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Unread June 29th, 2009, 09:39 AM
William Reid William Reid is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 105
Default Re: Tennis, I mean, Life Coaching Anyone?

Do good work (word of mouth, in the long run, is the best referral source). Respond quickly to referral sources and other professionals, and to new patients/clients when they call for an appointment (see parentheses above). Give prompt feedback to referral sources and never "steal" their patients (ditto). Teach. Offer volunteer public service things. Write in legitimate puboications (not local throwaways or those "newspapers" that give you an article if you buy advertising). A tasteful, small Yellow Pages ad may be helpful (though I don't know any individual psychotherapists who find them useful -- mostly multi-service clinics). Never promise things you can't competently deliver (such as special kinds of therapy or "the best" anything).

Things I avoid (and rarely refer patients/clients to clinicians who use them): Large advertisements. Small advertisements that I find distasteful (and I'm a stern judge). Internet listings, referral brokers, referral panels (I don't mean payor panels; that's something else). Co-op referral networks that aren't based mainly on quality (referrals should be based on quality and fit, not simply being a member of a network or group of providers). Internet listing services. Anything that smacks of kickbacks, fee splitting, or other rewards for referrals. People I haven't interviewed or somehow vetted to be reasonably sure they're competent and ethical (you'd be surprized at the number of professionals one finds with whom one shouldn't want to be affiliated, or even appear in the same group photo). Internet referral services (are you seeing the pattern here? I suggest clinicians never, ever, waste their money or their names on anything that arrives in an email or on the fax machine. If someone wants to list you free, and you believe after checking that it's legitimate, I have no problem with that (but you will get a note later asking you to upgrade to the "premium" listing. By then you will have figured out that they didn't send you any clients anyway.).

Are there people who market like crazy (no pun intended) and build big commercial businesses ("Counselors 'R' Us -- Every third session free!")? Sure, but that's probably not you. Don't consider what you do a commercial service for purposes of marketing and advertising. You will get lots of offers and pitches from the media, the yellow pages, etc., designed to bring traffic to people who sell products or services, but when considering marketing don't put yourself in that category (you may want do so when thinking about how to manage your practice, billings, etc., but not in the face you show to the public or to your professional ethic).
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