From Psychology Today to many other online listings, your job is to sum up who you are and what you do in 500 words or less. This is no easy task, and it can be hard to figure out what exactly is your perfect pitch. As a therapist, you probably didn't enter into this career to become a salesperson for your services, and it’s likely the least favorite part of your work (besides writing progress notes) which is why we are here to help!
Although we always want to encourage clients to choose a therapist they feel is right for them, it is still essential to position yourself wisely in the market and know how to sell your brand. The way you present yourself online ensures that you connect with those who are a good fit. On the flip side, having a good sales pitch and brand messaging can also protect you from attracting clientele who don't match your ideal client.
As a therapist, you already know how imperative it is to maintain a professional therapeutic persona. And you already know how equally important it is to the process of healing to experience a personal connection with your therapist. Thus, the question about appropriate self-disclosure can be a big confusing piece of this. So you may ask, "how can I sell my services without selling myself as a person?"
The goal is to focus on how you can help the client. If you have specific personal traits that can genuinely help a particular group of people, why not share that information? The vaguer you are, the wider your net will cast. If you can narrow down one to three main targets and write sales-focused copy towards that group with a focus on how you can help, this will allow you to have a more direct connection to your audience.
Have you heard of the WAIT method? The developer of IFS therapy, psychologist Dr. Richard Schwartz, told the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy that the WAIT method stands for "Why Am I Telling?" This helpful practice used to identify instances of appropriate self-disclosure can be applied to your sales pitch as well.
For example, suppose you are a therapist who enjoys working with the LGBTQIA2+ community because you are a part of that community. In that case, that personal information may be crucial to your sales pitch. For this population in particular, it may be helpful because many individuals are uncomfortable talking about LGBTQIA2+ concerns with a cisgender straight-identifying therapist.
Appropriate self-disclosure is also about deciding what personal information about you could change the client's decisions.
If your main goal is to attract clients in the female demographic who have experienced sexual trauma, you may find that your services resonate with them because you are a survivor yourself. Should you share this information in your pitch? Let's go back to the "Why Am I Telling?" method! It may be helpful for your future clients to know her therapist will truly understand where she is coming from. Adding that focus into your pitch could give her the extra push to talk to someone for help. However, you may also want to consider at what point in the process sharing that information will be the most helpful. When might your client benefit most from learning about your personal history?
There are personal details that needn't be shared on your personal profile, and more than a list of what you’ve been through in your life, it’s more important to use your understanding of what it was like to go through that particular experience, and convey that to your future clients. From the very start of the relationship, your clients want to know that you “get it”, that you get them, and that you can see hope for their future and a path to the other side.
As we mentioned above, most of these sales pitches are needed when an individual is first looking into counseling. Often they are new to the process, and counseling in general, which is why our first tip is; don't overuse jargon. When individuals are first searching for a therapist, we can promise that saying you are "an LCSW trained in DBT" means nothing to a first-time therapy client. Try to level to the everyday individual seeking "healing" and "better understanding of themselves" versus using specific therapeutic words to say the same messaging in a more advanced way that may go over the client's head.
The tough stuff is what will sell, so bring up the tough stuff. When sharing your messaging, the complex subjects and personal struggle is what will help individuals connect. Although you may not want to share too many aspects like religion, sexuality, race, and gender, some of these may be very helpful to the potential client's decision-making process. More and more websites like Inclusive Therapist are doing precisely this. They are utterly upfront on beliefs and stances to assure the client that they will be highly affirming in those areas. Again with today's challenging societal climate, some individuals may choose to talk to no one at all before a therapist that may have different beliefs or values than they do.
"LCSW," "LPC," "LMHC," "LMFT" all mean the same to a newbie: "they have some sort of degree that makes them some sort of qualified?" Although it may seem second nature to use your proper suffix, lose the clinical qualifications. Simplify it by breaking that down for the potential client. For example, "Welcome to my page! I'm Rachel O’Connor, LMFT" versus "Families are welcomed here! Hi, I'm Rachel O’Connor, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist." In the first sentence, there isn't a pitch; it is more a statement; in the second, we are seeing the connection at the forefront. Word choice must be selected carefully to be able to send an individual the message "I may not be the right therapist for you" while sending a family the statement that "I can't wait to work with individuals of all ages in your family." This is the difference a good sales pitch can make.
Similar to the services you provide, you want to be upfront about costs because this is a decision-maker for many. Again, some therapists may feel discomfort in this area because it is more sales-related, and it is hard to turn away others in need. Still, it is essential to remember that this is precisely why being upfront is critical. If you ensure you have pricing and sliding scales listed clearly, only individuals who still think you are a good fit will reach out, helping you avoid pricing conversation once you've already taken time to get to know the individual.
The goal is not to be in the selling zone very much because once a good fit is found, you will return to your therapeutic duties. What is essential to keep in mind is "When does your pitch matter the most to the client in their buying journey?"
Pitching and sales-style copy should always be available when the client needs the most direction, which is typical during the search process. So with this logic, that means that any page on your website where clients may enter from should be treated with more sales copy than expertise copy. Just like therapists discuss "meeting clients where they are," on each entry page, you want to provide the client with concise, descriptive information written towards them when they are looking to match their needs with your services.
Let's dive into two main areas you want to make sure your copy is written with a more sales focus and follow the tips above. These are some platform-specific suggestions:
An About Me page can be pretty hard to explain without crossing the line of self-disclosure, so focus on the WAIT method we touched on above to guide you.
Share about what you bring into the therapy experience. Although you may be trained to be affirming and unbiased, you still have a strong identity and presence that drives your sessions with clients. It is important for your personality to be evident because, again, this may be a way for individuals to connect with you further.
Your About Me should include a photo of you; as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Well, it's worth 2,000 when choosing a therapist. There is no shame in individuals who seek to speak with someone who looks like them for advice. Chances are, if they connect to your photo, they will reach out.
Share your career experience in a storytelling way. Your potential client may not know what it means to have worked as an "Addiction Clinician in a Treatment Center" but they will understand "Before opening my practice, I worked with patients in rehab recovering from drug addiction, which was challenging at times, but gave me a chance to witness some incredible transformations, and help individuals at their lowest find their way."
When working with third-party websites to pitch yourself alongside thousands of other therapists, here are our tips:
Although your graduate degree doesn't come with a sales course, it is vital to understand what you offer your end-user and sell that experience. The more accurately you sell your practice and mission, the more you will attract the right clients who fit into those goals and will be able to lead a more meaningful business. Don't think of sales as pushing your business on others; think of it as pitching yourself the best you can so you can use your training and expertise to help the most clients along in their journeys.
If you’re looking to create a website with copy that is sure to attract your ideal clients, reach out to us today to talk about how we can help!