Joyous Blog

How To Create a Joyous Client Experience as a Wellness Practitioner

Jul 2, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy

There are a lot of us wellness practitioners out there today, which is AMAZING – the world needs people like you who are helping others to live happier, healthier lives! But now more than ever, it's important to invest the time and energy into making your client experience as memorable and as joyous as possible!

That's what's going to get people the results they're looking for and ultimately, what's going to keep people coming back to you. Up until early last year, I had been doing nutrition consultations for about 10 years! I've since stopped consulting and have handed my clients off to my colleague, Rachel , to work on some other exciting things for you guys. If I were to do it again, there are some things I would've changed or that I wish I had started earlier, but life doesn't work that way, does it? :) 

All we can do is take what we've learned and apply it to what's in front of us at this very moment!

... and I've learned a lot. So I thought I would put together some of my key learnings from my 10 years of consulting so you can start creating a Joyous client experience that will keep people coming back to you!

First off, let's look at some of the benefits of taking the time to create a Joyous experience for your clients:

  • It helps you stand out in a saturated industry
  • It builds trust and loyalty in you as a practitioner
  • It helps your clients get the results they're looking for (and in turn, keeps them coming back)
  • It builds the credibility of your brand
  • It can get you even more clients

Just like the digestion process begins before the food even reaches your stomach, the client experience begins before you even meet with them!

I've broken down the client experience in each of the stages in which they occur, including what should typically happen within each stage and how to make it a memorable experience!

Please note, these recommendations are based on my experience of practicing as a Holistic Nutritionist. However, these suggestions can still be very beneficial for you if you happen to fall within a wellness-based profession outside of that.

How To Create a Joyous Client Experience as a Wellness Practitioner

Recruiting Your Client

You might not realize it, but recruiting your client begins even before you start speaking with them. The experience begins when they are first exposed to your brand through social media or in-person events or visiting your website.

Most of my clients have been people who I've acquired the trust of over the years from reading my blog, following me on social media, reading my books or attending my talks. Think of this time period as the "window shopping" period.

During this period, prospective clients are taking the time to get to know you and to see if your philosophy resonates to determine if you can ultimately help them reach their health goals. You'll want to deliver a lot of value during this period in the way of helpful information that can give them a taste of what they can expect when working with you, but also by showcasing your personality and who you are that will help them to instill trust within you. 

Simply, be YOU!

It may sound cheesy but it's true and bringing that sense of authenticity to your brand and messaging is what is going to help you start cultivating a tight-knit community and build a list of prospective clients. This is why we dedicate a whole Module to building an authentic brand and cultivating community in the Joyous Health Business program!

On-Boarding Your Client

Once a client has expressed interest in working with you, there are a few steps I recommend taking to start setting the stage for a Joyous client experience!

I like to start off with a 15-minute complimentary discovery call. A discovery call gives you the opportunity to learn more about your client and their health goals and gives them an opportunity to learn more about you and your approach so you two can decide if it's a good fit.

It's not about being a good fit for everyone. In fact, sometimes it's a blessing in disguise when you discover it's not a good fit!

During the discovery call, you might find that the client's situation or health goals are out of your scope of practice (i.e. perhaps they are looking for support for their thyroid condition but you specialize in holistic skin care).

People appreciate when you direct them to a practitioner that can help them with their specific case, as opposed to providing sub-par service because you're not an expert in their condition. You can't be everything for everyone and that's okay. 

A sample introduction to the discovery call might look something like this:


"Hi [NAME],

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat!

We won't take up too much of your time, but I just like to offer these complimentary sessions to give you an opportunity to share in greater depth what your current health challenges are and for you to learn more about my approach and how I can help you. This is purely an information session, so there's no pressure to commit to anything now.

You can simply ask away, so I'll pass it off to you to share as much or as little that you feel comfortable with."

A good question may to to ask them what their health goals are if they're not sure where to start.

If you decide that it's a good fit after the discovery call – awesome! Now you can send over the Intake Form, as well as any other information they'll need to book the appointment.

Promo Block

My email after the discovery call might look something like this:

"Hi [NAME],

It was so nice speaking with you! I'm really looking forward to working with you and helping you achieve your health goals.

Just to reiterate, the Initial Consultation is a 1-hour session that can be done via Skype, phone or in-person where I will review your entire health history, address your primary concerns and produce a customized treatment plan for you containing your nutrition, supplement and supplement recommendations that you'll receive 3-5 business days following your appointment. The cost of this session is [INSERT PRICE]. Follow Up Sessions (30 mins) can be booked on an as-needed basis for the cost of [INSERT PRICE].

You can find the Wellness Intake Form attached. Please note, it contains a 7-day diet diary that you can start filling out. You can also purchase the Initial Consultation over here [INSERT LINK]. I just kindly ask that you complete both of these things and send the Intake Form back to me at least 1 day prior to your appointment on [INSERT DATE HERE]. 

If you have any questions before then, please don't hesitate to reach out. Otherwise, I look forward to chatting with you during your Initial Consultation.

Have a joyous day!

Joy"

Joyous Tip: Hire a graphic designer to make your Intake Form user-friendly so if your client decides to fill it out on the computer, it's seamless and easy for them to complete (especially important if you solely do online consultations).

If you don't have a payment system set up, you can use Square, Quickbooks or Wave to send online invoices and collect online payments, which will provide the experience more of a professional feel (because you are are a professional, after all!). 

Make sure you review their completed Intake Form in its entirety before your Initial Consultation so you are well briefed going into it and can provide valuable recommendations during the consultation.

The Consultation 

When you're just starting out, consultations can be a little nerve-wracking and overwhelming. The fear of not knowing if you'll be able to answer every question is very apparent, but what I've learned is that we really do know more than we think – we just don't give ourselves credit for it!

It's also okay to not have all of the answers, as long as you state that and make sure to follow up with them after once you've had a chance to research it further. I've visited doctors who have googled something right in front of me before. Nerve-wracking? A little. But, human? Absolutely!

I like to use the completed Intake Form as a guide for the conversation to get the client to elaborate on what they've written down. We cover everything from their primary concerns, their goals, health history, supplement regime, sexual health, personal care product usage and their diet. I actually share a sample of the Intake Form I used to use in the Joyous Health Business program!

Additional Tips:

  • Remove your judgments
    • It has already taken your client an immense amount of courage to talk about their primary health concerns and in some cases, there may be a lot of shame or guilt in sharing their current eating habits . It's important to remove your judgments to make them feel like they are coming to a safe, welcome space. Nobody feels good when they are being judged!

  • Listen more than you speak
    • You will have the opportunity to share your thoughts when you produce their customized treatment plan, but the Initial Consultation is about them. Of course, be prepared to provide explanations and give probing questions, but there is healing in talking. Not to mention, this is your opportunity to learn as much as possible about your client so you can support them and their health goals to the best of your ability.

  • Put on your "coaching" hat 
    • When I think back to my first year of consulting, I often think I could've been a better coach. What I mean by that is that I wish I had explored strategies that I could use to inspire my clients. Part of being a good coach also includes giving actionable steps that they can do right away to start experiencing relief or results. This also means being realistic meeting your client where they're at.

      For example, if they're currently eating McDonald's, you're probably not going to get them sprouting their own quinoa next week. Maybe it means recommending some healthy fast food alternatives that they can go to instead of McDonald's. This is still a healthy step in the right direction and eventually, you can work them up to making their own food.

The Protocol/Treatment Plan


 I know many of us Holistic Nutritionists were taught to give the beefy 6-12 page protocols to our clients. But unless you want to overwhelm your client and never see them again, I would advise against it.

Additional Tips:

  • Ensure the layout is user-friendly, clear and concise
    • This is where you may want to hire a graphic designer again who can create a user-friendly on-brand 1-page template for you! Key word: 1-page :) (trust me!)

  • Organize your recommendations under specific categories (i.e. nutrition, lifestyle, supplements)
    • Make sure your client knows where they can get the supplements from if they aren't getting them from you directly. Be clear about the brand of supplement, dosage and where to buy it, or make use of an online dispensary like Fullscript!

  • Be mindful of where they are at
    • Your recommendations can only be helpful if they are realistic for your client. Don't just provide a recommendation because it's the go-to solution from your textbook, but create the recommendations based on where they're at. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:
    • Are they going to have time to cook, or make the time?
    • Are they ready to make a change?
    • Have they been forced to have this session?
    • What obstacles are in the way? 
    • Are they living with someone who doesn't support their lifestyle?

  • Deliver the Treatment Plan with additional resources
    • Since I used to practice primarily online, I would send the Treatment Plan and additional resources via email. However, you can also propose to have a quick phone call or book a short in-person appointment to review the Treatment Plan with them and see if they have any questions. Additional resources might look like a list of recipes or a sample meal plan, a blank diet diary that they can use to keep track, instructional YouTube videos (i.e. I recommend my deep breathing how-to video to people all the time!). 

      Setting them up in this way will not only set the stage for getting them the results they're looking for but it will also help them to instill trust, loyalty and credibility within you as a practitioner and potentially even recommend you to their friends and family!

  • Think of the "snowball effect"
    • As I mentioned earlier, you don't want to overwhelm your client unless you want them running for the door. When putting together your recommendations, focus on fewer recommendations that will give them the best bang for their buck.

      In other words, instead of recommending say a Chromium supplement to balance their blood sugar, can you instead recommend that they include healthy fats and protein at each meal which will help to balance their blood sugar and support hormonal balance (assuming that's something they're working towards). By doing this, we avoid overwhelming the client, increase compliancy and in turn, get results – woohoo!!

I typically send the Treatment Plan to clients within 3-5 business days. I make a point to state this up front so the expectations are clear from the get-go. I will always strive to "under promise and over deliver" and get their Treatment Plan to them as soon as possible, but on some busier weeks, the 3-5 business day buffer time is helpful.

The Follow-Up

Once you've delivered the Treatment Plan, you'll want to do a check in about 2-3 weeks after the Initial Consultation. Sometimes this is just enough time and sometimes it's too soon, given that it takes people time to make changes at times. But by checking in, you're keeping them accountable and showing that you truly care about their well-being and success.

This is a great time to clarify if they have any questions or if any tweaks might need to be made to their plan to bring them closer to their health goals. If this is the case, you may want to recommend booking in a Follow-Up at this point. 

Promo Block

You can also book this session right after you finish the Initial Consultation (if the client wants) to keep them consistent and accountable to their health goals. I used to offer packages where a certain number of follow-ups were built into it, as I found that several sessions often led to greater success than just a one-off consultation.

If you are doing a Follow-Up session, make sure you have the notes you took from your Initial Consultation as well as their Treatment Plan so you can check in and see where they are at with everything. If you suggested they start taking a probiotic, ask them if they had a chance to pick it up and how they are finding it, or if another recommendation is required.

Special Joyous Touches

What you do during the actual Client Experience is important, but what you do outside of it is just as important to build trust and loyalty, such as:

  • Taking note of their birthday (usually provided on the Intake Form)
    • Send them a personalized greeting on their birthday!

  • Celebrating the milestones
    •  Did your client get married, have a baby or graduate from school? Celebrate them! This special touch goes a long way and they will feel so appreciated by you!

  • Looping them in on relevant upcoming Events
    • Are you hosting an upcoming event that would greatly benefit them? Send along a personalized note with the details and offer an exclusive discount code for being a special client of yours. You can also put all of your clients into a newsletter mailing list and send out exclusive offers to them.

Additional Tools & Resources to make your Client Experience more Joyous

  • Fullscript – An online dispensary where you can create customized recommendations for clients and have professional-grade supplements delivered to them directly without you having to physically carry the products (bonus: you can provide exclusive discounts to your clients and you'll even get a commission too!)

  • Practice Better – A nutrition practice management platform to make your client experience more seamless and professional than other, so you can ultimately, Practice Better! 

  • Downloadable Food & Emotions Journal – Send this to your clients to keep track of their intake including any physical or emotional symptoms that come up.

  • Downloadable Flour Substitution Chart – Send this to your clients who are new to the gluten-free flour world!

  • Downloadable Egg Substitution Chart – Send this to your clients who are sensitive or allergic to eggs

  • That Clean Life – If you currently create meal plans for your clients, this platform is a MUST! That Clean Life will help you create customized nutrition plans in minutes (instead of hours) which are all professionally formatted and custom branded without the need for a graphic designer, recipe developer or photographer. You can see a sample meal plan in their free e-book "How To Create Awesome Nutrition Plans".

  • Wellness Podcasts – Giving people the tools to support them on their health journey is only going to ensure their personal success and your professional success! Provide them with a list of health-based podcasts that they can listen to, to learn more about a specific topic. Some of my favourites are the Ultimate Health Podcast, Goop podcast, and the Mind Body Green podcast.

And finally, if you want to make your client experience as Joyous as possible, you need to look after the person that is creating that experience and that person is YOU! One thing I always tell practitioners is to "Always be one shower ahead of your client" (unless of course you're doing our Natural Hair Care Challenge and trying to wash your hair less, lol!).

I truly hope this post is valuable and helps you become a successful wellness practitioner!

What are some things you do already to make your client experience Joyous?

Jul 2, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy
9 Comments
Blair   •   July 4, 2018

This is such a helpful post. I have it saved and have referenced it numerous times already! Thanks Joy!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   July 5, 2018

Yay! That's awesome, Blair :) Happy to hear you found it to be so helpful! Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Noella   •   July 5, 2018

Fabulous blog article. Thank you for this. All very helpful recommendations that will go a long way in practice. I learned the same way you did and am always torn about how long/short to make a protocol. Some suggest including pages of information, some just the 1 pg protocol. Appreciate your input. :-)

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   July 5, 2018

Hey Noella! Happy to hear you enjoyed the post :) It takes time to figure out what works and what doesn't, but trust that it will come in time and we can only learn from each experience :) I'm sure you're doing a fantastic job and helping tons of people feel better and get healthier! Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Sharon S.   •   July 12, 2018

Wonderful blog post! Thank you. Very helpful recommendations that will help to support me as my practice move forwards.

Reply

Cindi G.   •   July 21, 2018

Thank you so much for posting this very helpful and very informative blog! I will be implementing many of your suggestions.

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 20, 2018

So happy you found it helpful Cindi! Rachel - Joyous Health Team 


Kristy   •   July 23, 2018

Great tips, Joy! I work as a dietitian and can attest to how important it is to develop rapport with clients. It totally goes back to the saying "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" :)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   July 24, 2018

Hi Kristy, how true! Love that saying. Thanks for your comment :)


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