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Create a Program and Fill Your Acupuncture Practice
By: Coach Jaz
Date Published: 11-17-2006

Dread it when people ask "so what do you do?"  Turn the moment into an opportunity!  Read the article below for tips on how to describe your work as a wellness methodology or program in a compelling way that can FILL your practice!
 
Have you heard of the book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," by Stephen Covey? How about Suze Orman's, "The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom"? Are you aware that Phil MacGraw's book "Life Strategies" offers a 10-step blueprint for success? Andrew Weil offers "8 Weeks to Optimal Health" and Deepak Chopra's telling us the "10 Steps to Reverse Aging".
 
QUESTION: What do these "helper gurus" have in common that significantly contributes to their success?
 
ANSWER: They offer a SYSTEM for success! The information is assembled into a coherent program. They provide a plan, a structure, a specific process, a methodology. These books communicate to the reader exactly HOW they will get the results promised.
 
THIS is what attracts people! The prospective buyer knows exactly what they are going to get and they understand exactly HOW they are going to get it!
 
YOUR prospective client must understand this as well. And yet, most wellness and healing professionals are NOT able to articulate HOW they do what they do or HOW they help a client get the results they are looking for.
 
We often hear solo-practitioners in the wellness and healing arts using phrases like:
"I help you access your own healing power."
"I am intuitive."
"I read the energy and apply the healing where it's being called for."
"I do weekly adjustment and alignment of your spine and muscles."
"We meet once per week for 50 minutes."
"I use needles, cupping, and other techniques."
 
To be blunt, this type of overbroad, "touchy-feely", or technical jargon is why many wellness professionals fail to get the number of clients they want in their practice. They are not able to articulate HOW they do what they do, in language that resonates with people.
 
You want your prospective clients to feel as though they are in good hands and to know that you know what you are doing. They want to know that you have a system or a process to your services. They must feel confident that you can help them and that your wellness or treatment process is not random.
 
Therefore, you MUST be able to articulate HOW you do what you do in an understandable, coherent and concise manner if you are going to build a successful and thriving wellness practice.
 
The first element of a targeted message is identifying your "Who/What" (WHO you help and WHAT you help them with, ie: the benefits or results received).
 
The second element of a targeted marketing message is to be able to articulate exactly HOW you help your clients achieve these results.  We call this your "How".  Together, your Who/What and your How are the unique marketing message you will use to generate a buzz about your work and increase referrals and word-of-mouth about your services.  They will also help you focus your marketing efforts such as speaking, newsletters, strategic alliances, etc., so that they deliver the most clients for your time and effort.
 
At HTH, we continually stress the importance of developing this targeted marketing message, even though your actual work may help a much broader audience than what you're describing.  
 
The fact is, there is a big difference between MARKETING your services and DOING your services. You can help many more people than you could effectively market to.  
 
At Helping The Helper we help people successfully market their wellness and healing services, and we know that articulating your HOW is CRITICAL! 

DEVELOPING YOUR "HOW"
 
Below we describe two levels of the "HOW." We strongly encourage you to achieve proficiency at Level 1. We challenge you to adopt Level 2. In our opinion, the wellness and healing industry needs more professional, high-end practitioners. Challenge yourself to develop a program that will substantiate what you do and how you do it. We are certain you will be blown away by the results!

LEVEL 1 - DETERMINE YOUR METHODOLOGY

  1. Make a list of all the things you typically do with your clients. Think about what you do on the first session and then on subsequent meetings (ie: the information you get about them, the exercises and techniques you use, the shifts you enable them to make, the plans or strategies you employ and help them create, etc.).
  2. Make a list of the beliefs, themes or principles you use (ie: the past does not equal the future, the present is perfect, you CAN heal yourself, etc.).
  3. From your two lists, write a paragraph or two that describes your methodology in a clear, concise, linear fashion.
Here's an example Coach Jaz has used with her life-coaching clients:
 
"First I help you clarify your dream or your vision. If you don't know what you really want, I have a process to help you figure it out.
 
Next we uncover anything that is currently holding you back. By clearly identifying fears, concerns, or obstacles we can develop strategies to overcome them.
 
Then we break your vision or dream into bite size chunks. I call these your "Keys to Success." Focusing on these smaller pieces makes it easier for you to achieve your long-
term goal.
 
From there, we create a specific action plan with measurable objectives and milestones.  Through our weekly calls, I keep you accountable, focused and inspired to execute the
plan. The difference between people who are successful and those who aren't is the execution of a good plan. Most people have good intentions. The key is taking consistent action and I help you do that."
 
...Isn't that powerful?  Can you see how exciting YOUR wellness methodology would be if it were articulated as clearly as this?

LEVEL 2 - CREATE A WELLNESS PROGRAM
 
Once you have your methodology articulated, start using it every time you describe your work.
 
When you're comfortable with that, we challenge you to create your own wellness "system" or "program". Identify a need that matches your passion and create a system that addresses that need. This is what the authors of the above-mentioned books did!
 
For example, as an acupuncturist you might create a detailed, step-by-step, six month treatment program to help people with chronic fatigue achieve maximum energy.
 
A licensed therapist can use existing assessments and therapeutic models to create a specific process for helping people improve their relationship with their spouse.
 
These programs would be specific, measurable and systematic, similar to the books mentioned above.  You can package what you ALREADY do as an attractive, systematic program. What parts of your work can you package into a program?  What value pieces can you add to sweeten the pot?  Can you offer telephone or drop-in "tune-ups" to your people in your program?  Extra herbs or services?  Can you tape your sessions and give them CDs or mp3 downloads?  Can you create guided meditation CDs for them, or help them create a "vision of health" collage?  The possibilities are endless!
 
Having a system or program conveys professionalism and confidence. It communicates that you care so much about the needs, wants and desires of your client base, that you have put thought and energy into creating a specific way to help them.
 
If you've been in practice a while, we encourage you to create a Level 2 program now.  At the very least, PLEASE spend the time and energy to get to LEVEL 1 and articulate a clear methodology for your wellness work.
 
When you are able to articulate HOW you do what you do, you will find prospective clients MUCH more interested in signing up for your services! 
 
Warmly,
Coach Jaz 

Jasmine Samrad (aka "Coach Jaz") is a former business attorney turned life coach, and is founder of Helping The Helper, a popular practice-building program for acupuncturists,  chiropractors, coaches, and other professionals in the wellness and healing arts.  You can read more of Coach Jaz's articles and sign up for the free HTH practice-building newsletter by visiting www.helpingthehelper.com