Should you discount your services?

Here’s an excerpt from a recent Ezine article I submitted…

It is “good business” to always be promoting — always marketing your practice.

In my work as a Private Practice Mentor, I am always working with those I coach to help them generate more referrals and increase their clients.    We find tried and true methods as well as unique ways to bring in more business.  I try to impress upon them the importance of consistent marketing.

When I’m asked “What do I do when I have big holes in my days?” my advice is to use that time to write letters, send cards, research, or contact referral (potential referral) sources.

When I’m asked “What do I do when my book is full?” my advice is to find some time to write letters, send cards, research, or make contact with referral (potential referral) sources.

The message is clear.  When your intention is to have a thriving practice, marketing should never be set aside for long.  However, you must think about the message you send in the way you market your practice.

Often, when clinicians are new to private practice or they are struggling for more clients, there is a temptation to offer a “discount” to get people in the door.  Some folks want to offer a free consultation or assessment.  Others want to offer a 20% discount for clients who can come during “off  hours”.

Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with finding creative ways to get more people into your office.  To the contrary!  I want to see your cup overflow!  I’m just not a big fan of “discounts”, and this is why…

When you “discount” your services, you run the risk of discounting your value.  Essentially, you are telling folks that your services are either over-priced or not worth what you are (normally) charging.  That is not a good message.  Unfortunately it is often a message that is picked up at an unconscious (yet powerful) level.

Instead of discounting you and what you do, think about offering a bonus.  There is a big difference between offering a free consultation and offering a free bonus session when  a client pre-purchases 5 sessions. There is a big difference between offering a 20% discount for “off hours” appointments and offering a daytime bonus session when 5 sessions are pre purchased.

You can offer a bonus e-book, a relaxation CD (you made), or an email follow up contact within 7 days of the session.  You can be as creative as you like.  Just focus on the bonus and not the discount.

Remember, this business is all about relationships and value.  It is helpful to develop good business relationships in order to get your referral sources and your clients.  It is absolutely necessary that they have the perception that you provide a valuable service, in order to keep them.

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