How private pay is like a Bumble & Bumble haircut

Think about it. You’re expecting people to pay you out-of-pocket and perhaps, to choose to do it even when they have insurance to cover mental health services.

When it comes to private pay, you have to remember a few basic tenets of marketing.

  1. Don’t forget that marketing is not sales. The purpose of marketing is to get noticed. It is your way of waving your flag and saying:  “Yoo Hoo! I’m here, and here’s what I have to offer — how can I help you?”
  2. Remember that the goal of your marketing efforts is to earn the opportunity to reach out and invite people (you know, the folks whose attention you got with your marketing efforts) in so you can learn more about them, and they can learn more about you
  3. Once you get their attention and they have graciously extended their hand, it’s up to you to take their hand and find out more about what they need, and how you can best help them

Then you’ve built the foundation for your private pay clients.

So… Why do people pay $100 for a Bumble & Bumble haircut when they can get one around the corner for a lot less money? Seth Godin says it’s because of the stories they tell themselves…

They have a great reputation… I’ve heard of them before… If I get my hair cut there I’ll feel great about me — I’ll walk taller and feel prettier… It’s worth it!

One of the major reasons you and I buy what we buy is because of the stories we tell ourselves.  Our clients aren’t any different.  They buy our services because they believe we can solve their problems.

You need to do what it takes to fill in the blanks of your (potential) clients’ stories.

Some of that comes directly from your marketing efforts (what you are intentionally doing to get noticed).  Some of that comes from others (word-of-mouth referrals).  Some of that comes from the good work you do (providing value and help to your clients will keep them coming back, and turns them into great word-of-mouth referral sources).

Know that you are a legitimate part of your potential client’s story.  Then, and only then, will you be humbled each time you hear:  “I know you don’t take my insurance, but I want to see you anyway.”


Leave A Comment!



  1. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg /Reply

    Hi Deb…been thinking about you! I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas holiday. Thanks to you and your wonderful Boot Camp, things are going great!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Linda – great to hear from you Linda and I’m thrilled you are still thriving — never a doubt. You used every inch of that Boot Camp and your hard work it paying off. Merry Christmas; I wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year!

  2. Stephanie Adams /Reply

    What a great energy boost for a private practice counselor! I want to be a part of my client’s story!

  3. Jerry S. Kelly, LCSW-R /Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    Although I haven’t attended your “Boot Camp” (yet!), I thank you for your inspirational emails and posts. Starting my practice has been very fulfilling this year – when I want to grow it more, I know who to go to. Have a great holiday!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Jerry – Congrats on launching your practice! I’m so glad to hear that is was fulfilling for you. I noticed that right away when I started up too. Whenever you are ready to kick it up, you just let me know 🙂 Deb

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