How to improve your intake call to get more private pay clients with Nikki Rausch | PoP 709

A photo of Nikki Rausch is captured. Nikki Rausch is the founder of Sales Maven and a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Nikki Rausch is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Do you want to learn how to sell your therapy services successfully? How can a private practice boost its intake calls to convert more clients? When should you discuss finances with a new client?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Nikki Rausch about how to sell successfully and improve your intake calls to get more private pay clients.

Podcast Sponsor: Heard

An image of the Practice of the Practice podcast sponsor, Heard, is captured. Heard offers affordable bookkeeping services, personalized financial reporting, and tax assistance.

As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or are in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online, and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to poring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments; focus on your clients, and Heard will take care of the rest.

Plans begin at $149 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up now at www.joinheard.com.

Meet Nikki Rausch

A photo of Nikki Rausch is captured. She is the founder of Sales Maven and a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Nikki is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast. Nikki Rausch is the founder of Sales Maven and a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She works with solopreneurs and small business owners who are passionate about their products and services and need additional skills to build rapport with potential clients.

Nikki has received numerous sales awards, shattered sales records across industries, and was featured in Female Entrepreneur Magazine. A sought-after speaker, she regularly shares the results of success through illuminating keynote addresses and business-changing workshops.

Visit Sales Maven, listen to Nikki’s podcast, and read her books. connect with Nikki on Instagram and LinkedIn.

FREEBIE: Grab Your Free Copy of Nikki’s e-book, Closing the Sale, when you visit her website!

In This Podcast

  • Avoid being too focused on the outcome
  • First contact tips for private practices to boost conversion
  • When should you have the financial discussion with new clients?
  • Advertise your team
  • Nikki’s advice to private practitioners

Avoid being too focused on the outcome

Do not focus so much on yourself, and rather direct your attention towards the desires and pain points of your audience. How can you help them?

We do a lot of talking at people instead of talking with people, and I think that’s where the wheels start to come off. (Nikki Rausch)

Sales can feel uncomfortable when you are making it too much about you, and not about the other person.

Focus on how your service or product is going to help your audience instead of only looking at the income or your final outcome.

When you start [focusing on] what’s going on for this other person, do they have a problem? Do they have a need? Do they have a want? And do I have a solution that would meet that need, that want, or solve that problem? If so, then it’s my job to put an opportunity in front of them and let them decide, not decide for them. (Nikki Rausch)

First contact tips for private practices to boost conversion

1 – Consider the questions that you are asking and how you frame them: you want to lead the person to realize that you can help them.

2 – Increase confidence in the client: ask the client questions to find out their key phrases, and then use those words back to them.

I’m going to stand in my place of expertise and I’m going to recommend … “that we start with scheduling you out for one session a week for the next four weeks, is that something you’d like to move forward with?” Issue that invitation, let them say “yes”, and I’m going to say, “great, let’s get that on our calendars now.” (Nikki Rausch)

3 – Schedule the sessions in advance: when your client approves that they want to start therapy with you, schedule out the next batch of sessions in advance.

4 – Preframe with a prospective client: pre frame the sessions to set the stage for what they may experience in therapy which helps to create a sense of safety.

5 – Take the lead: lead the prospective client with a set of questions instead of asking them to “tell you everything”.

When should you have the financial discussion with new clients?

Take your queues from your clients, but realistically, schedule first and then talk money. For the client, it is more about the solution than the money but if you are nervous or scared to talk about finances, your fears about sales and money could be projected onto them.

Advertise your team

It’s really important that when you are talking about your team that you don’t in any way imply that they are “second stream” … what you want to [say] is, “based on what you’ve shared my recommendation would be that you work with X because they are amazing in this area and I think they’re the perfect person for you”. (Nikki Rausch)

If a client calls and wants to work with the private practice owner as their therapist, do not treat the owner as the “top” therapist in the practice.

Advertise the expertise and skill of your team to prospective clients to let them know that they would be well-taken care of within the practice and with whichever clinician you recommend them to.

Take out unnecessary steps and make it as easy as possible for a new client to work with your team.

Nikki’s advice to private practitioners

If people are engaging with you in some way, then they are giving you a buying signal. It is your job to earn their business, and you do that by inviting them to take the next steps with you.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

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.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 709.

I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast, where we, four days a week are helping you start, grow, scale, and exit your private practice. So we’ve got things from the very beginning to help you get going over at practiceofthepractice.com/start. We’ve got our 28 step checklist to just get a practice off the ground. Once it’s going a little bit we have Next Level Practice, our membership community. Then we have Group Practice Launch, and then Group Practice Boss. We have conferences like Killin’It Camp that we have in the fall, Slow Down School, which tickets for that are on sale now, that’s a small group of about 20 people where we hang out on the beaches of Northern Michigan and work on your business. Then we have audience Building Academy, the membership community that’s aimed at when you’re ready to level up past your practice, maybe with a podcast or a membership community. So across the board, we have membership communities for you to get to that next level.

But today we’re talking about one skill that I think scares the crap out of most therapists and that sales. I, when I was a freshman in college, it was the summer going into my freshman year of college, so right after I graduated high school. All of my friends, like my closest group of friends were, we just started selling this new technological product. In every sale we have, we get a thousand dollars and I’m like, what? I want to do this. Then it ended up being a vacuum cleaner that we were selling door to door. So this vacuum cleaner, brand will remain unnamed, was teaching us how to go into trailer parks and teach these people that this $3,000 vacuum was going to save them money and it was going to be actually an investment for them.

It was a good vacuum cleaner. My parents still have theirs, because of course they bought it from me, but I was taught all these slimy sales techniques. Then I never took a business class all through undergrad and grad school. That’s what I identified as sales. So it wasn’t until I started my counseling practice and I realized I love counseling and it’s transformative and it helps people and really just like the more that I just can share what I do, it doesn’t feel like sales. So I’m so excited about our guest today. Nikki Rausch is the CEO of Sales Maven. Nikki has the unique ability to transform the misunderstood process of selling and with 25 years of selling experience entrepreneurs and small business owners now hire Nick to show them how to sell successfully and authentically. Nicki, I am so excited to have you here on the Practice of the Practice podcast. Welcome to the show.
[NIKKI RAUSCH] Thank you so much for having me and I love, love, love the story you just told about your sales experience.
[JOE] Oh my gosh. I sold two and a half vacuums. I sold one to my parents, one to my parents’ friends and then I got so bored going door to door. I told this friend of mine, will you just go with me? I’ll give you half the cut. We sold one vacuum to this couple, but then I had to split it. I was 1099 for all of it so I ended up paying so many taxes on it. I probably didn’t make any money after the half vacuum I sold.
[NIKKI] I’m sure you didn’t. That’s so great.
[JOE] Well tell us a little bit about like, why do you care about the language of sales, how’d you get into sales, because I mean, that’s just something that oftentimes we associate with sliminess and all that. I know that’s not your approach, but how’d you get into even thinking about sales?
[NIKKI] Well, I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, my dad and grandfather owned a tool store. So at a very young age I was working the register. So there was a little bit of a sales component there. In college, like you, I ended up getting my first professional sales job and it wasn’t selling vacuums. It was selling technology, but it was selling projectors and, actually at the time it was flat panel, panels that used to sit on the overhead projectors that your teachers used to, like in math class they would write the acetate math problems. Then pretty soon they got this piece of technology that sat on top of it. I worked for the company that sold the third one ever sold in the world and that’s really how I got into sales.

I went into a very male dominated industry and I actually am quite shy by nature and I fall on the introverted side. So working around these really aggressive sales dudes that were all about making money and making the sale, it just didn’t resonate with me, but yet I loved the idea of commission-based, the ability to make more money based on my performance. So I got really curious about it, I really started honing my relationship selling skills, I started studying neurolinguistic programming. If that’s a new term to anybody, it sounds super technical, but it’s really the study of communication.

I found that when I focused and made sales, a collaborative, experience sales to me isn’t something that you do to somebody. It’s something you do with. My selling career really took off and I had a lot of success there. When I decided to do something different, my business was born out of getting to hang out with super cool entrepreneurs that were making a difference and a big impact in the world, but yet really struggling with this idea of the sales conversation. That’s really now what I do. I work with these people and teach them how to have authentic conversations where it no longer feels icky and gross because it isn’t, it’s about relationship first, rapport always.
[JOE] Well, let’s start with where do people usually get sales wrong? Whether it’s assumptions or mindsets or skills, like how do people do sales incorrectly?
[NIKKI] Well, I think it’s that focused on you instead of on the other person. So we do a lot of talking at people instead of talking with people. I think that’s really where it gets, the wheels start to come off and it feels uncomfortable because you’re so focused on you and getting to your outcome. When you start making it about what’s going on for this other person, do they have a problem? Do they have a need? Do they have a want, and do I have a solution that would meet that need that want or solve that problem? If so, then it’s my job to put an opportunity in front of them and let them decide, not decide for them.

You could go either way of the spectrum. It’s the person who comes up with a piece of paper and slices you 20 times and says, bless your heart. You have paper cuts and I sell band-aids. That’s one side that feels really icky. The other side is like, oh, this person would never want to work with me. This person would never buy from me so I’m not even going to bring it up. Either of those are very detrimental to their relationship. So instead it’s about understanding the person what’s going on for them and then offering them the opportunity to take the next step and being okay with whatever their decision is, yes, no or I have some questions.
[JOE] I definitely want to apply this to private practices, but before we get into any of your techniques, I want to walk through maybe our sales process for someone that’s going to do consulting and have you rip it apart or say you’re doing this.
[NIKKI] Okay. All right.
[JOE] Because if I do it at the end of the interview, then it’ll be like, oh, Joe just said this stuff, because that’s what she just said. So I feel like if, I just had this idea. So people will fill out a form on practiceofthepractice.com/apply. It parses out that this is more for individual consulting or working with us. We have our membership communities so we’re trying to weed out the maybe membership communities from the individual consulting or mastermind group. So they fill out this form. On that it has like, what are you making now? What do you want to make? What are the big struggles what’s got in the way? Who do you want to work with? What are your goals, so we can really hopefully match them with the right consultant.

Then Jess, our director of details within 24 hours does a pre-consulting call just to verify information, make sure people understand the range of price points so that they don’t, if they’re just kicking the tires or they don’t understand that we don’t want to surprise them with the prices. So then usually within a week, we’ll do that consulting, that first free consulting call or someone might call it a sales call, we just call it pre-consulting. So in that usually I’ll start with, “Hey Nicki I’m really excited about this call. We always want to just start with going over what this is going to be. So I’m going to hear about your practice and just see if there’s any low hanging fruit that I can give you practical advice you can use today, whether or not we work together. We’ve got enough people, people applying for different stages of practice and help that we don’t need to squeeze you into something you don’t need.”

At the end of the call, we’ll just say, “Here’s what I would recommend and here’s the price point to save you time and money. How’s that sound?” They usually say, that sounds great. It’s like low pressure. So then we’ll spend about 10 minutes going through what’s going on in their practice. Here’s some low hanging fruit. So it might be raising their rates, it might be adding a clinician or here’s what I would just recommend. Then the second half of the call would be here’s what a consulting plan would look like if we worked together, here’s what we would work on in those six to nine months, here’s what we achieve, here’s the price point. How’s that sound? Then Jamie Masters taught me to give the price and then pause and then say, did that give you a heart attack? Then people usually say, oh yes, totally gave me a heart attack. I don’t think I can do that. Then we can talk about if there’s something that fits their budget a little better, or if they’re like, no, I’m ready to move forward, then we move forward. All right. So tear it apart for me.
[NIKKI] I like the intake form and I like that pre-call that you’re setting the stage and giving them an idea and making sure are they looking to invest or are they kicking tires. The piece where I would offer some, maybe slight adjustment, but it really comes down to what’s your success rate? If what you’re doing, frankly, Joe, if you’re crushing it and you’re converting, I would say more than 50% of those calls, 70% is where I like to get my clients to, and actually with all the pre stuff that you’re doing, really, you should probably be converting pretty high. If you’re not —
[JOE] We convert it usually like 80% to 90% by the time I talk to them.
[NIKKI] So what you’re doing is definitely working. If you said to me, I’d like to hone it or there’s been some times where, here’s what I would say if somebody says to you, wow, that was really great advice that you just gave me. I think I’d like to put that into practice and then I’ll come back later and work with you when I’m ready. That is the piece that I get a little nervous about. It’s this like low hanging fruit giving advice. I don’t actually recommend that you coach on a pre-call and the reason I don’t recommend it is because like Joe you know how awesome you are and all the experience and all the things that you can bring to a practice for somebody. But the person that’s talking to you, they don’t know all that.

I always say, imagine behind you is all of your resources, all your expertise, all the things that you can pull forward and bring into a session with a client. It’s like a big, beautiful beach, and there’s all these resources on it. When you’re having a call with somebody and you’re giving them low hanging fruit, you’re giving them essentially grains of sand, but to them, they don’t know the beach behind you. So that is the beach. What you’re giving them is the beach. I think you need to be really careful with doing that because sometimes I think you can talk people out of hiring you because that little thing that you know to them is like one thing to get them started. It’s slow hanging fruit. It’s something that’s going to make a difference in their business. But to them that might be overwhelming. That might feel well, I need my handheld through it. And they might go, but Joe just gave it to me like, it’s nothing. So I should probably be able to do it on my own, but frankly, if they could do it on their own, they probably wouldn’t be on this call with you. So that would be the only piece that I would have a little bit of like that makes me nervous.
[JOE] So what would I do instead of that?
[NIKKI] Okay, so what you would do instead is you would ask leading questions. So for instance, if you know that the pricing is probably their issue, I would ask about when’s the last time you raised your price and they would say, oh, I’ve never raised my price, or, and how comfortable are you with having those conversations? Great. Okay, so that’s potentially something we would definitely work with you on. So I’m not going to tell them how to have the conversation, to raise their price. I’m not going to tell them what their pricing should be, but I’m going to plant that seed that when we work together, we’re going to get your prices up because that’s going to make a difference for you because it will.

They’re probably going to need you to hold their hand through it, especially if it’s something that feels scary and price increases is one of the things I coach a lot around, because people are like, I don’t know how to tell people, and I’m afraid they’re going to say this, or they’re going to do that. Everybody’s going to leave my practice. There’s a lot of that. So being able to coach them through some of those concerns and worries and giving them some language, a lot of times can be that thing that they go dang, this was so much easier than I thought it would be and they have that security of knowing that you’re right there with them to support it.
[JOE] So let’s make this really like practice centric. So imagine, it could be a front desk person. It could be the owner of the business, somebody that is doing some sort of intake with someone who wants to do counseling. So these are families that have a child that’s anxious, it’s couples that are fighting, it’s some sort of mental health thing going on. What are some of your concepts that you think would apply to that first contact with someone regarding sales?

I think in particular, a lot of times private pay practices struggle with this more than insurance-based practices, because if someone’s found you on an insurance list and Blue Cross is going to just pay for it or pay for most of it, it feels like it’s less of a sales decision than someone that’s maybe private pay. So let’s frame it as more on the private pay side. What would be concepts that you teach that you think would be really helpful for someone that owns a practice for that first contact with a client?
[NIKKI] Well, I think there’s a couple things that I teach, one is the questions and the way you frame the question that you’re asking. So it leads the person to really start to have in their own mind, “Oh, I’m talking to somebody who can help me, who’s going to solve the problem or help me in whatever way that I’m seeking some help.” So again, I don’t do a lot of coaching or giving advice during those calls, but I would ask the questions and say is this, for instance, if it’s a challenge they’re having, and they know that when this challenge, when they’re able to work through whatever the struggle is that that is going to allow them to make some transition in their life or feel better increase confidence or whatever that is.

So I would say one of the things that we’ll work on first is increasing confidence. I’m going to actually use their words, so I’m looking, I’m asking questions because I’m also looking for their key phrases. Then, so I’m going to go through the questions and I’m going to say based on what you shared, you actually would be an ideal candidate for our coaching program or for some counseling sessions. And I’m going to say typically, or I’m going to say the recommended here. So I’m going to stand in my place of expertise and recommend. Now you have to tell me, because I’m not a practitioner of counseling. I know you get into some HIPAA and some there’s some regulation piece that, so if I’m stepping on anything here, please forgive me. I can give you a different way to say it, but I would say my recommendation or what I would recommend is that we start with scheduling you out one session a week for the next four weeks. Is that something you would like to you’d move forward with?

I’m going to issue that invitation, let them say yes, and I’m going to say, great, let’s get it on our calendars now. I’m actually going to schedule those four sessions out because this like getting to the end of the session and trying to figure out how to get on the calendar and schedule the next session can be troublesome. I actually just came from a session with somebody, she’s like, I recommend that you come in once a week, but I can’t see you for four weeks. Oh, well, that’s not very satisfying to me as the prospect here. So had she just said in the beginning, typically I work with clients, we schedule out this many sessions, let’s go ahead and get those scheduled, great. Now it’s on my calendar and it’s super easy for me.

Now when there’s a private pay, then you’re going to bring up this conversation. With my practice, it’s a private pay practice, that just means that we don’t take insurance. The fee for first session is $175 or whatever it is. Typically you just pay as you go. So we take a credit card at the end of the session. Is that going to work for you? So I’m going to ask that question again. Yes. Now we’re just ready. Like we’re in it, they’re on the schedule, they’re now a patient or a client depending on how you position that. They understand the expectation. Now the other thing that I will do that, I’m not sure you, I think you did this in your explanation of your process, I think it’s super, super important that you pre-frame at the very beginning of a call with a prospect.

A pre-frame is setting the stage. It’s about creating safety because these people who are getting on these calls with you, they may have an idea of where it’s going to go, but they also might be a little nervous, especially for you with coaching and consulting. They’re probably thinking, oh, there’s going to be a price here. Can I afford it? We don’t want them all up in their head worried about what’s going to happen during the call. So you have to preframe the call. So an example of a preframe would be, “So the purpose of our call today is to find out a little bit more about what’s going on for you, find out about your practice and see if what we offer would be a good fit. We’re scheduled to chat for about, and then you insert the amount of time. Does that still work for you?”

Because I want to take that if there’s any hesitation about timing out of the equation. So they’re not worried, like, should I speak up? Should I tell Joe, I have another call in 10 minutes and I need to go? Or if the person is like, I don’t know, should I try to rush through this? Make sure that you’ve set that stage. Then I always like to say the next thing I say, once they say yes to the time, like, yes, that still works for me, I like to say great. Now in order to make this time meaningful and productive for you, is it okay if I start with a couple quick questions? Now this is me stepping into the lead of the conversation. I’m not going to say tell me everything because that is a time suck. That can take a really long time. So I’m going to ask specific questions that allows for them to share a little bit, but we don’t get too deep into the story, especially with a practice, with counseling, you get too deep into the story and now they’re emotional. It’s like that becomes a time suck. Now you have to spend time keeping the rapport intact, not acting like, “Hey, I’m just trying to get through this call.” It’s so important that you control that conversation.
[HEARD] As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you out with that. Heard is a bookkeeping and tax platform built specifically for therapists in private practice that helps you track and improve your practice’s financial health. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned clinician or in the first year of your practice, Heard will help you to identify areas for growth and streamline best financial practices for your business.

When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online and grow your business. You’ll also receive financial insights, such as profit and loss statements and personalized monthly reports. You can say goodbye to pouring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments, focus on your clients Heard will take care of the rest. Plans begin at $149 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up now www.joinheard.com. Again, that’s joinheard.com.
[JOE SANOK] Now the part where you’re scheduling out the first sessions if it’s a private pay practice, would you recommend having the financial conversation first or after you’ve scheduled?
[NIKKI] I’m going to take my cues for my realistically. If somebody says they want to schedule with me, I’m going to get it on the calendar and then if we haven’t talked money, I’m going to bring up money so that it isn’t like later they’re like what? It’s how much? You don’t want that to be the experience. But realistically, I mean I’ve had clients book $5,000 coaching packages with me and never have talked about the price and we’ve booked their VIP day. Then I’ll say, now the next step is to go ahead and pay for that. How would you like to take care of it? They go, well, how much is it? Because they’re in. It’s not about the money at that point. Now, if they were like, whoa, worst case scenario is I take those calls off the calendar. If they’re like, oh, I’m not willing to invest that. But when you make it really easy for people to take next steps with you and you don’t put up a bunch of roadblocks, and if you act in any way, like we’re getting to the uncomfortable part of the conversation, which is the money thing, that’s you projecting onto them. They might not care at all about what, it’s not about the money for them. It’s about the solution.
[JOE] How important would you say it is like to have the actual therapist be the one doing this call versus a front desk or a virtual assistant?
[NIKKI] It would depend on the quality, I think of the person having, the quality and the confidence of the person having the call. I don’t think it’s, especially in a private practice. I don’t think it’s crucial that the therapist have that, the money conversation. As a matter of fact it’s probably better that if you have an office manager, you have somebody who’s really comfortable and confident in those conversations that they can say now in Joe’s practice, he typically books clients four weeks in advance. So we’d like to get those calls scheduled for you or get those sessions scheduled for you. Can we do that now?

So you’re asking permission. You’re not just saying get out your calendar, let’s do this and they’re going to get out their calendar and schedule them frankly. Then you say, now the sessions are $175. I’m just making up your prices. That’s probably a ridiculous price, but the sessions are $175 and you can pay as you go with a credit card. So is that going to, we’ll just auto-charge. We take your credit card now, we keep it on file and we just auto-charge for each one of your sessions. Is that going to work for you? I mean, who’s going to say no? Very few people I think are going to say no, if they’re ready to schedule.
[JOE] Right. Well, and I think if that person has asked some questions that you created decision making matrix for that front desk staff to say what’s the big picture reason that you’re coming in? It sounds like you’re coming in for couples therapy, then Joe would be the best person to work with or Steve or Mary or whoever, to just be able to have those skills, to reflect it back. It’s the same process you’re talking about. It’s just having an admin do it rather than the actual therapist.
[NIKKI] Now here’s what I will say for people who have practices, because I coach people who have practices, like what you’re talking about here. One of the things that they’ll often want to talk about, so you can tell me, Joe, if you even want to talk about this, you might be like, no, Nikki let’s move on. But a lot of times they’ll struggle because they’ll say, well, people don’t want to work with my associates. They only want to schedule with me. I don’t know, has that ever come up?
[JOE] Yes, no, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I have some thoughts too, but yes. How do you coach people on that?
[NIKKI] Well, this is something I’ve been talking about a lot lately with teams and it’s really, really important that when you’re talking about your team that you don’t in any way, imply that they’re like second string, like too bad, you can’t work with me. That’s really a bummer for you, but I can refer you to this other person who’s almost just good. Then the person’s like, oh, well that feels disappointing. So instead what you really want to do is say based on what you shared, my recommendation would be that you work with Christopher. He’s absolutely amazing in this particular area and I think he’s the perfect person for you and he’s got some time open on his schedule. Should we go ahead and get that scheduled?

So you don’t even give yourself as an option. You don’t act like, oh and there’s a little bit of ego in there too, because you know how good you are. And you know Christopher’s good too, but you’ve been doing it well a while. It’s your practice. There’s all of that. It’s really important that you, I call it pouring love, pour love all over Christopher and you really level, you bring him up as the authority. So then when they see Christopher, they’re like, oh my gosh, I’ve been so excited to meet you because Joe had talked about how good you are in this particular area. I just, I need some help.
[JOE] When I had my practice before I sold it I thought through what’s each person’s superpower. So to be able to say, yes, I handpicked Steve, because he is so good at toxic families and the situations you’re explaining, you even used the word toxic, so right away, I knew Steve was the best person to work with because that’s his whole expertise. So it was, yes, that’s not even my expertise. This other person is amazing. I love to hear you say that. Would you say for a front desk staff to just do the same sort of thing where have a list of who goes with which specific things that people are looking for and then they talk up that person?
[NIKKI] Yes, even if it just comes down to frankly, that person has time open in their schedule and everybody else is booked for weeks in advance. It’s okay to say my recommendation would be to book with Christopher and or Steve or whoever and Steve actually has some time open this week where he could see you. He has some time on Thursday at 10:30. Would that work for you? Because you’re still, the person who’s taking that call, your admin or whoever, your front desk person, they still have a perceived level of credibility and expertise that the person who’s calling in is looking for the person that they’re going to talk to be the authority, be the person who’s going to recommend.

One of the things that drives me so nuts about practices when you call in to make an appointment and they’re like, well we have a couple people you could see when do you want to come in? Then they go, well, do you have anything open on Thursday? There’s no openings on Thursday. Is there another time? Then you go, well how about Friday? Well, the only person who’s in on Friday is this. They start telling you a bunch of story. It’s like, no, be the expert and say Christopher has some time open on Thursday and Mary actually has some time open on Monday. Do either of those days work for you? Great. Let’s get you in with Mary because you’ve got time on Monday, whatever that is.
[JOE] It sounds like what I’m hearing is really the ability to say we are the experts in this arena and here’s what we’re recommending. Then also giving that client choice over and over, like, does that work for you? Does that work for you, like getting that yes throughout and then helping them make decisions quickly where, okay, we’re going to get you scheduled. We’re going to get your credit card information, which even for me after someone says yes to the consulting I usually then hand them off to Jess to get all the scheduling and even to just say, let’s get your whole nine months scheduled out. If you have to change an appointment, no big deal but at least it’s in our calendars. To do that on the actual pre-consulting call for me, I think would then get a little bit more commitment to the process and to know, hey, we’re already scheduled. We’re meeting next Tuesday. I got to get this payment going.
[NIKKI] Yes. I talk to a lot of business owners that are always like, oh, I don’t like to talk about the money. So I’m going to send them to this other person. This other person now is going to play phone tag with them eight times because nobody answers their phone, if you just call them randomly. And all you’re doing by, putting that off because you’re uncomfortable with it is you’re making it more difficult for the client to get what they need. You’re putting all these roadblocks and it’s like a tennis game. It’s like, I’m going to lob the ball to you now you got to lob it back to me and I’m going to lob it to you. But at some point somebody misses the ball and it’s usually the client.

Now they’re like, well, I’ve tried paying them. I’ve tried getting on their calendar and they just, I feel like they just keep going back and forth with me. So my friend recommended these other people. I called them, they took my credit card, I got an appointment, boom, boom. It was easy. That’s who I’m going to work with. So I always say make it so easy for people to work with you. You’re right about that decision piece? I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but as a society, we have decision fatigue. They say that adults make anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 decisions a day. So we have decision fatigue.

If you are not putting a decision in front of somebody, if you’re not getting those yeses, if you’re not making it really easy and you’re going like, Hey, go away, take some time to think about it. They’re never going to think about it because they’re bombarded with 35,000 other decisions and you don’t even like make it to the top of their to-do list again. So you’re slowing down them getting what they need from you and frankly you’re slowing down your business really scaling because you’re just putting up roadblock, roadblock, roadblock. If a client is ready to schedule, take the money, get them on the calendar, don’t pass them off to somebody else unless there’s a true reason that you cannot. But I’ll say that 90% of the time when people are like, but Nikki, I have this really specific reason. Then we dig into it and they’re like, okay, it was actually an excuse because I was going on with the money conversation.
[JOE] Well, even just thinking about getting the money side and the scheduling side wrapped up at the end of the call versus sending them the summary with the link, and sometimes people want to look it over. They want do to think about it and I get that, but if they’re ready to go, why have any extra steps? So, I mean, that’s something I’m going to change immediately. Well, Nikki, the last question I always ask and I feel like we could talk forever, like I feel like we just scratched the surface, 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?
[NIKKI] I would want them to know that if people are engaging with you in some way, they’re giving you a buying signal and that means there’s some interest, there’s some thing there that sparked for them. It is your job to earn their business and the way that you earn people’s business is you issue invitations for them to take the next step with you whatever that next step is, wherever you are in the process. So please, please, please issue invitations because you’ll find that people will be so grateful that you invited them to work with you.
[JOE] Oh my gosh. So awesome. Nikki, if people want to follow your work, connect with you more, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?
[NIKKI] Well, I have an eBook, so I’m going to wrap a gift around this for your audience, if that’s okay. The eBook is all around closing the sale and it’s those three key secrets that happen in the close process. So it’s all about boosting your confidence, giving you some language of how to issue those invitations. You can get closing the sale by going to yoursalesmavenevent.com/practice. This is really for your audience. So yoursalesmaven.com/practice. That would be the easiest way for us to connect. The other way is come check out my podcast. I have a podcast called Sales Maven where I offer lots of tips and techniques around selling and strategy. So that’s it.
[JOE] Wonderful. Well, I’m going to go get that eBook right away as well so I can boost my ability for sales and to get those commitments. So thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[NIKKI] Thanks for having me.
[JOE] Wow. What an amazing show. I took so many notes and I know our show notes, some of the best in the business are going to have a ton of summaries over at practiceofthepractice.com. Sometimes when we think sales it feels slimy, but none of that felt slimy. It felt like you’re just talking to someone about what they’re working on and where that overlaps with your abilities and your skills and your business. So super awesome. I can’t wait to implement what I learned and then even to go read this eBook.

Also we couldn’t do this show without our sponsors. As a therapist, you’re probably too preoccupied with your caseload to want to think about bookkeeping or tax filing. Heard can help you with that. When you sign up with Heard, you’ll work directly with financial specialists to track your income and expenses, file taxes online and grow your business. You can say goodbye to pouring over spreadsheets and guessing your tax deductions or quarterly payments. You can focus on your clients and Heard will take care of the rest. Plans begin at $149 per month and can easily be tailored to fit your business’ financial needs. Sign up now at joinheard.com. Again, that’s joinheard.com.

Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye
[JOE] Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. .

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the producers, 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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