Boot Camp follow-up, week #1

Dr. Steffanie Stecker was recently awarded a free month of coaching in our Basic Training Boot Camp Contest.  She has generously agreed to share this experience with our Influential Therapist community.  This is our first report on how it’s going so far.  Here’s what Steffanie had to say about our first week together:

As I am jsut a few months in to starting my small business, it has been extremely helpful for me to have mentor to walk me through this process.  I constantly have questions regarding practice set up and well as marketing.  Deb’s videos answered many questions I had and sparked new ones.  I have loved being able to email her as things come up and get her responses.  I want to be effective and efficient in my business model and I am getting that from Deb.  In addition, this week Deb has helped me make a mental transition in marketing my practice.  Everything I do will now go through the “so what” factor.  For example, “so what” about training or theoretical orientation, but how can I help the people I work with?  Everything I do will go through the “so what” factor so that I can focus on what will be most meaningful to the people I that work with.  If it isn’t going to be meaningful to those I serve then it probably isn’t worth doing.  I hope that everyone is doing well in their ventures!

Steffanie has really been hard at work this first week of her Basic Training Boot Camp.  It’s been a lot of fun working with her.  We’ve really been focusing on the “business” of private practice as Steffanie is a solid clinician with a lot to offer her clients.

The theme of a lot of our work this week has been about perspective.  Most folks who go into private practice, like Steffanie, really want to reach out to help others not only by providing top-notch services, but also by helping clients and potential clients feel secure and assured in their decision and journey to seek those services.

In order to achieve that, most of us tend to feel that we need to tell clients all of the details of our training, experience, and work.  When we do that however, we run the chance of losing our potential clients’ interest before they even get the chance to work with us.

Above all else, clients NEED to know what you can do for them!

That boils down to talking to your clients in a language that feels up close and personal.  How do you do that?  How do you know what your clients need/want to hear?  How do you project to the world (sometimes) who you are and what you do?

Here are a couple of tips I shared with Steffanie, which I think might help you in your private practice:

#1  Know your “ideal client”.  Take the time to write a descriptive biography of your ideal client.  How old is she?  What does she want?  What does she fear?  Who does she hang out with and where?  What makes her laugh?  What makes her cry?  What does she worry about?  What does she need more than anything? — Get a very clear picture of her; name her — imagine what she looks like.

Once you know these things, you can essentially personalize most of your written materials.  Your blog posts can be writted to her.  Your brochures and website content can be geared toward her.  You will have a much greater chance of reaching your target market (of which she is the poster person), and she will be your inspiration when you are facing writer’s block or uncertainty about what or what not to communicate to your audience

#2  Realize that your clients and customers (referral sources) are motivated most by what they believe you can do for THEM!  Frame your marketing efforts and most of what you do in that way, and you significantly increase the chances that what you are saying will be heard.

We all want to know “How is this going to help me?” when we take our (precious) time to read or consider anything.  After all, you wouldn’t be reading this post unless you thought it might help you, right?  I appreciate that you are not going to read what I write unless you feel it will benefit you.  MY JOB is to anticipate what you need and diligently work to tell you how my work might benefit you.   Here’s a quick example:

Version A:  I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 20 years experience in private practice.  I am a Board Certified Trauma Specialist.  My areas of expertise include dissociative disorders and Borderline Personality Disorder. I am trained in Dialectical Behavior Therappy (DBT) and use an Interpersonal approach to counseling.

Version B:  I’m a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Board Certified Trauma Specialist, trained in DBT.  I work with folks with dissociative disorders and Borderline Personality Disorder.   For over 20 years, I’ve been helping people worth through the aftermath of trauma, and take charge of their lives.  Together we work to heal the wounds from the past in order to develop better relationships and experience a more fulfilling life in the present.

In both versions, I tell you a bit about my training and expertise.  Version B is writted to my ideal client.

Using the perspective of “what does it matter to my client/customer?” in everything you say, write, and do will increase your chances of being heard.  It will help your clients determine if you are what/who they are looking for.  And, as long as you are on the right track and have a good sense of who your ideal client really is and what she need, it will ultimately help you to swiftly build your practice.

I can’t wait to see what Steffanie and I cook up this coming week!  We’ll keep you posted…

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