Road Trip to Getting Booked Solid – Day 5

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. If you are going to use email to communicate with your referral sources and clients, make sure you have a professional email address
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. 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

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4 Comments

  1. Leslie Ann Groome /Reply

    Thanks so much for the road trip! It is so helpful; I am looking forward to the rest.

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Leslie – Thanks for the kind words and I’m just thrilled that you are getting something out of the Road Trip. I’m having a ball doing it!

  2. Dianne Baer /Reply

    I’m enjoying reading your posts during your road trip! I really love your comments at the bottom, number 3, where you talk about personal integrity. I think that is a real KEY to having a successful practice. Like you said, in any size area, word travels fast. I’ve been using your guidelines for over a year now and I have to tell you that I have MORE clients than i can get scheduled. New ones may get frustrated by not being able to “get in” immediately, but I handle that by offering my first available to them or offer to give them a couple of referrals. I’ve had many of them comment that they must have called someone that is in demand….and MUST be pretty good or my schedule wouldn’t be so full! I’ve recently hired someone part time to help with scheduling and reminders–I can now do that because of following your ideas and suggestions from the beginning. My calendar is your success story! Thank you and keep it going!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Dianne – You were willing to commit yourself and do the hard work — I’m so glad it is paying off for you. You are an inspiration for those just starting out and maybe struggling. I’m sure this was not easy (it was not easy for me either in the beginning). But when success is your only option — you can make miracles happen!!

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