Tag: marketing

The Merits of Working for Nothing

Working for free is fine, and a valid marketing strategy, as long as we feel it’s our choice. However, it can breed expectation, so don’t take yourself for granted, or you’ll find others will too.

The marketing environment has changed hugely over the past few decades. Providing information, samples and services for free is now a major marketing strategy in many fields of business. I believe it was Helena Rubenstein in the 60s who first capitalised on the concept of the free sample, giving away a small sample of cosmetics to loyal customers, to introduce them to a new or different product. The practice is still used to great effect within that industry. The purpose of the free sample is to allow the customer a risk-free way of experiencing what is for sale, by allowing them to experience the merits of the product directly. It is seen as a valid expense of the business, a marketing cost. With the advent of the digital age with informational, music and movie products, free sampling has become the norm rather than the exception. The environment has changed. A lot is given for free.

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Internal Locus of Evaluation

In his famous book, On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers talks about the “Locus of Evaluation” (or the perceived source of values) from two perspectives, that of the client, and that of the therapist. He supports a view that the therapist’s task is to think and empathise with the client within the client’s own frame of reference, respecting the client’s own valuing process. [1] This, he says, facilitates the client’s ability to develop their own internal locus of evaluation. This Rogers says is perhaps the most fundamental condition of creativity.[2]

Developing an internal locus of evaluation is an important goal in the psychotherapeutic process, enabling the client to live their life more creatively, as an agent of their own desire for themselves. Read more

John’s Story

I have written on many occasions on the link between our beliefs and values about money and wealth and the direct impact they have on our ability to create a financially viable therapy practice.

Recently, I have been working with a client who has been exploring his struggle to earn a decent living in his small metalworking business, and to create financial security in his life.  His name is John, and I have his permission to tell some of his story here to illustrate in concrete terms how beliefs that we have carried since childhood shape our way of being with money. These beliefs are often swallowed whole without subjecting them to any scrutiny. Read more

Using EFT to Support Your Therapy Practice

I have been a fan of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping) for about five years now, and use it every day to support me in my practice. I liked it so much that I trained to become a practitioner, and received my AAMET Level 2 Certificate approximately 18 months ago.

In its basic form, EFT is a simple technique to learn, involving tapping with your fingers on acupuncture meridian points on the head and upper body, while speaking about the topic at hand. It is used for a wide variety of issues, from pain relief, to stress relief to PTSD and more. If you’re new to EFT, you can read more about it here.

I have been thinking recently how I might expand my work with therapists through This Business of Therapy. Read more

Creating Flyers or Brochures

A common way to promote your practice is to have a flyer or brochure which you can leave in places where potential clients can find them, or which you can give to other professionals who might refer clients to you.

Hopefully, whatever you decide on will serve you for a number of years before needing to be revised, so before committing to the costs of designing and printing, it’s worth giving some thought to the following questions:

  1. Who is your target audience? Who is likely to read it? Who do you hope will read it?brochures
  2. What message are you trying to get across? What information do you want to convey? What do you want them to do as a result of reading it?
  3. How are you planning to use it? Where are you going to leave it or distribute it?

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Celebrating Ourselves and Our Work

I’ve been thinking a bit about testimonials recently. They’re not something you often see in relation to therapy or counselling practices. Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of asking for them, or displaying them. I don’t have a strong view about them one way or the other. I use them in relation to workshops and EFT work, but have never felt drawn to asking therapy clients.

Lately though, I’ve been thinking about their usefulness in a different way.

photo  (11)In her book, “Flourishing,” Maureen Gaffney argues (with lots of scientific backup to support her) that we need five positive experiences to balance each negative one, and if we want to flourish, that ratio expands to 7 to 1! Apparently the ratio holds true for many areas of life, having been examined independently in many pieces of research.

Our primitive monkey brains, it transpires, are hard-wired to pay more attention to negatives than positives, since those times when we needed to do that in order to survive. We red-flag potentially dangerous events to help us to avoid similar threats in future. When we see a red flag, we react as if our lives depended on it. And we continue to do this, even when there may be no real danger at all.

In today’s world, we still pay more attention to negatives than positives. Did you hear that “Self-praise is no praise,” or that “Pride comes before a fall”? How many of us brush off compliments or appreciation without even letting them land with us, but can focus intently on a slight or a negative comment? We can hold on to them for years, and perhaps even believe that they are true. The upshot of all this, is that most of us have a pretty poor opinion of ourselves at some level. And while we can convince ourselves, while sitting in front of a client, that our work has real value, at other times we often find it hard to own it.

For example, do you ever celebrate your client successes when you go to supervision, or do focus solely on the struggles?

So what’s the relevance of all this when growing your practice? In my opinion, it’s hugely relevant.

Being hard wired to focus on the negative, and needing a ratio of seven positives to each negative, we need to actively Photo no (3)make positivity a goal in order to flourish. And when it comes to asking for work, we need to be able to speak with confidence and conviction of the value of what we do. Our inability to celebrate our successes leaves us with little muscle when it comes to selling ourselves, be that through referrals, or through our promotional material or website.

Celebrating successes, getting used to acknowledging the progress and shifts that happen when the work has gone well, leave us better equipped to articulate what we have to offer.

So I have been thinking about testimonials as a way of building some of that muscle. I’m not necessarily suggesting you ask your clients for them, I was thinking more of writing yourself a testimonial. So here’s an exercise for you to try:

  • First get out a pen and paper, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and start by taking 3 deep cleansing breaths.
  • Thinking about the last week, (or if you weren’t working last week, the last week you were working) and focus a client session that went really well.
  • What was it about the session that told you that it went well? Was it a shift the client made? Or the energy between you? Was it something that changed for you, perhaps an insight or shift about your own process?
  • Remember how you felt, during and after the session. What words would you use to describe that feeling?
  • Now imagine you are your client. If your client were to describe how you interacted with them during the session, what words would they use?
  • Write down everything that comes to mind. Try not to judge it, or to put fancy language on it. This is not a test, and it’s for you only!
  • Then write yourself a mock-testimonial. If you’re stuck, try starting with the words:

“I strongly recommend (your name) as a counsellor / therapist. I have had the honour of being her client, and have found her to be…

During our work together I have learnt…

She has helped me by being…”

And finish up with something like “I couldn’t have done this without her support.”

  • Read what you’ve written out loud, slowly. Notice your reactions, and what emotions emerge for you. Can you allow yourself to let in the words at all? Be gentle with yourself. If you aren’t used to seeing the good in yourself, this may be hard. And persevere. After all, you’re the one who needs to be convinced here!
  • A variation on this exercise is to ask a friend to do it with you. Take turns at being therapist for the other for, say, 15 mins. Afterwards, each complete the exercise for the other.

Have fun!

If you struggle with owning the value of the work you do for clients, I’d love to help. Leave your comment or question in the box below, or email me for your free 20 minute consultation.

 

 

 

 

Why is nothing working out for me?

Sometimes no matter how hard you work, no matter how many ways you try, no matter how many hurdles you climb over, it still doesn’t work for you. You can’t get the clients, you can’t earn the income, you can’t get past that hurdle, or you can’t have that conversation. You just can’t create the practice you’d like to have.

It’s so disappointing and frustrating isn’t it? And everyone who has had their own therapy practice has had those times when it just isn’t working out the way they want. If you find yourself in that space, here are some things you might think about…

photo (41)Accept the reality of your situation (and don’t beat yourself up in the process): I’m not saying give up or give in, but actually look at where you are, and the impact that that is having on you. Acknowledge your efforts to date, and appreciate yourself for trying. Then accept that it hasn’t worked so far. Maybe your strategy isn’t working because it’s not the right strategy for you, or it’s not the right time, or the right place.

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Sustainable Momentum

riding my bikeDo you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Do you remember the wobbling from side to side, and the many times you had to put your foot to the ground to steady yourself. And then one day you got it. You pushed off confidently, turning the pedals steadily and rhythmically, judging the pace perfectly. Maybe you were one of those who could cycle without your hands? I never managed that!

I usually explain to clients in the initial session that ideally therapy happens on a regular basis, because the continuity of the process is important. Momentum helps to build trust, to focus on an issue long enough for change to happen, and for appropriate support to be in place to carry us over the wobbly parts. Read more

Will Advertising Make Me Look Cheap?

“Will clients think I’m cheap?” The question came in the context of whether Google Ads was a good way to get clients for a therapy practice.

Some time ago, a friend was buying a second hand car. He’d been thinking about it for a while, looking at what was available in fancy wheels editedlocal garages, in Buy and Sell magazine, and on the internet. He’d found one he liked, which had been owned by a limousine service. He was really excited by the prospect. “It has been looked after so well, it’s immaculately clean and regularly serviced. Because that guy used it to earn his living, he really cared for those wheels,” he said. My brother was sceptical. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” he asked. “But won’t a car that’s been used as a taxi have very high mileage on it? You could find yourself having hefty repair bills.” And so the debate went on.

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What’s the Best Way to Grow Your Therapy Practice?

I was asked at a recent meeting of therapists what’s the best way to grow your practice. It’s a straightforward question, but unfortunately the answer is not so simple. Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who will tell you THE best way of growing your practice, and for them, no doubt they have found that to be the best way. But then, you are not them, and they are not you. Because the thing is, in my view, there is no best or right way, no one way that works for everyone, in all circumstances.

photo  (11)I’ve often written about ways of getting more clients, increasing your income or building the practice you want. There are lots of strategies, and lots of ways of putting yourself out there, and all of them work, but not all will work for everyone, all of the time. We are each different and for each of us, some things will work better than others.

So, how do you decide what’s the next best thing for you to do? Here are a few ideas to help you to narrow down the field a little: Read More Here