As a therapist, it’s practically part of your job description to build trust with your client. How else will they open up to you if they don’t trust you?
The good news is, you can develop trust with your client from their very first encounter with your practice, even before. Below, let’s discuss the top nine strategies for inspiring confidence in your private therapy practice.
Find Your Ideal Client
It all starts with finding the perfect client. You won’t be able to reach everyone, and you shouldn’t even try. The right client for you will actually like you. He or she will enjoy your personality, get your humor, and appreciate your demeanor.
Trust is built upon like.
It’s best to find clients with whom you can empathize and vice versa. With this type of client, it will be easy to build trust.
You may be asking yourself, Well, how do I find this type of client?
The answer is: specialize (more on this next).
Now, remember that your ideal client doesn’t necessarily look like you in terms of gender, or age, or ethnicity. He or she may resemble you in shared struggles. Perhaps you created your private therapy practice because you’ve overcome those same struggles and you want to help others across that same threshold.
Specialization is absolutely crucial to your private therapy practice. As we discussed above, you should niche into a category that makes sense for you and your brand; one with which you have a wealth of knowledge and empathy to give.
When you specialize, you can improve your marketing efforts and build authority. And people actually trust specialists more than generalists.
If you’d like to learn more about specializing, check out this post: Should You Niche Your Private Therapy Practice?
Create an Educational Website
Your website should be the ultimate authority on your field. While you’ll definitely use your website to discuss the nuts or bolts of your practice (what services you offer, your fee schedule, your hours of operation), you’ll also use this website to provide a library of resources.
To accompany each service that you offer, you must also have a thorough write-up of it on your site. Explain what it is, why it is, and who it affects. Create fact sheets, blog posts, frequently asked questions, and resource guides in addition to specialized content such as worksheets for improving self esteem or downloadable activities for anger management.
Additionally, introduce yourself. Videos work great for this, but you can also just have a photo of yourself and a write up of your bio. Include why you’re an expert. Don’t be modest– strut your stuff.
You can also emphasize customer testimonials on your site. Social proof builds trust in your brand.
Commit to Ongoing Education
In addition to creating an educational resource on your website, provide valuable info via an email course or ebook. You can also post or print out booklets that are freely available to your clients both online and off.
By freely giving away so much to your clients, you’ll show them that you truly care. Plus, you’ll earn the status of authority, or even thought leader. How can they not trust you when you’ve demonstrated your expertise?
Make Communication Your Top Priority
Build trust by showing that you take communication seriously. You’ll do that by returning calls and voicemails and following up on emails.
When it’s time to schedule or confirm an appointment, you’ll send emails, voice mails, or text messages on a schedule that your client will learn to depend on.
Also, be accessible. Your client should be able to reach you, especially during normal working hours when you’re not in an appointment. Include your phone number and email address (not just a contact form).
Transparency is an important component of trust. If someone can’t see you clearly, they can’t really trust you.
Extending to your private therapy practice, you should do whatever it takes to be upfront with your clients. This includes the following:
Keep pricing the same across the board. It’s hard for clients to trust you when your pricing changes constantly. You’re running a special on this site, you’re offering another promo on another site, and you seem to have special deals for new customers that you don’t extend to loyal ones.
Offer Outstanding Customer Service
It’s your job to listen actively, so I know you do a great job at it, but there’s other parts to the story, such as hiring the right people and going the extra mile in friendly professionalism.
Hire the right people. You don’t need to hire someone with a ton of experience. You do need to hire someone who is friendly, helpful, and takes ownership. Remember, this person will be representing your brand. Make sure it’s the right fit and be willing to searching until you come up with that perfect person.
Be friendly. Not only does this apply to the people you hire, it also applies to you. You’re never too busy to extend a cheerful tone to your clients, even when they’re biting your head off about a billing error. You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Also, don’t be too busy to speak personally to your clients. Your time is in demand, of course, but do make time to send out a personal thank you note or email.
Keep copious personal notes to help you remember key details about your clients’ lives. Remembering an anniversary or birthday, or other things about their lives will spruce up the small talk. More importantly, it will make your clients feel like you’re really invested in them.
In order to build trust, you must be trustworthy. You should be prompt with your appointments. Being on time to start and end your sessions shows courtesy to all of your therapy clients.
Avoid cancelling or double booking appointments at all costs. Fortunately, TheraNest helps you prevent double booking automatically, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Of course, life happens, but if you make a habit of not being dependable, your clients will feel uneasy about continuing their therapy with you.
Ask for Referrals
Word of mouth marketing is the best type of marketing. If you want to establish trust immediately even before meeting with a new client, you’ll need to increase your referral marketing game.
Put simply, people trust their friends and family. They also trust online reviews and testimonials, too. So, don’t forget to add client testimonials on your site as we mentioned earlier.
Asking for referrals from your clients is as simple as just that. You may feel hesitant to ask because you’re worried that they’ll say no. But, on the other hand, the worst thing they can do is say no. If you’re helping that client, they’re much more likely to say yes, and to share your details with their circle of influence.