Yes, it’s true! While many or most therapists have a huge negative mindset around marketing, the core skills marketers use already exist in therapists, both naturally, and from graduate training.
What are these skills? Why do so many small businesses fail as a result of not having these skills?
Listening for Solutions to Client Problems
Flexibility to Adjust
Deep Listening is inherent in therapy and is money well spent in marketing in businesses
Do you think General Mills or Target is going to put 40 million dollars into a new product without listening to their prospective customers? Of course not. So big corporations hire agencies for big bucks, gather all their highly paid execs, to create a plan for deep listening. This may be focus groups, surveys, testing out ideas in smaller locations and then doing some analysis. One of the reasons I LOVE the CBS show Undercover Boss (Sunday nights) is because CEO’s take a week to go under cover, being trained on the ground by real employees, listening for the first time ever to the real issues the employees face and ways to improve the company and customer experience.
Listening for solutions to problems is the core of therapy and is the heart of all new successful product or service creation
Therapists are not out to serve 40 million people. And the very nature of therapy is deep listening to solve problems (even if you can’t “solve” bipolar, you can help with the problems that arise.) You are actually seeing clients in your sessions, listening for their problems and helping them find solutions. What if some of those solutions are more affordable or even more effective out of the therapy session? (Think different products or group services you could offer on specific issues they face…otherwise referred to as multiple streams of income.)
Therapists still need to do research, as marketers do, to see what may be missing. Just because you got your Ph.D. in a cool mental health topic doesn’t mean you have a clue how to translate the actual on the ground need, with your expertise! I have a new service – niche research, to help you find allies, competitors, learn more about your niche, and help you discover new ideas for how to serve your population. I’m wicked fast and resourceful at this type of work and have created the service in 30 minute “units of time” to maximize your wallet and risk aversion to spending money. Why not hire me rather than flail around, not knowing how to find multiple streams of income or ways to serve your ideal client population? My latest research gig was great fun – doing search engine research to come up with a great domain name and topics for a therapist writing a book about homework and parent stress in helping their kids.
Therapy is a constant dance of adjustment to the therapeutic alliance and client progress, while businesses are constantly calibrating to waste as little money as possible while earning money
Unlike many entrepreneurs who get fixated on ONE IDEA and drain their savings trying to get people to see how amazing their idea is, therapists are used to trying and failing, getting client resistance and trying a new approach or tactic. Therapy is complicated and therapists are well aware they can’t go into helping a client with a “it’s my way or the highway” mentality. Why would you ever try to market a theory of therapy when you could be adjusting how you frame the problems, figuring out which one resonates and brings in the most clients?
So there you have it.
Did you know you already have fantastic skills that marketers and entrepreneurs try to learn in order to be successful? Pat yourself on the back, then get moving. Hire a coach (there are a lot of us out there though I consider myself more on the ground guidance than general coaching), read (lots of books and websites out there), and then go forth. The best part? There is inherent beauty in your marketing journey because the final result is healing hearts, minds, families and communities. That is way more fun than trying to market a better inseminator for cow breeding, or convincing women they need longer eyelashes.
I’ve been slowly adding new products and services with a new website relaunch, so check them out and never hesitate to contact me with questions or struggles. I love to listen, find solutions to your problems, and adjust my consulting business to incorporate your struggle. (See? Marketing isn’t that gross!)