Episode 157 | How to Sell Your Therapists to Clients Who Want to See You
WITH MAUREEN WERRBACH
- Episode 157 | How to Sell Your Therapists to Clients Who Want to See You 00:00
Hey Group Practice listeners! New podcast episode out today! In this episode, I’m talking all about how to convert clients to your therapists when they call your practice asking for you.
In this episode we cover:
- why clients are only calling about you
- why clients are reluctant to book with your clinicians
- what to do about it
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Okay, we got a great question from an Exchange member in our Facebook group, who asks: “How do you sell your clinicians to new clients who want to actually book with you the group practice owner, especially if you’re just starting out as a group practice owner?”
This is a question we get a ton of times and I feel like we’ve really figured out the culprit to this being a problem to begin with, and how to work through that. This is going to be a quick episode because there’s only a few things you really need to think about when you’re having the difficulty of having clients who want to schedule with you, as the business owner, to see a therapist in your office.
So the main reason that this is a difficulty to begin with is that most group practice owners start off as solo practitioners.
Which means that clients’ referral sources and the community know you as a therapist, and are referring to you as a therapist while you’re a solo practitioner. And the moment that you hire your first and second and third therapists, the referrals aren’t going to naturally start coming in to those people unless they already have their own. Maybe they’ve worked in another group practice or had been so low and decided to shift into a group practice. And so they might have their own community networking already happening. But nine times out of 10, those new staff members that come in aren’t going to have that community recognition. And so the clients that are calling are still going to be calling for you at this point, because you’re the person that the community knows about.
So aside from the natural work of refocusing your marketing and networking efforts to be on your group practice as a whole versus you, when clients are calling, I want you to think about a couple of things.
One is how you’re responding to callers who are wanting to requesting to schedule an appointment with you.
And let’s say you don’t have any openings, right. And you have a clinician who would be a good fit. The first thing is, I want you to think about if that therapist is actually a good fit. If they’re not a good fit, you should either take them, or refer them out to a therapist in the community, just like you would if you were solo, and you were full, right? If you were solo and full, you would either maybe add one more to your caseload, or you would say I’m actually full, I’m not taking any new clients. But here’s a person in the community that does the same type of work that I do. And here’s their information, I would see if you could schedule an appointment with them. But similarly, you’re going to be doing the same thing within your group practice.
The hiccup or the obstacle that your practice owners have is that they feel bad for being full and saying no.
And that comes out in how they communicate with that therapist or that client. And so an example would be someone calls and asked for them. And you know, there’s this excitement about calls coming in, there’s this excitement about filling up your new therapist, and the client calls and they ask for you specifically in your heart drops and you feel bad immediately because you know you’re full, but you really want them to go see that therapist. And so you say I’m sorry, I’m actually not taking anyone knew I don’t have space, I’m really sorry. But we do have a therapist here who’s got openings, right?
What your client is going to hear, or the potential client is hearing his guilt. And that anything that comes after that guilt is second best to them, right? Does that make sense?
If I’m saying I’m so sorry, I actually, I don’t have any openings, but I do have another therapist here who might be a great fit and I’d love to schedule you an appointment with them, what they hear is after you are full, anything after this is second best. So your therapist is not as good as you, that’s just what people are going to hear based off of that guilty feeling and how that is coming out in your tone.
So my first recommendation is to really listen to how you respond to potential clients or to callers when you’re full, when they ask for you. And to become factual is the first thing. Becoming factual about your fullness and not being apologetic, you’re just full. And also really feeling like your staff are good at their jobs. I’ve noticed that in times when I used to do scheduling myself, which will be a whole nother part of things that make it easier as a business owner is having someone else answer the phones on your behalf.
If you have an admin or a VA who answers for you, they are not going to feel guilty that you’re full, because they’re not tied to it emotionally.
And so admins and VA’s tend to have a higher level of success converting callers to clients, because to other therapists, not you, because they don’t feel bad that you’re full. And they can be pretty factual about it. And then talk to that potential client about why therapist X is a great fit for them. So listening to your tone, and also feeling confident that the therapists that you have are good at what they do is going to be important, if you feel like this therapist that you have in your practice, are not the quality that you need for that client or maybe aren’t the type of specialty that the client really needs, they’re going to hear that fact coming out of you. And so if you feel confident that the work that that therapist is doing, you can then intentionally relay that confidence. And that is going to help them feel confident in your recommendation.
So to kind of redo this example that I just did, where I’m like, where I said, as a therapist, I’m actually sorry, I’m really full, and I’m not taking anyone else. Instead saying I’m actually not taking any new clients. But I have a therapist, and based off of what you were just talking about, she sounds like the perfect fit. So let me talk a little bit, if you don’t mind about this therapist and her specialty area, and if you’re interested, I can schedule an initial appointment for you and this person to see if you want to continue that relationship, something along those lines, right? Very factual, you’re enthusiastic about that therapist that you have. And so it’s more likely that that person’s not going to think that they’re getting the second best thing outside of you, right.
And really, if we’re doing a good job as a group, practice owner and a recruiter, right, we typically recruit our own clinicians and look for them.
If I’m doing a good job, I’m looking to hire therapists that can do therapy better than me. You know, I forget the exact quote. But essentially, good business owners look to hire people who can do the jobs that they’re hiring for better than the business owner does. And so when I looked for therapists, and now when my team looks for therapists, because they do the hiring, they’re doing the same thing. We are not putting our egos in the front to have us be the best and have leadership be the best at everything. Because then it naturally will make it hard for you to feel secure in referring clients to therapists who we think are not as good as we are. But if we’re working hard to find therapists who do great work, and who we feel like are doing, you know, a specialty or something that better than we can even do, we’re gonna feel really excited and confident in referring that potential client to that therapist.
And then lastly, back to what I kind of mentioned before is, once you are able to hire someone to do the admin work for you and answer the calls, you’re likely to convert more people just naturally by doing that. So really, the key is listen to your tone, take the guilt out of your tone, you are busy, that is great, and you shouldn’t feel bad for that. And also make sure that you have a team of people that you actually feel confident in their skills in and that you’re making referrals to your therapist, not because they just have an opening but because they’re actually a good fit. And you’ll notice that you will feel much more confident and making that referral, because they’re a good fit. And the clients are going to hear that. And they’re going to be excited for that. And they’re not going to feel like they’re getting kind of the second best thing.
Those are my tips for how to sell your clinicians to new clients who want to book with you.
And with time, you know, these days, I’ve had my group practice for about 10 years. There’s not that many people who are calling to see me anymore, because I’ve focused on growing the group practice as a whole and not myself. It’s not about me anymore. The community of my therapists practice is all of us. Urban Wellness. My group practice is a collaboration of a bunch of therapists and not just about me. And so, part of being a group practice owner is shifting our marketing efforts so that we’re highlighting our team as a whole and not ourselves. Alright, have a good one, y’all.
Thanks For Listening
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Here are the resources and guides we recommend based on this episode
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Meet your host
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:
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