This is part of a series of blog posts: The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me.
#3: How Do I Get More Clients?
I could give you a list of hundreds of practice building activities, but that would be overwhelming and unpleasant, so for today I’ll tell you only about the very fastest and most reliable way to get your phone ringing.
Nurture Your Relationships.
The most effective way to get more clients quickly is to reach out to people who already know you professionally and nurture those relationships. When you hear “networking”, you might picture going to networking events or reaching out to people you don’t already know. There’s a place for that in your practice building strategy, but it is a relatively small place. Why? Because going to a networking event to collect stack of business cards and hand out a stack will accomplish nothing.
First, make a list of every single person you know who might come in contact with your ideal clients. Write down the name and contact information of every single therapist you know. Write down the name of everyone else you know who might also refer your ideal clients. Use a spreadsheet if you already know how. Now set a realistic goal of how many people you can reach out to each week. Make a very thoughtful phone call followed by an email to that number of people.
I have a lot to share with you about how to reach out, but the summary is this:
Quality trumps quantity in your outreach. If you reach out in a generous and thoughtful way, with the intention of referring to the other person more than asking for referrals from them, they will be happy to talk to you. Over time, you can reach out to more people, and add those people to your list of relationships to nurture.
What if it doesn't work?
Many people struggle at some point with this method, even though it pretty much always works if you stick with it. If you are using the method I describe here and your phone doesn’t start ringing, there is something amiss in your approach. Maybe you’re not totally clear about your value as a therapist and that lack of clarity is coming across. Maybe you’re not actually following through consistently, only networking in fits and starts.
If you find yourself struggling, get support from a business coach to help you with your mindset, your approach, and your accountability.
You can start here: Take my free assessment to find out what might be getting in your way.
This networking approach will always be central to building and maintaining your practice. Over time, you will also develop your online presence and you’ll do lots of other things to build your practice. I’ll cover more of them in this blog series.
Next time I’ll answer question number 4: Do I need a niche?