One of the reasons I started Restorative Wellness Solutions is because I saw so many of my nutrition colleagues struggling to make it in this field. They either didn’t have clients or couldn’t keep them. They weren’t getting results so the client moved on and they certainly weren’t getting referrals from them. I know firsthand how this can rock your confidence to the core.
In my early years in private practice, I definitely had my share of epic failures – those clients where I knew I was missing something, or I just didn’t know how to connect with them. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to help a client and feeling ill-equipped. For me, this presented as one of the greatest challenges of my life. Could I, as an unlicensed nutrition practitioner, be the kind of skilled clinician that could create lasting, meaningful change in my clients’ lives? What would it take to crack really difficult, complex cases? And how could I develop meaningful, trusting, and long-lasting relationships with them?
What I’ve uncovered over the last 20 years has taught me how to thrive in my practice, rather than simply survive. And honestly, there’s nothing extraordinary about me other than the fact that I’m tenacious, determined, and work hard. Let me share with you what I’ve learned.
Where’s the Money?
Like most of us, I entered the healing arts as the result of my own healing journey and because I wanted to be a change agent for a healthier world. But I soon realized I wasn’t actually making a living wage and was reliant upon my husband’s income to pay the bills. And while every new business can expect low earnings in the first year or two, my practice limped along for more like 5 years. It wasn’t until I started getting exceptional results with clients and my calendar began to fill that the money began to flow.
And I’ve seen this same pattern with hundreds of RWS practitioners. Once they acquire the necessary skills, their practice fills up and they can charge more for their services. Skills = Results. Results = Referrals. Referrals = $$. It’s really that simple.
The practitioner-client relationship is unique. We’ve all seen examples of bad ones – the doctors who spend only five minutes with a patient. The ones who get in way over their head with a client and have no idea what to do. Or the ones who bend over backwards trying to be their client’s best friend but really don’t know how to help them. The question is, how do we develop a deep level of trust and loyalty with our clients – the kind of relationship where they see you as a life-long resource? The kind of long-term relationship where you are the first person that comes to mind whenever their kids, spouses, or friends have a health issue?
There are several essential techniques for establishing this type of relationship:
· Deep listening. You are likely the only person with whom your client has been able to tell their whole story. Being the one who cares enough to actively hear a client’s history and story allows them to feel heard and opens them up to the possibility that you might just be the one they’ve been looking for.
· Connect the dots. This requires advanced skills and a deep knowledge of how the body works. Helping a client understand how all their issues are connected is profoundly powerful.
· Use objective data. The ability to utilize objective testing, understanding proper interpretation, and knowing how to bring the body back into balance helps to identify root cause issues and prioritize the healing process.
· Know the client’s big WHY. Uncovering your client’s big motivation helps keep them engaged in the hard work you ask of them dietarily, with supplements, and making difficult lifestyle changes. We ask a lot of clients and knowing their WHY keeps them in the game.
· Lose the veneer of perfection. We all want to be perceived as professional and accomplished. Unfortunately, this can create a veil that separates us from our clients. It makes it difficult for them to relate to us or think they could ever live up to our expectations. What if we instead try to embrace our imperfection? And share not only our wins but also our struggles? We’ve all had a unique health journey that led to where we are now. When clients see that you’ve struggled and overcome, it makes you more human, more understanding, and yes – even inspirational.
Join a tribe
Who you hang out with matters. Those people affect your thinking, your willingness to take risks, and even your ultimate success. Associating with winners or losers will essentially determine which you become. In order to thrive, finding a tribe of winners is essential. Here are a few ways to do that:
· Find a mentor – someone successful and whose traits you admire. How might you authentically incorporate their winning strategies into your own life?
· Join a group – this might be a local business group or a Mastermind. Finding a group of high-achieving professionals will help you up-level your business and reach your goals faster.
· Get an accountability partner – there’s really no better way to truly accomplish your goals and achieve your dreams than by telling someone about them and being held accountable. Weekly check-ins will help you get the work done, step by step. It will also allow you to provide this same invaluable support to someone else.
The work of a functional nutrition practitioner is one of the most gratifying jobs in the world once you have the right skills, relationships, and tribe. If you’re looking to up your game, Restorative Wellness Solutions is offering its hallmark course Mastering the Art and Science of Gastrointestinal Healing, starting April 13, 2020. Click here for more information.
We will also be speaking at the Nutritional Therapy Association’s annual conference in Portland, OR this weekend. We hope to see you there!