The terrible firestorm we’ve been experiencing in Northern California has prompted many people to remove flammable vegetation, trim low tree branches and reassess what possessions they need and what they are ready to let go of. All over the country, friends and family are gathering important papers into one place and compiling a “go bag” to take in case of disaster.
We’ve been working on our storage shed because it’s loaded with “stuff” we moved into it 17 years ago and never looked at again. Do we need all that stuff? Doubtful.
Among the relics we unearthed on our first foray into the shed were the skis, boots and poles we haven’t used since the 1990’s, along with a box that contained our ski bag. This morning I remembered that it was in a box because it was sent back to us by the luggage company that repaired it after it was damaged on a plane flight. What was remarkable, and what got me thinking about hands-on practitioners like you, was that the airline paid to have it repaired.
Seems like that must have happened in another age, because these days, we hear so many horror stories about air travel. But the truth is, big companies of all stripes can—and regularly do—act as if their customers don’t matter.
And that’s why I was thinking about you this morning.
I know that you probably feel like there’s just so much to do when you own a business. How great would it be you could simply off-load client attraction and enrollment, bookkeeping, and all the other things you don’t like to do? That would allow you to stop being responsible for everything and focus on what you love: serving your clients.
But here’s the thing. Those big companies that we love to hate? That’s what they do. Every department has its own task and if you need to interact with them, you get pushed around, it seems that nobody talks to each other and in the end, being their customer can make you question whether you actually exist.
The great thing about it is that after so many years of being treated like we don’t matter, nearly everyone craves real connection with human beings.
That’s a perfect scenario for you because it’s one of the most valuable things you offer, and getting it right is what makes your practice successful.
But even beyond that, as the owner of a small business, you have lots of important advantages over big companies. You can turn on a dime, and offer incomparable nurturing, spectacular service that makes every client feel special, and a level of accessibility that simply cannot be matched by The Faceless Worldwide Monolithic Online Company.
You don’t have to have millions of customers, so it’s feasible to refine your marketing so that you zero-in on the people you can help the most. And when you focus on clients whose story you know well, you make it easier to write to them about what’s important, giving value every time you send an email.
It’s easier to talk with prospective clients about how you can help them. For example, if you know you’re looking for baby boomers, and you’re talking to one who needs help with balance, you won’t be tempted to confuse her with a testimonial about how your modality is so great at helping new moms with post-partum difficulties.
When you ask your best clients to share your email with a friend, give you a testimonial or refer someone they know who could benefit from working with you, they know it’s you who’s asking, not the “marketing department.”
On the business side, you can create policies to take certain things off your mental plate (like how you handle cancellations) and at any time decide on your own that you want to suspend them for the particular person you’re talking to.
When it comes time to take an advanced training, you know what will help you the most— personally and with regard to your practice, because you know where the gaps are in serving your clients.
Next time you wish you had a team to take care of everything but what you “like best,” remember that the way you show up when you do those things gives you unique opportunities to stand out as a practitioner and attract exactly the people you’re here to help.
And since you know it’s me and not the Marketing Department, let me ask you a favor 🙂
Would you please tell one practitioner you know who could use the kind of help I offer about me, so that I can support more practitioners in getting a sustainable practice?
You could start your email like this… just remember to fill in the blank in the second sentence!
Hi — I thought of you when I was on Allison’s blog at https://allisonrapp.com
Allison helps me _______ and I thought you might like that, too!
The photo is of a watercolor I made while we were evacuated, of one of the homes that burned in our area. People have told me it “captures the violence,” and that it’s “apocalyptic.” I don’t have words to express how it felt to drive past that house, see those flames and wonder if my life would ever be the same.
I hope you never see anything like this… but please don’t forget to pack your own “go bag” or at least gather your hard-to-replace documents into one folder. Mine sat for 6 years in the same spot before I found by “feel” in the dark in a power outage, the night the police knocked on the door to tell us to evacuate.
Believe me—if you die in your sleep of old age, decades from now, without ever needing to grab it as you race out the door and away from danger, you won’t regret the time it took to put it together.
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