Category: Growing Your Practice

All About Business Cards

At a recent meeting of therapists I attended, one recently qualified therapist was describing the dilemmas that she had met in deciding onIMG_9570 a design for her business cards. It’s an issue that can tie people in knots, and keep them stuck for long periods of time, while they work through their feelings. I thought it might be useful to share some thoughts about business cards: Read more

What’s in a Name?

How do you decide what to call your counselling or therapy practice? Do you use your own name, or do you opt for a name that conjures an image in the mind of potential clients or referrers? Do you choose something that captures the essence of the service you’re hoping to provide? Here are some things you might like to take into consideration in deciding what your business is going to be called: Read more

Five Ways to Make your Marketing More Effective

A therapist client asked me recently to help her create marketing material that would bring in more clients. This otherwise articulate professional found it difficult to put words together into promotional material, in a way that sounded authentic without being sleazy. If you’re going to invest money in getting a brochure or flyer designed and printed, then you’ll want it to work for you.

Here are my five tips for making your material stand out from the crowd and still be appropriate to the work.

1. Talk about them, not about you

It’s tempting, isn’t it, because you are what you know best. You know who you are, what you’ve done and what you do. Sorry to burst your bubble, but potential clients don’t much care. They’re interested in whether you can bring some relief to the pain they’re feeling. You need your words to reach out and connect with where they are.

So talk about them, what they might be experiencing, and how you imagine that feels for them.

2.   Don’t talk about process, talk about what they can realistically expect to achieve, or what they want to achievehelping hand

Again, it’s what you know best! And yes, some clients will be interested in how you work, but only as a means to an end.  You are ethically bound not to give undertakings about outcomes, but you can still focus on what a client wants to achieve, and at the end of the day, all clients have one thing in common, they want to feel better. You may not be able to resolve the problem they have with their mother, but you can tell them that many people feel better for talking about it.

3.   Talk their language, not yours 

Speaking jargon creates the impression that you are the expert. However, it can have the effect of reducing your client to a ‘case’ and is to be avoided. A potential client may be impressed by your technical knowledge, but in this world of fast paced communication, you have about 15 seconds to get your message across. If it doesn’t grab their attention, you run the risk that they drop your brochure in the waste before they reach your phone number. A potential client shouldn’t have to work to understand what you are offering them. Use language that is descriptive, easily understood and that your potential client can relate to.

4.  Don’t try to be all things to all people, you’ll just end up being nondescript. Choose something that you are interested in and focus on that

You don’t have to be an expert in everything.  And the purpose of marketing is not to display all your knowledge and expertise on all subjects. The purpose is to answer the client’s question, “Is this someone who might be able to help me?” Choose something that draws you and talk about that. Because you are interested, you will find it easier to talk (or write) about it congruently and from the heart. This tells a potential client (or referrer) something of who you are as a person and will help them to connect with you.

5.  If you want clients to find you, they have to be able to find you

A client has to sort through a lot of information to make a choice of therapist. You need to make it easy for them. That means having your contact details out there where clients are likely to look, whether online or offline. The more places your name and phone number appear, the better. You will also need to find something that makes you different from others. People remember your quirks! If you can’t think of something to differentiate you, include a good photo of yourself.

Finally, you could spend a lifetime trying to get it just right. Aim for good enough, and review it before you reprint.

If I can help you with any aspect of promoting your practice, or finding the ideal clients for you, I’d be happy to do so. Please contact me with your questions or queries, or to avail of your free 20 minute consultation.

…And Then There Was The Accountant Who Spun Plates!

In most professions you get the generalists and the specialists. In medicine you have the GPs and the Consultants. In Law you have the Conveyancers and the Criminal Lawyers. You have the local dentist who does fillings and polishing, and you have the orthodontist. In counselling and therapy too, we have those who specialise in one field such as addiction,or adolescents, and those who can turn their hand to many issues.

Plates Spinning on Sticks
Plates Spinning on Sticks

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Do you Advertise or Not?

I often get asked by practitioners, “Is it okay to advertise my services?” And in particular, “Is it okay to advertise on the Internet?”

Those in favour of advertising online will argue that we live in a technological age, free soapand that potential clients will reach for their phone, iPad or computer as the first source of information about what they’re looking for. It makes sense, they argue, to be where their clients are looking for them. The detractors will argue that the best sources of clients come from personal connections, people you already know, people who know you and what you can do. Some will argue that it is inconsistent with professionalism to advertise our services at all, and especially on the internet. Read more

Have You Enough Support for Your Business?

I was a bit taken aback when a colleague suggested to me during the week that what I was really looking for was support. After all, I teach this stuff, don’t I? As a therapist, I provide support for my clients, usually emotional support, and sometimes the more practical support of looking at resourcing or problem solving. In this role, I write and teach others about the business of therapy. Need support? Moi?

As you can guess from my reaction, I can be touchy about allowing others to support me. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am independent, self-sufficient and like to be able to fend for myself in all situations. I hate it when there’s something I can’t do! Needing support conjures up shame for me, and that’s not a place I like to visit unless I have to.

supportNow in general, this independence is a very useful trait. If something needs doing, and I think I have any chance of doing it myself, I’ll have a go. I can do many things well, and a few things really, really well. I’m enthusiastic and willing. I’m what Jane Austen refers to as an ‘active, useful sort of person[1]. As a result, I have skills and abilities galore. But there’s one thing I can’t do for myself no matter how hard I try.

I can’t see my own blind spots. And a major blind spot for me is that I get caught between those twin horns of wanting to sort things out for myself on the one hand, and being a therapist on the other. Read more

Setting up a Private Practice

Are you thinking of starting your own practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist? This workshop will help you get off the ground.

Looking at the practical issues related to setting up a private professional practice such as

  • Clarifying the type of practice you would like to create
  • Exploring the services you might provide, and the clients you might like to attract
  • Looking at how to market your services
  • Understanding what is needed to start a business

this workshop is an opportunity to spend some time networking with other health professionals while you learn from experienced professionals who have done it before you.

A one day workshop  presented by Jude Fay MIAHIP MIACP and Dr Genevieve Becker.

Date: Autumn 2013

Venue: Dublin West

Time: 9.30 to 4.30

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