What Impression Are You Creating? Key Tools to Increase the Impact of your Connections
Carolyn Campbell, MA,CPPC
The simplest of things we do in our business can create a lasting impression. The more we intentionally create that impression, the more positive the results can be.
As practitioners, consultants, and business owners, we’d like to believe that what matters is the work we do with our clients. That is true. And yet, how we couple clients’ session time with their experience before and after can affect how we are perceived.
Create a space that reflects you
It can be tempting to create a space that is a professional version of what you think your business should be like. I have been in many practices where the design of the space has been assigned to a consultant or a designer. They may be very “pretty,” “doctor-like,” or “sacred,” but they lack the true personality of the practitioner. This disconnect between you and the space can influence how people relate to you and your practice. Conversely, when you create a space that truly reflects you, people are naturally drawn in. If you are just creating a space or wanting to enhance your current one…
- Begin by writing down words that describe the quality of the spaces you enjoy. My words: artful, cozy yet spacious, earthy, relaxing, creative. One of my clients is quite different. His words: information, technology, knowledge, weight. As you might imagine our spaces are quite different. As you choose your colors, your artwork, and your furnishing, these words can guide your decisions.
- Take a moment and walk around your space. Ask yourself: How well does it reflect my personality and what matters to me? What areas am I drawn to? What areas feel uncomfortable? You are the one who will be there every day, all day. Creating a space that inspires you will in turn inspire others.
- Whether you are working with architects or designers, or doing the work on your own, do this before you meet with them.
Design promotional materials that define you
Whether you are creating flyers, brochures, business cards, or a Web site, this is the foundation of creating your brand. Providing materials that mirror your voice, your look, and your philosophy connects you in a powerfully indescribable way.
- Begin by hanging up the words you wrote from the observations above. (Really, hang them up where you’ll see them.)
- Show them to your graphic designer, your Web designer, and your editors. Help them help you stay true to who you are. The key is to have a consistent visual and verbal message.
- Let your own natural voice out onto the page. There are many ways to create your materials. Collect brochures that entice you. Find images that draw you in. Journal. Create a collage. Record yourself speaking. Walk and talk. Just know, this can be challenging at first. And, the more you write, the more you speak, the easier it will become.
Have staff that promotes your message and style
Finally, let’s take a moment with your client connections. How is your style and message communicated by your message machine, your staff, and your associates? I’ve worked with many practitioners who forget that the work they do with their clients extends to how they are treated by others in the practice. In the retail market, “secret shoppers” are often used by store owners to provide feedback on the overall shopping experience.
If a secret shopper came into your business, how would they rate:
- The greeting they receive (by machine and by people)
- The way they’re treated by staff and colleagues
- The timeliness of follow-up to phone calls and questions
- The information that’s provided both in the session and outside the session
- The resources provided
- The ease of payment and other financial matters
- If you really want to know, you might ask an associate or a friend to call or stop by and then rate your service. When I mention this, some clients cringe and say, “I’m afraid what I might hear.” If that’s the case, it’s all the more important that you do this. It can provide valuable information that might transform a struggling business into a successful one.
- If you’re not ready for an outsider, take a moment and see your practice through the eyes, ears, and heart of a patient or client.
- Listen to your voice mail.
- Watch the interactions before and after a session or treatment.
- Create “scripts” for you and your support staff on how to schedule future appointments, suggest additional therapies, handle issues, and address financial matters.
Studies show that 70% of a successful healing process is dependent on the relationship between client and practitioner. In fact, it’s the quality of the relationship that people share with others. Taking time to enhance these elements might affect the future of your business.
Carolyn helps healing practitioners have successful businesses using their authentic strengths. Through one-on-one coaching and action-oriented, dynamic workshops, Carolyn offers key outreach skills to grow a thriving business. She also offers practice building lectures, workshops, and seminars for associations, schools, and organizations.