Someone asked recently about how to ensure prospective clients really get it that you can help them… which elicited a question from me:
What do you promise your clients?
If that question makes you nervous or resistant, you’re not alone. Most practitioners have a difficult time with promises.
A new client comes with something they want to change–and you know you can help her move toward that, but you don’t feel comfortable promising that she’ll get there.
You don’t feel comfortable promising that her back will be completely healed or that she will be free of neck pain, or anything else like that.
You don’t feel comfortable promising anything you don’t know for sure is going to happen.
It’s completely understandable, and I would be surprised if you don’t agree—not only do I hear it from every practitioner I meet, but I’m in that place myself.
Unfortunately, that lack of specificity can lead to confusion on the part of the prospective client because if what you say doesn’t feel concrete enough to her, she doesn’t know if you’re the person she needs.
Why? Because many people come with some sort of problem they hope you can help them solve. If you don’t tell them you can do that, why should they commit to having sessions with you?
And that leads to an even bigger problem: being unable to commit means they are not going to get the help you can give.
If you can’t promise a solution, what can you promise?
It’s important to answer this question for yourself, because everything we buy comes with a promise of some kind:
- The food you buy will fill your stomach,
- The plane ticket will get you from here to there.
- The hand sanitizer will keep you safe from 99.99% of germs and viruses.
- The clothes will keep you warm, or cool or make you feel attractive.
- The accountant will give you an accurate tax return.
- The sessions you offer will … hmmm.
See the problem?
At this point, the majority of practitioners fall back on talking about their modality, and the evidence on that approach is in: it rarely works.
This simple formula leads to promises you can keep
X + Y -> Z, where:
X is what you can promise
Y is why they need it
Z is what they want
This simple formula gives you a path to a concrete statement of how you help clients, and if you keep in the back of your mind as you talk to new people, you’ll find more interest from them about working with you.
Applying it is easy.
X=what you know for sure
Think about the side benefits people get from your work, and the pre-cursors that allow your work to be valuable.
For example, if you’re a Feldenkrais Practitioner, one thing you know will happen is that you will help this person deepen her awareness.
You’re also going to help her learn to focus her attention in new ways that are related to the difficulty she has. She doesn’t know that now, but you know it’s going to emerge as you work together.
If you’re an alternative practitioner–no matter what your modality–part of the job is to see the thing your client is missing, draw it to her attention and help her make some sort of change with that new awareness or understanding.
Where to look
To begin, look at the things you know are going to happen, because they happen with everyone. Have a quick inner look over some of the sessions you’ve had and see what is common to all of them.
- people might generally feel a sense of lightness and ease.
- when they lie down,they have a better sense of what they’re feeling.
- they may feel more grounded when they stand up.
Y=why it’s important
Now it’s important to ask yourself…So WHAT?
Why does X matter… They feel that–whatever it is–and that’s important, because ________.
Where to look
How does the thing you know is going to happen make it more likely they will get the result they want?
How is not having that getting in their way now?
All you have to do is relate what you know is going to happen to why that’s something they want to cultivate in order to get what they want.
Z=what they want
You don’t have to do a lot of preparation for this. You already know a zillion ways to relate the value of what’s you know will happen for your clients to ameliorating the difficulty that brought them to you in the first place.
The thing to avoid at this point is telling every person all zillion of those things!
Think of an example of someone you’ve worked with who made that connection and got the result they wanted—and then summarize their journey from “desired outcome to result” in one sentence, like this: Bill came to me because he had a severe headache several times a week, but when he discovered that he could feel what was happening in his low back just before one erupted he realized that he could stop it before it started and now headaches are extremely unusual for him.
Just pick the one example that relates as closely as possible to what the prospective client told you, make the connection, and let it land.
Make a promise, stay in integrity
Find the things you can predict will happen, connect their importance with what the client wants, tell a quick story about how that worked for a past client, then stop to let it sink in.
The change it brings to your practice will make you and your clients happy.