ep004: Stop Selling Sessions and Start Creating Programs

EP004 Podcast Artwork - Blog

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Do you charge for your services in packages of time?

You know, one session for $XX. Maybe you offer packs of sessions at a discounted rate?

This is so common, and I know it’s standard practice, but doing so is actually a disservice to both your clients and your business.

That’s why, in this episode, I share how to package and offer your services in a way that serves your clients more deeply, helps them get profoundly better results, builds a stronger relationship with them, creates predictable revenue in your business, and provides you with a deep sense of fulfillment.

In this episode of the Business (R)Evolution Podcast:

  • The drawbacks of selling your services in packages of time
  • Some of my personal experiences as a client receiving services in packages of time
  • What you can learn from those experiences and how to implement those lessons in your business
  • Why you shouldn’t let your clients determine their treatment plan
  • An exercise you can do to help gain clarity on your new service offering
  • How this revolutionary model helps your bottom line
  • How you can get free coaching from me on this topic if you have additional questions

Resources and links Joanna mentions in this episode:

Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners 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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Full episode transcript

Do you charge for your services in packages of time?

You know, 1 session for xx amount of dollars. And maybe you offer packs of sessions at a discounted rate, like if 1 session is $100, then 3 sessions is $250 dollars?

This is so common, and I know it’s standard practice. It seems like that’s just the way everyone does it.

If you listened to episode 3 on the biggest pricing mistakes practitioners make and how to fix them, you’ll remember that this was the 3rd mistake I talked about charging by the hour or session.

Charging for your time, and offering your services by the session – or packs of sessions – 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…

Did you know there’s a different way to provide your services – one that is better for both your clients and your business?

In this episode I’m going to share with you how to package and offer your services in 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 business
  • And provides you a deep sense of fulfillment that you are truly living your purpose

You win all around with this change to how you package, offer, and sell your services…

So let’s dive in and learn more about this.

Ok, so right now you may be selling your services as sessions or packs of sessions.

And you have clients, right?

Some of those clients keep coming back, over and over, and get amazing results.

But some of them don’t. Many people just come in once.

And you know that they need to come in again, but how do you get them to do that?

Or some people come in very sporadically, and always have the same problem – when you know that if they just came in regularly, you’d be able to help them really address the root cause of the problem, rather than just dealing with the symptoms they’re experiencing that day.

So it seems like the answer is to get them to rebook. But how do you do that?

One practitioner told me that in every session with a client he felt like he was trying to wow them, just so they would book again. He felt like he was always trying to make a new sale in the session.

In that business model, if you don’t book sessions, you don’t get paid!

And if someone cancels a session, you don’t get paid!

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

In the last episode, I told you the story about my client Greg at the gym I owned, and how I sold him a pack of 10 personal training sessions, because that was the norm, that’s what gyms and trainers did – so that’s what I did when I first started that business.

And if you heard that episode and remember what happened, Greg completed his 10 sessions, and he hadn’t gotten results. I wasn’t able to help him meet his goals in the 10 sessions.

So therefore he didn’t buy a new pack of sessions, and he left my business – not a client anymore, with the same problems and same unmet goals he had started with.

Of course, I felt shitty about this, and I’m sure he did too – and he went back out to try and find someone else to help him, and he probably didn’t have very good things to say about my business.

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

Well now I want to share some of my experience on the client-side of this.

You may know that I’m an Olympic-style weightlifter. I have been training and competing in this sport for 14 years now.

I’m in my late 40s now, my body’s aging, so 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 as I age.

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 and with their ability help me keep my body functioning optimally.

But they have always only offered 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 I want.

These bodyworkers are experts at what they do.

And I have these goals for my body and my health.

My bodyworker should know my goals as their client, and based on my goals, they should be able to give me an assessment of the condition of my soft tissue or my spine, or whatever their specialty, and then they should be the ones to give me an expert recommendation for what my treatment and care plan should be, to meet my goals.

That’s what they should be offering me – is the program or plan for treatment or care.

But they don’t.

They ask me what I want to do, they don’t tell me what I need 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 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 show me how or give me a prescription for what to do and how 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 that I go to 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.

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 bullseye clients need, in order to get from where they are right now to get to their goals and 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 bullseye clients.

I’m inviting you, right now, to start thinking about how to design your services so that you can provide the best results possible for your clients.

When we do this in the Business (R)Evolution Academy, my flagship program where practitioners learn how to get long-term clients and create steady predictable income – I have never, ever, had a practitioner say that a session 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.

You don’t make this up. You design your program based on what you believe your people really need.

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, 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 also, you may be thinking: but my clients just want to book sessions. They don’t want something more.

And you maybe running your business in that way, that’s all about trying to give clients what they want. Trying to make them happy, based on what they say they want.

For example…

A massage therapist sells a session and says, do you want a deep tissue massage or Swedish? Do you want 60 minutes or 90 minutes?

A fitness coach says to a client, do you want five personal training sessions or ten?

A bodyworker says, do you want me to work on your ankle, or on your shoulders today?

That’s the freelancer trap that I’ve talked about, where you give up your position as a leader and guide for your clients.

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

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.

But 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, and don’t continue.

And you’re stuck in that model of just trying to book more sessions in order to make money.

Your best clients – which is who you should be designing your services around, and who you should be designing all of your marketing around, so you can attract more people just like them…

Your best clients WANT your leadership and guidance.

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

Design service offerings that actually help your ideal clients achieve their long-term, big vision goals.

Do you see now how important it is to first identify the bullseye of your target market and really dive deep to understand them? Again, that’s in episode 2 if you haven’t listened – definitely go back and listen to that one.

Your programs or treatment plans or educational programs are not something you just make up based on what you think people will want or what you think they’ll buy.

Actually, this is one of the things I can’t stand about what’s being taught in the online marketing world.

The online marketers teach you to go out and survey your audience to find out what they want to buy…and then you create that.

Do not follow that advice. They’re teaching people to create online courses that are basically digital products – they’re not a service.

If you are one of my people – that is, you’re a skilled and experienced practitioner that 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 your people NEED to heal, to grow, to optimize, 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.

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

You take those people, and you think back to when they 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 someone else’s that does the same type of work as you – 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, your unique combination of modalities that you use.

Oh, so this is a good time to bring that in. 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!

Is this getting the juices flowing for you?

I hope so.

I hope it excites you, because this is actually revolutionary. That’s why we call this the Business (R)Evolution.

Enrolling your clients in a journey, in a program, that’s specifically and carefully designed to help them truly get results – it’s revolutionary.

You are stepping into leadership when you do this, leading your clients on the path to reach their goals.

Now I haven’t even mentioned the business-side of this, and how beneficial it is to your business.

So just think about it for a second.

The old way is the client books a session, they come in for the session, they pay you when it’s done.

You hope they rebook, which they may or may not do. Even if they do, they might always cancel, and then you don’t get paid.

And in that old 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 the revolutionary model, where 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 actually have 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 on bills – it’s all done automatically. The money is automatically dropped into your account each month without you doing anything but setting it up the first time when you enroll them.

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

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

That gives you an incredible sense of fulfillment and joy that you are doing the work you were really meant to do.

Now, after hearing all of this, do you have questions? I’m guessing you do, and that’s great, and I’d love to answer them for you!

So I’d like to invite you to come to the next Practitioners Business Roundtable! This is a free monthly event where you can get coaching and answers to questions about YOUR business…

And I’d love to answer your questions about this topic or any other.

Just go to Joannasapir.com/roundtable to get a seat. 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 do this in their businesses, and the results are just amazing. Higher income, steady income, better clients results, and a great sense of purpose and fulfillment in your work.

If you’d like to hear from practitioners that I’ve worked with about what it’s like to revolutionize your business in this way, just go to the Success Stories page on my website.