Over and over again I hear healing professionals say that they are not skilled at marketing, don’t want to market, and that they will never be good at marketing. It is seen as a necessary evil, something that is done only when it has to be.
Yes, marketing requires knowledge, skill, time, and hard work. But what many healing professionals don’t realize is that marketing at its core is really about building strong and lasting relationships with people. If you view marketing as relationship building, it will likely not seem so daunting since relationship is both at the heart of marketing as well as at the heart of your work with your clients. The fundamental skills are the same and are transferable.
So how can you use your relationship skills to market successfully?
1. Start With The Relationships That You Already Have
One of the best places to begin marketing your services is to the people already in your network. They include friends, family, colleagues, other professionals whose services you utilize, people from community groups you belong to, neighbors–virtually anyone you know. Because people are much more likely to hire or refer to someone that they know and trust, it will be more beneficial to spend your time and money marketing to those that already know you.
2. Find Ways to Build New Relationships
While you are reaching out to the relationships that you already have, you must also find ways to build new relationships. There are numerous ways to do this. Some examples include: networking, public speaking, advertising, writing letters, newsletters and articles. The important thing is that you develop a plan to increase the size of your network and that you make a commitment to do this on an ongoing basis. The more people that know about you and your services, the more successful you will be.
3. Work at Strengthening the Relationships That You Have Built
Like all strong relationships, business relationships need to be fed and nurtured if you want them to be sustained. This means you must find ways to keep in touch with the people you have built connections with. A strong marketing plan includes several methods of keeping in touch that will work together over time to increase your exposure to new people, as well as remind those who know about your services already.
Most often, those who buy your products or services are those that have heard about you more than once. You need to think about marketing as a process–not as an event. Marketing is something that you will need to do on an ongoing basis, if you want to ensure success in the long run.
4. Be Mindful That Relationships Involve Give and Take
Contrary to the belief of many healing professionals, effective marketing does not consist of sending letters and promotional materials to everyone you know asking them to refer to you and then being disappointed that they don’t.
As you know, in order for relationships to thrive, you must be prepared to give as well as take. Instead of writing those letters to people and asking them to do something for you, think of ways that you can also do something for them. You will get much better results if you focus on developing mutually beneficial relationships in this way. This type of strategy, focused on giving, involves a very different mindset than one where the perception of marketing is focused on what one can “get.”
5. Use Your Listening Skills
Keeping in mind the principle of give and take, effective marketing involves showing interest in other people. Yes, you must tell people about your business, but first you must also listen to them to find out their needs, desires and goals. The more you listen and show understanding, the stronger the impression you will make, the deeper the relationship will be, and the better you will know how you might be able to help them. Once you really understand the problems your potential clients and referral sources are experiencing, it is much easier to articulate the value you have to offer them. They will also be much more receptive to listening if they feel understood.
6. Be Authentic
The best way to market your services is to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to stretch yourself to do things that are perhaps outside of your comfort zone. You will never be successful if you don’t challenge yourself some of the time. However, whatever methods you are using while building relationships with others must be a reflection of your inherent individuality. It is your uniqueness that will draw the clients who feel they can benefit from what you distinctly have to offer.
7. Act with Integrity
As with all healthy relationships, strong business relationships are built upon solid integrity. People will be more attracted to you if they perceive that you are sincere and can be trusted. Always be honest about the strengths and limitations of your services in all aspects of your marketing. Your clients and potential clients will appreciate your integrity and want to do business with you because of it.
If you view marketing as a way of developing positive and mutually beneficial relationships with others, you will not only enjoy marketing a lot more, you will ultimately build your practice faster and with a stronger foundation that you can build upon for the future.