Tell me if any of these experiences have happened to you. A few hundred people visit your website, but no one schedules a call. You call a prospective client, but they don’t call you back. You have a great free consultation with a prospective client, only for them to never set up a first appointment.
Is it supposed to be this hard to even find the right clients, much less convince them to start therapy?
The process of getting more clients to move forward is like solving a mystery. Like detectives, we're going to look at every stage of the journey, figure out where people might be falling through the cracks, and then identify some ideas for how to improve the number of people moving forward.
Let’s get started!
The first step of the process is to get a broad understanding of the path clients take to work with you (the client journey). Write down each step of the journey clients take to work with you, from the way that people first find out that you exist to the end of their time in therapy.
If you are stumped about what the process looks like, we are here to help. Go ahead and review this post on the typical client journey and then join us back here to map your clients’ journeys.
If at all possible, it is really helpful to add numbers to your map of the client journey of the number of people who made it to each stage of the process. For example, you could note the number of people who visited your website in the past month, the number of prospective clients who booked a call with you, and the number of new clients you brought in. Adding concrete numbers to each stage of the process will help you as you work through the next step: identifying the places where clients stop moving forward.
After you have mapped your client journey, it is time to ask yourself two key questions: where are you losing prospective clients and why are they choosing not to move forward?
If you have not gotten many (or any) clients for your practice, this process is often a bit simpler because it may be easier to identify where clients stop moving forward. If no one has booked a free consultation with you, it is worth looking at your website, directory profiles, and marketing for improvements that can help you move clients forward. If people have booked a call but chosen not to move forward, your first appointment might need an overhaul.
Some stages of the process will naturally see less follow-through than others, particularly earlier in the client journey where the prospective clients are less prepared to move forward. If 5% of the people who visit your website book a call with you, that is an amazing conversion rate! However, if 5% of the people who speak with you move forward to work with you, it may be worth looking at your free consultation process for improvements to convince more people to move forward.
Let’s look at an example. You might see that you book 5 free consultations per week but no one moves forward to become a client. That's an indicator that your marketing is working up to the point people are booking a call with you, but then people aren't moving forward. As detectives, we’ll narrow in on your call as the place where clients stop moving forward.
If a lot of people stop responding to you after the phone consultation, it's worth looking at your phone consultation process in particular. You might be able to draw some hypotheses as to why people aren't moving forward:
If you're talking to a lot of people who don't seem like they're the right fit for your practice, it could be that your problem is earlier on in your client journey. Your marketing may be reaching and resonating with people who aren't quite your ideal clients, in which case it makes sense to test another Improvement further up in the process.
Basically, you want to really look where clients are leaving your client journey and try to figure out why that might be and what you can try to encourage them to keep moving forward.
The next step of the process once you found your problem spots in your client journey is identifying solutions to those problems.
Understanding what your client might be experiencing at each stage of the client journey will help you figure out what measures to try. A prospective client who is still trying to understand what they’re experiencing will likely benefit from more marketing material that helps them learn how therapy can help them; conversely, someone who is speaking with therapists is more likely to move forward when the process of getting started is as simple as possible. Read this post for more about what clients might be experiencing and how to reach them at each stage.
Let’s return to the phone consultation example and draw a few hypotheses of what could be keeping prospective clients from moving forward:
Once you've identified a few potential solutions, it's time to pick 1-2 of them and test them. In our phone consultation example, you could start giving prospects very clear next steps in your consultations and see if more people move forward.
As you are testing, it is key to find a way to measure your results. This could be as simple as counting the number of phone calls and new clients you got before and after a test or as complicated as installing a tool like Google Analytics to measure your site traffic.
When you have the data from your tests, it is time to analyze it and use it to improve your results. First, determine whether your solution increased the number of prospective clients or clients you got at that stage of the process. Then, figure out if there is anything else you want to test.
Going back to my earlier example, if 10 people move forward the month after I started giving clients clear next steps when none had moved forward the month before, I found my problem. I might test another of the solutions I identified to see if I could bring in even more clients.
However, if no one moves forward, I would go back to test one of the other solutions I identified.
Where are most of your prospects leaving your sign-up process? What can you try this week to convince more clients to move forward?
Match with the *right* clients for your practice while growing your professional community.
Mariah was Head of Growth at MyWellbeing. She is a marketing expert in the areas of content strategy, digital advertising, business growth, and anything related to helping therapists grow their practice.