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.
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.
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:
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……
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.
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.
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?
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?
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:
Related post: Can you help your therapy clients (and do they know it)?
So take a look at your homepage from the clients perspective, or get feedback from a friend you can trust to be honest.
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.
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.
FREE Webinar - Let's change the public perception of counselling