Features vs benefits_ A therapists guide - Jane Travis - Grow Your Private Practice

Do you know what your therapy clients want?

Does that sound like a strange question?  Yes, I thought so.  

You know your clients have worries, issues and things on their minds. They may have mental health issues or are struggling with the effects of abuse, bullying etc.

But what do they actually want from therapy? Because if you want more clients, you need to be crystal clear. 

Let's take a look at features vs benefits: what they are and why it's vital that you know. ​

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Features vs benefits_ A therapists guide - Jane Travis - Grow Your Private Practice

Imagine this: you've just decorated your counselling room and you want to put up some pictures.  To enable you to hang these pictures, you're going to need to buy a drill. 

Off you go to the DIY shop and you look at the scarily large choice available and frankly feel a bit bamboozled, because all you want is a bloody drill!

Which of these would you be most likely to buy:

This drill has a newfangled thingy that’s made of the strongest metal known to man. It was designed by NASA scientists, it glows in the dark, has an inbuilt satnav and has Bluetooth so you can listen to music while you work.

OR​

With this drill you will easily and effortlessly be able to hang your pictures.

It's the second one, of course.  Because it will do the thing you want it to, easily and effortlessly.  

There's a saying: ​

Features Vs Benefits: A guide for therapists

This quote speaks volumes: most people don’t want to spend their hard earned cash on a drill. Good, lovely, delicious cash that could be spent on maltesers.

What they do want is a nice environment for their clients to be in and their pictures hanging on the wall.

But Jane’, I hear you cry ‘I’m not selling drills. I’m a therapist. Step AWAY from the vino’.

Okaaaay…. How about this……

  • People don’t want hot wax spread over their bodies and their hairs to be ripped out by the roots – but they do want smooth, sexy skin.
  • People don’t want acupuncture needles stuck all over their bodies, but they do want relief from their symptoms.
  • People don’t want to talk about painful things in the counselling room, but they do want to feel happier, less stressed and more content.

These things in and of themselves are not things people want to do, but they DO want the results, and that’s why they come.

They need you to help them go from A to B, and it's the job of your website to let them know you're a good fit.

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Features Vs Benefits

This is all about features Vs benefits: A FEATURE is the hot wax ripping out hairs from the roots: a BENEFIT is smooth sexy skin.

For a website to attract clients, it needs to concentrate on BENEFITS not FEATURES.

A feature is factual information about a product or service, but features aren't what make clients choose you. That's where benefits come in.

A benefit answers the question "What's in it for me?," meaning the feature provides the customer with something of value to them

Let me explain...

Often on therapists websites and profiles, I see lists of issues and I an explanation of how their modality of choice works:

'...the person centered approach - also known as person-centred counselling or client-centred counselling - is a humanistic approach. I will facilitate your actualising tendency and enable your personal growth by allowing you to explore and utilise your own strengths and personal identity. I will aid this process and provide vital support blah blah yawn'.  

'Yes, but ​can you help me deal with my bully of a boss?'

When someone lands on your homepage, you only have a few seconds to let them know who you help and the benefits they can expect to experience.   

Your qualifications, experience and way of working are features. Of course your clients need to know that you're qualified and know what you're doing, and they might have an interest in how you work, but include that in a section on your 'about' page not your homepage.

For example: John has been having panic attacks and they're getting both more severe and frequent.  This is having a detrimental affect on the quality of his life, and he feels embarrassed by them, out of control and weak.  ​

When he's 'shopping' for a therapist he sees:

Together, we will explore the triggers for your panic attacks and ​I'll show you simple, effective ways to manage them, giving you more control of your life. 

He'll pick up the phone, because you're ​going to give him what he wants - he wants his life back. 

Related Post: Can you help your clients?

What's in it for me?

A simple way to work out the benefits ​clients can expect to experience after working with you is to ask yourself 'so what?'.

In this example, your niche is childhood sexual abuse:​

You: 'I have 15 years experience.'

Client: 'So what?' (what's in it for me?)

You: 'Being experienced means I bring a wealth of knowledge'

Client: 'So what?' (What's in it for me?)

You: ​'In my experience, many people feel anxious talking about their background but you're in safe hands. We'll explore your past at a pace that's right for you, so you can move forward with your life feeling lighter and more empowered'

Do you see how that's more attractive to a nervous client?  ​

So benefits might be reduced stress, better sleep, improved work/life balance, fewer arguments, greater intimacy, ​more resilience, better decision making etc. 

(for more inspiration, take a look at these 101examples of features VS benefits​)

Put yourself in your ideal clients shoes:  they're often nervous, anxious, apprehensive.  What do they need to know?

Ethical considerations

As counsellors, it's important for us to work in an ethical way without making claims or promises about results.

And rightly so!

After all no matter how qualified and experienced you are, counselling simply won't work with 100% of people 100% of the time. We all know there are no magic wand solutions, no guarantees.

However, there's a massive difference between there 2 statements:

  • If you're struggling with depression, come to me and I can make you feel happy again
  • I'll help you to discover your needs and learn how to communicate them effectively. 

So take a look at your homepage from the clients perspective, or get feedback from a friend you can trust to be honest.

  1. Is it crystal clear who you work with?
  2. Does it highlight the benefits they can expect after working with you?

If not, grab a drink and a pen and brainstorm - think of what clients say at the final session with you after a successful course of therapy. 

And be sure to let people know about these benefits on your website, profiles, mail outs, advertising, posters etc. ​

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About the Author Jane

Jane lives in beautiful Lincoln with her 2 boys and rescue dog. When she's not talking about herself in the third person, she's usually found with her feet up and eating Maltesers. Sometimes she even shares them with friends.

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