Why It's So Important to Ace the Initial Session with Your Clients (and How to Do It!)
In our last few articles, you've already learned how to explain your modality so that clients are eager to book a session with you, and also whether or not you should accept tips, depending upon your vision for your practice.
Today, we're bumping it up a notch to give you a solid plan for your first session with clients -- defining this initial session can turn a $100 drop-in client into a $1000 sale.
So, what do I mean by a plan for your initial appointments? Why do you need a plan at all? Shouldn't you just show up, do great work, and hope for the best?
Your initial session with a client is your time to shine; it's an opportunity to do everything you can to provide a premium service to your clients not only during the session, but before and afterward, too.
Use these guidelines to create a first session experience with your clients so that they will have a first-rate experience, and re-booking will be a breeze.
1. Before the first appointment.
Before the first appointment, you need to provide excellent customer service so that your client has as smooth an experience as possible. From the moment you book the appointment until she arrives at your office, make things easy for your clients.
--Follow up with your conversation or email with an appointment confirmation so that you and your clients are on the same page for the appointment.
--Be sure to provide directions to your office with specifics to make the journey smooth for your clients: Do they need instructions for parking? Will they need to navigate stairs?
--Include your intake form in your confirmation email so that it can be filled out beforehand. You'll save time, and your client will be able to complete it more thoroughly.
--Be sure to confirm with your client 24 hours before the appointment, just to be sure that she will show up for her time slot.
2. During the first appointment.
This is where most bodyworkers shine. You do your wonderful work in your wonderful modality, and you listen carefully and communicate smoothly with your client.
A couple things to remember:
--I HIGHLY recommend scheduling extra time for an initial appointment. You won't feel rushed, and you'll have time to get to know your new client. She will appreciate the time you spend, and will have a terrific first experience, so she'll want to continue her work with you.
--Because you are spending more time with the client this first time, I HIGHLY recommend charging a higher fee. You're a professional, and it's your job to give clients a premium experience. They will happily pay for your time and expertise.
3. After the first appointment.
This is the area where I've seen many bodyworkers come up short -- not because you're not a wonderful therapist, but because you're not sure what to do.
Here's what works:
--After the treatment, while you're talking with your new client, give her your professional opinion about your recommendations for her care. You're not being pushy; you're being a pro. How many times should she come in to best facilitate her healing? How often? (This video explains exactly how to do it.)
--Ask your new client if she would like to book her next appointment. (You can get more advice on how to do that here.)
--Once you've handled re-booking and payment, give your client a Welcome to My Office Package. It doesn't have to be elaborate -- a little something to create a personal connection and to welcome them to your space is ideal. I've been doing this for years, so I include a copy of Your Inner Physician and You, a book by Dr. John Upledger about CranioSacral Therapy, a tee shirt I had designed with the Oasis Center logo on it, and a logo bookmark and pen, along with a note welcoming them to my practice.
--Follow up, in writing, with your Session Observations and Recommendations for Care. I send this in the mail the next morning, so my new clients will have everything we talked about after the session in writing, and can ask me any questions they may have at the next appointment. (Click here to learn more about my follow-up form and other done-for-you templates to help you with the business side of your practice.)
Phew. That's a lot, but the initial session with a client is a marvelous opportunity to showcase not only your fabulous modality and healing work, but also to give your clients an outstanding customer experience.
Implementing these guidelines does take some time, but it is time well spent to help build your practice with ideal clients that you love.
To get even more ideas to build your practice, check out my free checklist of 100 Ways to Grow Your Bodywork Business. It's a 100% free downloadable resource that will help you TODAY to create a practice that's perfect for you.
You do great work in the world. You deserve to make a great living doing it!