Nowadays there’s so much information for therapists about how to get more clients and grow our therapy businesses.
You’ve probably heard about creating a niche for your therapies (see this “Muscle Whisperers” video more on that)? or about getting clear on your “Ideal Client”?
But one thing that I don’t really see talked about, that I think is SOOO helpful, and which will make a massive difference to getting more of your favourite clients – is the idea of doing Client Questionnaires (or surveys or interviews).
A lot of you will be going back to hands-on work soon and it would make so much sense to take the time to do some client questionnaires before you start back again.
What’s a client questionnaire and why do it?
The idea with a client questionnaire/survey or internview, is that we talk to our clients (if you’ve done work on knowing your ideal client, that’s who you want to be talking to) and get information from them on a number of key topics:
- What they think they want help with.
- What they are really struggling with.
- How they see their problems.
- Why they come to see you
When you gather this information and then use it in the right way, it informs the way you communicate with your ideal clients in all your marketing.
We can use this information in a lot of different ways, for example we could use their wording on our websites, our emails or social media posts. Or we could use this new understanding of how they perceive their problem, to change our treatments.
When you do this, potential clients who are wondering if they should book in with you will see that you understand their lives, their frustrations, their pain and that you have the solutions to their problems.
When you do a survey or interview, you get information in the client’s own words. You’ll notice how the language they use can be very different from the language that WE, as therapists use. For example, they probably won’t tell you that what they really want is “myofascial release”, or that if only they could be treated by someone with “ITEC Level 5” everything would be so much better.
Instead, if you ask the right questions, they’ll tell you how they experience their problem, and also what their perception of *help* looks like. It might be very different to what you expect. Or even if it is what you thought; getting that in the client’s own words really helps you to home in on the words YOU should use in your marketing. It helps you to speak your client’s language. AND it gives you ideas for what your client would like more information about (so what to post on social media or blogs, for example)
I do a client survey whenever I want to get a bit clearer on what help my clients need from me. I can’t tell you how helpful I’ve found it.
So how do you do it?
Well, the best way, that will give you the most helpful information, is to actually interview your clients face to face. This is going to give you a valuable glimpse into your client’s world. Real conversations will help you connect on a human level with your clients and to ask follow-up questions to direct the conversation based on what they’re sharing with you.
The downside of this method is that’s it’s quite in-depth and very time consuming. You’ll need to ask very specific questions to get the most useful answers and you’ll also need to give your client something in return for their time.
The second-best way is to produce a survey which you get clients to fill in. You get lower quality information, but it’s still useful and doesn’t use up too much of your (or your client’s) time.
Whether you do a survey or an interview, here’s a few of the best questions to ask that will give you really useful answers:
- What are you struggling with most when it comes to…… (here you put the kind of problem you work with)
- What does having this problem cost you in terms of time, money or other aggravation?
- Is there anything in your life that you aren’t able to do or be, because of this problem
- When was the last time this problem showed itself? Can you describe the situation? (where were you? What happened? How did you feel? How did you alleviate it?)
- When you started to look for support for this problem, what was the final straw that made you decide to find help
- What else would get better in your life, if this problem wasn’t an issue (or if you are speaking to a client who you have worked with already, you could ask – What else got better in your life, once your problem wasn’t an issue anymore?)
- What would you love to know or learn about solving this problem?
When you get the returned surveys (or do the interview), you’ll get some common, recurring phrases and word choices that directly describes what’s important to your client. Notice anything that comes up again and again. If you see a particular phrase or word combination being repeated, GREAT – that’s something to use strategically in your marketing copy.
Use these insights to update your website and your therapies – For instance, do you need to change how you talk about who your therapies are for? Do you need to re-name your treatment offer to match the language your ideal customers want to hear?
This information is key to getting the right message out to the right clients about why they need you and how you can help them!