How to Build a Sales Pipeline with Ahmad Munawar | PoP 468

How to Build a Sales Pipeline with Ahmad Munawar | PoP 468

Are you using the right platform for your marketing? How can you optimize your pipeline? Which online marketing tactics do you need to use to reach your target market?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Ahmad Munawar about how to build a sales pipeline in a way that is authentic to you.

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Meet Ahmad Munawar

Ahmad Munawar (AH-med MUN-ah-wahr) is the creator of the 90-Day Pipeline, a coaching program that helps B2B consultants and service providers fill their pipeline with 5- and 6-figure deals, without begging for referrals, wasting time networking, or spending a dime on advertising.

Visit Ahmad’s website and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

In This Podcast

Summary

  • What is the pipeline?
  • Basic elements of a good pipeline
  • Online marketing tactics
  • Telling stories
  • Engagement

What is the pipeline?

Pipeline is a word used in marketing and sales to describe the lineup of clients that are waiting to do business with you. Subject matter experts, like clinicians, typically don’t really get the marketing a sales piece and they neglect this idea of a pipeline. If you don’t have a pipeline then when you want to drive business in, you don’t know where to start, and you panic. The pipeline essentially is your insurance policy for your business. When you need more clients or you lose some clients and you need more, you dip into your pipeline, pull out some deals, and drive business. Without that, your business is severely at risk.

Basic elements of a good pipeline

  • Have a method through which people discover you – how do potential clients find you?
  • Have a mechanism through which you can nurture those relationships – Now that they have found you, they need to get to know you better. Hiring a clinician is a serious and intimate process and there’s a comfort level that needs to be established before pulling the trigger.
  • Give prospective clients comfort – It’s getting your potential clients comfortable with the idea of doing business with you and the fact that you can help solve their problem.

Two things need to happen for a client to pick up the phone and contact you:

  1. They need to know who you are – It’s about visibility on various platforms e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Whatever your platform of choice, you have to have a way of getting these people to discover you.
  2. They need to believe that you have what they need – this is the hard part that people really need to understand. You have to frontload belief. If you don’t convince them that they should work with you before having the conversation, you’ll never actually get the conversation.

Online marketing tactics

When doing a podcast, e-course, or membership community, what different tactics can be used for marketing outside of the traditional counseling practice? The main difference is that your audience expands drastically so you want to be thinking about two things:
1. What is the asset through which I can build the audience – e.g. a podcast
2. How do I monetize that?

What do you do to stay relevant when people on your list haven’t taken action for a while?

People buy when the time is right for them not for you. This could take days, weeks, months, or even years. If we don’t consistently engage our audience and nurture them with our content, then they will forget that you exist and they won’t know that you have what they need. So, it is a combination of continuing to provide value to the marketplace and continuing to tell stories of the people who have gotten value from working with you. The more you cement your relationship with the audience, the more likely they are to buy and at that point, forget about the timeline, they’ll buy when they’re ready, as long as you’re doing your job of showing up, providing those insights, providing that belief and telling those stories.

Telling stories

The story that you’re telling has to connect directly to what your prospective client is currently experiencing. The key to stories is to make sure that they are relatable from the front end. Your testimonial should start with what was going on before you and the patient started working together, don’t just focus on the outcomes. Establish relevance and the prospective client will relate and buy into the transformational journey in the story and the outcomes become more relevant and compelling to them.

Engagement

The tactics you need to use depend on your intended audience. There are different ways to target different demographics on all of the various platforms but you have to open up the top of the funnel and they have to be able to discover you. Before they engage with you, they’re going to follow you so you have to be a person of interest and be positioned as a thought leader and expert so that people take an interest.

People have to find you, discover you, get to know who you are, and engage with your ideas. Once the ideas have sufficiently resonated, they’ll conclude whether or not to talk to you. Depending on the platform that you choose, there’s a set of tactics that you can use to get in front of them and engage them and ensure that they discover you.

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Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE]:
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 468.

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Well, I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and when I think about therapy and podcasting and all of this, the word sales doesn’t really come to mind. I mean, the idea of somebody calling my office – when I had an office before I sold my practice – and it being a sales call versus just helping someone do counseling, I didn’t think that way. But in a lot of ways I should have because I think that when we think about the word sales, oftentimes it’s used car salesmen, it’s a telemarketer. It’s this kind of slimy way of doing sales. But today, we’re going to actually be talking all about how to build a sales pipeline in a way that’s authentic to you.

We buy things every day. You have the things that you buy, you know, whether it’s a Truly or a White Claw, or maybe it’s Cheeze-Its or it’s kale or, like, whatever it is that you buy, someone at some point informed you of that product. I don’t remember when I first heard about kale, or kale chips, it just kind of came into my world. And now kale is usually in our refrigerator. In fact, as I say that, I think my wife got some kale like a week ago, and I was supposed to make kale chips. So, I’m gonna have to do that sometime soon so that the kale doesn’t go bad. I hate when you get stuff and it’s in the fridge and it goes bad, and you’re like, oh, I wanted to eat that. But now it’s gross and slimy, and I’m not gonna eat it. You just don’t want that.

But sales is really taking – when it’s done right – taking someone when they have some sort of pain, some sort of desire, and then offering a transformation. So, a dentist, you know, the pain is, you know, could be a tooth that actually hurts, or it could be just wanting to have healthy teeth over a lifetime. And so, a dentist helps with that transformation. Their sales process is pretty soft, because everybody now knows that teeth are important. Now 100 years ago, they probably needed to do a little bit more sales. They needed to inform people differently; they needed to help people understand the importance of hygiene in their teeth, and maybe even still, you know, they’re learning a lot about how much our whole body kind of responds to our gums and our teeth. And so that’s sales, that information gathering, that helping people understand is sales. And so, if you feel a little ‘ugh’ in your stomach when you hear the word sales, I hope that today, as we talk about how to build a sales pipeline, you really think through it differently. Alright, so here we go.

Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Ahmad Munawar. Ahmad is the creator of the 90 Day Pipeline and helps consultants win five and six figure deals without begging for referrals or wasting time networking. Ahmad, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[AHMAD]:
Joe, it’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

[JOE]:
Yeah, yeah. I’m so excited to have you because I feel like there’s so many things around that 90-day pipeline that we could go into. But why don’t we just start with kind of really big picture? What’s a pipeline? What should people know? Or maybe terms, as we dive into this, and then we can talk about applying it to their practice, but then also their big ideas?

[AHMAD]:
Yeah, sure. So, a pipeline is the word that we use in the marketing and sales world to describe the lineup of clients that are waiting to do business with you. And it’s the mistake that people make when they don’t have a marketing or sales background, which is typical of your audience, of clinicians, and typical of a lot of my clients who are subject matter experts; really good at what they do, but don’t really get the marketing and the sales piece until they realize that they need to get it to attract business. If they neglect this idea of a pipeline, you are, if you’re listening to this, probably really comfortable with your work, your practice, and working with clients and getting them great results. You’re probably not terribly comfortable with the idea of bringing clients in. And that’s I’m sure a large part of why you’re listening to the show. But the result of that is if you’re not deliberate about how you bring clients and you don’t have a pipeline, you have a lineup of people that are waiting to do business with you. And then what happens is when you want to drive business, you don’t know where to start, you don’t know where the next client is coming from, you essentially panic. You lose a client or two or four or five. I know we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic right now, that’s a struggle for a lot of people, hopefully, by the time this airs we’ll be out of the thick of it. But the pipeline essentially is your insurance policy for your business, right? When you need more clients or you lose some clients, and you need more, you dip into your pipeline, pull out some deals and drive business, and without that your business is severely at risk.

[JOE]:
Yeah, and what are some of the kind of basic elements of a good pipeline?

[AHMAD]:
I mean, first of all, you’ve got to have a method through which people can discover you. So how do people find out about you? How do they discover you? How do the potential clients who need your help – either now or in the future – in most markets, not everybody needs your help right away, but a certain percentage do, and some may in the future. So, you need a mechanism through which new people can discover who you are, because if they don’t discover who you are, then they can’t hire you. Kind of obvious. And then you need a mechanism through which you can nurture those relationships. Once they find out who you are, they discover you, they get to know you better. The process of hiring somebody like your audience, the clinicians here, is a pretty serious process. It’s a pretty intimate process. I want to make sure that you’re a good fit and that you understand me and that you’re a good fit to solve my problems and that you know, we’ll do some good work together and have some great conversations. And there’s a comfort level that needs to be established here before I pull the trigger. And the rest of the pipeline is about giving prospects and patients that comfort. Once they discover you, it’s getting them comfortable with the idea of doing business with you, and with the fact that you are uniquely positioned to solve their business problem, well, their problem in this case.

[JOE]:
Yes, then for most, say, therapists, they kind of start with, okay, I have this counseling practice, either in person or online. Let’s work backward from the moment that person emails or picks up the phone to say, hey, I need some counseling. What would kind of a typical pipeline look like for those kind of standard counseling practices?

[AHMAD]:
Yeah. So, think of it this way: two things need to happen for a client to pick up the phone and talk to you. Only two things, that’s the good news. It’s what I said before, they’ve got to know who you are. If they don’t know who you are, they’re not picking up the phone, because they wouldn’t know who to call. Right. Is that fair to say?

[JOE]:
Yeah, yeah.

[AHMAD]:
Second is they’ve got to believe that you have what they need. And that’s the harder part. So, knowing who you are is about visibility. So, you know, platforms vary; it depends on the nature of your practice. And I’m happy to go through some examples. But you know, maybe it’s LinkedIn, maybe it’s Facebook, maybe it’s Instagram, whatever your platform of choice is, you’ve got to have a way of getting in front of these people so they can discover you. But that’s really the first step, it’s that they discover you. That’s not gonna be enough, in most cases, to get them to pick up the phone or send an email and say, hey, can we talk? What needs to happen is you’ve got a front load belief. And this is the piece that people really need to understand. You’ve got a front load belief. So, a lot of your audience right now is probably thinking, well, once they call me, once they talk to me, that’ll convince them that they should work with me.

[JOE]:
Yeah.

[AHMAD]:
But here’s the problem with that approach: if you don’t convince them that they should work with you, if you don’t front-load belief before the conversation, you’ll never get the conversation; they’ll never call you. So the rest of the process is about putting the kind of content, ideas, insights in front of them, letting them engage with that material, and come to the place where they believe that you’re the expert, you’re the clinician that they need to work with to get their problem solved. Once they get that belief, then they call you.

[JOE]:
So then, would that be blog posts, email sequence? What would be the best ways to front load that belief?

[AHMAD]:
It depends on the platform. And it depends on the audience. And it depends on where you’re finding them. Typically, social media is going to be the first piece of this, right? Because the best way to get in front of your audience is to get in front of them on social media, because communities already exists. So, if you take a look at LinkedIn, for example, that’s a big part of what we help our clients with, is how to find their customers on LinkedIn. The good thing about LinkedIn is you can actually build a list of prospects by name according to certain demographic criteria. So, let’s say there’s folks in your audience who are working with a more professional type of customer base. Maybe it’s lawyers and accountants and CEOs, executives; well, we can actually find those people and build a list of them by name within your particular geographic area or whatever your geographic scope is on LinkedIn. And we can proactively get in front of them, engage them, connect with them, and get content in front of them on the platform – really powerful.

Facebook, Instagram are different monsters, where there, you got to find – in the Facebook example – you gotta find groups where your target market might be congregating. And you want to join those groups, become an active member of those groups, and create interesting, insightful content that they can find and discover. So there’s the discovery mechanism, you got to go where they are; they’re not going to come to your blog, unless they’re already coming to your blog, that’s fine, but you gotta find them where they are, meet them where they are first, typically on social media, and then have inroads into the rest of your funnel or whatever you want to call it, your marketing ecosystem. So whether you’re writing articles on your blog, or you’re doing a podcast or whatever it may be, you’re finding them first on social media, and then you’re channeling them into your middle of the funnel, which is what we call it, which is probably something that’s hosted on your own site, or a podcast or some kind of asset that you own, and that you create, and that you distribute. An email list is another good example of that. But they’re not going to get there unless they find you in a place where they already are. They’re already congregating there.

[JOE]:
Let’s talk a little bit about LinkedIn strategy. Because I think for a lot of people that are therapists, they may think to themselves, you know, I want to keep my life a little bit more confidential. I don’t want to put myself out there as much. But LinkedIn is much different than most social media platforms. What are a couple of strategies that therapists could use to provide content that people care about on LinkedIn and to start connecting with people that might want to work with them?

[AHMAD]:
Yeah, I mean, the first thing is getting clear about who your audience is, right? So, you can’t find everybody on LinkedIn. But what you can do is you can find… demographically, you can find people according to certain professional and business criteria. So, we can find people in certain roles. CEOs, executives, business owners, like job titles – really powerful type of searching on LinkedIn. We can find people in certain industries, we can find people of certain stages in their career, we can find people that went to certain schools. So, there’s lots of very interesting, professional career oriented demographic data on LinkedIn, that makes for some pretty powerful targeting. And if some of that targeting can help you define who your target audience is, then that’s really helpful. And it may not be that you know… say, for example, you’re dealing with senior executives who are struggling with anxiety. Let’s say that that’s a service area. Well, we can find the senior executives, we don’t necessarily know they’re struggling with anxiety based on the demographic criteria available to us on LinkedIn. But we can find the executives and we can connect with them. And then from there, we can see which of them have an issue with anxiety with a mix of content and direct messaging. And chances are, a good percentage of that audience will be struggling with anxiety and from there, we’re having very powerful, direct, one to one conversations that we now have the permission to have through the platform.

[JOE]:
Yeah. And I think that, making sure for clinicians that, just one kind of side note, to make sure you’re looking ethically for you in regards to confidentiality and all of that, in regards to your conversations, is just one piece we want to make sure we note here. Now what about people that they start to grow their practice and they have a big idea? Like, they’re doing a podcast where they’re helping people like executives, dealing with anxiety, let’s stick with that. But they say, okay, I can only do counseling in my state. I am not licensed in other states, so I can’t transcend state borders. But I want to still help these people. And so, I’m going to start a podcast or an eCourse or a membership community; when you start to get into that level of online marketing, what are different tactics than when you have a traditional counseling practice?

[AHMAD]:
I mean, so the main difference is that your audience expands drastically, right? So, when you’re not tied down to working within your particular area or state and then your audience is now nationwide and frankly, global. So, what you want to be thinking there is two things. One is what is the asset through which I can build the audience? Obviously, Joe, you’re using a podcast here, which is a fantastic asset to use. But there’s other things that you can do. What is the asset that’s going to best engage the audience and build the audience? And then secondly, how do I monetize that? And there’s a few different things you can do. I by no means claim any expertise on the particulars of how to stay to the guidelines of the state or the association that you’re a part of. I’m sure there’s certain things that you can and cannot charge for, but have a powerful asset like a podcast, as an example. And the podcast does a good job of bringing in an audience, engaging the audience, cementing a bond with the audience, then that’s a great play to then sell a course or sell some kind of a, you know, lower ticket information product that doesn’t involve your day to day involvement. There’s no variable cost is just a one-time fixed cost investment to build the program. And then you can sell it on the back of your marketing asset like a podcast?

[JOE]:
Yeah. So, once you start to build this out, and it gets moving, how do you keep it relevant to people that are, say, on your list or in your funnel that haven’t bought yet? So, I mean, there’s plateaus oftentimes with a list. You’ll see some initial people buy, say, an eCourse; what do you do once there’s people that are on that for a while that haven’t taken action?

[AHMAD]:
I mean, the thing is that everybody buys when the time is right for them. That’s the important thing to understand. So we would love it as sellers if the moment that people engage with our message, they immediately saw the resonance of it and they immediately had pain that needs to be addressed and they bought; we would love that, wouldn’t we? But the reality is that timing is a funny thing. And clients buy, customers buy, patients buy when the timing is right for them, not for you. And sometimes that’s days, and sometimes that’s weeks, and sometimes that’s months, and sometimes that’s years. I have people that reach out to me, who initially found me over a year ago; never heard from them, didn’t know they existed, but they’ve been following, they’ve been paying attention, they’ve been engaged on their end. And finally, 12 months later, or 15 months later, they reach out and say, hey, can we work together? That’s how it goes because the timing was right for them. But if we didn’t consistently engage them, and nurture them with our content, they would have forgotten that I existed. They would have gone to a competitor; they would work with somebody else. Because if we don’t show up, then not only do they not know that you exist, but they don’t know that you have what they need. They’re not conditioned to want to do business with you.

So, to answer your question, you know, it’s a combination of (1) continuing to provide value to the marketplace, and (2) continuing to tell stories of the people who have gotten value from working with you. And sometimes it’s just a matter of stacking that belief. You share insights that address the challenges that they’re facing, the problems they’re facing; you share stories of the people that have worked with you and gotten great results. And the deeper you get into that, the more you cement your relationship with the audience, the more likely they are to buy and at that point, forget about timeline; they’ll buy when they’re ready, as long as you’re doing your job of showing up, providing those insights, providing that belief and telling those stories.

[JOE]:
Now, let’s drill into the telling of stories. And obviously, we’re talking confidentiality if it’s a client, but if it’s someone that you know, is doing a big idea or something outside of that, what makes a good story or testimonial or, you know, how do you tell good stories that will lead to someone buying something?

[AHMAD]:
Yeah, the story or the testimonial has to connect directly to what your prospect is currently experiencing. They have to see the alignment in that. So, the mistake that people make with testimonials is they want the prospect or… not the prospect, the client or the customer, the patient, to talk about outcomes. You know, what did you experience? What did you achieve? What were the results, right? And they think that if we talk about all the outcomes that they experience, then that will compel people who want to achieve those outcomes to also want to work with me. And that’s true at one level. But it’s also dangerous at another level because your potential patients are in pain right now. They’re struggling. They’ve got issues, they’ve got concerns, they have challenges they’re struggling with. And if you paint this picture of how every client who works with you is the polar opposite of that, and they’re nothing like the prospect and they’re in a completely different situation and everything’s amazing, what you lose is empathy. They’re not able to see themselves in that story. They’re not able to see themselves in that testimonial, and they go, well, maybe so and so can get that kind of transformation but that’s not for me, because look how bad things are for me. So, the key in those stories is to make sure that the story is relatable on the front end. So, all of our testimonials start with what was going on before we started working together. Tell me that story. What were you struggling with? Where was the pain? How long were you struggling with that for? What were you doing about it? What did you try? How did that work? And in the beginning, we’re just establishing relevance. So that when the prospect is watching the testimonial or the story, they’re engaging with it, they go, yeah, that’s me right now. Hey, this person was exactly where I am right now. And then they buy into the transformational journey in the story. And then the outcomes are more relevant to them and more compelling to them because they know that this person started out exactly where they are right now.

[JOE]:
Yeah, I think sometimes I’ll hear online marketers talk about, oh, now I’m making X number of dollars per day and it’s just like, am I ever going to even be there, versus when I first started or when this client of mine first started, they felt this way, and they needed these things to be successful. That totally does build that empathy, to tell the backstory of why they got started versus the end goal.

[AHMAD]:
Absolutely.

[JOE]:
Now, so once someone establishes a pipeline, what should they do to evaluate that pipeline? What are some just things to be aware of, numbers to watch? Just to know if it’s optimized as much as it can be.

[AHMAD]:
I mean, at the end of the day, it comes down to business results, right? That’s what we help our clients achieve and deliver. So, it depends on what the goals are. So, you want to think about your, you know, you want to reverse engineer your business goals. So, let’s say for example… well, let me ask you this, Joe: a typical listener here, how many new clients a month would make them just ecstatic?

[JOE]:
I think for most of them, 10 clients per clinician per month would be through the roof.

[AHMAD]:
Okay, in total or new clients per month?

[JOE]:
10 new clients.

[AHMAD]:
Yeah. So, if it’s 10 new clients a month, that’s the goal, right? Then the next step is to define, well, how many conversations do I need to have with potential clients to get 10? And let’s say the conversion rate from a conversation or an offer, as we call it, is, let’s say it’s 25%, okay, to be conservative. That means you’ve got to make 40 offers, and the conversion rate may be higher. Let’s say it’s one in three, let’s say it’s 30 offers for your audience here. 30 offers to get 10 clients. Okay, well, now, I don’t need to worry so much about the 10 clients. That’s the lag indicator. Right, the lead indicator is I need to make 30 offers a month; if I make 30 offers a month, I’m going to get my 10 clients. And now we build the pipeline to deliver on 30 offers a month, and we assemble the tactics, both the structure of the tactics and the volume of the execution, to deliver on 30 offers a month. And once we’re getting that, if we’re not getting 10 clients out of it, we have a sales problem. There’s something not quite right about the way that we’re making the offer or the price point or the value proposition, or your ability to, you know, seal the deal, so to speak, and we can fix that problem. But the pipeline now gets designed to deliver on 30 offers a month, knowing that if we do that well, we’re going to get 10 clients.

So, it’s important to separate lead indicators from lag indicators. Where a lot of business owners go wrong is, they’re so tunnel vision, laser focused on a lag indicator: clients, revenue, money. And what they fail to realize is that there’s things that have to happen before that, that drive the lag indicator. That is typically offers, conversations, and leads. So, once we know what the goal is, from a revenue perspective, client perspective, we reverse engineer the other metrics in the pipeline to make sure that the lag indicator is going to be achieved.

[JOE]:
So, I mean, I can see how that would apply really well to an eCourse or something that’s really scalable like that. So, if I’m thinking about a typical community, you know, say, Northern Michigan here, and I want to get 10 new clients a month. And so then, you know, I would say, for a lot of counseling practices, it’s at least, by the time someone calls you to try to schedule an appointment, you’re usually at 60% to 70% conversion. It may be that there’s something like insurance or something like that, that ends up standing in the way. And so, I mean, if you had, you know, 15 to 20 calls a month, I think that would lead into 10. So then if we’re thinking, how do we get 20 calls a month? It doesn’t have to be like a huge community, but you know, in Northern Michigan, or in a town, is like an email series the best way to get those people learning? What are the actual tactics to get those 30 people that will pick up the phone or send an email and say, okay, I’m ready for counseling now?

[AHMAD]:
Yeah, I think it really depends on the audience. So again, if it’s an audience that you can find on a platform like LinkedIn, if there’s some helpful demographic criteria that can help us find that audience, LinkedIn is great way to go. Because unlike other social media platforms, you can directly target a certain type of person based on that demographic criteria. I can’t do that on Facebook. I can’t do that on Instagram. There’s different ways to target on those platforms, but I can’t build a deliberate list of prospects or people that I want to be connecting with and engaging with. So, it depends on where your people are. LinkedIn, there’s a way to do that. Facebook, Instagram, other social media platforms, there are different ways to do it, but you have to open up the top of the funnel; they’ve got to be able to find you, discover you. And first, before they engage with you, they’re gonna follow you. So, you’ve got to be a person of interest. You got to be somebody who is positioned as a thought leader, as an expert, that people take an interest in. Look at somebody like, this may or may not be a good example, but it’s one that’s coming to mind, look at someone like Tony Robbins. People don’t just pay to go to a seminar right away. People engage with his ideas first, follow him on social media, engage with this material. And then once that’s resonated, they decide to go and attend and most don’t, frankly; he’s got more followers than he has customers, but some percentage of them will decide to engage and go to a program or a workshop. The same is true for you at a different scale. People have to find you, they’ve got to discover you, get to know who you are, engage with your ideas. And once those ideas have sufficiently resonated, then they’ll conclude that well, maybe this is the clinician I should be talking to. Maybe this is the person that can help me get through the challenges I’m facing right now. And then they’ll call. So, it depends on who they are. And then based on that, where you can find them. And then depending on the platform that you choose, there’s a set of tactics that you can use to get in front of them and engage them and ensure that they discover you

[JOE]:
So, in LinkedIn, is that mostly paid advertising? Or how do you get to that level of finding people on LinkedIn?

[AHMAD]:
Yeah. So, across every platform, you don’t want to jump into paid advertising until you have a very robust organic method of acquiring customers without paid advertising. And the reason for that is because you could spend a ton of money on advertising and take it from me, I mean, we spend a ton of money on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, we’re everywhere. They will all take your money. Gladly. Mr. Zuck will cash your check, believe me. And if you don’t have a validated approach, validated messaging, validated assets that are proven to get results, you’re going to spend a lot of money and spin your wheels on advertising that may or may not work. So, for every platform you want to validate an organic approach first that doesn’t require paid advertising. And then through that, get confidence in your messaging, get confidence in the assets you’re using to acquire customers, and get confidence in the overall approach. And then if that’s working, then you want to play your hand at advertising. And it really depends on how far you want to scale. You may get to the point where you’re getting all the customers that you want via free organic methods of marketing and creating content. And if so, great. You know, if you want to build a course, courses only do well when they scale. A low volume course isn’t gonna do you much good. So, for courses, yeah, you’re gonna need to scale and for that, advertising is gonna be your best bet.

[JOE]:
Gotcha. Awesome. Well, the last question I always ask is, if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

[AHMAD]:
Stand for something. That’s what I would say: stand for something. I think the challenge with finding a clinician or practitioner is it’s hard to know the difference between all of you. It’s hard to tell who I need. It’s hard to tell who resonates. It’s hard to tell who has a perspective on the problems that I’m facing that connects with me. And if you don’t stand for anything, you’re probably not going to grow very fast. But if you stand for something, what will happen is you will end up repelling a big chunk of the market so that you can really attract and resonate deeply with a smaller slice of the market.

[JOE]:
So awesome. I mean, if there’s things that people want to learn from you, go to your website, connect with you, what’s the best way for them to find out more about your work?

[AHMAD]:
Go to 90daypipeline.com; there’s a free training there that you can dig into, that will talk you through our entire approach and show you under the hood, how it works and why it gets results. And you can take a look there.

[JOE]:
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[AHMAD]:
Pleasure.

[JOE]:
So what are you gonna do to your sales pipeline to make sure that those phone calls that come in, the emails that come in, the intakes, that you frame things out for that person, that you give them hope, that you show them, hey, this is really important what you’re working on. And so, evaluating your sales pipeline is super important. Also, what’s really important is having a good electronic health record. So TherapyNotes is the premier electronic health record. They are so affordable, and now they have telehealth as part of it. Head on over to therapynotes.com, use promo code JOE. They’ve been a sponsor for years, they’re amazing. What I love is that whenever there’s some sort of issue or thing that somebody brings up, like, they have 24-hour support. They’re helping in so many different ways. But I love that I have a direct line to the head of marketing who then, you know, just a couple months ago I said, you know, telehealth is really important. We really would love to have that be a part of TherapyNotes, and they responded. And so being able to have that direct pipeline to the top, to start to influence how an electronic health record is created and developed and built, it’s so great to be a part of, an extension of their team, as one of their affiliates that promotes them. So, use promo code JOE; if you are a Next Level Practice member, you get six months for free, which is a huge value for your Next Level Practice membership. Next Level Practice we’ll be opening up again in August and that’s going to be over at practiceofthepractice.com/invite, where you can get that invite and all the details about that. We’ll be doing some webinars and different things in the lead up to that. But make sure you sign up for that, if you’re going to want to have that electronic health record. So, thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I’ll talk to you soon.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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