3. What have you done to deal with your problem and how well has it worked? This is really two questions, but they are related. Their answer will allow you to position your services in their health care regimen – to integrate your care with whatever else they are doing. Do not negate their current care or make them feel wrong. Explain your modality as an added value, as an enhancer to everything else, rather than replace what they are already doing.

4. What could happen if you don’t resolve this problem? Sometimes you may have to point out the need for people to take action. Maybe they have never considered the consequences of not dealing with their problem. They may think it will eventually clear up on its own, like a rainy day or a bad cold. So you need to clarify what could happen if they don’t take measures to help themselves. I sometimes compare it to vehicle care: Your car will break down if you don’t take care of small problems or keep up with regular service. Example: “If you don’t get your blood pressure under control, it can lead to heart attack or stroke.”

5. What do you think might prevent you from achieving your goal? Their answer this question will expose their objections or resistance to enrolling with you, and give you more insight into their mindset. The better you understand them and match your message to their thinking, then the more powerful and effective your Sales Conversation will be. The three most common concerns people have are: money, time and effectiveness. (See article on how to overcome these 3 objections.)

6. How committed are you to resolving this problem? Find out how willing they are to improve their situation. Ask them if they truly want to resolve their problem. Ask: “On a scale of 0-10, how important is it to improve your situation?” Once you have their commitment, you can confidently offer your product or service because you know what they want, why they want it, why they aren’t getting it and what their resistance or objection is about. If their commitment level is “Do anything, pay anything,” then you’re in a good position to sell your highest-priced package. If they seem lukewarm or hesitant, start with a smaller package.

7. Which one of these plans would you like to choose today? Have 2-3 treatment options at different price points, printed out in a simple format, for them to choose from. After presenting your packages and programs, you then say, “Which one of these plans would you like to choose today?” That’s it. Don’t say, “Would you like to get started?” Don’t say, “Go home and sleep on it.” Ask which package they want, then be quiet and wait for their answer. Don’t speak again, even if there is an uncomfortable silence. Your silence indicates your confidence that they are now ready to commit. If you start talking or trying to convince them, you could appear pushy or needy. Bite your tongue if necessary!

Once they choose a program, reaffirm their decision. “Congratulations – I agree that’s the best choice for you! Let’s get you enrolled and schedule your appointments so you can… (Name the specific benefit they will get, such as: start feeling better, relieve your pain, get back to work, have more energy, sleep better.)

To close the Discovery Session: “How would you like to pay for your program? I take cash, checks and credit cards.”

Go over the Service Agreement item by item and have the client sign it to indicate that she understands your policies and terms of service. This prevents misunderstandings later on. Process her payment. Schedule her appointment series. And finally, congratulate her again on her smart decision and say goodbye… for now!

Marketing for Mothers Day!

Marketing for Mother’s Day!

Image result for mother's day gift certificatesTime to get ready – because it’s coming up soon! Mother’s Day is one of the top three holidays all year for selling Gift Coupons in your wellness practice! Whether you do massage, chiropractic, counseling, yoga, nutrition – any health or wellness modality – the gift of health is always appropriate for any occasion, any age or any size!

A few years ago, I started offering a new way for clients to buy Gift Coupons for Mothers’ Day. It was an instant success and now, every Spring, they start looking forward to it! As one of my biggest annual income strategies, it got started when I realized that many families have lots of “Mothers” to buy gifts for – moms, wives, grandmothers, daughters, mothers-in-law, sisters, aunties, cousins, nieces, friends.

With so many gifts to buy at once, a 60-minute massage for every “Mom” on their list would really break the budget! So I started brainstorming ways to sell Gift Coupons that would accomplish 4 goals:

1. Offer affordable massage for Mothers’ Day gifts

2. Allow more people to experience my  work

3. Attract new clients into my business

4. Give my income a boost.

And here’s what I came up with – the Mothers’ Day Money-Saver!

The Mothers’ Day Money-Saver is an amazingly profitable Spring sales strategy for wellness practitioners! It consists of Gift Coupons for 15-minute or 30-minute sessions, sold in packages of 4 or 8 – the more they buy, the more they save per session. People buy them up like crazy for one-stop Mothers’ Day shopping!

This short-session, lower-cost strategy works especially well for gift-giving occasions that have the large expense of giving gifts to many people such as Mothers’ Day. Of course, you may also offer Gift Coupons for longer sessions as well.

I recommend selling Gift Coupons as a package deal because of the advantages for clients:              

1. Save money, allowing them to buy more

2. Appropriate for any age, any size, any gender or any occasion

3. Easy to mail

4. Gifts on hand without going shopping.

When a Gift Coupon recipient calls to book their appointment, offer them an upgrade to a longer session for an additional fee. Because they didn’t pay for the gift in the first place, they see it as getting a full session for a small fee – such a deal! For example, if their GC is for a 30-minute massage, offer to upgrade them to 60 minutes for $45, letting them know that your regular 60-minute fee is $75, for example. Or upgrade a 60-minute Gift Coupon to a 90-minute session.

Most of my GC recipients choose to upgrade – more massage for them and more income for me! As an added bonus, many of the recipients have become regular clients and now buy Gift Coupons for their friends!

This format is perfectly suited for massage therapy or other practice where you work within a specific time frame. These times and fees are suggestions. What affordable package is appropriate for your prosperous practice as a Mother’s Day Money-Saver?

Another idea for Mothers’ Day is to tuck a Gift Coupon into a Gift Basket containing 1 or more gifts. Offer 2-3 different-size Gift Baskets for different budgets. Gift options include any retail products you sell in your practice, such as support pillows, heat pads, music CDs, essential oils, aroma candles, lotions, books, nutritional supplements and much more. Sell pre-filled baskets or have an ala carte gift selection and let clients create a Gift Basket with the items of their choice.

You may notice that I refer to Gift Certificates as “Gift Coupons.” There’s a good reason for this, so let’s clarify the difference between a Gift Coupon and a Gift Certificate. Most US states have laws about the expiration date on Gift Certificates. Here in Hawaii, they are valid for 2 years after the date of purchase. But call it a coupon, and you can use any expiration date you want.

Part of this strategy is to use the Gift Coupon as a practice-building tool, so you want people to use it quickly and not have it get lost in the shuffle! It is more advantageous to call it a coupon and give the recipient a short time to redeem it, such as one month, to welcome them into your practice and serve them sooner. Check the laws in your locale regarding use of the term “coupon” instead of “certificate” – if you want recipients to take quick action once they receive the gift.

To promote my Mother’s Day Gift Coupon sales, I decorate my year-round Gift Coupon Desk with a Mothers’ Day theme – a bouquet of Spring flowers, mylar balloons, a stack of Gift Coupons, colored envelopes, pens and floral postage stamps.

To kick off the Mother’s Day campaign, I send clients an email announcement a few weeks before the holiday (that would be now – for you too!) I remind them to bring their gift list to their next appointment. When they come in and purchase their package of Gift Coupons, they can either take them home or sit right down and address the envelopes – which I offer to mail for them. People love this and look forward to it every Spring! (BTW, I don’t charge for postage; the extra income is worth the extra expense!)

Continue with emails throughout the month, 2-3 per week from early April until Mother’s Day. I remove clients’ names as they buy, so as not to pester them after they have made their purchase. I also display Gift Coupon signs in every room of my clinic, including the restroom – in clear view of the toilet!

Remember – Mother’s Day is one of the top three occasions all year for selling Gift Coupons! Don’t let it slide by without offering your clients this one-stop shopping experience – The Mother’s Day Money-Saver!

How to Warm Up a Prospect’s Cold Feet

How to Warm Up a Prospect’s Cold Feet

Image result for COLD FEETSeveral years ago I enrolled in a 3-day live workshop with a mentor I had been following online for a while­­­. Every year, when she announced this annual workshop, I read her email and cried, because I wanted so much to go and thought I couldn’t afford it!

And every year the cost went up. By the time I finally enrolled, the fee had tripled!

On the last day of the workshop, my mentor persuasively pitched her very expensive mastermind program. Swept up in the enthusiasm of the moment, I signed up for this pricey year-long program.

A couple of hours later, when we returned to the workshop from our lunch break, I actually had a full-blown panic attack! I didn’t have the money for this costly training and didn’t know how I would get it. But I had signed a binding contract.

A colleague saw that I was upset, coached me through my distress and I went on to successfully complete the year-long program. (How did I get the money? That’s another story for another day!)

I sometimes have prospective clients who go through a similar process. They come to me seeking help for their problem and get excited about the solutions I offer. Then when the time comes to pay, suddenly they get cold feet and say they can’t afford it.

I used to find this so perplexing and frustrating! Later on, after studying marketing, I learned the reasons behind this resistance, and what to do about it. If you sometimes have this happen with potential clients, keep reading!

When you’re on the verge of enrolling a prospect and then encounter resistance, this does not mean “end of story” with this person. They might actually be saying “Not this” or “Not now.” There’s a lot you can do to get them back on board. What should you do when a prospective client starts to get cold feet?

First of all, show understanding of their viewpoint. Suppose they say, “This sounds great, but I just can’t afford it.” Don’t negate their concern with: “Of course you can, it’s not that expensive.” This is likely to alienate them.

Stay in agreement with them. “Yes, I understand your concern about the cost. Paying up front for a series of 10 sessions is a big investment! May I offer you another perspective on that? What is it worth to you to not have [name their problem]?”

This will remind them that it’s an investment, not an expense. Make it about the value, not about the money.

What might stop them from getting the help they need?

  • If it’s money, you can offer payment options.
  • If it’s time, you can flex your schedule to their needs.
  • Is it fear of something new? Familiarize them with what to expect from you.
  • Do they worry about getting their money’s worth? Have a money-back guarantee.

Whatever their resistance is, be understanding, supportive and ready with solutions, so that their real and imagined obstacles can be overcome.

You need a Plan B when a prospect tries to back out. Here are more suggestions to help you handle this situation.

Ask if they would be willing to move forward with a treatment program if their obstacle did not exist.

  • “If you felt you could afford it, would you want to start taking care of your problem?”
  • “If time wasn’t an issue, would you want to take care of [problem]?”

When people have resistance, it can mean they have not fully grasped the value of what you offer. They are actually asking for more clarification, asking to be convinced. They also want to know that they will not be wasting their money and time on something that doesn’t help them, so you need to emphasize value, benefits and results.

Here’s a script for a conversation to help a prospective client clarify their thinking if they express doubt or ask for assurance that your services will actually work for them:

“Based on all of the clients I have helped and what I know is possible, I can’t see why you would be the only person that my tried and true methods wouldn’t help. Is there a reason you think you would be the one exception?”

Point out the cost – the physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual cost – of staying stuck and not moving forward. You could still put a monetary amount on their situation. But even more important – paint the picture of what another year would look like if they are sick, in pain, exhausted, depressed, in a bad marriage, have an out-of-control child or whatever their issue may be.

How should you respond if someone asks for “more time” to decide? You could say: “There’s really nothing more you will know about this program next week that you don’t already know right now. Do you have any more questions?”

Alternately (or in addition), you can share: “Of course it’s up to you. If you truly need more time to decide, that’s fine. The program is well worth the regular investment. But remember – you will miss the Quick Decision savings if you wait.”

It is a positive step if someone voices an objection. If she says it is too expensive, it means she is interested, and she is asking you to help make it work for her. If she wasn’t interested, she wouldn’t have come to you in the first place. You can ask “On a scale of 0-10, how important is it to resolve this issue, that you get from [where you are now – be specific] to [where you want to go – be specific]?” Their answers will almost always be in the 7-10 range, indicating strong need for your solutions. Again, you can remind them of the value they will get for their investment.

Remember… they came to you because they wanted help. You offer something that the person will benefit from, something that they need, something they asked for. You are selling from the perspective of their needs. Help them see why this is a good decision for them. Show them the value and they will show you the money!

Spring Treats to Keep Your Wellness Clients Coming Back! Part 2/2

Spring Treats to Keep Your Wellness Clients Coming Back! Part 2/2

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Are most of your clients One-Time Wonders or do you have a full schedule of loyal repeat customers? There’s so much you can offer to impress your clients with superb customer service! With little cost, time or effort, you can provide impressive extras in every single interaction with clients – from their first phone call to beyond their last appointment! What amenities give extra value to your clients?

For starters, here’s something I don’t do that really makes people sit up and take notice – I don’t accept tips!

“Whoa – hold on!” you say. “Massage therapists expect tips and depend on this extra money to boost our income.”

While tipping may be the norm in a spa or salon setting, my view is that in a health care clinic, tipping is inappropriate. Just as people do not tip their doctor or dentist, they likewise should not be expected to tip their massage therapist, chiropractor or any other health care provider. If someone insists on giving a tip anyway, I clearly explain that it helps cover the expense of my pro bono community service work.

This policy will go a long way toward client retention. Keeping repeat clients over the long-term brings in more money and satisfaction than One-Session Wonders who leave a big tip and never return!

Whether or not to accept tips is a personal decision. But whatever your policy on this, there are many other ways to impress people with your dedication, commitment and professionalism.

Follow-up Call. Check in by phone the next day with new clients; or if an existing client came in with a new problem. If their next appointment is more than a week away, call again in a few days to see how they’re doing and remind them to follow their home-care routine. Ask if they have any questions or if there’s anything you can do for them. If they’re acute, offer to see them sooner than scheduled.

On-going Connection. You need a keep-in-touch marketing system to keep your practice in the clients’ awareness. This can include email or postal mail items, such as a weekly ezine, info or an article of interest to the client. A Referral Reward Program offers a special gift of your choice to clients who refer others. Birthday and holiday e-cards are pre-scheduled each year, with new clients added as they come in.

Exceed Their Expectations! Helping clients feel better with great technical skills is the bare minimum you should give. People expect an effective treatment – that’s why they called you in the first place. Exceed their expectations with amenities – nice little extra services or products that add little or no cost or time to you, but have a huge impact on the client’s experience. Use special amenities every day, not just with new clients, but with all clients. Not just for special occasions and not just occasionally, but in every single interaction – whether on the phone, by email or in person. Amenities are a key factor in keeping loyal ideal clients and getting their referrals.

Oh, one more thing – always, always, alwaysremember to say “Thank you so much for coming in! I appreciate your support.”

Amenities can have a huge impact on the client’s experience in your wellness practice. For Easter and the renewal of spring – and every opportunity you can – use low-cost amenities to show your clients how much you appreciate them.

How do your wow your clients with amenities? Please share below!

Spring Treats to Keep Your Wellness Clients Coming Back! Part 1/2

Spring Treats to Keep Your Wellness Clients Coming Back! Part 1/2

Spring is the perfect time to pamper your wellness clients with a special gift to show your appreciation for their business. I make little spring goodie bags, filled with healthy snacks and wellness treats. But there’s much more you can do every day – not just for Spring – to treat your wellness clients to special customer service! Let’s look at simple ways to boost client loyalty with extra-special, yet low-budget, services – before, during and after each appointment.

Before the Appointment. Change your friendly voicemail greeting at least twice a month, and always offer a special promotion! Send intake paperwork via postal mail or email, for new clients to fill out and bring to their first appointment. Give all clients a reminder the day before their appointment.

Reception Area. Be there – or have a receptionist – to greet clients when they enter your office. Eliminate ‘waiting room’ from your vocabulary and from your office – arrange your schedule so that you never keep anyone waiting! Have drinking water available.

Before the Treatment. Go over intake paperwork item by item with new clients, to make sure they understand your policies and procedures. This eliminates the awkwardness of a surprise later – such as paying for a no-show. With first-time clients, give a tour of your office. Offer a drink of water and use of the restroom.

Treatment Room. First and foremost, make sure your treatment area is impeccably clean! Comfort and attractiveness rate a close second. Maintain a comfy temperature with a heater, fan or open window. Pre-warm the treatment table. Get rid of clutter; let your work – not your artwork – be the main attraction. Let your décor reflect your personality, while still looking uncluttered and professional.

During the Session. Play serene ambient music. With bodywork, careful draping helps the client feel safe and comfortable, further establishing trust. Remind the client to let you know if anything is uncomfortable. Check in occasionally for feedback.

After the Session. Use hot washcloths to clean off oily residue from bodywork. Have a cup of water or tea ready when the client comes out of the treatment room. Schedule or confirm their next appointment. Always give a new client a welcome gift. In fact, give something to everyone every time – a handout with home care tips, a product sample, an apple, a tea bag – a tangible reminder of you and your practice!

Helping clients feel better with great technical skills is the bare minimum you should give. Spoil them with amenities every chance you get! Amenities – a key factor in keeping loyal ideal clients and getting their referrals!

Next Week: Keep ‘em Coming Back – Part 2/2!

Weed Out the Bad Apples in Your Wellness Biz!

Weed Out the Bad Apples in Your Wellness Biz!

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It’s an age-old question: Can one rotten apple spoil the whole barrel? Maybe. Can one bad client ruin your entire practice? Probably not.

But dealing with a difficult client can certainly affect your day, in terms of your mood, your productivity and your finances.

And if you have several challenging people to deal with, it can limit your success over the long run, to work with clients who drain your energy, violate your boundaries, disrespect your policies, or in some other way do not fit comfortably with you and your wellness biz.

How do you handle negative client challenges? Do you have policies and procedures to handle – or even better, prevent – sticky situations? As you can see in the “About” section of my website, I am very selective about my clients. I state exactly whom I work with and whom I don’t.

But it was not always so! In the beginning of my massage career – probably like you – I took on anyone and everyone who wanted to work with me, despite sometimes sensing that I might regret it. And guess what – every single time I’ve taken on a non-ideal client, it was a disappointment or a downright disaster! Either their attitude was negative or they missed appointments or their credit card declined or they didn’t follow my suggestions. And sometimes they blamed me when their condition didn’t improve!

Even if you’re hungry for new clients, it’s usually not worth the hassle to take on non-ideal ones. Not only can such a customer disrupt your day, their presence in your practice closes off better opportunities.

If you don’t get a positive feeling from a prospect, listen to your intuition. In assessing a new prospect or reassessing an existing non-ideal client, here’s how to weed out the “bad apples,” with 6 reasons to NOT work with someone – no matter how much you need clients! Avoid working with people who make trouble!

Make sure all your policies are clearly explained in your intake paperwork and that the client reads and agrees to abide by them. Prepare in advance by writing and rehearsing scripts for difficult client issues!

For the most success and satisfaction in your holistic health practice, there are certain “bad apple” clients you shouldn’t work with, no matter how much you need the money! Avoid working with people who:

1. Don’t show up for the initial appointment. This could be an indication that the person is not prompt and punctual, and that they do not respect your time. It’s up to you whether to give them a second chance. But unless you’re convinced that their reason is legit, you could do yourself a favor and pass on this person to clear the space for an Ideal Client who keeps their appointments.

2. Don’t follow instructions, such as filling out pre-session paperwork. I send intake forms to new clients prior to their first session. This serves 2 purposes: it saves time at the first appointment and it gives a peek at this person’s MO. If they don’t comply with requests or instructions, they’re sending a clear message that this is how they operate. If they don’t follow instructions from the get-go, it’s unlikely they will change once they start working with you. You don’t need people like this in your practice. Tell them they don’t qualify to work with you and move on.

3. Are rude to you or your staff. There’s absolutely no excuse for someone to be rude or disrespectful to you or anyone who works in your business. Let this person know that they are not a good fit for your way of doing business. When you overlook or tolerate someone’s rudeness, you send a signal that their behavior is acceptable and they may repeat it.

More warning signs of difficult clients – they…

4. Whine, complain, resist, make excuses, tell lies.

5. Ask if you have a money-back guarantee. (Yes, you should have this policy, but be wary of people who ask about it upfront.)

6. Try to negotiate fees, ask for a special deal or criticize your prices.

To reach the point in your business where your schedule is always full, you need to set high standards for how you want to work. If you’re just starting out, get it right from the start. If you’ve been in business for a while, but you don’t work exclusively with ideal clients, it’s time to set and keep higher standards! The Prosperous Practice Home Study System gives you a step-by-step guide to marketing your practice with fun, creativity and effectiveness! Weed out the bad apples!

3 Strategies to Attract Ideal Clients NOW!

3 Strategies to Attract Ideal Clients NOW!

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Do you run and hide at the mere mention of marketing your wellness practice? Well, you’re not alone!

Marketing seems overwhelming to many practitioners! But we’re about to change that – right here, right now! This aversion to marketing is simply because they haven’t yet learned simple and effective ways to make it easy and fun!

Marketing is simply a matter of sharing your solution in a compelling way with people who are already looking for it! It’s easier to do this when you know exactly who you are marketing to – who your Ideal Client is.

Here are 3 easy steps that you can use right now to attract and keep more of the people you’d love to work with!

1. Go Where They Gather

Once you have positioned yourself to draw interest, you need to network with your ideal clients where they meet or gather, instead of waiting for them to call or walk through your office door. Social media can make this a lot easier. Find groups, forums and networking events – virtual and live – that are popular with your ideal clients.

Find groups where people in your niche gather. For example, if you work with athletes, think about where they go as a group, such as a gym or running group, and go there.

You could also look for local support groups for health conditions you specialize in. Become part of that community and become their go-to resource for helpful information related to your service.

Have a monthly Lunch & Learn! Provide a simple, healthy lunch and invite healthcare professionals who treat the same conditions as you. For example, invite OB docs, midwives & childbirth educators to your Lunch & Learn on Massage for Pregnancy. Position yourself as an advocate for integrated care, making it clear that you want to work with them, not instead of them – to help their patients have a healthy, comfortable pregnancy. What’s your Lunch & Learn topic?

When you research your ideal clients and show up as a friendly, helpful resource, you’ll be the first person that they think of when they – or their patients – need what you offer!

2. Position Yourself to Spark Interest

Few health professionals realize that they are limiting themselves with their labels. Being a “chiropractor” or “nutritionist” may not spark much interest for the majority of people. Bo-or-ring!

You will fire up your client-attraction factor when you focus on the benefits and results that you create for the clients you work with. Simply state a result and who can benefit from it. For example:

 “I help overweight women lose weight and keep it off.”

–  “I help injury patients have less pain and heal faster.”

This phrasing serves 3 purposes:

1. It identifies your target market (overweight women/injury patients).

2. It describes what you do and how you solve problems (lose weight/less pain).

3. It makes your work relatable (captures the attention of people who need what you do).

Suddenly you’re someone who solves problems instead of just another cookie-cutter ad in the Yellow Pages!

3. Reactivate Former Clients

Have you thought of reaching out to former clients?

Studies have proved it’s easier to sell to an existing client than a new one. Be sure to use this to your advantage. Here’s how to welcome them back into your wellness practice!

Make a friendly “just checking in” call and ask about the following:

1. What’s new in their life and, especially, their health?

2. How are they doing with the health challenge they originally came to you for? Remind them how they felt before they worked with you and the results they got. Example: “I remember your back pain was so bad you couldn’t work and our treatments helped you get back to work in 2 weeks. How are you feeling lately?”

3. What are their health needs/goals now? Maybe their old problem has kicked up again, or maybe something else is bothering them.

4. Make a time-limited offer, such as a special service or extra treatment time. Example: “For the next 2 weeks, we’re offering complimentary hot stone massage with each Back in Action massage series.”

Reactivating former clients should become a regular marketing activity in your wellness practice – monthly, annually, quarterly, whatever works best for you.

Learn step-by-step exactly how to boost your income with former clients in our affordable mini-course – Welcome Back: The Prosperous Practice Client Reactivation Campaign.

Get ready – here they come! New clients will be magnetically drawn into your health practice when you follow these 3 simple tips:

1. Go where they gather!

2. Position yourself strategically!

3. Reactivate former clients!

We’d love to hear how these strategies work for you Please share in the Comments below!

Marketing or Shopping – Which Do You Choose?

Marketing or Shopping – Which Do You Choose?

Image result for i love marketingDo you ever feel uncomfortable with marketing your business because you worry that people might think you’re too pushy or too needy? There’s a fine line between the need to market and not appearing needy.

Marketing is a large part of my business. In fact, I have come to think of myself not as a massage therapist and a marketing mentor, but rather as a marketer who does massage therapy and a marketer who coaches wellness practitioners.

The other day a friend asked me to join her for lunch and shopping. I declined her invitation: “I can’t do that on a Tuesday – it’s my marketing day.”

She whined, “You’re always booked solid weeks in advance! Why do you need to keep marketing every single week?”

Her comment tempted me to join in the fun. I really had to stop and think about it! What would be the harm in having a little fun shoe-shopping with my friend and skipping that week’s marketing?

Then I remembered that the reason I consistently have clients is because I consistently do my marketing – same day, same time, every week – without fail! And especially because I run two businesses, it is crucial that I maintain this schedule.

Regardless of what business you’re in, your main job is marketing and your particular skill or profession is what else you do to get paid by clients. But to attract the clients, you have to first be a marketer!

This simple shift in perspective can mean the difference between struggle and success in your wellness biz. If you’re a chiropractor, you’re a marketer who practices chiropractic. If you’re an acupuncturist, you’re a marketer who does acupuncture.

Until you really take this concept to heart and incorporate it into your business life, you will get poor or mediocre results. Once you accept that your primary job is marketing, and then start doing it the right way, you will see more success in your business.

Of course, if you prefer, you can continue with your less-than-great results. Or you can just go back to a job with a paycheck and someone breathing down your neck!

That fine line I mentioned between looking successful and needing to market is really about chasing after clients. If someone seems too eager about something, we question their motives: “If you’re so good, why are you so available? Why do you need to chase down clients?”

First of all, you should never chase business. It seems cheap and annoying, and it doesn’t make people want to work with you. You know the icky feeling you get in a store when the salesperson follows you around and keeps offering you things? It’s like that! If you appear to need them more than they need you, then you’re not just chasing  business – you’re chasing it away!

My practitioner clients know that marketing is about creating value and trust over the long term. It’s about establishing yourself as a solver of your clients’ problems. It’s about providing the results they want, rather than a particular technique or treatment. It’s about developing a relationship so that clients want you, you and only YOU! And when they feel ready – not when you think they should need you.

Remember – chasing clients = chasing away clients! Here’s the formula for successful marketing:

Value + Trust + Time = All the Clients You Need

Now that you’re getting away from the idea of chasing business, of appearing too needy or pushy, how would you answer the question: “Why do you need to market when you always have plenty of clients?”

Here are some answers I use:

“I always have clients because I’m always marketing.”

“A couple of clients recently finished their treatments and I want to fill those openings.”

“I want more clients because it means I’m helping more people.”

What’s your answer?

Hopefully by now it’s clear that you have to market! But do you know where to begin or what to do first… and second… and third? You can quickly attract more ideal clients and make more money with The Prosperous Practice Marketing System, a step-by-step guide that provides all the strategies, tools and techniques you need to market and promote your wellness practice, so you can share your talents with the many people who need your unique services! 

4 Ways to Stretch Your Start-up Budget!

4 Ways to Stretch Your Start-up Budget!

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Many wellness entrepreneurs start out their private practice with a handicap – the belief that they need costly investments to be successful – an upscale office, a bells-and-whistles website, state-of-the-art equipment and so forth.

As wonderful as these things are, they are not the reason people will choose to work with you. Most potential clients will decide to work with you before they ever see your office or equipment. It’s not the trappings of business that make people take us seriously. It’s our ability to let them know, like and trust us, based on the service and value we provide.

I started small and eventually opened a multi-therapist office that I and my clients love, but even so, it’s not big, fancy or high-end. In fact, it is quite small, and completely outfitted in a charming and comfortable style – with thrift store décor! To this day, with over 40 years in private practice, I choose to spend my money on trainings and travel, rather than fancy office furniture.

Maybe you want fancy furniture – and that’s fine! But it’s not worth going into debt for it, before you’ve established a solid client base and consistent income. Here are a few simple tips to stretch your start-up dollars and attract high-quality clients, without breaking the budget.

Tip #1. Mind Your Mindset

Did you know that 90% of business success is based on mindset, while only 10% can be attributed to marketing?

This is especially true for wellness practitioners. As a group, we seem to have more mindset issues than entrepreneurs in other fields, especially around charging money for our work. We may doubt our potential for big success or our ability to handle rapid growth. Some practitioners feel guilty about making money from people’s problems. So it makes sense that overcoming these limiting beliefs and habits will help you grow your practice more quickly and easily.

Working on mindset will help you avoid the stress of overwork, overwhelm and underpay that many practitioners commonly experience. Fear and doubt can cost you more than financial investment in growing a prosperous practice.

Tip #2. Hold Off on High Rent!

Clients generally do not work with you because they like your office. In fact, most people decide to try your work after meeting you in person, before they ever see your location. The first impression you make motivates them to schedule their first appointment. And the result they get from that first session determines whether they will return – not the appearance or location of your workplace.

While building up your biz, consider sharing an office until you are more established. Renting full-time space is a waste of money if you’re seeing only a few clients per week. Check classifieds for office sharing. Ask family and friends if they know of potential space for sharing. Let clients and colleagues know that you would like to share an office. If you share your own space, you will have more control over your environment than if you move into someone else’s office.

If your heart is set on an upscale location, ask building managers or receptionists which businesses might be open to sharing. If there’s no on-site person to ask, go door-to-door and ask tenants if they might be interested in sharing. Write a letter or create a professional-looking flyer explaining your service and your need. Maybe there’s a building bulletin board where you can post a request for shared office space.  Many businesses have unused space that is expensive to maintain, so they may welcome an opportunity to reduce their costs by sharing.

Many hotels and business centers have special rooms or suites that they rent out for meetings. There is a growing trend for office space rental by the hour or day, in some areas called co-work space. If your practice involves only meeting with clients, such as consulting or counseling, and you don’t do exams, treatments or need special equipment, check out local hotels, business centers and co-work facilities.

Consider a hotel room or meeting room. Do some research to determine the average fee in your area, prepare a proposal for a lesser amount and present it to hotel management. Keep the upper hand in negotiating the fee and be prepared to walk away if they won’t accept your terms. Often they would rather accept a lower fee than not rent the space at all. Make sure the fee includes restroom usage and use of the hotel business area for internet and printer, if needed.

A hotel meeting room is also a great option if you’re presenting a talk, class or workshop, but be prepared to pay a higher fee if you want catering services, such as food and beverages.

Also consider a home office, if this is something that could work for you, your practice, your home, your clients and your family. This could be an interim arrangement until you have enough income for a separate office. I have used a home office at times in my career and built a solid client base in the home setting.

Tip #3. Get Clients Before an Expensive Website!

While a website is eventually necessary for growth, you can skip this expense when you’re first starting out. Or start with a free do-it-yourself site. Focus your limited start-up resources on getting your first few clients, then use your increased cash flow for a more sophisticated website.

Use networking, community service and word-of-mouth to meet potential new clients. Visit every networking group in your area to get a feel for one or two that best suit your purposes. Invite people to a free or low-fee Discovery Session. Offer services or information at community events. Prospects appreciate the high value they get from this format. You don’t need a website for this client-attraction strategy.

Tip #4. Make Every Cost an Investment!

Everything you spend money for in your business should give you a good return on investment (ROI). A networking group, coaching program, training course, marketing system, all supplies and equipment – everything you spend time or money for should help monetize your business. Many health entrepreneurs are not clear what return they expect or they don’t get their money’s worth by implementing what they’re learning.

When I enrolled in high-cost coaching to help me develop and market The Prosperous Practice, I promised myself that I would implement everything I learned. I continually looked for ways to maximize my return in every program and product I invested in. Sometimes my ROI was tangible, such as a website and a tech assistant. And sometimes it was abstract, such as more confidence, which helped me, energetically and emotionally, move to the next level of success. By investing at higher and higher levels – even when finding the money was challenging – I was able to steadily move forward and create a flourishing business.

Don’t Let Budget Limit Your Success

A limited budget does not automatically mean limited success. With a new practice, don’t spend money that you can’t comfortably afford right now. Take a closer look at what you really need and what you can do without for a while, and apply these tips. See how many other ways you can be creative in stretching your budget until you can truly afford the bells and whistles. Remember, this is your business! So don’t let anything – especially a low budget – limit your professional and personal success, satisfaction, and achievement!

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