How to Get Your First Client Part 2


In the first part of this series, we discussed getting some basics set up so that you get referrals. We covered what doesn’t work what does work, and how to build a marketing flow.

As you start to meet more people, your practice will grow. It’s amazing because the more that you get breakfast with referral sources, the more that you get to know each other. The more that you develop that relationship with that person, the more trust there is, like authentic trust, not just like fake trust where they don’t know you but you just like each other.

When you know someone and you like them, and then someone comes to you and says, “You know what? I need counseling.” That person’s going to then refer them to the people they know and trust. They are at the forefront of their mind, not the random person that just sent one letter.

Getting Doctor Referrals

If you have a new doctor that refers someone eventually, follow up with them. If you don’t have your first client yet, get out and network. If you can’t speak to people, attend Toast Masters and learn. Doctor referrals work pretty much the same. A doctor will usually refer to the same person, because they have limited time. The easier you make it for them, the better.

How to Network

Here are the basic steps:

  • Find someone who has a similar Business Avatar (Ideal Client)
  • Hear their story and get to know them as a person.
  • What’s your personal story?

How to Develop Your Story

Your story is the best thing to make yourself stand out. No one can out-do you in that area. Why did you go into counseling?

A while ago, I was doing private practice consulting with someone that told me they used to weigh 400 pounds, at the time of our consulting they weighed under 200.

His story was:

“I used to be overweight and I changed my lifestyle and I want to help you do that too.”

He’d found his story. He’d found his niche as to what worked for him and what was his story.

There was another guy, he had a near-death experience where he was pronounced dead. Then he went from being a corporate banker to being a counselor. In the front page of his website he says his story:

“I was pronounced dead and I had a lifestyle change where I went back to school to become a counselor to help the world. I used to make six figures. Now, I’m a counselor. I just want to help people. I feel like life is too short.” He told his story and then he had specific niches around lifestyle changes about trying to help better the world.

The more that you can articulate what’s your story in a really short, almost Twitter style, 140 characters or elevator speech, whatever words you use, the easier it is for people to help refer to you.

For Mental Wellness Counseling:

“We help angry kids, frustrated parents and distant couples… and just about everyone else.”

Keys to Practice Marketing: Techniques That Work

At Mental Wellness Counseling, we help people across the life span. We have an infant mental person who works with infants and preschoolers and parents all the way up to someone that works with people that are empty nesters or they’re living post-divorce after being married for 50 years.

We say we help angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples… and just about everybody else because people remember them. They remember who we help and it’s just straightforward. I don’t have to explain it. It’s just easy to understand.

The other thing is once you’ve got your website going, making sure that you’re really trying to rank high (here’s a video about keywords).


Keyword Marketing Examples

For example, in Mental Wellness Counseling’s website we often say: “Mental Wellness Counseling, a Traverse City Counseling practice.” We only have one location but by saying Traverse City Counseling, that’s something that someone is going to google. We routinely rank usually number 1 in our area.

That is a great way to be able to rank higher in Google is writing a lot of things around your keywords. Maybe you write articles about angry kids, maybe you write about five ways to help your marriage today. Maybe you talk about how to get through the six weeks post-pregnancy, when you’re not having sex and you’re feeling disconnected and you’re dead-tired and I’m just talking about that because we have a new baby. I oftentimes am tired. How do you stay connected to your spouse?

So, creating articles that people want to share (sometimes known as content marketing) is going help you rank higher in Google, but it’s also going to get your name out there a lot more. All right.

Networking and telling your story is the next clear step in getting more referrals. In the final blog post in this series, I’ll be covering how to make referring to you easier!

At the computer photo available from Shutterstock

How to Get Your First Client Part 2

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC

Joseph Sanok

Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC teaches consultants how to become better consultants through his website Joe also helps counselors with growing private practices through his website He also loves sailing and playing with his two daughters.


APA Reference
Sanok, J. (2015). How to Get Your First Client Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 10, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 Nov 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Nov 2015
Published on All rights reserved.