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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Covey’

The holidays are coming upon us already! It seems like just a few years ago, the shops waited until after thanksgiving to put out Christmas decorations, now this year the day after Halloween they were out….almost a whole month earlier. Talk about aggressive marketing! This is certainly not the way I recommend you do your marketing, but looking at all the decorations did start me thinking about retailers and what we can learn from them in the marketing we do as therapists.
 

Marketing Moves

One of the things I hear most from the therapists I talk with when I do marketing consults is that they start something; maybe they’ve read a book or heard a talk and were inspired to begin a new program, but “Now I’m stuck! I don’t know what to do next. It’s already been three weeks and nothing’s happening.”
 
So let’s talk about getting “unstuck” with your marketing. Here are my top five tips for getting moving again, getting result – clients – and getting unstuck!
 
1.       Stephen Covey’s first of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” talks about being proactive and taking responsibility for your life. Look at who is in your Circle of Influence and focus on them because those people are the ones you can do something about. You may find you need to expand your circle of influence and this is why every business coach you’ll ever meet preaches networking.  Networking is nothing more than building that circle of influence.  When you’re feeling locked from moving forward, begin making a list of your circle of influence. Write down the names of everyone in it. Writing the names is important because it makes us commit at some level to these people and the next step, which is contacting them and doing some face to face networking. Tell them you have some openings in your practice, and if they hear of anyone who needs someone with your expertise (here’s where you do your “elevator speech”) give them your name and a card. Make sure you have 10 -15 cards to give them.
 
The new networking we’re all hearing about is personal networking. Actually it isn’t new; it’s always been the best way to network. The online social networking sites just make it easier to meet people and make connections to follow up in person. So work on your list. Take 15 solid, uninterrupted minutes a day for a week and add to your list. You’ll be surprised at the end of the week how many names you have. If you’re not surprised, it’s time to network some more!
 
2.       Step 2 is one of my personal favorites and maybe the most powerful. “Recreate your vision.” When you’re feeling stuck and can’t move forward, remember why you wanted to go there in the first place. What was your original vision of the business you are trying to build? What does it look like? Where is it located? Who will your work benefit? What fulfillment or satisfaction will it provide you? Write down your vision of a successful business, or if you’ve written it down before, pull it out and re-read it. Allow your own words to re-inspire you to do the necessary hard work.
 
Among my best memories is of a time I was standing on the balcony outside my office drinking a cup of coffee. I had a free hour and as I stood overlooking the garden in the center of the building, I was struck with the realization that at a professional growth retreat some years before I had done an exercise in which I had to draw a picture of my business in 10 years. At that point I had 3 clients and rented hourly space from a therapist friend…not much of a business at all. But, my realization was that my picture that I’d drawn, in great detail, looked almost like where I was standing at that moment. A definite goose bumps experience! But I learned that visualizing works! Picturing what you want, in great detail, works. For 10 years I had been moving toward that picture without remembering it most of the time, but I had it embedded it my mind, a seed that was slowly growing and taking shape. I still have that picture, and every day I have fresh flowers in my office just like I had in the picture.  This morning I picked 3 beautiful pink roses from that back yard for my desk. Recreate your vision!

During the exercise in the workshop, the instructor had us use the big fat crayons that kindergarteners use so our “inner child” was freer to “draw.” I still use the exercise to this day when I’m starting a new project. I visualize it and draw it with fat crayons! Try it and let me know what happens with your picture.
 
3.   Face your fear. One of the most common obstacles to being successful at marketing is fear. Marketing activities may evoke fears of rejection, disapproval, embarrassment, and a host of other catastrophes. Instead of pretending the fear isn’t there, or attempting to ignore it, you may find it more effective to confront the fear directly.

Try to identify exactly what you are afraid of. What do you fear will happen if you make that call or go to that meeting? If you can identify the specific fear that is blocking you, it may be possible to soothe it by providing reassuring information or positive experience. For example, fear of rejection can often be lessened by setting up practice selling sessions where a role-playing partner responds with “yes” to every suggestion you make.

4.  Quit; then start fresh. There may be days when you feel discouraged enough to just throw in the towel. Maybe you should do it. The act of quitting can be very cathartic. Proclaim: “I quit!” Perhaps even write yourself a resignation letter. Then take off the rest of the day, and don’t even think about work. It’s a good bet that after you have a chance to blow off some steam, you’ll be ready to come back the following day re-energized.

5.  Act as if. Whenever you feel incompetent about some area of marketing, you may be able to tackle those activities anyway if you simply try to act as if you were competent. Try playing the role of someone you admire. For example, what if you were Julia Roberts? How would she make a follow-up call? Or how about if you were Sean Penn? How would he introduce himself in front of a group? A short time pretending to be someone you think of as confident and capable can make those qualities rub off on you.

The next time your marketing feels stuck, try one of these methods to help you get back into action quickly.
 
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SPECIAL THANKS TO C.J. Hayden, author of “Get Clients Now,” for her inspiration and contributions to this piece.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Judy

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January is the crucial time to sit down and re-visit your marketing plan. Reflect deeply on what worked for you and what didn’t in 2009. I hear from therapists all too often that they “don’t have the time” to sit down and plan like this and I am at a loss for words. To those people, their “business” isn’t really a business at all; it’s a hobby. Can you imagine Apple Computers, Johnson and Johnson or Verizon saying something like that!  Planning is key!

MAKE the time to plan for your business to succeed or you will be sitting by, watching it fail!  It’s also the best time to develop a marketing calendar for the upcoming year.

January is the perfect time to re-visit your Marketing Plan for the New Year. An annual marketing plan will assist you in figuring out what it is that you need to do, how to do it, and when to do it. This marketing plan should go hand-in-hand with your business plan. Take the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in 2009. Your marketing plan should reflect changes and goals based on the previous year’s marketing experience. Put time and effort into creating a strong marketing plan and it will become a great tool to help you work smarter not harder at achieving your marketing goals this year.

Here are some of the topics that you should address while completing your plan:

1.   Preparation of your mission statement and vision for the upcoming year.

This is more than just setting your goals and it’s very important as it will determine your success. You need to get connected to your ‘WHY’ and keep reminding yourself WHY you are doing what you’re doing. This is your vision, mission and driving force.  If your ‘WHY’ is big enough, then you’ll figure out the ‘HOW’.  Stephen Covey has  some excellent material on creating mission statements and you can find most of  it free by searching online.

2.    Discover and define your niche markets.

Today, clients want an “expert” and nicheing lends itself to the perception of expertise.  Marketing yourself as a generalist makes you forgettable.  And, marketing yourself as someone who has a special interest in X, makes you memorable. Nicheing allows you to market your services in a more focused way.  That translates to more money, less wasted time, and more strategic contacts. Most therapists are afraid to define their “niche” for fear it will limit the clients they see. “I’ve been in practice for 20 years. I can treat anything by now.” (Actual comment I just heard today).  And maybe that’s true. But to a client that sounds like, “I’ve been working on cars for 20 years. I can fix anything that drives in my shop.”  Well, maybe, but do you know about computers and chips and how electronics are integrated into the engine now, etc. etc. Not so sure anymore. . .? Niches are important. They show  you care enough to specialize in an area or two that interests and uses your specific skills and talents. Niches define you as the kind of person who is smart enough to be an expert in something!

3.    Describe and identify your services.

When describing yourself and your services, use words that provide evidence of its value. Some examples include; honored, acclaimed, certified, recognized, approved, proven and recommended. Take advantage of these key words when writing marketing or promotional materials that describe your services.

4.   Develop and plan your marketing strategy and goals.

This is when you review and reflect on the previous year to see what has worked, what didn’t, what were your successes, failures, good and bad decisions. It’s very important that you do this and think about how you can improve.

Goal-setting is important for every aspect of your life, not only for your business – relationships, family, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, career and financial.  So, you need to set goals and create a vision for your entire life. Think about  the things that you want to achieve in life and focus on them. In my experience, they will be on your mind all the time. The key to having success in your life and in your business, is to know exactly what you want and stick to it.

5.    Explore and identify your competition.

Do a little “market research” to identify who your professional competition is out there. Use the internet to conduct searches for other providers in the area that offer similar services, etc. Learn their background information, credentials, fees and the marketing tools they are using. There is no shortage of valuable, inexpensive ways to engage in the research you need. The important thing is to take advantage of them. Don’t be afraid of your “competitors,” embrace them. There is enough business to go around.

6.   Create a marketing calendar that contains a month-by-month schedule of marketing activities and events for the upcoming year.

This is probably the most important aspect of creating your annual marketing plan. It’s important to be pro-active with your marketing and to do that you need to be prepared for the upcoming events. Plan early and take advantage of the many opportunities that are out there each year. This tool will show you what marketing events, media campaigns and merchandising efforts are happening when and where, as well as the results. In the coming months we will highlight a target market for the month to help you with ideas, but be creative. Find your own. There will even be opportunities for you to collaborate with your “competition.”

Like a business plan, a marketing plan is an important document that needs to be updated on a regular basis. At least once each year this should be reviewed to address changes in market conditions, demand, pricing issues, etc. With a little extra time and effort now you can make 2010  – Your Best Year Ever!

The Find a Therapist Team

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