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Posts Tagged ‘clients’

I usually don’t write about my childhood stories, but this morning I was inspired by a dear friend who saw a picture of me at 10 years old. How far back does that go!

My father was an entrepreneur, although I don’t know if he knew what the word meant. A self taught man, there was nothing he couldn’t do, nothing he wouldn’t try, and I never recall him saying no to me if I needed or wanted his help with something. He liked that I was smart and although he would never say it, the smartest kid of 3 in the family; smart and appreciative, and so he had fun when we worked together.

One snow packy winter day, perfect for snowmen, when the lawn mowers are itching to come out of their winter hibernation, he went outside after breakfast and proceeded to build what I thought was a snowman. Well, after hours and hours he invited me outside o see the most beautifully sculpted snow horse I had ever seen. Every curve of its flowing white mane, every rippling muscle, nostrils wide and flaring, looking at those he was running at top speed.

I immediately began to cry. I had always loved horses, but we could never afford one, so this was my next best thing.  His name was Silver, not even a hint of a question about that, and he was the fastest horse in the world. Every morning and every night I covered him with a fresh coat of ice water to preserve him as long as I could.

Snow horse

Neighbors stopped by to comment, people driving by in cars slowed down to “ohhh” in wonder at this marvelous creation, and the local newspaper even did a feature story with pictures on my Silver and how it all came about. I loved that horse and I loved my father so much for such an amazing gift straight from his heart. I don’t know what prompted him to do it. I was only 10 and didn’t think to ask or know how to formulate the question.

But, good things too come to an end; and the day came in April when the sun rose too high in the sy and no matter how much ice water I used I couldn’t keep him from beginning to show the telltale drips that meant he was melting. I sat with him outside as one would keep vigil with a sick friend,  begged to sleep outside in case he needed me – “No, it’s too cold, Judy, you’ll freeze.’ From the wisdom of my mother. From my father, a tear – he understood but reality won out.

In the morning I raced down the steps and outside to see a shell of Silver, trying to stand proud, and melting. In 30 minutes it was over – he was gone.

I didn’t know at the time it was possible for a child to cry that much. I sobbed for hours, first hanging onto him and then in my bedroom. My heart was broken for the loss of the most gracious gift, the unexpected loveliness of it all, the hours we played together, and the possibilities of what might have been, the unrealized dream that has never died.

Exhausted finally from the tears and emotion, I went to sleep and dream t of my darling Silver, my father, herds of horses and love beyond measure.

Now what does this have to do with marketing, you ask. Of course, everything. Marketing never ends – building relationships never ends. Keeping your name “out there” never ends. You my dear therapists are providing such a marvelous service, helping people end their anguish and suffering. If you are good, you know it in your bones. Please share that expertise with others. My father kept that marvelous talent hidden for over 20 years – a terrible waste of a gift. And then one day, it burst forth – it was as if the world was too small for him all of a sudden – he HAD to share it.

He periodically did things like that as time went by – amazing, delightful surprises. He owned three businesses in his lifetime – all successful. And as I watched, and listened and learned, I watched him first build the trust which takes time. He was willing, more than willing. One of my very favorite tips he used – another grocery story opened their doors close enough to ours to be a real threat. A bit newer, more modern, but my dad had trust already stored up for years. When mom sent the kids to the store for a loaf of bread, they had a choice – newer or trustworthy. They always chose him. He      taught me his secret. When the got an ice cream cone, he gave an extra dip. When they got candy, same thing–”a little extra on the side for you, he’d say.  And countless other stories. It rubbed off…more value to the customer whenever possible, keep building the trust and he always shook their hand and said good-bye, come back now and called them by name.  I loved that man so much and never , ever told him enough. “Do you hear me now dad?”

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Training & Workshops

Many therapists report gaining a number of referrals from doing public speaking – I know I did.  It certainly wasn’t easy at first. I felt nauseous, my hands and voice were shaking – it was really pretty awful.  Then I remembered something a friend who did public speaking for a living once said to me.  She told me to let my audience know how I was feeling. WHAT!?

Yes, that’s exactly what I did because she was so successful and I trusted her wisdom so much, I simply said, “You’ll have to excuse me tonight – this is my first time on this topic and I am really quite nervous, so please be kind <smile>.  Amazingly, it worked. I found that audiences are for the most part very kind.  Afterward, many people came up to me and told me I shouldn’t be nervous, that I did very well, and how much they enjoyed it.

It also made me relax considerably and view these people much more as friends than people to be feared. Another thing I learned is that it takes practice to get better. Simple, eh? But so true. Each time I gave my talk, I got better. After about 10 times of the same parenting talk, I felt I could branch out into other areas. I picked one I enjoyed and felt I knew a lot about, Spirituality and Psychology,” and started promoting it. I contacted all of the people I had names and addresses of from previous talks – a reminder by the way – keep a signup sheet to build your mailing list – had a flier created, or you can use a template to create your own.  There are so many options out there today.  I had the money so I had mine professionally done. Because I was just starting out, I wanted to create the best impression possible.

Finding a venue was easy because I had a track record, but if I didn’t, I would have started with the public library, churches, or bookstores, especially the small community ones. Have a list of books ready for them on the topic that they can display and sell.  If you do the work for them, they will be very appreciative and more likely to have you back because you are demonstrating that you are a professional and understand what they need.

Learning the tricks and tools of public speaking isn’t hard. There are places like toastmasters, etc. that help greatly. I found a video that I think is especially helpful, more than any I’ve seen, so I’ll share it with you here:

http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/video/do-it-yourself-body-language

Unfortunately, I can’t embed it, but if you click the link it will take you there.

So, what about results?  Why go through all the torture and work of preparation? Well, it works! My first awkward performance, I got one referral. The second a few more and by the 10th I was getting at least 5 clients from each speaking engagement. Now, they all didn’t rush up to me afterward and beg for an appointment. But over the next couple of months, I was able to identify 5 people from the talk.

Now what is that worth? Figuring ROI (return on investment) means taking what you spent and subtracting it from what you take in. So, what is one client worth? If you charge $125 and the average number of sessions is 10 is $1250. If you have 25 people at your presentation (my average) with 5 clients is $6250.  After the first talk and the initial preparation, which takes more time and you make less profit, what you do is begin to build a repertoire. Post it on your directory listing. On Find-a-Therapist.com, you can add a 2 – 3 minute video “teaser” about your next presentation as well. You can write an article that we’ll publish on our blog about the subject and mention that the public can hear you at your upcoming event at such and such a place and time.

Doing an event a month can net you approximately $6,000; 2 a month is $12,000. Remember, all the while you’re getting better, building your repertoire, knowing what your audience receives well – all the while your referrals are growing and your regular practice income is growing. If your making $10,000 a month on speaking, you can afford to hire a part time virtual assistant or an assistant that comes to your home or office and takes care of the details for you, leaving you free to research more, create more, write more, put more presentations  together.

Again, this won’t happen overnight.  But, if you apply yourself faithfully, as if you were taking a class you had to pass, I would estimate that in 3 years you will be at that level of income from your speaking. Do the research in your community. What self help books are selling? What speakers are being booked?  What is Oprah talking about on her show?  What is in the news again and again (ex. child abuse).

Taking this approach also helps you build your person to person networking and it helps you build your niche.  With each presentation, you will meet people in higher status positions, build better connections, and your more affluent data base will grow.

The are many articles about what you bring with you to your presentation, how you market once you are there, how you build your lists, so I won’t go into that here. You can do that research; it will almost fall into your lap.

For most therapists this is a quiet time of the year. So, let this be a start for you on making your 3 year public speaking plan.  Get a buddy who will commit themselves to doing it with you. If you’re appointment book is not as full as you want, use the free time productively. If you have questions, join www.TherapyNetworking.com – its free – and we’ll try to answer them on this topic specifically. Most importantly, treat the awkward times as learning experiences and practice sessions – don’t let them discourage you.

I wish you a year of good public speaking!

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We’re starting something new today! Wednesday’s are a good day for new things; they’re right in the middle of the week which means there are only a few days left until the weekend and that’s a good thing. So we’ve decided, in our great wisdom, to call our mini newsletter, “Wednesday’s Wisdom.” Today’s newsletter will be text only – no pictures or anything to distract you from the wisdom we’ve gathered here. We hope by this point you can tell some of this will be written “tongue in cheek,” but with real tidbits of wisdom thrown in here and there.

We’ll be sending these every other week, and they’ll be short and sweet and chocked full of goodies. We’ll ALWAYS include a special offer – so watch for it – near the bottom of the letter.

So here we go – Wednesday’s Wisdom! Here are the five best ways for professionals to get clients:

1. Meeting prospects or referral sources in person, at events or by appointment

2. Talking to prospects or referral sources on the phone

3. Sending personal letters and emails to prospects who already know them

4. Following up personally with prospects over time

5. Speaking to groups likely to contain prospects at meetings and conferences

Now here’s the most important thing to remember. In this context, prospects are NOT clients. Prospects are those professionals who come into contact with your prospective clients; doctors, lawyers, teachers, pastors, insurance agents, dentists, nurses, hairdressers. . .those people who deal with your clients everyday in their profession.

These are the ones you invite for coffee or lunch. These are the people you get to know so they can get to know and refer to you when they see a potential client in their office.

So, there it is – Wednesday’s Wisdom for the week. Schedule a time on your calendar right now to make that call and invite your hairdresser or barber for coffee. Ask them about their work and what they do when they think a client of theirs needs someone to talk to – a trained clinician like yourself. And leave them with a stack of your business cards – and the next time you see them, ask if they need more!

Special Offer :  $40 OFF!

New subscribers will receive $40 off a premium or enhanced listing when they mention this promo. Learn more about our available listing packages at Find-a-Therapist.com. Call today to take advantage of this special! 1-866-450-3463. Expires November 30, 2010

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In September of every year, many of us feel an urge to go “back to school.” Even when we haven’t attended a class in years, it’s habitual for the end of summer to suggest we should be paying less attention to family and fun and more to making a living. As you turn your focus to business this fall, consider how you might incorporate into your back-to-business agenda the back-to-basics curriculum of the Three R’s of professional services marketing: relationship, referral, and reach.

#1: Relationship

The cornerstone of every independent professional’s marketing strategy should be relationship-building. If a marketing tactic you’re considering contributes to stronger relationships between you and your prospects, it’s worthy of your attention. If it doesn’t, think twice before using it, and certainly don’t rely on it.

Marketing that leads to better relationships includes activities like lunch and coffee dates, giving educational talks, and personal exchanges via phone, email, or social networking.

Marketing that rarely leads to better relationships — and can sometimes damage them — includes phone calls, letters, and emails with over-the-top hype for your services, anonymous online ads, and besieging your social networking contacts with promotional announcements.

Don’t be misled by advice pushing the flavor of the week in marketing. If a new tactic suggested to you isn’t relationship-oriented, it probably isn’t worth your time.

#2: Referral

Prospects who come to you by way of a referral are more likely to become clients than those who you connect with in almost any other way. They have often already decided to work with you when you hear from them, and are less likely to question your rates or your expertise.

Generating more referrals, then, should be an essential component of your marketing. Instead of expending all your effort on filling the pipeline with unknown prospects and making cold approaches, spend more time cultivating relationships with likely referral sources.

Many professionals mistakenly believe that if they simply provide good service to their clients, the referrals that naturally result will be enough. But this is rarely the case. The best referrals often come from people who have never been your clients — members of your trade association or networking group, other professionals who serve your market, and centers of influence in your community. Time spent getting to know these folks better can be much more productive than approaching strangers.

#3: Reach

Clients don’t appear just because you are there waiting for them.

You have to reach out. In marketing, reach takes many different forms — for example, you reaching out to people you already know to build better relationships, you reaching out to new potential referral sources, and you reaching outside your comfort zone to have personal interactions with prospects.

The point is that you do have to reach out rather than simply wait and react, even though outreach is often more uncomfortable.

It’s tempting to rely on build-it-and-they-will-come marketing like websites consisting solely of sales letters, or online “networking” platforms populated by people you don’t even know, or classified ads, or directory listings. And there are plenty of vendors doing their own outreach to sell you on these approaches so you don’t even have to go looking for them.

But if it was really that easy to get clients — just launch a website, say, or buy an ad, and you’ll have all the clients you need — why haven’t all the folks selling you these strategies retired to tropical islands by now?

As far as marketing tactics go, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So get back to basics with your marketing this fall. Build relationships, cultivate referrals, and reach out proactively to prospects and referral sources rather than waiting for them to find you. With the Three R’s as your guide, you’ll have everything you need to go to the head of the class.

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now!™ Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. Get a free copy of “Five Secrets to Finding All the Clients You’ll Ever Need” at www.getclientsnow.com

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