Are you still attracting clients when you're away from the office?

October 7th, 2009

I recently had a family emergency and found myself quite quickly pulled from work. For most people in private practice a week away from work equals no pay. However, there are systems you can set into place that will allow you the opportunity to engage in work when you are away from the office (if you so choose), and continue to receive referrals when you are far from your contacts. The feature article provides you with information on creating systems that will continue to attract clients to you, even when you are out of the office and out of town.

There is a rule in business called the Pareto Principle that suggests that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Meaning that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your referral resources. So in all of your marketing efforts to draw client to you, 20% is providing you with the most referrals. If there is any merit to this concept, then it makes sense to cultivate relationships with the 20% who are sending referrals to you. What I found while I was away was that the relationships I had developed with a few key referral resources provided me with 5 clients last week while I was out of town because of the systems I had put into place to stay connected to the key people who send me business.

Here are some things you can do to keep your business running and producing income when you are away from the office:

1. Identify your 20%-those people or activities you do that provide you referrals. This can be a simple as asking your new clients how they heard about you.

2. Stay connected and express your gratitude to those who trust you enough to send you referrals. Early on in my business I was so overwhelmed because I did not have any systems in place. I had so many clients and was running to just keep up with the day-to-day schedule that I did not stay connected to my referral resources. Needless to say, I found the client referrals dwindle from lack of gratitude and learned a big lesson. Now I have systems in place so the the referral resource knows how much I value their trust in my work and how I will do my best to help their clients.

3.  Collaborate with referral resources that work with the same population, but do not compete for the same business. For example, if you work with people who have anxiety you can collaborate with dentists who see anxious patients. If you do grief work you can work with a funeral director to provide literature on what to expect during the grieving process. Even connecting with other therapists who do not specialize in what you do can be an opportunity for cross referrals.

4. Create a system for an initial phone consultation, so no matter where you are you know exactly what you need to do and say to your potential client. By developing a heart based “script” I have been able to be present to my potential client’s needs, even when I’m away from my office.

5. Create ways to service your client beyond the face-to-face format. From phone coaching to offering teleclasses, there are many new formats in which you can be of service to your clients, regardless of where you are. If you start planting the seeds of creating new programs in your practice, as the need arises you will be able to continue to help your clients, while creating more freedom in your business.

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