When therapists struggle to fill their schedules they dream about being so well respected that patients flock to them. They believe the fallacy that if they just went to another seminar or earned another certification then the public would recognize them as an expert. They would somehow “corner the market” because no one else does therapy like them and gets the same results.
They would somehow “corner the market” because no one else does therapy like them and gets the same results.
We see course instructors that have mastered knowledge of a subject matter and seemingly have successful practices. When in reality they have learned how to give presentations and make money doing it. This may or may not translate into a steady stream of patients waiting for them when they return.
In these days of social media boasting, it seems like everyone is a self-proclaimed expert. It’s becoming more difficult to establish yourself as a true expert from all the pretenders out there. The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert. That designation is for other people to determine not you.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert.” quote=”The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert.”]
The first step in becoming a recognized expert is to acknowledge that you are not going to help everyone in your community who needs you. There will always be people who do not choose you. Be honest with yourself, why don’t people choose you?
Be especially careful of any idealized self-image that can come with being a healer. It’s a huge persona to live up to and traps many therapists in a lifelong delusion. The more you are unaware of protecting your professional image, the more it will hinder important self-examination of why people don’t choose you.
But some people do choose you. Why?
I believe there are people in your community who share your worldview. They share your values, your thinking, your approach and most importantly they connect with you as a person. These people are more likely to choose you.
Collectively they form a group whom you are uniquely gifted to serve. I would say called.
Marketers call them a “target market.” A term I wouldn’t use if you’re seeking to transform lives and communities of real people.
These people have a problem or pain that needs solving by an expert they can trust. They value professional help and are willing to exchange time and money for it.
The second step is to clarify who you are, what you do and how you make people’s lives better. It should be abundantly clear that you are an authority and you are “like them” in some way. Share your knowledge because if no one knows you are an expert then it really does no good.
You’ll also want to make a straightforward offer to work with you if they are interested in changing their situation.
The remaining issue is trust.
The third step is to be available and prepared for a two-way conversation to answer questions and overcome objections to change. At the same time, you are determining if you are a good fit for each other.
If they choose to work with you, then your next task is to deliver a remarkable experience, time and time again.
Once the plan of care ends, cultivate your relationship with them by serving them. Even though social media channels like Facebook and Instagram dominate the headlines, experts are building their practices through email. Chris Brogan of Copyblogger has said, “To me, the hottest and sexiest social network right now is the email inbox.”
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘To me, the hottest and sexiest social network right now is the email inbox’ -Chris Brogan” quote=”‘To me, the hottest and sexiest social network right now is the email inbox’ -Chris Brogan”]
Don’t be afraid to keep “top of mind” with previous patients through email communication. Don’t include any personal health information to avoid HIPPA violations but keep emails personal and useful.
Make it a habit to ask satisfied patients to refer people to you because your small practice depends on word of mouth referrals from people like them. You won’t need to shout that you’re the expert because your loyal following will do it for you.
Most of your professional reputation grows naturally over time. The more people you help, your influence expands as more people are exposed to your knowledge and skill. You’ll gradually move from “I’ve never heard of her” to “I really love her, she’s my therapist” Within a few years you’ll have a community of loyal followers who support your practice.
I believe this is the most efficient way to “corner the market” and slowly build a remarkable practice that provides both a sustainable profit and a meaningful life.
If you’d like some help in building a self-sustaining practice let’s set up a free 20-minute strategy call. Here’s a link to my online schedule to set up a convenient time for you. If you’re interested in business-life mentorship check out my one-on-one mentorship service.