Establishing a steady stream of referrals that brings you more clients than you can imagine is a goal for most mental health professionals in private practice. This series will take you on a road trip; the purpose of which is to give you a whole new perspective and purpose when it comes to marketing your practice. Each message builds on the last. Learn what it takes to build your business and feel good about how you do it.
This is day five of a 10-day series of messages created just for you. Today, we’ll continue our journey from Point A (not enough referrals) to Point B (a strong referral network). Today — we talk about what it takes to be taken seriously in your market.
Day 5: You’ve got to establish credibility and trust
As you attempt to get your foot in the door and when you start to build relationships with your potential referral sources, one of the bricks in your foundation is establishing your credibility. It starts with the “small stuff” — things that might seem obvious, but are not always addressed.
- Be sure your marketing materials look professional. It’s true that you can print off business cards and brochures on your computer — but don’t. There are lots of places to purchase small quantities of low-cost printed materials (places like Vistaprint.com)
- If you are not going to get a separate business phone line from the start, be sure to change your voice mail message and answer your phone in a professional manner
- Don’t put the cart before the horse. Don’t hand out business cards without an address. Unless you plan to do online therapy, don’t hand out your cards until you have a place to see clients
- If you are going to use email to communicate with your referral sources and clients, make sure you have a professional email address
- Don’t put off creating a website. Even a 3 or 4 page website is better than no website (as long as those pages are not plastered with “Under Construction”). People will want to know more about you, and today we do that by searching online. Be prepared
- Because clients and professionals will be searching for information about you online, be sure to search for yourself regularly so you know what others are seeing. Tidy up your Facebook and LinkedIn pages, etc. Address any erroneous or negative information swiftly
- Take the time to write a brief bio that you can use for your website and any other printed materials. It should be informative but compelling
In addition to credibility, trust is another key brick in your foundation. There are many ways to build trust with your potential referral partners, but these are critical:
- Do what you say you will do. If you make a promise (even something as small as mentioning a follow up phone call in your introductory letter) — keep it!
- Be who you say you are. If you tell the world that your area of specialization is trauma — do everything in your power to become an authority that people can rely on for information, guidance, and expertise
- Practice humility, gratitude, and integrity. No matter where you live, word travels fast. Live your values and practice kindness. Opt out of any questionable situations or conversations. Be true to you and those you serve