friendly businesswoman isolated on whitePeople prefer to do business with someone they know, like and trust. This is especially relevant when they need mental health services, because the professional relationship is a primary factor in the progress and outcome of therapy.

Here are 15 ways that potential clients and referral sources can get to know you, like you and trust you:

1. "Know you" factor - Who are you? What do you do?

If people don't know you personally, they hear about you from others; or they read something you wrote; or they attended a presentation by you. Here are some ways to get known in your community:

  • Participate in community activities - Volunteer at your house of worship, your kids' school and sports events, charity fund raising, community service.
  • Join service clubs or business networking groups.
  • Serve on local community boards.
  • Write articles and blog posts in your own natural language style.
  • Socialize with friends and acquaintances. The more people who know you, the greater your pool of potential referrals.

2. "Like you" factor - Do people feel comfortable around you? Do they like what you have to say?

People tend to like those who seem to understand them, share their values and make them feel comfortable. Outside the therapy room, do the following:

  • Show interest in people as individuals.
  • Be helpful, both offline and online.
  • Post your photo on your website and in your social media profiles. Use a photo that depicts you as friendly and approachable.
  • Answer phone inquiries in a friendly voice, even if you have only a minute to talk.
  • Return phone calls and emails promptly

3. "Trust you" factor - Can people trust that you can help them?

How do potential clients and referral sources feel confident that you are an expert? If they don't have direct feedback from others, they must rely on what they read and hear about you. Here are some ways to market your expertise in a professional manner:

  • Include your professional credentials in your business emails, blog and news site comments and other professional communications. e.g., John Smith, LCSW or Mary Jones PsyD.
  • Create handouts, tips sheets and articles that give samples of what you know. Also consider writing a book if you have extensive knowledge in a particular topic.
  • Get quoted in mainstream media.
  • Encourage existing referral sources to pass your name along to their colleagues.


Photo by konstantin32