Know that feeling of really being in the flow of a great session with a client?
You’re connecting on a deep level, breakthroughs are happening, you’re feeling so good about the healing work you do…
And then the session ends and it’s time to say goodbye… but you really want them to book another appointment and don’t know how to ask for it.
And it gets > A-W-K-W-A-R-D < …
Asking for the next appointment doesn’t have to derail the positive flow between you and a client. Here’s how to ask, in a way that doesn’t feel sleazy or salesy.
• Summarize and affirm the work and give homework assignments
At the end of a session, review what happened in the session and listen to the client’s experience. Frame what they say in the context of the work you did with them, so they are part of the work, not just a passive recipient. Suggest any homework or self care at this point, making sure to answer questions and that the client sees the value in what you’re suggesting they do.
Affirm the client, using specifics from the session that raise the client’s awareness of their own good work and reinforce the lessons they learned, or the results they experienced. Highlight and reinforce their main takeaways, as well as what self care or tasks they’ll be focusing on until the next session.
• Present your work as ongoing
When I taught massage therapy at my school for the holistic healing arts, I used to tell the students, “A client isn’t YOUR client until they book the SECOND appointment.” The first time someone comes to you, part of your job is to convey to the client how working together regularly can be an important part of the their self care or healing process.
Be prepared to explain how your modality can fit the client’s needs and give them options for how the working relationship might look going forward.
EXAMPLE: In the case of massage therapy, I might tell the client, “The way massage appointments will serve you best is to book weekly for dealing with your [current issue], then we’d move to every other week. Coming once a month is great for maintenance, but we need to work together more often now, while we’re focusing on this issue.”
Obviously, you’d tailor this to how your particular modality works best, this is just an example of how you’d explain the best way to get the most out of working with you. You might also mention that you understand there may be budgetary concerns. This is a good time to bring up the option of any package deals, if you offer them.
• Ask the client what frequency feels right for them
I always want to give the power for their own health and healing back into the hands of the client. Part of empowering them and helping them to trust their own inner wisdom is to ask them how and when they’d like to book again.
At the end of a first-time coaching session, I ask the client, “So, do you want to just schedule when you’re ready or shall we look at our calendars now?” Either way, I ask them what feels like the right amount of time between now and the next session.
Either before or after that question, I tell the client how I typically work with people. I might say, “I typically see people every other week or every three weeks, so you have time to work on what we discussed. Later we might work once per month or whenever you need me. Right now we want to move this project forward, so we should meet every 2-3 weeks.”
Then I ask, “What feels right for you? What are your thinking?” Or even, “What works within your schedule?”
Here I’m not only empowering the client to decide when to meet again, but I’m honoring that they have a busy life and need to make an appointment that respects their responsibilities. This models good self care, where responsibilities to the self and to others are given equal consideration.
With a little practice, you’ll feel more and more comfortable asking clients to book another appointment. It should feel as seamlessly part of the work as any other aspect of your modality.
Just remember these three things:
- Maintain awareness of the client as an empowered co-creator of the healing process
- Give information about the best way to get the most from working with you
- Respect the client’s intuition and day-to-day responsibilities when suggesting another appointment
So many ways to work together!
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All My Very Best,