Have you got shivers up your spine yet?
Words like sales and marketing are usually enough to send any clinician into a pit of anxiety and despair. If owning your own business came with a boogeyman, then for a lot of people, sales and marketing would be it.
After all – we’re health professionals, not marketers or sales people.
It can feel icky and weird to sell ourselves.
If you’re nodding your head – then you are so, so not alone.
But here’s the truth – if you want to grow a successful practice, work with the kind of clients that excite you, and get referrals from your peers – then marketing and sales is part of the game.
And the good news is this:
Sales and marketing do not have to be sleazy.
If they are, you’ve just been doing it wrong, or you’ve been on the receiving end of a sales or marketing tactic that was either manipulative or just plain wrong.
So let’s talk about how to do it right as a clinician in private practice.
SALES AND MARKETING ARE NOT THE SAME!
With the bad wrap they get, you’d think that sales and marketing are one and the same. They aren’t – they are both part of the bigger system that you use to make people aware that you exist, what you offer, and then making them want to work with you and doing something about it!
Marketing is all about that first bit: how do you get on people’s radar in the first place? How do you let people know that you exist, and how do you get their attention in a way that makes you memorable and interesting?
- Your website
- Business cards
- Your Linked in profile
- Your Psychology today profile
and so on.
Now the biggest problem is that most clinicians will leave it at this and then ask – why is no one calling me? Why aren’t people reading my Psychology Today profile or my website and then picking up the phone?
That’s because you haven’t got a way to close the deal with your prospective clients. Marketing CAN NOT do this for you. Sticking only to marketing activities is a really easy and convenient way to hide behind your computer and avoid having real conversations with people.
This is where sales comes in.
When done right, “selling” is about having conversations with people to answer their questions, hesitations and objections about whether you’re the right person for them. Sales is how you move people from being interested in you to wanting work with you – and getting them to take action.
So, with that said…
SALES ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS – AND IT ISN’T PUSHY!
Even if you do appreciate the difference between marketing and sales – a lot of clinicians still have a big barrier that affects their willingness to sell themselves.
The first reason is this:
You think selling is about being pushy – or that you need to be a born “sales shark” to feel confident in doing it.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’ve explored this idea many times before: clinicians are born salespeople. They just don’t know it yet.
You see, clinicians have the incredible ability to build rapport, build relationship, trust and make people feel heard and seen. Especially inside the therapy room.
Now, think about how you like to be sold to.
Don’t you want to feel the same way? Don’t you want someone to build a genuine relationship and understanding with you in order to feel comfortable buying from them?
Your clients feel the exact same way. People want to be sold to on the basis of relationship.
And – funnily enough – building relationships and trust is kinda what you do for a living.
So, tell me again how you can’t “do” sales?
You just need to learn how to channel the very important skills you already have into conversations with prospective clients and referral sources.
You really, truly, already have the skills you need.
If you think you could use a system and a framework for putting those skills to use, so you can navigate sales conversations with integrity and ease, then I recommend you get in touch with me here.
Even when clinicians recognise that they have the skills they need to make sales conversations work for them, it’s common for something else to get in way.
This something else is their mindset – or a faulty belief system that tells them that:
- Why do I deserve these clients?
- I need to doubt my expertise and value
- No one will pay me what I want them to
- I’m not as good as my peers
- What if they say no? I can’t handle this rejection
- What if they say YES? I can’t handle the stress of succeeding
Do you see yourself in any of these thought patterns?
Sales conversations don’t have to be complicated. And I really want you to hear me when I say that you have the skills you need to make this work.
If you still feel like something is getting in the way, then I recommend you reflect on your own perception around sales and marketing. Are you putting up barriers without even realising it?
Were there any lightbulb moments for you as you read through this post? I encourage you to share with us in the comments below.
Here’s to your success,