How To Achieve Your Counselor Business Goals!To start this exercise, think first of a major goal you want to accomplish this year. Roll it around in your head. Visualize yourself completing it. Imagining the result will help you put together a mental picture of the steps it will take to achieve this goal. Knowing what the goal looks like – really understanding it – is a key step to having success using the following tips. What is your goal? (Remember, successful goals are specific & measurable.) Write it down.
As you’re reading, I’ll be sharing examples from a fictional counselor, “Mary” to help you see how it might work for you! Her goal is: To increase her referrals from existing clients over the next 6-12 months, specifically at least 3 new clients gained.Now, increase your awareness of the opportunities you already have available to use. I encourage you to try at least three of the following exercises, to help you do just that! If you do that, I believe you will see a major difference in your attitude towards your counselor business goals.
- Take An Inventory. Write down the tools, resources, and training you have at your disposal that would aid in your goal. What books or webinars do you have that speak specifically to your area of need? What existing tools could you make better use of?
Mary: I use the paper-based performance metric ORS/SRS to measure the quality of my work, would it be possible or appropriate to also add an anonymous survey about whether they would recommend mywork to others?
- Reverse The Roles. What would you tell someone else, in your situation, to do? What ideas or opportunities would you propose to them?
Mary: I mentor a student counselor trying to increase her hours. If it were her, I’d recommend that she summarize what she and the client worked on at the end of each session, so they clearly recognize their growth in working with her. This will potentially increase their retention and likelihood of referral.
- Unblock Yourself. Ask yourself “what would I do if _____________ wasn’t the case?” The purpose of this exercise is to release presuppositions you have about what is and isn’t possible. Just see what comes up in answer to that question, and then decide what to do with that information!
Mary: If I woke up tomorrow and no longer had any worries about filling my early-morning spots, I would probably be more eager to speak with my clients who work odd schedules, telling them I have availability if their friends are looking for a counselor.
- Take Out The Fear Of “Marketing For Money.” How would you act differently towards your goal if you were working for a nonprofit? I sometimes tell the story of how I realized the importance of marketing while working for a nonprofit. If I had to really put work into advertising services that were offered for free, I realized, how much more important is it to put energy into advertising service offered for a fee?
Mary: If I was working at a nonprofit and thought I provided good services, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask my clients to recommend me to their friends in need. How can I transfer that attitude to the quality services I provide for a fee?
- Look At The Results You Have. What is really paying off? What is wasted effort? What difference would changing things make for you?
Mary: My scheduler isn’t integrated with my website, so clients have to request access to it. I also don’t have anything on my website that would allow my clients to send a page to a friend. If I changed that, I might see more referrals.
- Look At The Results You WANT To Have. Look to the effects you’d like to have, and ask yourself what would cause that to happen. Reverse engineer the solution, and create a situation where your counselor business goals can flourish!
Mary: I’d like for it to be a normal thing for clients to refer me to their friends and family. Maybe it would help if I left out a flyer that looks like a coupon for a 30-minute phone consultation, specifically for clients to give to a friend. They could see it while waiting for their appointment and potentially pass my name along.
- Access Your Subconscious. Ask yourself a tricky question about your goal, perhaps one you’ve been avoiding. Think on it for 2-3 minutes, then immediately do an activity that doesn’t require cognitive processing. (I recommend housecleaning, driving, or walking the dog – it always seems to unlock something for me!)
- Ask Other People What Opportunities They Have Taken Advantage Of In Similar Circumstances! This is one of my favorites, because it brings in the creative power of the community. Share your goal for your practice with some friends in the counseling field, then ask for the ideas they tried to achieve similar counselor business goals!