This article has been a long time coming…
All business owners – including psychotherapists – are at various levels of STUCK. There’s just so much to learn.
Whether you’re just starting a private practice or have been in business for years… Whether you’re an author promoting a new book or trying to market online or offline workshops and seminars… From beginner to seasoned pro, we’re all looking to get better at what we do – otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this now, and I wouldn’t be here sharing this stuff.
And by stuff, I mean…
All successful businesses have a system. And, believe it or not, that system is largely the same…
It’s the same system Starbucks, Netflix, and Amazon have used to dominate their industries. It’s how PsychologyToday.com, GoodTherapy.org, and Theravive have come to dominate the online therapist directory marketplace. It’s how individual therapists like Rachel Sussman, Isa Marrs, and Marty Klein have built abundant private therapy practices. And it’s the system psychotherapists such as John Gottman, Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson, and Jon Kabat-Zinn have used to turn their talents and experience into thriving businesses.
This system works for any size business. It works for mom-and-pop shops and billion dollar retailers, for individual practitioners and large psychotherapy groups. It works whether you’re marketing products or services, online or off.
But, before we get into “The System,” we should first take a step back and look at…
What It Means to Be in Business
The purpose of MOST businesses is to create value.
Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about Wall Street banks that do nothing but bundle, swap, and repackage imaginary assets and then get bailed out by the government when they screw up… Nor am I talking about companies like the cable monopolies that spend the majority of their energies in rent-seeking and lobbying congress to protect their turf.
Whether it’s a hamburger or an iPhone, a product delivery system or a cup of coffee, teeth whitening or a tummy tuck, mindfulness training, life coaching, or counseling and psychotherapy… If you have a product or service that solves a problem, fulfills a need, and provides value, and your prospective clients value that product or service more than the money you’re asking for in exchange, you have a viable business.
Don’t get me wrong… Businesses are in the business of making money. But money is just a medium of exchange. Without money, we’d be stuck bartering. You’d be providing psychotherapy services in exchange for a new pair of shoes or a week’s worth of groceries.
Yes, money has value. But only because we give it that value… Value itself is subjective.
So, being in business means offering something that your prospective clients value more than the money you’re asking for in return.
Business transactions are completely voluntary, win-win situations.
If either your clients or you don’t feel you’re coming out ahead in the transaction, you wouldn’t offer your product or service to your clients at the price you’ve set and/or they wouldn’t buy from you.
If either you or your clients feel you’re losing out from your business transactions, I guarantee you won’t be in business for long. If both you and your clients feel you’ve received more value than you’ve given, you have the makings of a successful business.
As my mother likes to say, the world isn’t a limited pie in which the only way someone comes out ahead is by taking from someone else.
On the contrary, we’re in business to create value… To increase the size of the pie so that both parties come out ahead and are richer (in every sense of the term) thanks to our business transactions!
Okay, so that’s what it means to be in business.
Now, since we’re all in business, or planning on starting a business, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today… Let’s take a look at what you need to do to successfully grow your business…
The Only Three Ways to Grow Your Business
To be in business means to create and offer value to your prospective clients. In return, your clients pay you, providing you value in return.
In the August 2014 issue of Therapy Marketing Monthly, I wrote an article titled “The Only Three Ways to Grow Your Practice,” which was based on principles legendary marketer Jay Abraham covered in his book, Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got.
I highly recommend you read the article, if you haven’t already, and I highly recommend you read Abraham’s book… In fact, it’s one of the few titles I recommend to almost every business owner.
In both the article and the book are outlined the only three ways to grow any business:
- Increase the number of clients you serve.
- Increase the average transaction size or amount per client.
- Increase the number of times clients return and buy again.
To really see the power of these three simple keys when it comes to growing your practice, let’s take a look at a quick example…
First, calculate the number of clients you’ve seen in the last year. Next, figure out the average amount they spend on each transaction or session. Finally, determine how often they purchase from you or how many sessions they attended.
For example, to make the math easy, let’s say you saw a total of 50 clients last year. Each client averaged 20 sessions at $100.00 per session:
Now, look what happens if we increase each of these numbers by just 10%…
A slight 10 percent increase across the board expands your income by 33.1 percent.
And a 25 percent increase across the board would practically double your income!
Consistently focusing on and coming back to this simple formula – Jay Abraham’s three principles for growing any business – can make creating the abundant practice you desire a whole lot easier. After all, only three things need your attention. And just a slight increase in any of them can lead to dramatic results.
This formula is the heart of “The System” I’ve been alluding to. And this system works because it takes advantage of each step of the proven laws of business growth as put forward by Jay Abraham…
- Increase your number of clients.
- Increase your average transaction value per client.
- Increase your number of transactions per client.
I call this system simply Value Optimization.
As I said, this is pretty much THE system used by every successful business.
And, as simple and unexciting as the name may be, learning this system is invaluable.
It’s not my system. It’s not anyone’s system. It’s THE system.
That being said, I do have to thank Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, Jeff Walker, and especially Ryan Deiss for doing much of the work to put this system together into a format that’s easy to understand and follow.
Almost everything we’ve taught inside the Therapy Marketing Institute, and almost everything we’ll cover going forward, directly relates to and corresponds with this Value Optimization system, and we’ll be referring to it over and over again in the weeks and months ahead.
They don’t teach this stuff in grad school.
In fact, they don’t teach it in business school, either. But they should… Because it works!
So, let’s look at…
The Steps to Value Optimization
Before we continue, download the Value Optimization flowchart here.
This flowchart outlines the complete Value Optimization system.
I encourage you to print a copy of this flowchart and tack it on the wall near your computer. If you want to grow your practice… If you want to grow any business… Follow this system, take consistent action, and reference this flowchart often.
When you’re learning any new marketing strategy or technique, you should constantly remind yourself of this Value Optimization process and ask yourself where what you’re learning fits into this Value Optimization system. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time and money.
This is a warning: You have little to gain by understanding search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, lead magnets, website landing pages, or any other marketing strategy or technique in and of itself.
However, you can and will profit tremendously by understanding how these strategies and techniques apply to the Value Optimization system.
Here are the steps of the Value Optimization system…
- Determine Offer/Market Fit
- Create Effective Messaging
- Choose a Prospect or Traffic Source
- Offer a Lead Magnet
- Offer a Tripwire
- Offer a Core Product
- Offer a Profit Maximizer
- Create the Return Path
Some of these may look familiar…
We’ve already covered a few of them in great detail in other articles and trainings.
We’ll take a look at each of these steps right now.
But, keep in mind, there are many other articles, trainings, blueprints, checklists, and reports currently available on the TMI website – as well as additional articles, trainings, and resources we’re currently developing – that delve deeper into each of these steps.
We’re about to dive into the exact processes and system we use every day to help our clients grow their practices, create additional streams of income by selling additional products and services – such as books and online and offline courses and workshops – as well as sell our own products and services to multiple markets.
Let’s start at the top with…
Step 1: Determine Offer/Market Fit
Arguably nothing is as important as offering the right product or service to the right market, simply because every other aspect of running a successful business is dependent upon having a group of willing and able buyers.
No amount of hard work or luck is going to help your business if you don’t offer something of value to people who are interested and able to buy from you.
You’ve likely been told that you can build a profitable business around any topic you’re passionate about.
I’m sorry to be the one to burst that particular bubble, but if you’re not offering something of value and/or there is not a sustainable market for the value – the products or services – you’re offering, you might as well be rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic.
To confidently build a business you need to determine whether:
- The market is big enough
- The market is monetizable
Now, given the numbers of people seeking counseling and psychotherapy each day, the numbers of people on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications, the numbers of relationships that are less than ideal and the people that want to change them, and so on… I’ll cut to the chase and save you some time… If you’re offering professional counseling and psychotherapy services, there are more than enough people that need help to go around!
If you attended or watched the replay of “Your Therapy Marketing Plan, Part 1: Targeting the Right Market,” you may remember the process I outlined for choosing a niche.
In that training, I listed the following figures:
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 20% of the population is between the ages of 4-17. According to the CDC, approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD. This means, an area with a population of 100,000 has approximately 2,000 school-aged children who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. Can you serve 2,000 clients?!? Of course not. Do you think you could make a good living by positioning yourself as an expert and helping even a fraction of this population?!?
- According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 15 million people age 18 or older suffer from social anxiety disorder. That’s 6.8% of the U.S. population. Again, if we extrapolate this data, an area with a population of 100,000 has approximately 5,000 adults suffering from social anxiety disorder. 5,000 potential clients! And that’s just social anxiety disorder. Do you still think there aren’t enough people who need your help to go around?!?
- Even when it comes to marital infidelity, according to the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (2014), 41% of marriages have experienced infidelity, either physical or emotional, by one or both spouses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 6.8 marriages per 1,000 total population. That means there are approximately 272 marriages in a population of 100,000 that have experienced infidelity. These numbers seem a bit low to me, but these are only married couples (not other relationships) and it’s only those reporting/admitting infidelities. Regardless, could your practice handle 272 couples? How about half that? How about even a quarter (68 couples clients)?
So, unless you’re offering counseling services only to some obscenely small market – such as child counseling services only for children who have a fear of stuffed teddy bears – whatever niche you’re targeting is likely a viable market!
Now, if you’re considering offering products or services to supplement, or eventually replace, your practice income, here are some of the things I look for when determining whether or not a market is large enough to be viable:
- 25,000 or more searches per month on Google for your top 3-4 keywords
- Active blogs
- Active Facebook Pages
- Active email newsletters
- Active forums
- Active associations
And, when I want to find out whether or not a market is monetizable (meaning are my prospective clients actually spending money on the types of products or services I plan to offer?), I look for:
- Direct competition – Are other businesses doing exactly what you want to do? If so, this is a good thing! If not, you may not have a viable business plan. Or you may have to create a market from scratch… a daunting proposition. Personally, I never enter a market without direct competitors. Direct competitors prove the viability of your business!
- Indirect competition – Are other businesses selling different products or services to the same market? While this doesn’t prove the viability of your business, this does prove the viability of the market you’re looking to target.
- Ecommerce sites – Similar to indirect competition, I like to find ecommerce websites successfully selling products to my target market.
- Advertisers – Where there are well-known and/or consistent advertisers, there is a viable market.
- Gurus – If you can find influential people associated with your market, it’s viable.
- Affiliate offers – I’ll typically check sites such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, and Share-A-Sale to see if affiliate marketers – people who make a living selling other businesses’ products and services – are on these sites and marketing products or services similar to mine.
Now, to be clear, these are all rules of thumb.
If, for example, you don’t find active e-mail newsletters, affiliates, gurus, or your top keywords don’t quite make the 25,000-threshold, you may still have a viable market.
But, the more your market meets these criteria the better your chances of success.
And remember, this first step is all about the value you’re creating and offering.
You have to find a market that’s looking for a solution. Prospective clients that want the help – the value – you can provide.
You and I may know that professional counseling and psychotherapy are among the most beneficial investments a person can make in their future happiness and success. Fortunately, many others know it as well…
But, many don’t.
And, with the possible exception of Woody Allen, most people DON’T want to go to counseling and psychotherapy…
You’re not selling a new car, a vacation, or some “toy” that people WANT. You are providing a service many of them NEED.
However, you may have to convince them of that need. And you shouldn’t be surprised if many of your prospective clients are looking for some product or service other than psychotherapy to solve their problems and fulfill their needs.
This doesn’t mean you can’t convince them that psychotherapy is the most valuable solution available. But, you may HAVE TO convince them.
Again, you need to create value… And value is subjective.
You not only have to offer a valuable product or service, you need to make sure your prospective clients perceive and understand the value you’re offering.
This means you may have to offer a book, call-in-show, online class or course, or some other product or service that your target market already values in order to get them receptive to the idea that counseling and psychotherapy is truly the most valuable course of action.
For example, I know a gentleman by the name of Stefan Molyneux who hosts a weekly talk show. Now, he’s not a psychotherapist. If anything, he may best be described as a political philosopher. He knows what his audience wants… and his audience doesn’t want psychotherapy. However, he’s probably one of the better advocates for long-term, in-depth psychotherapy I’ve heard and many of his listeners end up seeking professional counseling.
Now, I’m in no way suggesting anyone needs to become a talk-show host, let alone a political philosopher. However, there’s a saying in the marketing world…
“Sell your prospective clients what they want. Then provide them what they need to succeed.”
This is exactly what Stefan is doing and what you may need to do as well…
What other products and services have your clients purchased before finally deciding that psychotherapy may be their best or only solution? Are these or similar products and services something you can also offer?
Knowing what your prospective clients want and understanding the best ways to convince them of the value you’re offering all depends on the market you’re targeting. But it’s something you must do.
This leads directly to the next step…
Step 2: Create Effective Marketing Messages
Given what we’ve just discussed, it should be pretty apparent that offering something of value to the right market isn’t the end of the value creation process. Nor is it the end-all-be-all when it comes to creating a successful business.
Again, value is subjective.
Never assume your prospective clients see the value in what you’re offering.
You have to COMMUNICATE the value you’re offering in such a way that your target market – your prospective clients – recognize and desire that value and decide to take you up on your offer.
We’ve devoted numerous articles and trainings to this topic, including “Your Therapy Marketing Plan, Part 2: Creating Effective Marketing Messages,” articles on writing effective headlines, creating a USP, video scripts, our “11-Step Blueprint for Creating Effective, Compelling Marketing Copy,” and so on… I encourage you to access and carefully study each and every one.
And I’m sure we’ll create many other articles and trainings on this topic… It’s that critical to your success.
Suffice it to say, for now, that marketing is all about communication. And every other part of the Value Optimization process is dependent upon how well you communicate your value proposition to your prospective clients.
Okay, now that we’ve discussed creating and communicating the value you’re offering, let’s look at how to get more clients…
Step 3: Choose a Prospect or Traffic Source
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…
You DO NOT have a problem generating prospective clients.
You may have a problem with your business model, with your offer, or with measuring the effectiveness of your marketing.
But you DO NOT have a problem generating prospects or traffic to your website.
What if every time you got a visitor to a page on your website I paid you $10… Could you get traffic to that web page?
Heck, yes, you could!
You could pay up to $10 to get a visitor to that web page and still break even.
In fact, when you truly understand the whole Value Optimization system, you’ll be able to pay more than $10 to get a visitor to that page and know you’re still making a profit.
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com, once said (in a tongue-and-cheek warning to his competitors)…
“Your margin is my opportunity.”
And I’ve often said…
“He who can spend the most to acquire a client, wins.”
Once you understand the Value Optimization system, you become unstoppable.
Amazon.com sells on the thinnest margins knowing that acquiring new customers, selling them more, and selling to them more frequently is how you become unbeatable.
Now, I know you’re not looking to become the next Amazon.com… And the idea of pulling your margins down to the minimum is probably less than appealing. So, how does this apply to you and growing your psychotherapy practice?
Well, let’s think about it…
If each new client pays you $150 for the first session and averages 19 more sessions after the first, can’t you afford to spend $150 on getting that client?!? Of course you can. You may only be breaking even on the first session, but you can look forward to 19 more!
Now, to be sure, not every visitor to your website will become a client… Far from it.
However, most therapists have no idea what a new client is worth to their practices, how many new clients come from their websites, and from how many visitors… You need to know these numbers.
If one out of every 15 visitors to your website becomes a client, and a new client spends $150 on their first session, then you are, in effect, making $10 each time someone comes to your website. And, if that’s the case, there’s NO reason to be willing to spend only $1 or $2 to get them there. There’s no reason to value a prospective client that’s worth $10 as being worth only $2, or $1, or less!
As I said, generating prospects, generating traffic, is not a problem…
Google, Yelp, PsychologyToday.com, GoodTherapy.org, LinkedIn, and Facebook – just to name some of the obvious – are lining up to sell you targeted traffic.
You simply need to understand:
- How to measure what your website traffic is worth, and
- How to extract maximum immediate value from that traffic.
You can accomplish the first by using Google Analytics and the second by using a lead magnet.
But, both of these tools – Google Analytics and lead magnets – are largely worthless if you don’t understand the Value Optimization process.
We can teach you to drive prospective clients to your website using search engine optimization, Google AdWords ads, Yelp, Facebook Ads, blogging, email marketing, direct mail, and so on…
But first you need to understand the system.
This is often why so many therapists are frustrated. They have no context. They have no system.
Most therapists are trying to gain more visibility for their practices. They’re trying to get more prospective clients to their websites without knowing how much those prospects are worth or what to do with them once they’ve got them.
This doesn’t have to be you… And the Value Optimization system will help make sure it’s not!
The goal, no matter which prospect and traffic sources you choose, is to drive prospective clients into your Value Optimization funnel.
Master one or two single, steady traffic sources. Stay focused on those traffic sources until you’ve mastered them. Then, and only then, add a third traffic source.
These traffic sources can include…
- Social Advertising (Facebook/Twitter/YouTube ads, etc.)
- Organic Social Media
- Direct Mail
- Search Engine Optimization
- Public Speaking
- Pay-per-Click Advertising
- And numerous others…
And, while I’m using the term traffic in reference to getting traffic – visitors – to your website, these strategies are equally applicable when we’re talking about driving traffic – prospective clients – to a brick-and-mortar location.
My focus on driving traffic to your website is only because so much of business, particularly nowadays, is done online.
This is especially true when it comes to the initial point of contact… And that’s what we’re talking about when it comes to generating more PROSPECTIVE clients.
Again, your strategy for generating prospective clients should begin and end with driving prospects into your Value Optimization funnel.
And your Value Optimization funnel begins with your lead magnet…
Step 4: Offer a Lead Magnet
Here is our funnel on the flowchart…
We talked a lot about marketing funnels during the “Your Therapy Marketing Plan, Part 3: Using the Right Media and Methods” training, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the concept today.
This step and the next step of the Value Optimization process (Offering a Lead Magnet and Offering a Tripwire) show you how to grow your business through the first of Jay Abraham’s irrefutable laws of business growth: increasing your number of clients.
But, before you can have more clients you need more leads and more prospective clients. It takes one to generate the other.
This is why you need to be creating and using lead magnets…
As we discussed in our “How to Create Your First Lead Magnet” training, a lead magnet is an irresistible offer that provides incredible value to a website visitor in exchange for their contact information.
Notice, we’re still creating and providing value here… But this is the first step in the Value Optimization system in which we’re asking for something of value in return… Specifically, we’re asking for our prospective clients’ contact information.
Make no mistake. Although no money changes hands, this is a transaction. And, it is often the first transaction you’ll have with a prospective client.
You need to provide tremendous value with your lead magnet.
The lead magnet is usually offered on a web page called a landing page or a squeeze page that is optimized to convert cold traffic – visitors to your website who’ve never heard of you, typically from sources such as Facebook or Google – into leads.
How does cold traffic – visitors who’ve never heard of you – become leads? By expressing their interest in your lead magnet and providing their contact information. Hence the name…
You create a lead magnet to increase leads. That’s it.
If one out of every 15 visitors to your website becomes a client and you lose the other 14 never to be heard from or seen again, there’s nothing else you can do. You’ve likely lost those other 14 forever.
However, if you offer all 15 a lead magnet in exchange for their contact information and one becomes a client while five others give you their contact information in exchange for your lead magnet, you now have a chance to continue providing value and building your relationship with those other five… And you now have the opportunity to convert one or more of those other five into clients at a later date.
Because the lead magnet is the very top of your funnel, increasing opt-ins here pays dividends throughout the rest of the Value Optimization system, as you’ll soon see…
So, what irresistible offer can you make in exchange for your prospects’ contact information?
The more leads you generate through your lead magnet, the more offers you’ll be able to make and the more likely one of them will be accepted by your prospective client.
And the first offer you can make is called a “tripwire” …
Step 5: Offer a Tripwire
Remember, Abraham’s first law of business success and our first goal is to increase our number of clients.
So far, we’ve focused almost solely on the value we’re creating for and communicating to our target market. The only value we’ve asked in return is our prospective clients’ contact information and we’ve only generated leads through our lead magnet.
We still haven’t generated any new clients.
It’s time to change that by using a “tripwire” …
A tripwire offer is made to those who’ve displayed an interest in our lead magnet and have provided us their contact information.
A tripwire is an “affordable” offer… Though “affordable” is, admittedly, a very subjective term.
To put it in context, a tripwire is often something that’s sold for less than $20. But, in markets for high-ticket products and services, I’ve seen tripwire offers as high as $500 that work.
The exact price of a tripwire isn’t as important as the goal…
The goal of a tripwire is to fundamentally change the relationship from prospective client to actual, paying client.
Even if it’s for as little as $1, the conversion of a prospect to a client is magical. As I said, it fundamentally changes the relationship.
The key is to make tripwire offers that your leads are unable to resist, and this is typically done by making an offer that’s at cost, or even at a loss, to you.
You’re not trying to make a living from making tripwire offers.
At this stage, you’re still building your relationship with your prospective client and offering way more value to them than you’re looking for in return. But you ARE asking them for some value in return and you’re asking them to take a fundamental step forward in your relationship… You’re asking them to become a client.
You’re trying to acquire clients because, in business, there’s nothing more valuable than a list of paying clients.
When you understand the rest of the Value Optimization process, you’ll understand why the tripwire may be the single most powerful addition you can make to your business – even though you make no direct profit from it.
A classic example of a tripwire offer comes from Columbia Records…
Columbia House took over the music market by making an absolutely irresistible offer (13 records or tapes for $1) because they understood that acquiring a list of buyers is the name of the game.
Tripwires are all around us.
It’s the ridiculously low price on the flat screen TV at Best Buy. It’s the rock-bottom price at which Amazon sells its Kindle Fire. It’s the coupon from your local restaurant offering $50 worth of food for only $20.
The tripwire strategy is simple…
Convert the maximum number of lead magnet leads into paying clients – even at the expense of your profit margin – because you understand that each paying client delivers additional profit through the next three steps of the Value Optimization system:
- The Core Offer
- The Profit Maximizer
- The Return Path
Okay, now that we’ve covered choosing traffic sources, lead magnets, and using a tripwire to increase our number of clients, let’s look at increasing the average transaction value per client.
Step 6: Offer a Core Product
You likely already have a core product or service. Your core offer is your “flagship” product or service.
For many of you, this will be your psychotherapy services. But, it need not be. As we’ll discuss below, your core offer may be group counseling services, or an online workshop or course.
While some business owners do fine making only core offers to cold prospects, most businesses die a slow death this way.
Yet this is all that most business owners – including psychotherapists – do… Make core offers to cold prospects.
If all you’re offering is a core product or service, hopefully, once you’ve paid your dues, you’ll be making those offers to enough warm prospects via repeat business and referrals that you’ll be able to hang on to your practice.
But, if you really want to dramatically grow your business and quickly, you’ll need to add lead magnets and tripwires to your marketing strategy. These two strategies are designed to “warm” your prospective clients to doing business with you and make it much easier for them to accept your core offer.
After all, if your prospects accept your lead magnet and tripwire offers, you’ve already had two successful transactions with them.
This is why it’s critical to over deliver value with your lead magnets and tripwires.
In many cases, sales from your core offer will make you profitable. But they don’t have to…
If you follow through on the Value Optimization process, you could take everything you make from your core product or service and reinvest it to acquire more clients. This is how you become unstoppable. You build a system in which you can spend more to acquire a client than your competitors.
Your competitors are making a core offer and trying to make a living from it. You don’t need to make a dime from your core offer.
Remember, as Jeff Bezos says, your competitor’s margin is an opportunity. It is your opportunity to, for example, spend more on traffic and client acquisition or increase the value of your offers.
I’m not saying you have to do this… But it might stun you to find out that many of the most successful businesses in the world make no profit until they reach the next two steps of the Value Optimization system:
- The Profit Maximizer
- The Return Path
A notable example of exactly this is Microsoft and its Xbox… Microsoft loses money on every Xbox it sells in order to make so much on the profit maximzers and the return path of gamers coming back again and again to buy more games for their Xbox consoles.
Here’s where things get really interesting…
Step 7: Offer a Profit Maximizer
The second of Jay Abraham’s laws of business growth is to increase the average transaction value per customer.
A profit maximizer does just this.
As I said, most businesses don’t have tripwire offers and they don’t have profit maximizers. They live and die selling cold prospects on their core offer and this is why they struggle. But you don’t have to…
Would it shock you to find out that McDonald’s makes almost no money on its hamburgers? The hamburger is their core offer, but it’s the fries and Coke profit maximizers that built the Golden Arches.
Best Buy sells laptops and plasma TV’s (core offers) on wafer thin margins you can’t resist and makes it up on warranties, installation and Geek Squad support (the profit maximizers).
Amazon shows you at checkout, “People that bought this product, also bought that product” to increase the “average basket value,” also known as maximizing profit.
What can you offer as an upsell or cross-sell? What can you bundle with your core offer?
Get creative… If you’re a therapist looking to grow your practice, don’t get stuck assuming your one-on-one psychotherapy services are your core offer.
For example, you may decide to write a book, offer a particularly valuable chapter of that book as your tripwire, offer the book as your core offer, and then offer your psychotherapy services as your profit maximizer.
Alternatively, you may offer your individual counseling services as your core offer and then reinvest half or more of the money you make on your core offer promoting your psychotherapy groups as your profit maximizer (if you hold groups of ten people and charge $40 each per session, that’s $400 per hour).
Find one or more profit maximizers and you begin to become unbeatable.
But there is one more way to grow…
Step 8: Create the Return Path
The third and final of Jay Abraham’s irrefutable laws of business growth is to increase the number of transactions per client.
Enter the return path…
The goal of the return path is to have frequent, strategic communications with your clients, prospective clients, and referral sources that cause them to buy again and again, as well as refer other clients your way.
Because you have received your prospective clients’ and clients’ contact information through your lead magnet, you have the ability to continue building your relationship with and marketing to them.
You can offer new and different lead magnets, tripwires, core offers, and profit maximizers because you have their permission to continue the conversation.
Email marketing, content marketing, organic social media, and direct mail are just some of the tactics and strategies routinely used to maintain communications with clients and increase transaction frequency.
Now, I say all of this knowing full well of the special nature of the therapist/client relationship. But all of the offers I’m discussing are of a voluntary nature.
Your website’s visitors decide to subscribe to your mailing list. They decide whether or not to buy your book, or to attend an online course you offer for couples with relationship difficulties. These are not offers you’re making in session or are making contingent on your psychotherapy services.
You need to do what feels ethical and right for you… But you need to be looking at how you’re keeping in touch with prospective clients and referral sources.
When was the last time you followed up and connected with a prospective client or referral source?
Increase the number of times you contact prospects, clients, and referral sources, increase the perceived value you bring to the table each and every time you contact them, and you will increase your transaction frequency through the return path.
Value Optimization is about building unstoppable businesses by creating as much value as possible, both for your clients and for you.
Do the Math…
As the numbers we saw at the beginning of this article showed, even small increments in any of Jay Abraham’s three business growth methods can have big impacts.
The numbers don’t lie…
You Make $100 per day today.
You now get 2X more customers using a lead magnet and tripwire.
You now make $200/day or $73,000/year.
You make 2X more profit using a core offer and profit maximizer.
You now make $400/day or $146,000/year.
You sell 2X more often by creating a return path.
You now make $800/day or $292,000/year.
This is the exact system we apply to every business we start, acquire, or consult.
And, the one thing I’ve left largely unsaid throughout all of this is “Step Zero” and “Step Nine” … Continually practice abundance.
So, our Value Optimization flowchart really looks like this…
Remember, as Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!”
I know why you’re frustrated. You’re frustrated because you don’t know WHY you are blogging. You don’t know WHY you are using Facebook. You don’t know WHY you are looking at Google Analytics.
You don’t know WHICH market to target… Or you don’t know HOW or WHETHER OR NOT you’re communicating with that market effectively.
Every marketing tactic is useless without a system.
Use this Value Optimization system to find out and fix whatever is holding you back…
Do you know what niche you’re targeting? Do you know how to communicate your value proposition to that market? Are you focusing on one or two traffic sources in an attempt to master them? Are you tracking and measuring your effectiveness? If so, are you using one or more lead magnets? How about a tripwire or profit maximizer? And what about your return path?
I’ve held nothing back. It’s all here for you. Application of even one of the steps in this system will grow your business.
You need not apply them all… My mother has done EXCEPTIONALLY well applying just half of them effectively.
Applying them all will make you unstoppable!
You CAN use this Value Optimization system to create the abundant practice and lifestyle you desire.
Get creative… Get started!
Here’s to your success! And don’t forget to let us know your thoughts and questions in the comment section below…