Make a Donation, Not a Sacrifice

 Donate, don't sacrifice.

It’s important to give back to the community, and it’s okay to benefit from it… just don’t turn it into a sacrifice, in which you get nothing in return for your somatic practice.

The phone rings, and it’s one of your clients, asking you to donate something to a fundraiser. You want to help, you know it might get you some publicity, but still you have that sinking feeling that this isn’t going to go anywhere… experience tells you that it would be a miracle if this did anything for your practice.

If you haven’t seen overwhelming surges in your business from making charitable donations of your services, you’re not alone. Many practitioners donate gift certificates for free sessions or classes, but few get new clients from them.

Keeping in mind that you want to fill your practice with clients who are a good fit — and that you’re not in business for entirely altruistic reasons —

How would an optician, a restaurant owner, a Hollywood agent, a tour guide, a bureaucrat and your accountant think about it?

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How Sarah Almost Killed Her Hands-on Practice

Having great hands-on holistic skills is important for your practice... and so are your business skills!

Hands-on practitioners love to help people — and only get to do it by developing the business skills it takes to get clients.

Sarah is typical of the hands-on practitioners I work with — deeply committed to her work and struggling to get clients. Her professional training gave her skills to work with her clients — but it didn’t cover how to get clients in ways that really worked for her.

That’s not surprising — I don’t know of any modality that teaches you what you really need to know about GETTING clients while they’re teaching you how to HELP clients.

Like most hands-on practitioners, Sarah really wants to help people get the kind of transformation she got from the work she offers, and —

She’s never thought much about what it means to be self-employed, beyond being charge of her own time. She loves working with her clients and learning more about how to help them — and procrastinates about almost everything else connected with her business.

She’s fairly internal, doesn’t like directing a conversation with a potential client and hates dealing with pushy salespeople — the last thing she wants is to come across that way to anyone interested in her work. She avoids learning how to have a “sales conversation” because she doesn’t want to feel bad about her herself.

She relies on convincing just about everyone she meets that they need her modality — but it’s hard to explain and things have gotten to the point where she really hates even being asked “What do you do?” because the conversation almost always goes nowhere.

When she looks online for help, she finds a goldmine of free information, and figures she’s all set.

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Top Secrets of Successfully Self-Employed People

Being your own boss often translates into Laughing Out Loud at time... and this is can be a disaster for hands-on practitioners.

Are you in charge of your own time — or Laughing Out Loud at it? To keep your dream from becoming a nightmare, use it the way successfully self-employed people do!

Last month, when I was teaching at the Feldenkrais Guild of North America® Annual Conference, I asked people to raise their hands if they were NOT self-employed. Only a sprinkling of hands went up.

It didn’t surprise me — most hands-on practitioners work for themselves, especially if their modality isn’t really well-known. And that’s a problem for a lot of practitioners — because they know how to work with clients, but have no idea how to work for themselves.

This is a major factor in the high failure rate of new businesses. For practitioners who keep trudging along without ever earning enough money, it contributes mightily to the feeling that “it’s never going to work out.”

How do people who work for themselves achieve success?

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How to Communicate the Value of Your Hands-On Work in Every Session

You Touch Communicates Your Value

Clients don’t come back several times to find out what they’re going to get from you. You have to communicate it the first time, and every time.

Last week on one of our practice calls for the Heart-to-Heart program, a hands-on practitioner voiced a concern that’s pretty common among the folks I work with.

First let me explain that these somatic practitioners are learning to offer a paid consultation instead of whatever they normally do in their first session with a new client–that isn’t working as well as they would like.

This is a completely new concept to most practitioners, so they often don’t see at all how they can possibly succeed when their experience seems to be completely the opposite, and so they say things like:

“I don’t understand how to convince a client to work with me in a consultation, when it often takes 3 or 4 sessions for them to really see the value of what I do.”


If this describes your practice, you’ve got a problem

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Are You Talking to a New Client or Another Deer in the Headlights?

I’ll bet you’ve seen it too many times…

Don't let your prospective clients turn into deer in the headlights because you give them too much information! Photo © Creative Commons, Fabrice Florin

Don’t let your prospective clients turn into deer in the headlights because you give them too much information! Photo © Creative Commons, Fabrice Florin

There you are, talking about your work to someone you think you can really help. Then — out of nowhere –WHAMMO!

Your prospective client turns into a deer in the headlights and runs for cover.

It happens to most of the people I work with — hands-on practitioners who are really serious about helping people… good at what they do… intent on making a difference in the world.

If only they could get anybody to listen…

And that’s exactly where the problem is… not that talking is wrong, but talking about the wrong thing makes prospects run. Continue reading

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How would you answer this client question about your hands-on practice?

When potential clients ask you questions about your work, how do you answer?

See through the phone line

Sometimes prospective clients are asking a different question than the one outlined in their words. Answer as an EXPERT, no matter what!

For example, this question came up on one of our calls last week, when we were working on talking to prospective clients on the phone. The “client” asked his practice partner: “Do I need to come for classes or for private sessions with you?”

The “practitioner” on the call answered with a lengthy description of what classes look like.

Others might answer by outlining the philosophical or practical differences between private work and group work.

Answers like this leave potential clients more confused than they were before they asked the question!

Why? It’s simple really–
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Waiting for Godot

Waiting works sometimes in a hands-on practice, but if you don't know how to talk to clients so that they commit, waiting to learn doesn't help anyone.

Sometimes, waiting is perfect in a hands-on practice, but if you don’t know how to talk to clients so that they commit, waiting to learn doesn’t help anyone. Photo© yortw

Personally, I wouldn’t have waited.

The day I was told the spot on my nose had to come off, I rearranged my life to take the first available chance to have the spot replaced by 2 stitches and a Band-aid.

Waiting frustrates me. I like to DO more than I like to THINK about doing.

Whatever it is, I’d rather do it NOW than wait 10 minutes to think it through again, find another layer of meaning. or another way somebody will be affected by “it.”

At the same time, I know that a lot of hands-on practitioners are just fine with waiting.

And that’s a really good thing because honestly, I know that the world needs people who are more patient than I am … and if that’s you, great.

But sometimes, to avoid harm, you have to act even–if you aren’t finished waiting.

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This Is How I Got a Full Class, Just 2 Days After I Announced It!

This is the story of how Christine moved from a sprawling metropolis to an island 6,900 miles away and built a blossoming hands-on practice …

Christine changed her Feldenkrais® Practice by learning how to really engage with her prospective clients about what they want to know about.

Christine changed her Feldenkrais® Practice by learning how to really engage with her prospective clients about what’s most important to them.

The first time I spoke with Allison, I was living in Mexico. I had just moved there from Los Angeles, and I was looking ahead to moving again to be near my parents, because they were getting older. I’d been living in Los Angeles for years and I was sure it was going to be a lot of work to build a practice in New Zealand.

I had been a Yoga Teacher before becoming a Feldenkrais Practitioner® in 2004. When I talked with Allison that first time, I had quite a few private yoga students and I was making a reasonable living, but I wanted to stop making house calls and raise my rates.

I had no plan

I didn’t know how to Continue reading

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Al went to the store for bread and came home with 3 potential clients!

I love it when people post things like this on the Facebook page for our Success Circle group!


When you’re a hands-on practitioner, you’re looking for clients where you live… and that means that your clients Continue reading

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What’s in a yawn?

What does it mean to you when  client yawns?

What does yawning mean in your modality?

A recent post on yawning on The New Yorker website opened with a paragraph about people paralyzed on one side of their bodies. When they yawn, they have access to motor functions on the affected side for the duration of the yawn…

Yawning has been studied extensively for generations. In addition to knowing what we can all see — that sometimes a yawn is contagious, or inopportune, or irrepressible — we also know that babies yawn spontaneously in the womb. We have evidence that we’re more likely to yawn in empathy when family members yawn than when strangers do it. Darwin saw yawning in animals as a sign that we are all built on the same structure.

Does yawning have significance in your work? Moshe Feldenkrais said that yawning meant the brain needed oxygen…

What do you do when your client yawns? Yawn in unison? Change what you’re doing? What goes through your mind when a client yawns? Do you take it as a sign that you’re boring or as an opportunity for something new?


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