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Are you looking for referrals? Does your appointment book have too many empty hours? Do you find yourself sitting in your office waiting for your phone to ring?   Does this sound familiar?

You know you’re a great therapist. You’ve studied hard, keep your skills sharp with continuing education, and offer a great service at a fair price. You’re even getting calls from potential clients. Yet, your appointment book still has too many empty spaces in it.  Somehow, you can’t seem to get callers to that first appointment and convert them into paying clients. speedy

Here are some tips from marketing experts and therapists with thriving practices.

The Power of the First “Yes.”

From a purely marketing perspective, the first thing you must do in that initial communication as you explain your services to a client is to help the caller recognize, “Wow, he/she is really talking about me.”  Great marketers know the secret to doing this. . . asking a pointed question to which the customer says, “Yes.”

One of our most successful therapists uses this question, “Is the lack of communication with your spouse creating conflict in your relationship?”

Now, most therapists would ask the question this way, “how is the lack of communication causing conflict in your relationship?” But, great marketers know phrasing it that way won’t get the “first Yes” they are looking for in that initial call.

Educating your caller through phrasing your question helps them understand that therapy will be helpful in solving their major problem.

The Next Critical Step

You’ve convinced the caller that therapy can be helpful. Now, communicating the benefits of therapy is the next crucial step in transforming callers to clients. An “elevator speech” is among the most effective ways to do this. What’s an elevator speech?  Who gives a speech in an elevator anyway?

An elevator speech is a short (15-30 second, 150 word) sound bite that succinctly and memorably introduces you. It spotlights your uniqueness. It focuses on the benefits you provide. And it is delivered effortlessly.

Elevator speeches are intended to prepare you for very brief, chance encounters in an elevator. But elevator speeches are not just for elevators! You should use it whenever you want to introduce yourself to a new contact. That could be in the supermarket, waiting in line at an ATM or when you get your morning latte. They are also perfect for educating the caller on the phone!

Here’s an example: “I help individuals find success and personal enrichment in relationships and work with corporations to maximize the potential of valuable employees.”

Your elevator speech must roll off your tongue with ease. Practice your speech in front of the mirror and with friends. Record it on your answering machine, and listen to it. Do you sound confident? Sincere? Is it engaging? Tweak if necessary. Then, try it out! Tweak again until you get the results you want.

The Conversion

The last step is moving the caller from the phone to your office and can be amazingly easy.  Great marketers know that what counts are results. As a therapist, information calls are great, referrals from other therapists are always welcome, but paying clients that you generate from your contacts with potential clients are the most valuable. This is the way YOU keep your practice thriving.

“Closing the sale” and converting the caller to a client is as simple as saying, “I have appointments available on Monday and Wednesday. Which is better for you?”

Include a free initial session in your question if you offer one.  Marketing expert Anthony O. Putnam states that for every free session you offer, you get about 19 paying customers, a great return on your investment.

Offering referrals if you are not a good fit for the client, is another great way to generate referrals.  By creating mutual referral services with a few of your colleagues with different areas of expertise from yours, you can refer out when necessary, and get their referrals in return.

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As competition online becomes more keen, it becomes more and more important to reach prospects and customers personally.  That means not only mixing up your marketing mix but also letting your prospects and customers get to know you more personally.  With your Find-a-Therapist.com listing, you can now add both audio and video greetings at no extra cost!

Marketing with video is effective

Marketing with video is effective

In the world of small business your personality is one of your strongest marketing assets.  People base their buying decisions on a number of factors, one of them being likeability.  If they like you, they’ll be more motivated to contact you.

Audio and video enable business owners to communicate with their prospects more personally.

For a sample, click here. Look on the right side of the site.

Audio and video marketing increases your reach and online visibility.  You will expand your target market because different people prefer different mediums. Some customers enjoy reading, while others prefer videos or live communication and still others like to download your information and listen to it when they have time.  Just like newsletters delivered via email marketing, podcasts can be subscribed to, downloaded automatically, and listened to when time is available.

It has been shown that audio and video marketing improve your sales and conversion rates.  Audio blog posts, video messages and podcasts are yet another way to reach your customers. The one-on-one communication provides the kind of personal touch that customers crave.  People are more likely to buy from someone that they feel they have a direct connection with, and podcasts enable you to do just that.

Podcasts provide a consistent line of communication with subscribed listeners.  It has been proven that regular communication with your customers improves both your overall relationship with them, as well as their buying frequency.  A regularly distributed podcast can strengthen your relationship with your buyers and help to build a community of your customers.

Audio and video content provides beneficial and value added content which increases customer loyalty.

Podcasts allow you to distribute industry news and trends.  This will help set you apart from your competition and establish you as a respected leader in your niche or industry.  One of the best ways to get referrals from loyal customers is to become the “go to guy in your niche.  Once you establish yourself as the go to person for quality information, services, or products, your profits will grow.

There are many tools to help business owners get started with audio and video marketing as well as podcasting.  We recommend this site to create podcasts and audio recordings. Remember to add audio and/or video to your Find-a-Therapist.com listing today!

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Studies show that 89 percent of everything you see and hear is forgotten after 72 hours — almost EVERYTHING!

To prove the point, how many ads can you remember that you heard this morning? Saw today? Probably not many… and you consider your advertising campaign a waste of money!checklist

So, you want to design your own marketing campaign? Place your own ads? Not a bad way to save money, because you know your business better than anyone else. You are responsible for presenting a professional image of your company (at all times), and consistent coverage with various forms of media can certainly help you reinforce those positive thoughts.

Remember what advertising can do for you:

  • build an image/credibility
  • expose you or the marketplace
  • get you potential customers via leads/responses/inquiries

Conversely, realize what advertising can’t do for you:

  • give benefits where there aren’t any
  • force people to contact you
  • sell your product by itself
  • it won’t guarantee your business — but it can get you noticed!

Advertising provides information about your company or service using different forms of media (such as print ads, radio spots, video or TV commercials, electronic postings, billboards, or other specific “types” of ads).

Marketing is the act of selling to specific, targeted groups via targeted advertising. Direct mail campaigns contain advertising material, but are known as a form of marketing.

Public relations involves building an image campaign and getting known in your field of work and your local community. True textbook definitions say that public relations cannot be controlled; if this is true, why are there so many “Public Relations Counselors” in the Yellow Pages?

Time and Money: The Two Biggies

“How much time should I spend on advertising/marketing?” There are no hard and fast rules, but you need to constantly look for new business while maintaining the old clients at the same time. Between 20 and 40 percent of your time is not uncommon, and it is recommended that a minimum of 10 percent of your total work hours be spent prospecting for clients. Budget for time invested as well as dollars; don’t forget to determine how much your time is worth, and include it in your overall cost of marketing and advertising.

“How much money should I spend?” This one varies, too, according to the type of business, the market, and the amount of sales. A range from 3 to 12 percent of gross receipts is a good figure for starters; you will know after a year or so if you need to increase or decrease your marketing budget.

Marketing is an investment strategy, similar to the poser of compounding. Your logo, which appears on your letterhead, business cards, and direct mail, coupled with your telemarketing and networking efforts, is one way to build your overall company image. You must plan and budget for your specific industry.

List your practice on Find-a-Therapist.com

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