It’s the question every NLP consultant asks. Why?
This is because clients are the lifeblood of any consulting business.
- Without clients, you can’t keep the lights on.
- Without clients, you can’t make income.
- Without clients, you can’t grow.
So how do you get more clients? There’s certainly no silver bullet. I wish I could write a column and say do “X” and you’ll have clients knocking down your door today, and for years to come.
Instead, getting new clients takes time, energy, and lots of effort. To get a steady pipeline of clients, you have to invest time in building relationships, networking, and marketing your business.
These five things are essential for success as a professional in private practice.
When you get these five things and use these five things, you will be able to experience success and see new clients coming into your office and benefiting from your services, who then go on to refer other people to your services and your practice will grow.
What’s the first thing you need? The first thing you need is not a business card. A lot of people think before I do anything else I need to get a business card. Business cards are small, business cards get written on, business cards are used to fold up pieces of gum at restaurants. Business cards get thrown away because so many people collect so many of them.
It is wise to have a business card, but the first thing you need is an excellent flyer. Use great colours. Talk about the “pain” issues of your potential clients and the solutions your services provide and how to contact you. It should not be all about you and your picture.
If you can afford it, you get a professional to create it for you. Otherwise use a Word Template from Microsoft to design your flyer then ask some people who will tell you the truth, not just tell you it’s wonderful. Posting it on Facebook and asking for opinions doesn’t work as they will not want to give negative feedback.
Get your flyers printed or print off yourself a set number at a time – just make sure it is a good quality print. The benefit of a flyer over a business card is that people are actually less likely to throw it away. There’s more space for a powerful call to action and to describe your services to an individual.
The secret then is to hand them out. Do not keep them in your office and think Ï wonder why they didn’t work. Either go for a walk yourself or stand at a railway station and hand them out or pay others to do that for you. Plan how many per week should be handed out – not just for one week but for at least 10 weeks in a row in all different locations.
The second thing that you need are prices that are not the cheapest in town.
People are not looking for a bargain. They’re actually looking for the best person to care for them, to help them overcome or rid them of their “pain” (problems).
I meet and see new practitioners all the time who think, “oh, because I’m new in practice I need to be less than anyone else.” If you’re less than anyone else, I guarantee, you’re getting less business than anyone else as well.
My advice on what you should charge is this:
- Find out what other people in your area are charging for similar services.
- You should price yourself at 10-20% above the average cost of services that others are charging.
- If the low end is $100 and the high end is $200, well, you should be charging, then let’s say the middle is $150, you should be charging about $165 for your services.
People always ask me, specifically what should I charge? They say “I’m not quite sure, I charge this person that”. No, no, no. You need an established price and you need to stick to it. And, that price should not be the cheapest price in town.
The third thing that you need in order to attract new clients to your practice is to have programs or packages of sessions that are offered together.
In other words, rather than trading dollars for hours and seeing clients for single sessions, you need to be selling solutions instead.There are a couple of reasons for this. One, it’s just a much better business model from a cash flow perspective, but even more importantly than that, it’s far more credible. You and I know that NLP is powerful. We know that a person can create an anxiety or a fear or a phobia instantly. We also know that within our techniques in NLP, reprogramming the subconscious mind that they can actually leave that first session free of those phobias or fears or anxieties. We know that, but the client who suffered their entire life, they really don’t find it credible or believable that, well, in one session, they’re going to quit smoking after 30 years of trying to quit or that they’re going to overcome panic attacks on the highway when they’ve experienced this for the last 10-12 or 15 years.
When we offer packages to clients, I offer packages of four or six sessions. With explanations of why there are six instead of four. Clients are more likely to take advantage of the services that you offer. People will say to you if NLP can be effective in a single session, what do you do with those extra sessions?
Let’s take smoking as an example. Clients actually leave the first session a non-smoker, but that second session two or three days later gives you a chance to ratify the change that has taken place and to give them further suggestions that are going to help them move into a new chapter of life without ever relapsing. Those latter sessions are a tremendous opportunity to help them explore and understand how applications of NLP can help them throughout the rest of their life.
With weight loss clients, typically do six sessions. Do one session a week for the first three weeks and then move them to a once a month basis for the next three months. In other words, clients love the fact that they are going to have you coaching them. They see that you are going to be crossing the finish line with them because you offer your services in the context of packages or groups of sessions.
The fourth thing that you need in order to attract new clients to a private practice is you need reviews.
You need reviews on Google and in your newsletters, flyers and other local review sources. The reason why is simple. These rank highly emotionally for those suffering from similar issues.
For search engines, you obviously need reviews posted on your website, Facebook, etc. Then, when people type in your name or the name of your business, it’s going to pop up. If there are zero reviews, it’s going to be a lot like going into a restaurant at 12:15, the height of the lunch rush and only seeing people at one or two tables. It might actually be great food, but you’re going to say to yourself “Is this place any good, nobody is here”. If nobody is there, the conclusion is that it must not be any good and so you need reviews. People are going to see when they Google NLP or weight loss or stop smoking in your local city businesses and they’re going to see reviews and you need those filled out for your business.
The fifth thing that you must have to attract new clients to your private practice is an exceptional, brilliant web page.
Please do not use a template service that offers free templates or some other page like that. The reason why is simple. Those template websites don’t give you the opportunity to create the search engine optimisation to really rise to the top of the pack.
Creating a brilliant website, using a WordPress platform that can be fully customised gives you the ability to actually create a website that has content and meaning, but most importantly, is found by Google. When people are looking for somebody to help them solve their problems, they’ll be able to find you. In fact, the first opportunity that you have to help somebody is often to help them know who to call for help and that’s accomplished with a brilliant and excellent website.
I meet a lot of NLP practitioners who say, “I can’t seem to attract clients”. I ask – do you have a web site, Facebook or put out flyers? If they say no, then they just self-answered why their business isn’t flourishing. If people don’t know about you, how will they come to get your help?
Having a website is an asset to your business and is just as important as having a place to conduct your practice from.