get more clients

Answer 3 Questions About Your Business Before 2017


As you get ready to set your business goals for 2017, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What worked this year?

  2. What have you started doing that will likely show results in 2017?

  3. What have you been doing that needs a small tweak in order to show results?

If you’re just starting out, read this post with 2018 in mind.

The Pereto principle states that 80% of your success will come from 20% of your efforts. Let’s apply this principle to your therapy business. Identify the marketing activities that contribute the most to bringing in clients, do more of those things, and you’ll fill your practice.

Are you drawn to trying new things? I get it. Me too. As you set goals for 2017, it’s tempting to add new marketing activities. That MIGHT be a good idea. After carefully considering these 3 questions, you’ll be in a good position to choose the right new activity. It might be the year for you to start a blog, add a workshop to your offerings, or launch a podcast. Just wait until you’ve figured out what’s already working. This process is like going through the clothes in your closet before you head to the store.

You may think doing a little bit of every marketing activity will be the best way to build your practice. That's exactly wrong. 

Doing a very small number of activities well and consistently is more likely to bring you the practice you want.

Wondering how it can hurt to do everything? You’ve got limited time. If you spend 2 hours a week on marketing you’ve only got 100 hours to dedicate all year. Spending those hours wisely is one key to your success.

When you spend time on one marketing activity, you’re taking time away from another one. That’s opportunity cost. Doubling or tripling the time and energy you spend on the most effective activities will bring you more clients. You can’t increase the most effective activities unless you cut back on the activities that have been taking up the other 80% of your marketing time. Something’s gotta go.

If you were a larger business, opportunity cost would be less of a big deal. For example, you could afford to send a team off to work on social media and then measure the results of that experiment. You’re one person. When you experiment with social media, you spend less time writing articles, talking to your colleagues, or finding public speaking gigs. You must make room for change and innovation, but you also must be careful with how much of your time you spend in different areas.


How did your clients find you in 2016? It might be difficult to identify which of your marketing activities led to new clients. Sometimes you don’t know exactly where your clients found you because they don’t remember. That’s ok. Do your best to figure out where your clients came from this year.

Two tools that will help you gather this information are an inquiry tracking system and Google analytics. If you aren’t familiar with Google analytics, um…Google it.

If you’ve been using an inquiry tracking system, you have a wealth of information to examine. If you haven’t, start now! At minimum, track this information for each person who inquires about services: date, name, where they found you, and whether they came in for a session.

To figure out what’s happening with your website, use Google analytics. Install it now if you haven’t already. Google analytics will start gathering information from the moment you install it, but it can’t gather past data. Start looking at how many people visit your site each month, where they come from, and which pages on your site are most popular. Don’t go down a wormhole and spend too much time on Google analytics. As all online tools, it can be a helpful assistant or a time suck.

If you have no tracking system and you don’t have analytics installed, do your best to remember where your last 10 clients came from.

Now get ready to do more of what worked. Here are two examples.

If you discover that many of your clients found you through an online directory, put MORE energy into your profile on that directory. Get a better photo, update your specialties, and edit your statement so that it speaks directly to your right-fit client in the very moment that they need you. Then consider joining a second directory.

If you notice that one or two colleagues sent you many of your clients, nurture those relationships. Invite those colleagues to attend a training with you, or set up a lunch date. Then think about what makes these referral partners such a good fit and look for a few more colleagues just like them. Nurture those relationships too.


Maybe you’ve planted seeds with some of your marketing activities and they haven’t had a chance to grow yet. Don’t abandon your activities before they have a chance to work.

For example, if you’ve started relationships with colleagues who have told you “I’ve sent you a few referrals,” but those people never seem to call, don’t give up. It sometimes takes months for the necessary chain of events to happen: Your colleague gets to know you and understands what you do well, they talk to a person who is looking for a therapist just like you, they give that person your name, the potential client looks you up, and then the potential client takes the first step of contacting you. If you’re planting networking seeds with several colleagues, those seeds will bloom. You just can’t control when.

In my experience and the experiences of the many therapists I’ve worked with, these are the activities most likely to start working after a number of months of persistent activity:

  • Networking 1:1 with colleagues

  • Giving talks to groups that include your right-fit clients

  • Having good, niched profiles in directories with high traffic

  • Creating great copy on the most popular pages on your website

  • Creating great content such as articles for your website


Maybe you’re doing some of the right things, but you need to make small changes to HOW you’re doing those things.

Let’s look at a few examples.

You study Google analytics and discover that your website isn’t turning visitors into clients often enough. You’ve got hundreds of visitors to your site each month, but you only get one or two phone calls. Just about every visitor looks at your homepage, so work to make the copy better. Every word should speak directly to your right-fit client. Need some help with this process? Here you go.

You’ve gone to an organization’s networking event every month all year, and not a single client has been referred from those colleagues. If no one you’ve met there appeals to you, jump ship now and don’t look back. If, on the other hand, you feel like you’ve made some good connections with colleagues who you like and respect, make a tweak to your process. Go to the event every other month, and invite one or two of those colleagues to coffee one on one in between. Go here for more help with networking.

You’ve done 3 public speaking gigs this year, and only one client has resulted. Ask yourself a few questions to identify what small changes you need to make. Did you give your audience members an easy path to sign up for a free consultation right after the talks? Did you keep the topic of your talks narrow enough that you could cover that topic well? Did you give opportunities for the participants to interact with you and the other participants? For more tips on public speaking, go here.

Before you go on to the next stage of goal setting, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on what worked this year.

Ready to create the practice you want and deserve? My next Superpower Method For Therapists® Program begins in February. Find out more. 

Take the Challenge: 30 Days To a Strong Referral Network (Back by popular demand)


If you need an infusion of clients who are a great fit for you, building referral partnerships is the fastest way to make it happen. This isn’t networking as usual. It’s a targeted and strategic plan to create relationships that will bring you great referrals over and over again.

Participants have said:

“I met with one new colleague who has already referred me a new client.”
“I was able to take steps with this challenge that I couldn’t before.”
“I have tools I can use after the challenge.”
"Thanks for all the resources you shared in this (FREE!) challenge."

When you sign up you'll receive your first assignment right away. 


You'll also receive weekly practice building tips, NEVER spam. You can easily unsubscribe at any time. 


Need A Few New Clients NOW?

need a few clients now?

“I need a few new clients right away.”


I often hear this from therapists. It’s time to bring in more income to pay your bills. Maybe you’ve had some clients graduate recently, and you need to fill those slots. Maybe your expenses have gone up. Perhaps you’re just tired of waiting for your practice building strategies to pay off.


Even for this very short-term goal, you need to make a plan that moves you closer to achieving your long-term vision for your practice. You can tackle a short-term goal in a way that takes you OFF track from your long-term vision, or you can tackle that same goal in a way that brings you CLOSER to it.


For example, applying another insurance panel will take you OFF track from a long-term goal of creating a private pay only practice.


Slow down and figure out your long-term vision of what you’d like your practice to be like.


The first question I usually ask in a consultation with a therapist is: “What’s the difference between the private practice you have now and the one you’d really love to have?”


One part of that answer is how much money you’d like to make.


Just a few other parts of your vision are: who you’d like to be working with, what methods you’d like to be using, what hours you’d prefer to work, and what sort of office you’d like to be working in.


After you’ve tapped into that vision you can make a plan to bring in a few clients fast. Here are some potential ways:




When you speak for an organization where your right-fit clients are hanging out, you have a chance to bring many people into your practice quickly. Make sure you’ve got a process to help people sign up for a free consultation at the talk.




Reach out to a small number of colleagues to get together with. Bring your calm and generous self to these meetings. This is about creating or renewing long-term authentic relationships. When you’re top of mind for a number of people, you’re more likely to get referrals.


Make some key changes to your online presence. 


Creating a great online presence requires a thorough and time-consuming process, but there are a few important things you can do quickly. Doing these things is sort of like tidying up quickly before a friend comes over.


Edit your homepage so that it speaks more directly to your right-fit clients using words they would use.


Make sure your site makes it easy to take the next step to work with you.


If your photo isn’t great, get a new one taken.


Check your directory listings and make sure they highlight how you’re different from other therapists.


All of these practice building activities can take you closer to your long-term vision as long as you’re clear on what that vision is.


Is it time to create the private practice only you can create? Apply for a free consultation now. 


Find out what you need to do next to bring in more therapy clients. Take my Private Practice Strength Assessment. 

You'll also get free practice building tips every week. You'll never get spam and you can easily unsubscribe at ANY time. 

Find YOUR best method for getting more referrals.

I often tell my clients that building a strong referral network is the fastest way to fill your practice. And now I’m leading a free 30-day challenge to help you do it. Sign up here so you can start with me on June 1st.

 How many colleagues regularly refer to you? Include anyone who refers to you even a few times a year. If your number is low, let’s say 2 or 3, you may feel discouraged. You’ve known dozens of therapists and other professionals over the years, and they all know you’re in private practice, but only a small handful refer to you.

I want to help you look at this in a totally different way.

 What if you could double or triple the number of colleagues who regularly refer to you? Imagine what that would do for your practice. Then imagine doubling or tripling that number again. You see where this is going.

Let’s start by examining the referral partnerships that are working. A referral partnership is a relationship with another professional in which you both refer clients to each other. Even if you only have one or two referral partnerships that are working, that’s the best place to start.

Consider what is making those relationships work. There are reasons those people are referring to you, likely including one or more of these:

  •  You gave them the impression that you have a high level of care for your clients.
  • They come into contact with your ideal clients a lot and you’ve given them the impression that you work well with that group.
  • You’ve shown them that you have integrity.
  • They have spoken with you 1:1 and like the way you think and communicate.
  • They like you.
  • You have let them know that you are likely to refer clients to them.
  • They have seen you recently or heard from you recently enough that you are on their mind. 

Think about each person who has referred to you. Consider which of those factors I listed might be present. Look for patterns in the ways you have created or maintained those relationships. Those are great clues for what will work again.

Your goal is to reproduce those results by reaching out to more people in similar ways.

 If you just can’t figure out why your referral partners have sent you clients, think about what comes easily to you in your relationships with colleagues. As you reach out to more colleagues, lean on those strengths. For example, if small groups are the place where you shine, look for opportunities to interact in small groups. Long-term group trainings and consultation groups might be two of your best places to grow relationships.

Sign up for the 30-day challenge now. You’ll get small assignments and a structure for taking smart action throughout the month.