I never thought I would write this.
Clickbaity. Marketing-y. Hype-y.
But here I am, and I’m going to drop some knowledge.
So you’ve learned. You’ve gone to courses, you got your license and are starting to making money with your skills.
Some have reasonable success using word-of-mouth alone. Some have websites, but for the most part they aren’t performing as well as they could.
As a professional persuader, influencer, you work with words. In many ways, as a psychotherapist your job is to literally talk people out of their problems.
Yet marketing and sales is a significantly different context from a clinical setting.
So while you have all the tools you need to succeed, you might not know how to apply them effectively.
I’m going to show you the reasoning, the high-level ideas that you should keep in mind to make a living with your skills.
I’m the guy that failed. I was in a bad place in my life for a long time. Dropped out of university. Couldn’t get a job for what seemed like forever. Then I discovered hypnosis.
I bought into the hype. So I took every course I could.
And the list goes on.
I worked for the largest hypnosis training and hypnotherapy company in Poland.
It was lucrative. Up to $600/hr lucrative, usually around $400-450/hr.
But nobody in the company knew how to do marketing or sales.
This meant that we pretty much had one, maybe two clients a month.
And then nothing. And nothing. And nothing.
Towards the end of my partnership with them, clients were nowhere to be found, and our team just fell apart.
So I looked into what went wrong.
As a psychotherapist, you’re not selling your company brand.
You’re selling a personal service.
We made that mistake, and paid for it dearly.
That’s because people want to work with people.
They want to know you.
Go, read some psychologist’s websites, see for yourself whether you can tell much about the people behind them.
This is a mindset issue.
You want your marketing to be client-centric.
What this means is: just as you work with the client in the office, so you should work with the prospect to sell to them.
Lay everything out before them.
How you work.
Whom you work with.
What results you’ve had so far.
What guarantees you offer.
So what can you do right now?
You might think this is a lot of work.
And it is. I won’t lie, it’s going to take some work.
The good news is, there are shortcuts which can allow you to see results in just days, with much, much less effort.
Getting your website in line can be a pain.
But most people associate that paying with design, images, branding and such things.
In reality, the real value of having a website is making it clearly communicate to your audience.
Nobody cares about that fancy picture of your city in the background. Nobody’s really going to care whether your sister-in-law has a dog and what its name is.
The world of business is fairly cold-hearted, in the way that people mostly care whether you can do what you claim to do for them and solve their problems.
But this is GOOD!
Because it makes it much easier for you to get your business up and running profitably without having to spend inordinate amounts of time and money to do so.
All you really need, is a one-page website that essentially says what you do, for whom you do it, and how you do it. And how to contact you of course.
At the end of the day everything else is a bonus. Nice to have but not necessary.
Let’s start with some points on things you should think about, and resources you probably want to have.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, however it should serve as a fairly good start.
If you do everything, it immediately signals that you’re not great at anything.
Do you do your best work with smokers? Socially anxious people? Depression? Panic attacks? Phobias? Eating disorders? Anger management?
Are they men or women? What kind of income do they have?
What do they fear? What hopes do they have? What’s their background?
More important, how does their problem affect their life, and what can you do about it?
Once you know who you want to work with, everything else naturally falls into place.
As said above, you don’t want to claim to do everything.
But here’s a different reason: This is because a potential customer is not going to relate with what you’re saying.
If you speak about a particular issue in detail, it makes a significantly better impression than if you speak about a lot of issues very shallowly.
This also allows you to qualify leads without having to do the work of actually getting on the phone with them, thus speeding up the process.
Suppose you hire a plumber or a therapist.
Are you hiring the plumber to spend an hour working on your plumbing? Or are you hiring them to get the sink fixed?
Are you hiring a therapist to spend several hours a week talking about your problems? Or are you hiring them to get those problems solved?
Going further, what would solving those problems actually do for you?
If you get rid of anxiety, what’s your social life going to look like? Is your career path going to open up? Are you going to be over all happier and with life?
Are other problems that you have right now going to be solved by solving this core issue?
This is the reasoning that you want to have when you write to your target demographic, to your target audience.
Sell outcomes and results.
You can take this a bit further and actually guarantee these outcomes and results, which depending on the volume that you are taking on might be a very viable strategy. But we will talk about this further down.
In order for me to believe that you can do something, you should have some sort of proof that you have already done it.
This will show me that other people have taken advantage of your services and you have help them reach their goals.
And if they can do it why can’t I?
If you are able to get character testimonials, references from trainers that you’ve met, that is great.
Yet the best thing you can do is testimonials from clients that you have already had.
It is direct proof that you are competent at solving their particular problem.
How you get the testimonial also matters. the average person is much more likely to trust a video testimonial than a written one.
This is theoretically self-explanatory. In practice, not so much
What I mean here is get Authority in the eyes off your prospect.
You might have published books, you might have given speeches, you might have run trainings or have professional references.
All of this is very helpful, but nothing is as impactful as engaging your leads and Prospects where they naturally dwell.
For example if you want to work with addicts, you could go in an addiction forum and share what you know about their condition, about various ways of dealing with the condition, etc etc.
What you are aiming at here is not sales, but building rapport with an audience, so they trust you.
This can take many forms, from simply commenting on current threads, to publishing information compilations, giving commentary on current events, posting case studies, or a number of other things.
So now you have all the information together, let’s form it into something that’s going to resemble what you actually offer.
To do this we’re going to use a simple copy writing template based on the AIDA formula.
That’s Attention – Interest – Decision – Action.
But what is copy?
Copy is every single bit of text that you produce or publish in order to increase your sales.
The goal of this section is to basically help you put everything together on a page. Afterwards you want to edit it and test different variations on what you say.
Make no mistake though: people are lazy, and unless your copy is good, you will have trouble selling.
Most people won’t spend much time reading about what you do from other sources.
You need to give them the information, and do it in a clear, entertaining way.
But for now, this is a start.
The first and foremost concern is getting their attention.
Without attention anything you write is going to just get ignored.
So how do you get someone’s attention?
You can use an interesting picture, but that most likely is just going to hold their attention for a second and then they’re gone.
You can write a very dry title about what you actually do.
“Hypnotherapy can help you quit smoking!”
“Quit smoking with hypnosis”
and such other things. Note I’m using hypnosis for these examples because it’s what I know.
But what do you can also do, is talk to somebody that wants to quit.
Ask them about their problems, their concerns, and address them in the headline.
“Quit smoking with no withdrawal symptoms in one session guaranteed, or your money back!”
Now we’re getting somewhere.
This is a great offer. It is virtually irresistible.
Not perfect, but good.
So we got their attention, how do we turn them into customers?
The first question they’re going to have is: “How will you do that?”
So we need to give them some sort of explanation as to what you do what it is etc etc.
Let’s say… “Using hypnosis you can change your attitude towards smoking on the level of behaviors, so we can become smoke-free and stay that way.”
Obviously you would need to expand on this a little bit, however that’s the general direction you probably want to go in.
Bonus points if you can cite studies and insert testimonials.
So they know what we do and they know how we do it.
Next step: address objections. Sweeten the deal. Increase urgency. Risk reversal.
Some common ones for hypnotherapy are:
I’m sure you’ve heard most of those. The more of them you can address in your copy, the better your results will be.
Give me an example of how you can address the first one:
“Hypnosis is not mind control. The hypnotist cannot make you do anything that would violate your core values.
Additionally, all of our sessions are recorded and stored up to 5 years after the session in compliance with personal information and data security standards, so you know you’re as safe as can be.”
Adjust accordingly to your practice; if you do Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, psychoanalysis, crystal healing, mantras, or whatever it is that you do, the objections might be different.
Throw in some bonuses.
This can be something as simple as teaching them a simple skill, showing them something about the mind they can actively use, giving them a meditation recording, a free book, etc etc
Many hypnotist also throw in pre-recorded hypnosis sessions so their clients can listen to them and their own leisure.
It doesn’t really matter what the bonus is, as long as it is desirable.
This is a controversial one, end you should use it with care.
Some people go really hard on this with phrases like “prices increase tomorrow” or “ time-limited offer”.
I would generally advise against that, because let’s be honest – your prices are not increasing tomorrow, and you can do this anytime you want. Lying to your prospects is always going to bite you in the ass… so don’t do it.
There is however a way to make your prospects feel like they should buy right now, this moment.
This is to remind them that for every day they suffer with this problem, the side effects of that problem continue to persist.
If they are smoking, every cigarette they smoke brings them closer to falling ill.
If they have social anxiety, every week they spend without meeting people, without friends, drags them deeper and deeper into a pit of depression.
Here’s a fairly common phrase to use:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Do yourself a favor and try something different. It costs you nothing to try.”
And this perfectly segues into the next section:
It is much easier to sell when your prospect knows that they are not gambling with their money.
And it won’t apply to the vast majority of you, dear readers, as most psychotherapeutic processes take a long time to come to fruition.
Now, nobody wants to work for free…
but you can make this work.
Simply qualify your leads, i.e. make sure that they are who you want to work with, and that you can deliver results for them.
This is the entire purpose of writing copy – to attract people who want your service, and whom you can service.
Now let’s do some quick math:
Let’s say you have 10 clients every week for the above service of helping them quit smoking in one session or their money back.
Let’s say you have a 20% refund rate. Which is insanely high.
That means that for every 10 clients, you only get money from 8.
Now let’s say you add a guarantee. Now you get 15 clients a week.
With a 20% refund rate, you’re still charging 12 clients every week!
Assuming a fictional (rather low) price of $100 per session…
You just increased your revenue from $800 to $1,200 seemingly overnight.
That is a 50% increase!
If you’re really good at what you’re doing, and it only takes you between half an hour and an hour…
You’re now working 15 hours a week for almost $5,000 a month.
Of course this is assuming that you live in a fairly populated area, but come on, $100 for a session is not that great.
Just ask for the sale.
“Call now to schedule your session!”
“Click here to book a call!”
Some people like to also describe exactly what’s going to happen once you actually book the call.
For example, “Once you book the call, I will call you back within the next 48 hours or two business days, and we will discuss how I can help you.”
It’s as simple as that.
In short, you don't need a super complex website.
All you really need is a bit of text that conveys your offer, and that explains several things:
And you do not need to spend a lot of time actually writing this. It’s entirely enough if each bullet point expands into maybe one or two paragraphs.
Throw in the picture of yourself or two, maybe scans of your diplomas and certificates.
Add in a contact form, calendar booking service, or your phone number.
Bam! You’re good.
And then you want to run some ads pointed to your website.
They don’t need to be complex, they do not need to be artistic or anything.
They just need to be interesting. they need to grab attention, and arouse curiosity.
Something along the lines of your headline is generally going to do fine.
You want to target your ad audience along the lines of who you want to work with.
Whether you advertise on Facebook or Google, or one of the other services such as Taboola or Outbrain, you want your targeting to be as close to your ideal customer as possible.
This should be fair enough if you’re just starting and do not need absolutely optimized advertising.
If you read all of this guide/ checklist all the way through, you have probably found some places in which your business can do better.
Perhaps you have found some new ideas that you want to try.
And that is really all that I had hoped for writing this.
Phil Daniels, CHT, CPMH, CPTP, CH
PS. If you feel all the above is “salesy” and feels “slimy”… give yourself some time to think about why you feel that way.
Is it because it’s actually unethical (it’s not), or is it because you’re insecure about putting yourself out there to solve people’s problems in exchange for their currency?
This kind of insecurity is precisely why so many psychotherapists, counselors and psychologists close their practice within a year of starting. They lack deal flow due to their own insecurities.
God knows we need more qualified, good people in these professions – do yourself a favor and open up.