5 Mistakes That Keep Holistic Practitioners Broke, Invisible, and Continually Needing New Clients

The paradigm shift of mind, body, spirit awareness is well underway. 

 Thanks to everyone in the movement, holistic methodologies have gone from being on the fringe to the center of mainstream books and television. Take a look at the New York Times best-sellers lists for Food and Diet, and also Health. On any given week, you will see 40-80% of the books can be considered holistic.

Consider Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays, her 2nd hit television show that is in its 5th year and 12th season. The entire format for this show is deep conversations between Oprah and authors, visionaries, and spiritual leaders. In an attention deficit disordered world, this is nothing short of remarkable. Not to mention all the other holistic experts Oprah has helped launch over the years, including Deepak Chopra and Dr. Oz who have amassed huge followings of their own.

If consumer interest in holistic topics is at an all-time high with no signs of slowing, why is it that the majority of holistic practitioners are still broke, invisible, and continually needing new clients?

Could it be that there are just too many practitioners to serve the market? Sure, some areas are fairly saturated, yet that doesn’t explain why some practitioners in those areas really thrive, while others don’t. What do they have that you don’t? It usually comes down to the successful ones being better at packaging and promoting their expertise.

It might feel as if larger businesses are eating your lunch, but it’s more likely that you aren’t eating your own.

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Here are 5 mistakes you might be making in packaging your services and how to avoid them...

1. You have too large of a service menu.

When you offer too many different services, you will overwhelm potential customers. When faced with too many options, people tend to choose none. It’s also really difficult to market yourself when you do a lot of different things. New services you had high hopes for don’t reach their income potential because they get buried by everything else you offer. If your practice is one where printed brochures are the norm, those become expensive to print and laborious to read. Maintaining supplies and equipment for services you don’t perform often takes up space and money.

Practitioners with large menus tend to have one of two mindsets.

One is that they are so in love with performing treatments and getting trained in new modalities that they just don’t know when to stop expanding their offerings. If you are addicted to creating new treatments, try channeling that creativity into your marketing. That is where you will get the payoff from all your previous offerings generating more revenue.

The other mindset is based in a fear of losing customers because you don’t offer everything. If this is you, recognize that your fear may not be based in reality. Just because you had to turn a customer away for a service once, doesn’t mean you need to add that service to your menu. That’s only warranted if there is actual demand that justifies it and it fits inside your niche.

2. You don’t have a niche.

Just being holistic, green, or “spiritual” isn’t really enough to stand out anymore. You’ve got to stake your claim somewhere. When you are not yet niched, customers will mentally lump you together with all the other pros in your area. When your services are considered to be the same, then you are going to find yourself competing in two tough categories: location and price.

Location is somewhat outside your control in that you can only choose the best place you can afford. Hopefully you are in an area with traffic, because without a niche to draw people to you, you’re stuck working where you are.

Competing on price is a perpetual hamster wheel. You end up working really hard for less pay, only to have those hard won clients not convert up to full price. When you are niched, you cross over into being a true expert.

People pay more for experts. They will travel to see experts. It’s really that simple.

3. You’re selling services one at a time.

One of the things that is all but guaranteed to keep you living hand-to-mouth is booking clients one hour or one treatment at a time. Your entire business is hinging on your rebooking procedures. For every client that doesn’t rebook their next appointment, you have a vulnerability that they might not return.

You might well be thinking that some clients just won’t rebook. That’s true, some won’t. Yet even when you ask a client “if” they want to rebook each time, you are making yourself more vulnerable by giving them an opportunity to say no each time. It will also feel like you have to sell them on returning each time.

Packages, one-on-one programs, and group programs are the solution to this common problem and if you aren’t offering those, you are definitely “not eating your own lunch.”

4. Your “signature service” is anything but.

Some practitioners, especially those in spa services, attempt to add a signature service to their menu. It’s an excellent idea when executed properly, but a bad idea when done wrong. Here is the most common mistake made when adding a signature service.

They name it “Signature ___.” Signature Facial; Signature Treatment; you get the idea. Boring! A signature service is what we call it for positioning in relation to your other services (it should be your premium offering) and it should also be a niched service that sets you apart from other businesses.

Always give a signature service it’s own branded name, even if you just name it after your business, e.g. “The (name of your business) Facial. Even better, come up with a creative name that ties in with your brand and has trademark potential. It’s okay to refer to it as your signature service to customers, “I’d like to recommend our signature service, ‘The ___.” Just please give it a worthy name. This is your jewel in the crown. Position it as such.

5. You chase certificates instead of packaging your expertise.

This last mistake is extremely common and can actually contribute to a practitioner’s failure in business because it costs both time and money. How in the world can more modality training be a bad thing? When the idea strikes at the wrong time for the wrong reason. Let me explain.

After the initial business startup phase, there is often a lull phase. It’s a rocky plateau that you’ve reached after a lot of hard work. You heard the call and followed it. Bought the guidebook and gear and trekked up the mountain of business development. When you encounter this plateau, you will be a little (or a lot!) disappointed. You can set your pack down, but it’s not comfortable here. Where are the clients? How come I worked so hard and have so little to show? You might even begin questioning that “calling” you felt.

In checking in with yourself, you discover that your calling is still there! Your ego might be a little bruised, but you trust that you have greater things ahead. Okay. You’re in it for the long haul.

Did you know there is a fork in the road on this plateau? There is, although most people don’t see it.

The people who don’t see the fork got their egos a little more beat up than others. Somewhere along the way, they locked onto the belief that they aren’t good enough. Sometimes that story goes way, way back. Very intelligent people with this belief often overcompensate for it in their education. When a person who doesn’t feel “good enough” inside is on a plateau, they won’t take the shortest route to success. Instead, they will go back down the mountain, chasing certificates and degrees that they think will help them next time they reach the same plateau. What few realize, until they’ve experienced futility for awhile, is that it’s their fear and self-doubt that is holding them back. It’s seldom about really being “good enough.” You can be good enough right now, as you are.

The people that do see the fork in the road dare to climb up. They are going to claim their expertise in a bigger way. They trust their calling more than their fears. Make no misunderstanding. No one gets to the top of their mountain without some scraped knees and a few missteps. Yet if you look up to the holistic experts who are thriving, whether they are local leaders or the world famous gurus you see on Super Soul Sunday, you will see that they all made it up to the next level by packaging their expertise. Some of them have become known for one break through program. Others, like Deepak Chopra, have created and followed a formula to launch blockbuster program after blockbuster program.

Additional certificates and degrees can enhance your knowledge, but take care that your decision isn’t an unconscious detour from the destination you are already equipped for.

The bottom line with all of these mistakes is that to avoid them, you need to focus. Your offerings need to be structured in a way that they add to your credibility and position your expertise. It’s sad, but true that it doesn’t take very much to stand out since not very many holistic pros really make a go of it.

The good news is that it’s actually easier than you might think, once you get some of your self-limiting beliefs out of the way. If you have already learned to create one service protocol, then you’re capable of learning how to put together something bigger. Not just a package, but a whole branded system that positions you as an expert.

If you want customers to start valuing their work with you as a priority (instead of an option) then you need make packaging your expertise your priority.


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About the Author

Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.

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