Networking 101: Show Up and Show Off

Are you looking for ways to get patients in the door as a new holistic practitioner?

Are you wondering what to do when there is a slow down in your wellness biz and you have little to no clients coming in the door?

If these questions ring true for you then keep reading!

The answers you are looking for are all about NETWORKING!

Let’s first begin with some networking basics:

>>>You will need a business card that you feel proud to hand out

>>>You will need to prepare 1-3 sentences that describe what makes you awesome, who you desire to work with and what fabulous results you have to offer

Now how and where to network! A couple things to keep in mind:

>>>Every opportunity is a networking opportunity.  Carry your business cards with you ALL the time!

>>>Show up regularly and consistently.  You can not expect to be out in your community once and then see a flood of patients coming in your door. Networking is about building relationships based on trust.

I recently shared my best tips for low cost ways to advertise (& network) on my blog. You can reference that article here!

Here are some additional places and ways to network:

Join the local chamber or rotary club

Join or start a book club

Set up referral partnerships with local business owners

Attend or host your own health fair

Leave a business card where ever you see a bulletin board – coffee, bar, local post office, co-op

Host a networking event for practitioners in your area – I found happy hour events to be great relationship builders

Volunteer

Your day to day activities are networking events – your child’s soccer game, at the hair salon, or even while fueling up your car! Sometimes I leave business cards on the table at restaurants or in the dressing room.

Hang where your ideal client will be – if you work on athletes then spend more time at the gym, golf course, or other sporting events.

Existing practitioners may consider being more targeted when business slows down. You first want to ask yourself how has my business slowed?  It is usually one of three reasons:

>>>Number of new patients has decreased

>>>Number of average visits for new patients has decreased

>>>Existing patient visits have fallen off

Depending on which of the above rings true, your response can be quite different.

The bottom line, we all must create connections and be seen within our communities. The best way to accomplish this is to first get out of your office and just show up. Too many practitioners are sitting at their desk instead of being seen in their community.

Any time you do not have clients scheduled is best spent getting out in front of potential clients.

Finally, if you are going to make the effort to show up, you might as well show off! You are selling yourself after all!

10 Ways to Advertise Your Holistic Practice with Little to No Budget

Most holistic practitioners are solo business owners and often find themselves with little to no marketing budget.  Regardless of how developed their wellness practice may be, keeping expenses low and finding ways to market and advertise on a budget is desired.

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to marketing your holistic practice:

>>>As a practitioner, you are not selling your services, instead you are selling yourself and what you uniquely have to offer.

>>>Marketing messages must be communicated through the voice of the client

>>>Marketing efforts, paid or unpaid, must be focused on attracting your ideal clients

>>>If you are focused, consistency pays off

There are endless ways to advertise yourself and your practice that cost little to nothing and can prove greatly beneficial.

10 Ways to Advertise Your Holistic Practice:

Speaking events: libraries, co-ops, clubs and many local organizations are always looking for speakers and this is a great opportunity for you to be out in your community and positioning yourself as the expert. Pick one topic and stick with it.

Health fairs: there are larger paid events to attend, but also consider getting together practitioners in your area and hosting your own health fair at a community center or even at your own clinic. Focus on education around one topic and schedule health fair attendees for complimentary consultation or free screening in clinic.

Cross promote with other practitioners or local businesses: Create a one page spec sheet on you and your practice to provide to other practitioners who may refer. This is a professional way to empower them to refer you, offer to do the same for them!

Networking groups: there are paid and unpaid options here. Networking efforts that provide you access to your ideal clients is key. Start your own group if you cannot find what you desire!

Ask for referrals or set up a referral program: your existing client base is your fan base so leverage them. Ask for testimonials, ask them for business.  Ask, ask, ASK!

Get a hobby: every interaction offers an advertising opportunity. If you have a hobby or are in a club that meets regularly, these are potential clients. Make sure they know what you do!

Hand out 10 business cards per day: Leave them at coffee shops, hand them to people in the grocery store, give them to your clients and make sure you are using every interaction as an opportunity.

Write articles for publications: being published provides credibility and advertising. Find local publications or blogs that get you in front of your ideal clients.

Make videos: this is a perfect way to casually communicate with your audience and provide them the opportunity to get to know you. Make short, 1-3 minute videos and put them in your email communications, post on your blog or use on your Facebook page!

Social media: pick one or two channels and stick with them! It takes time to develop a following and engagement but completely worth it. Facebook groups and pages, Instagram and LinkedIn are favorites but again, where is your ideal client hanging out?

The fatal errors I see time and again with holistic biz owners when it comes to marketing = lack of focus, lack of consistency and selling their service versus selling themselves!

What creative ideas for low cost advertising do you have to share? Please leave a comment below!

 

Help More People Than You Ever Imagined

I am still stuck on this money thing and how holistic practitioners are pricing their services. It is just frustrating for me when I see wonderful practitioners working so hard to help people, working too hard, and not taking care of themselves, not making the money they desire (and deserve!) and even closing their practice because they cannot “make” it.

So you would rather close your practice than raise your price? You would rather work more hours to make just enough money to get by than raise your price and work less? You are willing to sacrifice your well-being so you can help people? And let me get this straight, you would rather walk away from everything believing you failed, than face the fact that you cannot make a tough business decision and face your money issues?

This is really not a conversation about money. It is a reflection of you and your beliefs about money. This is not an external debate, but an internal conversation.

The truth is, and what I have learned as an entrepreneur, is that the more money you make, the more people you can help. You can literally help more people than you ever imagined when you are first taking care of yourself, meeting your needs spiritually, financially and beyond.

I recently tackled this conversation with a group of holistic practitioners and below includes their thoughts and advice. Just to confirm, this is valuable advice from your colleagues.

>>>Remember you are offering value for your service(s) versus just exchanging time for money

>>>Ask yourself why raising your rate is difficult for you

>>>Your rate reflects your level of expertise and experience, not necessarily what others around you are doing

>>>Set your rates at a price you feel you deserve – unless you struggle with you self worth do not take this approach!

>>>There are ways as a new practitioner to differentiate yourself besides price – setting a lower price means you are getting noticed for being not good enough to charge a higher price!

Some of you may be ready to take the leap and tackle your money questions. Some of you may continue to have an internal struggle and be frozen within action. Wherever you are on the spectrum, I challenge you to take a look internally before pointing the finger somewhere else.

A great exercise for you! Recall your first memory of money. What was the message you were told?

This is a simple way to reveal the first communications that were provided to you about money and allows you to consider how this message may have influenced you along the way. How we think and feel is a direct result of what we were told.

Next, talk about money. The more you talk about, the more comfortable you will become. So let’s keep the conversation going, what do you have to say? Share in the comments below!

Michelle