Marketing Information

Private Practice Marketing: 3 Secrets I Wish I Knew When I First Started Out

I don't know about you, but I am still waiting for my first class in graduate school about how to develop, market, and run a private practice.

I'm also still waiting for my father to have a discussion with me about the facts of life.

My wife and I have 2 kids, so I guess I figured it out for myself. Just like I had to figure out for myself how to market and build a practice.

So here are three secrets I wish I knew when I first started my practice.

Secret #1 - Grow Rich in a Niche

A niche is simply a narrow and specific area in which you want to specialize.

The opposite of having a niche is being a generalist. In the private practice therapist world, I call it "Death by ICF." Most therapists will tell you that they work with individuals, couples and families.

Well, who doesn't? Doesn't every one? If you say you work with individuals, couples, and families, who don't you work with?

Individuals, couples and families makes you sound like you are just a garden variety plain vanilla therapist. It tells potential clients nothing about what you do.

It makes no one say

"That's the person I want to talk to right away!"

Choose a niche in which you enjoy working. What really gives you a kick to do? What do other people marvel at you doing well?

Then make sure it is self replicating.

Recently I was talking with some friends at lunch and the subject came up about what would need to happen in the economy for each of us to continue to do well in our respective careers. I realized that all I really need to stay in business is for people to keep getting married and having kids.

#2 - Return your calls

I know it sounds so simple to do, but it's also so simple not to do.

I'm always stunned by the number of counselors that tell me about how many days old messages they have on their desk to return.

I have a rule that I will try my very best to return a call in the same day I received it.

Sometimes it gets a little stressful when I have 8 calls to return, five more clients to see, and a family that for some crazy reason wants me home at night.

Here's how I reframe it to help me handle it better: "I've worked very hard for a long time to get this many people to want to talk with the likes of me......."

#3 - Return new referral calls within two hours

I'm even more shocked by the number of clients that have told me that they were given 3 names, I was the first to call back, and one of the others took a week and the other one never returned their call.


At this point in my practice, as a result of these tips I am giving you, usually when a new client calls specifically and only for me, I still get back to them within a couple of hours.

As you are building your practice, many of your clients will be shopping around for a practioner.

Be the first one to call back.

Practice building mentor coach Jeff Herring, MS, LMFT is the President of, empowering private practice professionals to build, market and live the practice of their dreams. You are invited to subscribe to the free Getting Clients Newsletter and our free monthly Practice Building Tele-Seminar

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