The Wellness Professional’s Guide to Automating Your Practice

wellness business systems that can be automated in your practice

Written by Joanna Sapir

Did you know that many aspects of your wellness practice can be automated using a wellness business system, saving you immeasurable time and stress?

Many of my clients are surprised – and amazed – when they realize just how much of their wellness business can be automated.

It’s not just about saving time: wellness business systems improve your client experience and help you grow your business while making more money in less time.

Let’s dive in and explore 7 key wellness business systems that can automate your wellness practice.

Wellness Business System #1: Scheduling Automation

schedule automation is one of the wellness business systems practitioners should create

If you only implement one wellness business system from this article, it should be scheduling automation (also called calendar automation).

If currently, you are manually scheduling client appointments, think about how much time you spend playing phone tag, text tag, or email tag with your clients trying to nail down a day and time that you’re both available. It can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating: some clients take forever to reply, others have next-to-no time availability and you spend time and energy going back and forth trying to find an appointment time that works.

It can be super frustrating for your leads and clients too, which you may not even realize. They are busy too, and just want to quickly and easily book an appointment.

The simplest way to take care of all of these frustrations is a calendar automation system. With online scheduling, you just enter the time slots that you are available for client appointments, and at any time of the day your client can view them and pick what works for them. VOILÀ! No more scheduling headaches.

If you use my Client Champion Formula you will also use automated scheduling for your consultations or discovery calls.

Calendar automation is a HUGE step towards streamlining and organizing your business and freeing up your valuable time — I can’t emphasize this enough, make it a priority and do it ASAP!

Scheduling automation perk: better client boundaries

Scheduling automation also helps you establish and maintain client boundaries.

Many practitioners find themselves bending over backwards to fit clients in. They’ll schedule appointments on weekends or evenings, or perhaps run back into the office even though they have already left for the day.

This happens because they have never actually established what specific hours they see clients, what hours are for working on the backend of the business, and what hours are for self-care like exercise, date nights, and family time.

Or, they’ve established those hours but don’t stick to them when a client texts or calls.

A wonderful perk of calendar automation is that it forces you to sit down and decide when you want to do each of these things; when it works for your life. And I promise you, once you decide your client-facing hours your clients will adjust their own schedules to fit yours. It’s as simple as that.

For example, think of when you need to make an appointment for a haircut – you look at what’s available then you make one of them work, right? You don’t say “oh well, I just won’t get a haircut.”

Setting and upholding client boundaries is a beautiful perk of scheduling automation, making this one of the most valuable wellness business systems you will implement.

Choosing your scheduling automation software

If you have practice management software, you probably already have an automated scheduler in your software. If you don’t, however, there are a few things you will want to think about before choosing an automation software:

1. User-Friendliness

The first thing you need to consider is how tech-savvy (or not!) you are. If you are technology-challenged you will want to prioritize finding a user-friendly automation software.

2. Flexibility

Will your automation software be used exclusively by clients making online appointments, or will you also be using it to schedule appointments when you are in the office with the client? Make sure your automation software has the options you need.

3. Link specification

If you want to send distinct links to your clients for various appointment types (one link for general appointments, one link for discovery call appointments, etc.) – something we recommend our Business (R)evolution Academy clients do – make sure the automation software has that capability. See the calendar automation tip below for details about why this is important!

4. Payment options

Many automation softwares have embedded payment systems that can link to Square, Stripe, or Paypal. If you would like that option be sure to look for that feature when choosing your software system.

Doing your homework and listing out the features you need will help you choose a software that fills your needs and makes the whole scheduling process much, much easier!

Calendar automation tip:

Before we move on to the next wellness business system, I want to share an important scheduling automation tip.

When you create links that people will use to schedule an appointment, a consultation, or a discovery call, make sure the resulting page only offers that type of appointment.

For example, let’s say you have a link for scheduling a free consultation. You don’t want the prospective client that clicks this link to end up on a page with a list of paid appointment types to choose from. Not only is that confusing to the potential client, but it also isn’t taking them down the sales pathway that you want them to follow.

Make sure each type of appointment page has a distinct link. This way, someone seeking a consultation or discovery call will only have the option to book that. Someone seeking a treatment appointment will be taken to a page where they can book that treatment session.

Wellness Business System #2: Streamlining Payments

payment systems for wellness professionals

The next wellness business system I want to discuss is an automated payment system.

Many practitioners still process payments session by session. Each time a client comes in for a session, the practitioner has to collect the money and (hopefully!) rebook them after the session is done. This is time consuming and inefficient; you constantly need extra time built in after a session to handle this.

Another time-consuming method I see is when the practitioner sends a payment link before each appointment. This is still a manual process that creates work for you that you don’t need to be doing – work that you could fully automate and take off your plate.

The “set it and forget it” payment automation system

In my Client Champion Formula, I teach wellness practitioners my revolutionary system for creating a business that brings in higher income with less effort and is focused on committed clients getting great results.

Instead of these manual, time-intensive ways of collecting payment, I show my clients how to use what I call a “set it and forget it” billing system.

Using this formula, you create a process in which you 1) have a discovery call or consultation, 2) enroll somebody in a program or treatment plan that’s going to get them the best results, and 3) set up payment for the entire program (yes, during the consultation!).

It’s literally that simple – you set up payment for the entire process and you never have to collect payment again during their treatment program – you “set it and forget it.”

People can pay all at once, or they can choose a payment plan, but it will all happen automatically. You collect the credit card info one time and set your payment system up to automatically charge them on the specified date(s) for whatever the length of the program is.

You never have to chase payments. You remove roadblocks and delays that can stop clients from moving forward with their treatment plan.

It’s easier for your clients as well. Once they decide to invest in themselves and enroll in a program or treatment plan, everything is all set up and they don’t have to think about the money after that, or experience “payment pain” that they feel when they have to pay manually over and over.

Now they can focus on coming in, or showing up for the service, and doing the work to achieve their goal.

It’s a win-win system for both the practitioner and the client.

Side note about treatment programs vs. packs of sessions:

One question I get asked is how collecting payment for a treatment program differs from collecting payment for a pack of sessions. When clients ask this question, in their head they are trying to grasp what is different about a three-month program consisting of once/week treatment sessions (so 12 sessions total in the program), and a prepaid pack of 12 sessions.

They both involve pre-paying for 12 sessions, yes, but they are vastly different. Even though it’s the same number of sessions, purchasing a clearly defined program is very, very different energetically for the client vs. purchasing a package of sessions.

First, think about the energy difference in each scenario: If you buy a pack of sessions, you actually don’t want to get to the end because mentally all it represents is using up the money you put in (and potentially now having to pay again).

In contrast, if you sign up and pay for a program, each session of that program is getting you to a particular goal or achievement. It’s really, really different energy.

The second way programs differ significantly from packages is the cadence, or timing, in which the sessions occur. If someone buys a pack of sessions, they decide when to come in. They may decide to stretch the sessions out over a year, when in truth they need to be seen much more frequently to address the issues they are experiencing.

Third, usually when practitioners offer packages they are offering a discount, like buy five get one free or something similar. The session pricing is based on discounting, not on getting a specific result for the client.

Consistent income

Another advantage of setting up payment automation systems is consistent income.

With payment automation, the payments are coming to you no matter what. If you need to take a week off, you’re just extending out their services – the payment happens anyway.

So instead of viewing vacations as a time where “you aren’t making any money,” you can keep making money on vacation. Yes, you have services to fulfill for that money, but you can keep making money when you’re on vacation when it’s on that automated payment plan.

No more cancellations!

Another advantage of automated payment plans is the reduction in cancellations. People are committed to their program; nobody gives up time with you that they’ve already paid for or are going to be automatically paying for no matter what. You might have somebody that needs to reschedule for a legitimate reason, but you do not get cancellations.

What to look for in an automatic payment software

When you choose an automatic payment system, there are two primary things to consider.

1. Virtual terminal

If you are a practitioner with an online wellness business rather than a brick-and-mortar, you need to have a virtual terminal. That means that you can take payment when on a discovery call. Virtual terminals allow you to input the payment plan, collect and enter the credit card information, and process the payment during your call.

2. Point-of-sale

If you’re an in-person practitioner, you can look for a software that allows you to physically take the credit card and swipe it through. It’s not a must-have, you actually could use a virtual terminal and just type in the number like you would with an online business, but a point of sale terminal makes swiping the credit card quick and easy.

3. Recurring billing

You also want a system set up for recurring billing (sometimes called subscription billing). This is the basis for the “set it and forget it” program payment system; you enter the credit care, the payment frequency, and the dates, and all of your payments will be automated.

Wellness Business System #3: Marketing Automation: Long-Term Nurture

A wellness practitioner outlining her program to her patient.

Once you have automated scheduling and payment systems in place, you are ready to automate your marketing process, which is an important wellness business system.

I call this marketing automation “long-term nurture,” or LTN.

Start with your list

Marketing is about attracting an audience and nurturing them.

Most practitioners have a list of former clients, current clients, and prospective clients (also called leads). You may have 100 people on your list, or you may have 1000.

This list is your “lowest-hanging fruit.” If you aren’t nurturing them, you are missing a major business opportunity.  These people already know, like, and trust you; it is much easier to nurture them and invite them into your sales pipeline than it is to find brand new people who have never heard you and get to know them.

Research indicates that consumers require both time and multiple interactions before making a purchase. This suggests that the likelihood of someone immediately buying a product or service after seeing a Facebook post or an advertisement is extremely low. However, the chances of a sale significantly increase if that person experiences between seven to 30 touchpoints over a period of time. Customers acquired through this gradual engagement process often prove to be more valuable than those who respond to a single, random social media post or advertisement.

What does long-term nurture entail?

Long-term nurture is a clear and effective strategy to convert your list members into clients.

Be aware that your long-term nurture strategy does not include sales. You’re not saying “buy this!” or “book a session!” Nurturing means you are speaking to the recipient’s pains, problems, goals, and desires — you’re showing them that you see and understand where they’re at, and giving them some inspiration, tools, and understanding of their problem.

Anyone who is added to your list will receive periodic, valuable emails that nurture them in one way or another. You have written these emails ahead of time and have set up your system to send them out at specified time intervals in a specified order. Each touchpoint advances them closer to becoming a paying client.

As people move through your long-term nurture process, they may come to a point where they’re like, “Oh my goodness, I want to schedule a consultation!” — good nurture content will do that.

And if you do send out a special offer or announce a new program, the people on your list already know that you see them, that you understand them, that you can help them.

They already understand who you are and how you can help them, so it’s a much easier “yes” for them if the program appeals to their needs.

Your list can even include people who did a consultation and didn’t move forward. Even though they weren’t ready, willing, or able to move forward right now, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be ready in three months, six months, 12 months, or a year.

That is the value, and what is amazing, about long-term nurture. When I owned my gym, I had very regular nurturing, and I had people who would show up and say, “I’ve been reading your emails for three years. I’m finally ready.” It absolutely can happen that way.

Freebie alert!

If you aren’t familiar with my marketing strategy, I have a Free Marketing Lifecycle Guide that shows you how to move people in your audience through the marketing lifecycle and into your sales pipeline

Wellness Business System #4: Lead Magnet And Welcome Sequence

Using a lead magnet to nurture your customers in your wellness practice

Now some of you are wondering “But what if I don’t have many people on my list yet — how can I grow it?”

One of the most effective ways to grow your email list is by using a lead magnet and a welcome sequence.

Lead magnets are something you are giving away for free: it can be a free resource, a workshop or event, a free video – anything valuable that a lead is willing to exchange their email for.

It’s got to be something that they want, and should be related to what you provide.

Once somebody opts in for this thing that you’re offering, they immediately start receiving your welcome sequence emails that essentially introduce you at a deeper level to this person who’s brand new to your world – saying here’s who I am, here’s what I’m about, and here’s what it means to be on my email list.

The welcome sequence is also a tool to filter out the people who are the best for you – and not the best for you. If you show up authentically in your welcome sequence and clearly show them who you are, what you believe in, what you do, and how you help the people you work with, people will know if they are a good fit for you. The ones who don’t resonate with what you’re saying will unsubscribe, and the ones who remain are the perfect people to receive your long term nurture content.

Wellness Business System #5. Sales Pipeline Automation

sales pipeline business systems for wellness practitioners

The next part of your business that should be automated is your sales pipeline. Sales automation systems are one of my favorite things to talk about, there is SO much potential here!

In The Business (R)evolution Academy, we install a sales automation system for all participants that I call The Predictable Sales System.

The beginning of the sales pipeline starts with somebody scheduling a consultation/discovery call. This can all be automated – prospective clients simply click a link and are taken to a scheduling page where they can choose their appointment time and enter their information.

Your automation will send them customized reminders and instructions for the consultation – it can even send an SMS reminder shortly before the consultation begins.

The beauty of this sales pipeline automation is that you aren’t just sending robotic reminders, you’re sending them organic, genuine messages that lay out what they can expect and who you are; you are forging a connection and building trust.

What I love about this process is that it’s actually creating engagement. These people become excited for their consultation, and they are going to show up because of this excitement.

It also shows a level of professionalism. They can see that you care about your business and your clients enough to create a process that makes it easy for them – a process that nurtures them and shows them the way.

At the end of the consultation, you then mark that person’s record in your list: Did they become a client? Which program did they join? Or did they not join anything at this time?

If they don’t become a client, you will start sending them your nurture series. These people may come back in the future, or they may even refer you to others if they had a great experience in your sales process, even if they didn’t join.

If they do become a client you will send them to a different automated process which we are going to talk about next: your new client onboarding system.

Wellness Business System #6: New Client Onboarding

client onboarding systems for wellness businesses

When a new client purchases your program or service, they often feel vulnerable about their decision.

Think how you feel if you sign up for a big program but after you pay it’s radio silence until the program starts. You start to feel unsure – you start to question your decision, right?

The new client onboarding process is designed for that period of time – the time between when the client says yes and when they actually start seeing you, and even into the first weeks of your services.

The goal of your new client onboarding process is to make them feel confident and secure about their decision, excited about the program they’ve enrolled in, and to provide them support and tools they need to experience success.

Of course it will also include logistical pieces such as getting a client agreement signed, providing passwords for online curriculum, and any other practical details that are part of your services.

But the bigger piece of this process is nurturing this new client and giving them what they need to be most successful in their services with you.

Your onboarding may be a week or two, or it might go on for 12 weeks.

Think through potential questions your new clients may encounter as they get ready for your program, or if you have a longer onboarding sequence, questions that may arise as they progress through your program.

For example, if you have a fitness program, one of your onboarding emails could go out after the first week of the program and address soreness and what to do if they experience it.

If you are doing emotional work with a client, your email could address how emotional work can also make a person feel physically tired, and reassure them that it’s a normal part of the process.

Your onboarding sequence is a wonderful opportunity to serve your clients more deeply by both reassuring them before the program or service begins, and providing extra support in between sessions.

Wellness Business System #7: Implementing Feedback Loops

feedback loops systems for wellness professionals

The final automation system I want to talk about is feedback loops.

Many of you may think of feedback loops as the automatic emails that go out after every session saying  “How did you like the service?” or “If you liked today’s service, please leave a rating/review on Google/Yelp etc.”

But when I say feedback loops I’m talking about something a little different. This feedback isn’t about what happened after each session, as we are actually trying to move away from that and get feedback on the program and journey as a whole.

You can still automate the feedback loops, but you will space out the emails to arrive at points in your program when people start to hit their milestones. At these points you can ask questions like  “What’s been your biggest takeaway so far?” Or, “What’s been your proudest accomplishment in our work so far?”

And because you are asking at specific points in the program you will receive testimonials and stories, plus specific feedback you can use to further strengthen your programs.

There are a number of ways to implement a feedback system: you can build it into your current automations or build a separate automation. These automations will send an email to your client at specific times during the program.

You can also add automation that solicits reviews by sending a follow-up email to their response saying “We’re so pleased that you’re happy with our services – we would love it if you would post a review on one of our public platforms” with a hyperlink link directly to those platforms.

These feedback loops also help you refine your marketing: you can promote your clients’ successes and positive experiences in your marketing materials. By using the words of the people who are actually experiencing those transformations and doing the work, your marketing will be more relatable and powerful.

Are You Ready To Automate Your Wellness Practice?

Wellness Business Systems are transformational in so many ways. They:

  • Streamline and organize your business
  • Bring in higher income with less effort
  • Attract committed clients who you love
  • Create time and space for your own self-care, relationships, and personal interests
  • Allow you to work more powerfully with your clients and help them get better results

In The Business (R)evolution Academy and Leadership Cadre, we build these automations for you, each designed to be organic and authentic by reflecting your unique voice and style.

If you prefer to implement them on your own, there are two business systems that I recommend starting with.

The first is automated scheduling. This system makes it easier for you and your clients. I can’t begin to tell you what a game-changer it is – so definitely focus on that simple automation first!

The second automation I would implement is your payment system. No more chasing clients down and manually entering payments – all payments are automated and regular – so you will know exactly what your income will be and when it will happen.

Once those two are in place, then move on and implement the other five business systems that we’ve talked about in this article.

Time after time I see practitioners implement these systems and move from overwhelm and feeling like “how do I do all of this?” to “Now I have more time, more income, and all with less effort!”

I also have a free resource that will help you called the Sustainable Practice Toolkit – it contains strategies and tools offered by some of our trusted partners, to streamline the backend of your wellness business so you can earn more income with less time and effort!

Just click the link below to get your free copy:

The Sustainable Practice Toolkit

I am excited to help you automate your wellness business and move you closer to committed clients, higher income, and creating a successful and sustainable business.

Get the FREE Download:

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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.

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