I’m constantly talking about your ideal clients, and I ask you to identify who you work best with. When you follow the process I use, you get to know about many aspects of your ideal clients, including the issues they looking for help with, how they think about therapy, their hopes, and even their personalities and sensibilities.
So let’s say you’ve done my exercises about the ideal client and you know a lot about WHO your ideal client is. You also need to know WHEN this person is your ideal client.
You need to know this, and I'll tell you why.
When you’re writing your website copy or your directory profiles, you should write those things to the right person at the right moment. If you do that, you’ll be much more likely to hear from them.
Your ideal client is seeking a therapist at a particular time, when they are ready for therapy. I’ll call that “the moment”. Before the moment, they may think about finding a therapist, but it isn’t at the top of their list yet. When they hit the moment, they have already tried to take care of the problem on their own or with the help of friends. Maybe they have been hopeless for a long time, and at the moment, they are feeling a little bit more hopeful. Maybe there is a change coming from the outside such as a break up or new job or the death of a loved one, and that event brings the moment on.
One mistake therapists make is trying to create their content for their potential clients without thinking about the moment. They write their copy to the person at a moment when they are not actually ready for therapy. Then the therapist’s job is to convince the ideal client that it will be safe and helpful to come to therapy. That’s some very heavy lifting. The therapist writes their copy to reassure the client that therapy is not too scary. They write their copy to convince the client that they won’t hate therapy. When the client is ready to call you, they may feel those fears, but they are not looking for reassurance from you until later in the process.
If you ask your friends to look over your content and give you feedback, you’re likely to feel reinforced in this idea that you need to reassure potential clients. Your friends may not be at the moment of looking for therapy.
When you start your content with something like “It’s hard to find the right therapist” or “I want you to feel welcome” or “Therapy can be scary” you’re falling into that mistake. You might get some calls from people who are not ready for therapy with a line like that. Be ready for some more heavy lifting in those conversations. You have the choice to work with people who are ready and focused on getting their problem solved or investing in a process for personal growth. Write your content to those people.
If you do ask your friends to look over your content, give them some context not only of who your ideal client is (never describing an identifiable person of course) and what they are dealing with as well as what moment they are in right as they search for you.