As we’ve progressed through this series of blogs, you’ve found out about identifying and characterising your customers, how and why you need to plan, and how to use technology to your advantage. Your next step is to decide how you are going to stand out from other hypnotherapy practitioners.
Why stand out? It’s a simple matter of marketing – if you present yourself as a ‘jack of all trades,’ your customers will understand that as ‘master of none.’ You goal is to find a specialism or differentiating characteristic that will bring you the customers you want, at the time and place of your choosing. If you’re too specific, your appeal will be strong, but to a small number of potential clients. If you are too wide ranging, your appeal will be less strong, but you will appeal to a greater number of potential clients. Finding the balance will be the hardest part, but with a little planning, some honest self-appraisal and some analysis you will succeed in discovering the best way to differentiate yourself as a qualified practitioner. Ask yourself what first interested you in hypnotherapy? Perhaps, like many therapists, you experienced the benefits for yourself when consulting a therapist for an issue or problem you wanted to solve. This is a great starting point. If your experience was, for example, hypnotherapy to deal with your fear of flying, ask yourself how this encounter and your outcome could have been improved? Better customer service? Personal consultations in your own home? Or perhaps a follow-up call and information pack? You may have other life experiences that give you an insight into weight loss, lack of confidence, or other issues that people often have when they seek the help of a hypnotherapist. If you can find a specialism such as weight-loss, coping with anxiety or conquering phobias, that you have a personal experience of, then that may be a good place to start, as you’ll have more empathy with your clients, and a better understanding of what they need from you to meet their goals. You don’t have to limit yourself to a single specialism, but you should aim to position yourself as an authority on a handful of issues, at most, in order to highlight the qualities that make your practice unique within your local and regional area. With the help of Google, you can look up other local hypnotherapy practitioners¸ and see whether they are offering specialised or general hypnotherapy services. You may find that no-one in your area offers hypnotherapy for phobias, or shyness for example, and a search can really help you decide on what is going to make your hypnotherapy practice different. Of course, over-specialising is to be avoided. If you only offer hypnotherapy to help people deal with a niche phobia like a fear of buttons and zips, or a fear of dolphins, you will be selling your services into a market that’s too small to support your business. You need to strike a balance between differentiating yourself from other practitioners, and appealing to as many customers as possible. The great benefit of specialising like this, is that you will be better placed to help people with a problem or issue that you really understand from your customer’s perspective, and this will translate into better customer service and more effective hypnotherapy.