©2019 by C. Roy Hunter, DIMDHA, FAPHP, Hypnosis Trainer
by C. Roy Hunter, DIMDHA, DAPHP
With each passing year, the frequency of contact from advertisers increases – both by phone and by email, as well as by direct mail. Years ago I received two or three telemarketing calls per week; but as of 2019 there are many days where I receive over a dozen telemarking calls even though I am on the National “Do Not Call” list. Additionally, the people who want us to spend our money are getting increasingly more clever in opening their conversations and/or appealing to ego. Often they start by asking if I would answer a couple of "survey" questions. Sometimes they start by congratulatiing me in one way or another....
Just days before writing this article, I received a call that got my attention. The caller told me that he was on my website, and noticed my numerous awards. At first I suspected that he might be either a prospective client or another hypnosis professional seeking professional advice…so I listened. Without going into detail, he wanted to “help me” by taking more of my money for a promotional scheme.
After that call I posted a warning on Facebook that included the following recommendations:
1. Do NOT make a quick decision.
2. Verify the validity of the company.
3. Do NOT rely on their website alone.
4. Ask for testimonials, and call one or more.
5. Check the BBB for complaints.
As a result of feedback from my peers, I decided to expand on my above recommendations and post a full article on my website.
First, I share my own experience so that you can avoid some of the costly decisions I made in the past…
During the 1980’s, numerous advertising agents approaching me with both traditional and unique advertising schemes. Some were moderately priced, while others were quite costly; but very few even came close to producing acceptable results.
Advertising agents often promised the moon and delivered pebbles. I lost thousands of dollars on the following: radio advertising, display ads in newspapers and magazines, paper placemats in local restaurants, AMC ads (for theatres), golf club scorecards, supermarket receipts, Safeway bulletin boards, competitive yellow page directories, local magazines, etc.
What were my mistakes? Look at the five recommendations above, which I only learned through the harsh teacher of experience.
Two of my mistakes with #1 above…
One advertising agent convinced me that the reason my ads did not work was because of the bad copy writing of my ads; but HE could get results by writing the ad for me. Then he convinced me to decide immediately by providing a huge discount from the normal rate…good for him, bad for me! My quick decision cost me several hundred dollars for an ad that produced zero results. I was locked into ads on paper placemats in a popular restaurant for a year.
On another occasion the manager of a well-known radio station persuaded me to advertise on radio, and offer a free prize of a weight management program for the winner…and that they would produce the ad for free if I made a quick decision. That decision resulted in my paying $2400 in order to receive only three phone calls from prospective clients and give away six sessions to the lucky winner. Furthermore, over two dozen other radio advertisers called trying to sell me more radio ads.
Mistakes with #2 above…
In the mid-1980’s one of my clients told me that she had a close friend who called herself a “Marketing Broker,” who could help me target the right people. She scheduled a meeting to talk about my goals and billed me $200 for her time. Then, without my permission, she ran an ad in a Seattle newspaper that cost almost $3000. That ad produced two product sales, zero clients, and over twenty calls from other advertising agents trying to sell me newspaper and magazine advertizing. Furthermore, I later learned that this so-called “Marketing Broker” got paid a commission on the ad that she ran. Because one of my clients referred her, I failed to verify her validity and paid the price. To this day I wonder whether the marketing broker paid a spiff to my client for the referral.
Over 20 years ago someone claiming to be with the Police Officers’ Association contacted me asking me to donate $250 for a good cause: to help get high school children to either quit smoking or avoid doing so in the first place…and in appreciation they would put my name in their newsletter as a professional source to help teenagers quit smoking.
Because he claimed to represent law enforcement, I erroneously assumed it was valid. Later I was told that the solicitor was NOT employed by any police department, and that his company paid only a small percentage of what they collected for the stated cause – and kept the 80% balance as profits. Also, there was an unverified rumor that the alleged newsletter my caller described was a flier put on windshields of parked cars and/or given to students to take home to parents. Today, if someone calls claiming to represent either a police association or a firefighters’ association, I simply hang up immediately.
Additionally, be careful about telemarketing agents claiming to represent either a union or a city or county government, offering you an “exclusive” listing as THE ONLY hypnosis professional to help employees or union members in your area. I lost almost five hundred dollars for a one-year listing that resulted in ZERO clients.
Mistakes with #3 and #4 as well as #2…
A more recent occurrence happened earlier this decade. A so-called “Xxx [name withheld] Broadcasting Company” from New York called to ask me to be a guest for free on their radio show, which allegedly had almost a million listeners because of also being podcast on the internet. Their website looked impressive, and there was no charge, so I agreed.
Just days after the interview they called back and told me that the response was overwhelming, and they convinced me to pay for a 30-minute program…which resulted in only one book sale. I failed to do my research, otherwise I would have realized that it was a scam. Apparently the website testimonials were fake. It would surprise me if they had even one percent of the number of listeners they claimed.
A mistake with #4 and #5…
About five years ago a woman called me and immediately complimented me for my work. She asked me to look up her website, and then convinced me to do business with her. The testimonials looked legitimate; and she lured me with a “discount” if I made an immediate decision. However, I failed to check the Better Business Bureau for complaints. After I discovered the complaints on the BBB, my credit card company was willing to reverse the charge, and she was angry when I got out of the verbal commitment. She misrepresented her company to me, which was my reason for breaking the agreement. (Note: NEVER make an immediate decision unless you know the company is reputable!)
Before purchasing any type of advertising, VERIFY the claims of the person trying to sell you on the advertising. Get testimonials and/or names of others who bought the advertising; and then contact them to see what worked and what did not work. If the advertising agent refuses to give you testimonials, say NO and break off contact with that company.
Also, avoid wasting time leaving business cards and fliers at local businesses (unless owned by a friend or client). I learned the hard way that most of them are discarded after you leave.
One scam targeting hypnotherapists and psychotherapists appeared several years ago that has apparently spread through numerous countries. The therapist receives an email inquiry requesting rates for a series of sessions for a family member, self, or someone else (employee, or members of a sports team or other group of people), and then pays in advance by check or money order. Then a refund is requested because of some legitimate sounding excuse (or overpayment of the price quoted). By the time the therapist learns that the sender's check or money order is a forgery, he or she loses the "refund" sent to the thief. I personally have deleted dozens of these emails in the last couple of years.
What DOES work?
The rest of the information in this article is based on “Insight #3” in my book, 30 Insights from 3+ Decades of Client Centered Hypnotherapy (2nd Ed., 2015, Create Space).
Years ago one of the Seattle network TV stations contacted me to invite me to produce a TV ad to run for the entire month of January, with a special post-holiday rate of only $3,000. After checking with another well-known hypnotherapist in the Seattle area who advertised with them, I decided to take the risk. That investment resulted in over $10,000 of new business within the following ten weeks. Unfortunately they tripled their rates after the first month, so I did not continue.
There are ways to advertise yourself for free. I learned this from the late Jack Blackwell, who was both a hypnotherapist and motivational speaker – as well as a good friend. He encouraged me to give free presentations on self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy for managing stress and overcoming undesired habits.
Many breakfast and lunch clubs, such as Kiwanis Club and Rotary International, often look for speakers for their meetings. I’ve also given presentations to women’s networking organizations and church lunches. During the 1980’s, it was amazingly easy to get myself booked as a speaker. Additionally, I offered to give short presentations on hypnosis for sales motivation to a number of various sales organizations. Occasionally that resulted in my teaching a workshop on learning self-hypnosis for motivation and stress management.
I made sure to have both business cards and fliers with me during my talks, and made myself available for questions and answers after the meetings.
During my talks I made sure to discuss the benefits of hypnosis rather than trying to promote myself. People are tuned in to “WII-FM” which means: “What’s In It For Me?”
In other words, tailor your talk to how those in your audience can benefit from professional hypnosis. People do not buy hypnotherapy; rather, they buy the solution to their problems, whether that is to increase sales, lose weight, quit smoking, manage stress, improve their golf game, etc. Hypnosis is a vehicle to help them get there.
One time I gave a summer presentation to 44 people at a breakfast meeting. I offered one free stress management session to the first three people to call me within 24 hours of my talk. Thirteen people called. Three were no-shows, and two cancelled. Eight people showed up; and that was the most lucrative month of my first three years in the hypnosis profession.
Find organizations that are looking for speakers, as it is an excellent way of getting free advertising. Additionally you can write articles for local newspapers regarding stress, habit control, etc. If they publish your articles, you get fee advertising.
Also, if you are willing to invest a small amount of time and money to join the Chamber of Commerce and/or other business networking organizations, you can also increase your clientele by networking.
After working with a client, when he or she has the final session for the desired goal, you have your BEST opportunity for free advertising. Hand the client three or more business cards and say, “Please share me with your friends and family.”
If you are competently trained in client centered hypnosis, you have earned the right to ask your clients to tell others about you. When I was seeing 20 to 25 clients per week, about half were referrals from successful clients.
The only type of client that NEVER referred anyone (that I know of) was someone who saw me to improve his or her golf game. A golf pro told me that most golfers do not want to share their secrets.
Sitting in your office waiting for the phone to ring is not nearly as profitable as getting out and meeting people. Give free speeches, write articles, and do some professional networking to let people know what you do. Also, remember to create your own website, where you may also post articles and testimonials (with client consent).
May you practice long and prosper!
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Roy is available for mentoring and coaching. For more info, click here.
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Posted December 22, 2019