Common Pricing Mistakes in Wellness: How to Price Your Services to Get Clients to Rebook

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Written by Joanna Sapir

Some of the most common pricing mistakes that wellness practitioners make are easily avoidable when you step into the mindset of leading your clients through a transformational experience working with you. In this article I talk about the most powerful changes health and wellness practitioners can make to how they work with clients and give you strategies to change the way you price so you can experience more loyal clients, a higher number of rebookings, and create a more sustainable business.

The per-session booking model is the most common model I see in the holistic practitioner industry – charging, for example, a specific amount for a single session, and then offering bundled sessions at a reduced rate. For instance, one session might cost $100, but a package of three is priced at $250.

I know it is standard practice – it’s the way everyone does it, right?

But what if there is a BETTER way to grow your wellness business? A way that

  • Serves your clients more deeply and helps them get profoundly better results
  • Builds stronger relationships with clients
  • Creates predictable monthly revenue in your wellness business (plus allows you to raise your rates!)
  • And provides you with a deep sense of fulfillment that you are truly living your purpose

The Client Champion Formula is that better way. I’ve helped countless wellness practitioners transform their business with this business model, and today I’m going to show you exactly how to do this in your practice and avoid these common pricing mistakes.

Common Pricing Mistakes: The Per-Session Model

If you have listened to my podcast about the common pricing mistakes I see many practitioners make, you know that one of the top three is booking per hour or session.

Charging for your time, and offering your services by the session – or packs of sessions – is a common pricing mistake that is actually a disservice to both your clients and your business.

And while it may seem like that’s simply how it’s done in your field…

There’s a different way – a BETTER way – to provide your services; an approach that is better for both your clients and your business.

Let’s take a look at the common pricing mistake of pricing per session.

Wellness practitioner taking notes during a session with a client

The Negative Spiral Of The Per-Session Model

Most of you reading this are probably selling your services as sessions or packs of sessions.

Because of this, you probably also have clients who come in very sporadically and always report the same symptoms or problems.

You know that if they would come in regularly you’d be able to help them address the root cause of the problem, rather than just dealing with the symptoms they’re experiencing that day.

So, you end up focusing on how to get them to rebook.

One practitioner told me that in every client session he felt like he was trying to wow the client just so they would book again – his focus in each session became making a new sale, because he knew they needed more sessions to heal.

And the unfortunate reality when making this common pricing mistake and using the per-session model is:

  • If you don’t book sessions, you don’t get paid
  • If someone cancels a session, you also don’t get paid!… and
  • It’s much harder to raise your rates and grow your wellness business

This is the standard business model for most practitioners – and yet, it’s bad for your business and it’s bad for your clients.

The Practitioner’s Struggle: Trying To Help Greg

In my podcast about common pricing mistakes that practitioners make, I tell the story about Greg, a client at the gym I owned.

Greg is the quintessential example of how practitioners struggle time and time again to help clients when using the per-session model.

I was a new business owner, so I made the common pricing mistake that everyone did in the gym and trainer industry did – I sold him a pack of 10 personal training sessions.

Greg was very sporadic and did not come in on the regular schedule I recommended, nor did he incorporate the diet changes I suggested for his weight loss goal.

When Greg completed his 10 sessions, he hadn’t gotten the results he wanted – so he didn’t buy a new pack of sessions and he left my business with the same problems and the same unmet goals he had started with.

I felt bad that he hadn’t reached his goal, and he did too. I’m guessing he went looking for someone else to help him, and he probably didn’t have very good things to say about my business.

Here was the problem:

I had not designed my services to provide results… I was simply selling my time.

What Your Clients Need: Telling vs. Asking

In addition to using a per-session model, most practitioners, unfortunately,  are asking their clients what they want vs. telling them what they need to do.

Let’s look at another example that I talk about in my “Stop Selling Sessions And Start Creating Programs” podcast episode.

You may know that I’m an Olympic-style weightlifter; I have been training and competing in this sport for 15 years now.

Taking care of my body is super important to me on a lot of levels.

I want to be healthy.

I want to live a long time.

I want to continue to feel vibrant even as I age, and I need to keep my body functioning optimally for this physical training that I do.

So bodywork is a big piece of my self-care and my goals of being healthy.

Over the years I’ve worked with some incredibly gifted bodyworkers who use multiple cutting-edge modalities and are really great at what they do.

But…

they make the common pricing mistakes of only offer me single bodywork sessions or a pack of sessions. They’re selling me their time, and I don’t want to buy time.

I want to invest in getting the results that I want.

My bodyworker should know my goals, and based on my goals, they should give me an expert recommendation for what my treatment and care plan should be to meet my goals.

They should be offering me a program or plan for treatment or care.

But they don’t.

Instead of telling me what I need to do, they ask me what I want to do.

They leave it to me to decide when to come in, how frequently, and for how long.

They ask me if I want them to work on one specific body part or another, rather than assessing what’s going on and deciding for themselves what the best course of action is.

They might mention that I should be stretching, or doing mobility work or self-massage, but they don’t teach me how or give me a prescription for what to do and how often.

Remember that I’m speaking as a client here, who values this service, has specific goals, and wants their leadership.

If a bodyworker recommended a specific plan or program for me that was designed to address my needs, I would happily commit to that.

I’d feel great about making that clear commitment to my goals, and I would feel so supported that I had this bodyworker in my corner with me, helping me achieve those goals.

Wellness practitioner checking the pulse of a client for the program

My Revolutionary Approach: The Program-Based Model

It’s time to shift how you think of yourself and your business. Instead of making these common pricing mistakes and selling sessions or packs of sessions, you need to sell programs that help your clients achieve their goals.

This is a key pillar of the Client Champion Formula.

The Practitioner As A Leader

What I’m proposing to you is that you don’t ask your prospective client what they want.

Instead, you assess their situation, as the expert that you are, determine what they actually need to get the results they’re seeking, and offer them that.

The practitioners that help their clients get the best results – and feel most fulfilled by their work- don’t sell sessions, or packages of time.

Instead, they design the journey that they believe their clients need in order to get from where they are right now to achieving the results they’re after.

They create that journey and offer that as a program to their clients.

This is an opportunity for you, as a practitioner, to create your dream service for your clients.

Take a moment and think about how you would design your services to provide the best possible results for your clients.

We do this in the Business (R)Evolution Academy, my flagship program where practitioners learn how to get long-term clients, create steady predictable income, and grow their wellness business.

…And in all the years that I have led this program I have never, ever, had a practitioner say that a session or a pack of sessions is how their clients will get the best results.

It’s always a longer-term approach. Sometimes it’s 3 months, sometimes it’s 6 months, sometimes it’s a year. Sometimes it’s a life-long journey that we break down into phases.

Some programs have weekly sessions, some are twice a month, some are once a month. Sometimes that frequency changes over the course of the program.

Each program is designed based on what you believe your client really needs.

Overcoming Your Fear Of Change

I hope that this is a super exciting idea to you, but I also want to acknowledge that it may push you out of your comfort zone, and you might feel some internal resistance.

Because it’s different. Other practitioners you know are selling their time. That’s the standard.

So for one, doing something different can be scary.

But you might also be thinking “But my clients just want to book sessions. They don’t want something more.”

I call this concern “the freelancer trap.”

The Freelancer Trap

You may be used to running your business using the per-session model, with each session focused on trying to give clients what they want – trying to make them happy.

If you are a massage therapist you are used to asking “Do you want a deep tissue massage or Swedish? Do you want 60 minutes or 90 minutes?”

If you are a fitness coach you ask ”Do you want five personal training sessions or ten?”

And if you’re a bodyworker, you’re asking “Would you like me to work on your ankle or your shoulders today?”

But here’s the thing:

When you do this, you give up your position as a leader and guide for your clients.

When you are providing clients with what they ask for, rather than providing a recommendation of the services they NEED, you have no way to ensure that they will meet their goals.

And you fall into a negative cycle I call the freelancer trap.

The freelancer trap for wellness practitioners

 

When they’re booking “a” session with you, they’re coming with their problem and the hope that you’ll be able to fix them in that one session.

So you do whatever you can to relieve their pain right now and continue making these common pricing mistakes.

Plus you don’t get to address the root cause of their problem… so if and when they return, they often have the exact same pain or problem!

And when they don’t meet their long-term goals with your service, they feel like you’re not doing a good job, or they just don’t see what you do as life-changing… so they don’t continue.

And you’re stuck in that model of just trying to book more sessions in order to make money, which is a road to practitioner burnout.

Effective Marketing For Holistic Practitioners

There is a much, MUCH better approach to marketing for holistic practitioners that I teach my clients at the Business (R)evolution Academy.

Attracting Your Best Clients With Programs (NOT Sessions!)

Your best clients are the clients who you should be designing your services for and designing all of your marketing around so you can attract more people just like them.

These “best clients” (I call these people your bullseye clients) WANT your leadership and guidance.

Your service offerings – your programs and plans – should provide that leadership and guidance.

So it’s very important to first identify the bullseye of your target market and really dive deep to understand them.

Wellness practitioner performing a reiki session on an ideal client

Designing Your Services For Ideal Clients

Once you do that, design service offerings that actually help your ideal clients achieve their long-term, big-vision goals.

Because you only want to take on clients who fit into your target market. And, yes, you will turn away leads that don’t fit the bullseye client description!

With this new model, your programs, treatment plans, and educational programs are not something you make up based on what you think people will want or what you think they’ll buy.

If you are one of my clients – that is, you’re a skilled and experienced practitioner who works directly with your clients and provides transformational services- you’re not here to sell people what they say they want to buy….

You’re here to provide what people NEED to heal,
to grow, to optimize, and to live the lives they dream of.

Do you know the Henry Ford quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.’”

Ford had an innovation that people didn’t even imagine on their own.

You are the innovator in your business. Design your services into a program that your ideal clients can’t even imagine on their own, but is exactly what you believe they NEED to achieve their goals.

Look at your YES clients – the people that you love working with, the ones that are totally committed and see the best results – and use them to design your services.

Think back to when those clients first started with you. If you could reverse time, what is the program or plan – the dream service – that you would design for that person?

Your dream service might look totally different from another practitioner in your field – and that’s a good thing!

Your programs should be a reflection of you – your beliefs about the work you do and how it works, your values, and the unique combination of modalities that you use.

If you use multiple modalities in your work with clients (like most of my clients do) – don’t separate the modalities into different services. Put them all together – integrate them – into your dream service for your dream clients.

The Business (R)Evolution Academy Helps you Solve These Pricing Mistakes

Are these ideas getting the juices flowing for you?

I hope it excites you, because this is revolutionary! That’s why I call my program The Business (R)Evolution Academy – we are using a revolutionary method to grow your wellness business an avoiding these common pricing mistakes.

Students in the Academy learn to enroll their clients in a journey – a program that’s specifically and carefully designed to help them truly get results.

We show you how to seamlessly and easily step into a leadership role, leading your clients on the path to reaching their goals.

Physical therapy program for a wellness practitioner

How The Program-Focused Model Benefits Your Business

Now I haven’t even mentioned the business side of this, and how beneficial the program-focused business model is to your business and avoiding these common pricing mistakes.

I describe these benefits in more detail in my article about 8 Benefits of Enrolling Clients in Programs Over Selling Sessions, but for today let’s quickly compare the program-focused vs. session-focused models.

In the per-session model, the client books a session, they come in for the session, then they pay you when it’s done.

You hope they rebook, which they may or may not do.

Even if they do, though, they might cancel. And when they cancel, you don’t get paid.

In this model, you might have a bunch of sessions booked out for the month but none of them are guaranteed to happen, and you generally don’t get paid unless the client comes in.

It’s a hamster wheel of always trying to get new or returning clients to book sessions.

In my program-based model, you stop selling sessions and start enrolling clients in the program or package they need.

You now have a client that has committed up-front to long-term services – whether that’s 3 months or 6 months or 12 months – whatever it is that you design.

So you have consistent, predictable monthly income.

Not only that, but you set up the payment terms so that the client has either paid in full for the whole program at the time of the consultation – which is when you enroll them – or you set up a payment plan where they are automatically charged monthly.

You’re not spending any time collecting payments – the money is automatically dropped into your account each month without you doing anything but setting it up when you enroll the client.

I want you to imagine all of that, and just how different it would be energetically when you’re working with someone who has already committed to the journey.

You don’t have to wow them each session, hoping they come back.

You don’t spend any time collecting payment.

It’s just you and your client doing the work, together, to help them reach their goals – which they have fully committed to doing.

Not only does that make your business stronger and more sustainable, but it also gives you an incredible sense of fulfillment and joy that you are doing the work you were meant to do.

This is truly revolutionary. You are creating a business that:

  • Attracts your dream clients
  • Creates predictable income
  • Allows you to raise your rates and grow your wellness business
  • Offers more value for your clients, and
  • Is more rewarding for you as a practitioner

Revolutionize Your Business

Now, after hearing all of this, do you have questions?

I’m guessing you do – and I’d love to answer them for you!

Each month I host a FREE event called the Practitioners Business Roundtable where you can get coaching and answers to questions about YOUR business…

And I would like to invite you to this event – I’d love to answer your questions about this topic or any other.

To attend, simply go to Joannasapir.com/roundtable. After you register for a spot, we’ll send you an email with a link to our questions submission page – and you can ask anything you want.

I have helped so many practitioners make this revolutionary change in their business, and the results are just amazing: higher income, steady income, better client results, and a great sense of purpose and fulfillment in your work.

Take a look at my Success Stories to hear what it’s like to revolutionize your business in this way.

It is incredibly gratifying for me to help gifted wellness practitioners reach their clients and help more people, and I look forward to helping you do the same.

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Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners and coaches build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

Want to talk about how to grow your wellness business?
→ Book a free consult today.

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