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Posts Tagged ‘referrals’

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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Find-a-Therapist, Inc is happy to pass along this special, limited time offer from Casey Truffo, Founder and CEO of the International Therapist Leadership Institute. This organization is dedicated to supporting and enriching the lives and careers of therapists everywhere. They provide resources, seminars, events and networking opportunities. Learn more below.

Casey Truffo, International Therapist Leadership Institute, wants to offer you an end of the year gift… The 300+ page book ‘Be A Wealthy Therapist: Finally You Can Make A Living While Making a Difference’ is now available until Monday, December 21, 2009 to you as a PDF Download AT NO-CHARGE.

To get your copy, go to http://InTLI.com/blog/ebook for your no-charge PDF copy of Be A Wealthy Therapist by Casey Truffo.

Some very nice people have said some kind things about Be A Wealthy Therapist: Finally You Can Make A Living While Making a Difference:

“Reading this book could not only give you more time with friends and family, but can make you thousands of dollars. Clearly written and very sound. Get it, read it, implement it and reap the emotional and financial rewards.” –Bill O’Hanlon, psychotherapist and author of over 30 books

“I have read just about every book on marketing a practice. Casey Truffo’s book is the easiest to read and to apply.” –Debra Taylor McGee

“I got happier the day I stopped sitting around waiting for clients to call me, and dropped the fear that I had to take any client that came in my door. So what helped me? Casey Truffo! Her book is a perfect blend of coaching strategies, life experience, and, most importantly, no-nonsense ideas that work. “Be a Wealthy Therapist” will really help you build a successful and wealthy practice.” –Jason Fierstein, LPC

One note though…if you are looking for a boring textbook with big words, this book isn’t for you. Be A Wealthy Therapist is a very quick and easy read – with coaching questions to get you thinking and motivated.

So, Are You Ready To Get Your Copy?

Go to http://InTLI.com/blog/ebook for your no-charge PDF copy of Be A Wealthy Therapist by Casey Truffo

Happy holidays!

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The Case of the Missing ReferralsOne day, the phone just stopped ringing. At first, you may not have noticed it. You were busy serving your clients, keeping up in your field, and getting the bills paid, like all good professionals do. But then a project ended or a client quit, and you didn’t have a replacement waiting in the pipeline.

Suddenly you realized that it had been quite some time since any new prospects were referred to you. Yikes, what’s going on?

Whether you’ve been in business ten months or ten years, it can take you by surprise when referrals suddenly dry up. When business is thriving, referrals routinely arrive in one of two ways — either you hear from prospects who say they were referred by someone else, or people in your network pass along the name of prospects who need you. If neither of those things are happening, you have a problem. Without referrals, you’ll have to work much harder to get new business.

But where have your referrals gone? You may need to put on your detective hat and do some sleuthing to find out. Here are some of the most common reasons why referrals disappear, and what you can do to get them back.

1. You’ve dropped out of sight. When was the last time you attended a networking event? Volunteered on a committee? Wrote an article? Spoke in public? Sure, you’ve been busy, but if you stop being visible in your target market or professional community, people forget about you.

Clues: The only appointments in your calendar are client meetings. When you run into colleagues, they say, “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”

Solution: No matter how busy you are with client work, make it a practice to do at least one thing each month that keeps you visible.

2. Your network has stopped expanding. When your contacts are limited to people you already know, your referrals are limited to only the people that THEY know. Without anyone new in the circle, there’s nowhere for fresh referrals to come from.

Clues: You haven’t added any new names to your contact database in months. You can’t follow up with your network to stimulate more referrals, because you’ve already talked to everyone you know.

Solution: Ask the people you know to introduce you to any of their contacts who might be helpful. Spend some time getting to know these new folks. Then they will become your contacts, too, and your network will automatically expand.

3. You’re networking with the wrong people. Perhaps your clients are consumers, but your networking contacts mostly have a corporate market. Or all your networking is through your professional association where most of the members are direct competitors.

Clues: You’re in touch with many people on a regular basis, but no one is referring to you. When a referred prospect does contact you, their needs aren’t a fit for what you do.

Solution: Identify categories of people who have regular contact with your target market, and are likely to encounter needs you can fill. For example, a small business accountant will be more likely to get referrals from networking with attorneys, financial planners, and bookkeepers than by spending time with corporate consultants, health practitioners, or other accountants.

4. People think you’re too busy. When you give the impression you’re overwhelmed with work, your contacts will stop referring to you. But if you wait for your workload to lighten before putting out the word you’re ready for more, it will usually be too late.

Clues: You hear that one of your old referral sources sent business to a competitor. Someone tells you, “I thought you weren’t taking new clients.”

Solution: Return phone calls and emails from referred prospects promptly, even when you’re too busy to help them. Refer them on to someone else you trust, then thank the person who sent them to you. This will encourage your contacts to keep referring in the future, as they know their referrals will always be taken care of.

The secret to avoiding the “feast or famine” cycle that plagues many professional service businesses is to stay visible instead of hunkering down in your office, and nurture your network even when you don’t need it. In order to keep a constant flow of referrals coming, you need to give your referral-building activities the same high-quality, consistent attention you give your client work.

That way, you’ll be able to focus your detective skills on solving problems for your clients instead of having to worry about where your next client is coming from.

Copyright © 2009, C.J. Hayden

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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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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