By Deborah Pearce
Are you too nice to publicise yourself successfully?
Ask any therapist why they do what they do, and the answer will probably be because they want to help people. They may go on to say that it’s because they enjoy it – oh and they need to make a living.
But how many do succeed at running a successful practice? As an ITEC qualified massage therapist and aromatherapist I spent years building up a client base via the occasional press advert and leaflet drop.
Word of mouth took a long time to kick in
In 2008 I re-trained to become a hypnotherapist at the Clifton Practice in Bristol and my world changed forever. This was something I really wanted to do, all the time. Not ticking along as a paying hobby alongside the day job. This was my calling and I was determined to become a full-time hypnotherapist.
So, I utilised all my PR and marketing experience from my 25 years in the charity sector and went for it. Big time!
I placed press adverts, gave talks, wrote articles, networked, built my own website (my original web designer couldn’t keep up with my needs), ran workshops, sent e-newsletters … you name it, if it was legal, I did it. Not all at once, just one step at a time, consolidating my learning and cash flow as I went, until I succeeded in having sufficient marketing momentum to keep the clients flowing to my practice.
I now work from three therapy centres and since I qualified some years ago, I’ve seen many lovely, enthusiastic and fully trained therapists come and go. The reason they go? They don’t understand the need to promote themselves. In my view, they’re too bashful to sing their own praises. It’s almost as though they’re too nice to succeed.
This view was endorsed when I manned our stand at Camexpo at Earls Court, one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK, with an estimated 5,000 attendees. My colleague, Nicola Griffiths, and I had set up a free prize draw with the chance to win £150 in Health Spa vouchers, in exchange for dropping a business card into a glass bowl.
We anticipated that some therapists might not have their business cards with them, so we prepared some paper slips for people to fill in. What did surprise us is that over 40% of the therapists who came to our stand didn’t have their business cards with them.
Where are your business cards right now? In a neat pile at home or at your therapy room? Still in the packet from the printing company? Or do you have a supply in your pocket or handbag ready to give out to anyone you meet who expresses an interest in your therapy (or invites you to enter a free prize draw!)? Maybe you don't even have any?
Even in this digital age, business cards are a valuable marketing tool. They’re inexpensive, effective and can convey a huge amount about you in a nutshell. Why not set yourself a target to give them out to at least five people a week? And don’t just give them one card, they’ll want to keep that. Give them at least two or three so they can keep one and pass the others on.
Trust me, you can build a full-time practice and still be nice!
Contact us via this website if you'd like to know more, or purchase our DVD on How To Get More Clients if you want to know what we did to build our practices.