Nicole [00:00:01] Look for the bottlenecks. What does that actually mean? I want you to go into your online booking and be a client for a second. Click on the button and see: can I get an appointment within 48 hours? Oh, no. That means I need more availability and maybe I need to hire or I need to shift things around. You probably are wasting money on marketing if you’re not allowing the people to book. They literally want to book with you, but you’re making them wait.
Linzy [00:00:28] Welcome to the Money Skills for Therapists podcast, where we answer this question: How can therapists and health practitioners go from money shame and confusion, to feeling calm and confident about their finances and get money really working for them in both their private practice and their lives? I’m your host, Linzy Bonham, therapist turned money coach and creator of the course Money Skills for Therapists. Hello and welcome back to the podcast. Today’s guest is Nicole McCance. Nicole McCance is a fellow Canadian. She is a psychologist who’s now retired, turned business coach, who helps therapists with their group practices, helping them make more money, help more people, and have more freedom. She’s also the host of the business savvy therapist, and this is probably going to be the most concise, I think, episode of the Money Skills for Therapists podcast that we’ve had so far. Concise is usually not the word that I would give for myself or the guests that we tend to have. But Nicole is so clear-thinking. Such actionable steps that she shares today about how good practice owners can increase their income without marketing. She gives them like really specific specific steps that folks can take to increase money coming in to the practice today, while also being able to help clients faster and talking to you about how group practice owners – who I have learned from experience tend to be some of the busiest humans that I know – can manage to get everything done. Some really good tips for group practice owners. Even if you’re not a group practice owner, there’s going be so much that Nicole mentions today that also can be applied to solo practice. Just some really good business practices, really clear thinking. Here is my conversation with Nicole McCance. So, Nicole, welcome to the podcast.
Nicole [00:02:21] Happy to be here.
Linzy [00:02:22] Yeah, I’m happy to have you. So I mean, something that’s always kind of nice and novel for me is you are actually like down the road from me. We’re going to use that term generously. But in the scope of online business, you’re basically my next door neighbor.
Nicole [00:02:34] My Canadian friend. I know. Totally.
Linzy [00:02:36] It’s very nice. And so your niche, you know, what we’re going to dig into today is group practice, right? So you came up through solo practice, built a great group practice, now you help folks with group practice. So I do also want to just like plant a little seed here for folks who are listening today, who are not group practice owners. A lot of what we’re going to talk about still is going to apply to solo practitioners today. Is that fair to say?
Nicole [00:02:59] Totally, yeah.
Linzy [00:03:00] They’re like general business principles. So they might not be scalable. When you have a group practice you’ve scaled and everything you do has scaled impact.
Nicole [00:03:08] Yes. Yeah.
Linzy [00:03:09] But a lot of these things are going to apply today. So if you’re a solo practice owner still listen, there’s going to be great stuff.
Nicole [00:03:13] You guys are going to love this.
Linzy [00:03:15] Some seeds for the future. If one day you do decide that you want to bring on other clinicians or practitioners. Yes.
Nicole [00:03:20] Can I just speak to that? Because I never knew guys that I would have a group practice ever.
Linzy [00:03:27] Wasn’t your plan.
Nicole [00:03:27] I just- it was when I was pregnant with twins. And I find a lot of people – I think your story is similar – once you become a parent, priorities change. And I really did it because I just couldn’t work the evenings and weekends anymore and was able to scale it really quickly and sell it. So here I am to tell you all the things.
Linzy [00:03:45] It’s so true. And I think that’s one of the beautiful things about business is you don’t necessarily need to know what your path is to still end up on these amazing paths that make sense for your life. Like you get to make your business suit your life.
Nicole [00:03:55] Isn’t that beautiful. We’re so lucky.
Linzy [00:03:57] It is so beautiful. We are so lucky. Okay, so let’s let’s start then, on like a practical note, when you are a group practice owner, like a lot of folks that I see in group practice, like they spend a lot of time thinking about marketing, obviously because they have like a suite of clinicians, maybe two, maybe ten, maybe 20 clinicians that they need to think about attracting folks. What are other ways to increase your income without marketing, if people feel like they’ve already hit the marketing wall or that’s not where they want to start.
Nicole [00:04:26] Yes, guys, please listen up. I think that some people listening have a bit of a leaky bucket, so they’re doing the marketing, but they have the bottlenecks and the clients aren’t sticking. So there’s three things. The first one might scare people because I’m saying the word sales. Reduce your sales cycle. What does that actually mean? If I go on your online booking right now, therapist’s listening, I want you to pay attention to: can I book within a few days? Most people, that’s not the case, right? If I, let’s say, to book a free consult takes me five days and then to actually see you for therapy takes me me another six days to get in. But here’s the thing, we know that human beings wait way too long to get the help that they need by the time they’re clicking book. Now, for that free consult, it’s like past their, you know, way past their need. And a lot of you, you want to grow, but you’re not allowing your practice to help that person, but you’re also not allowing that income to flow in. So can you imagine to take a 12 day sales cycle? So what I mean by that is how long it takes for them to click book. Now, book a consult and actually see you and have that money hit the bank. Let’s see. It takes 12 days, right, if you can. And I highly suggest allowing them to book within two days, get them the help they need. Now they are suffering and distressed. And guess what? You help more people, but you literally double your income because you went from a 12 day flow of income to a two day flow of income.
Linzy [00:06:02] Right. Right. So that new money comes in the door way, way faster.
Nicole [00:06:06] Yes. And then that makes base like it’s always flowing in way faster.
Linzy [00:06:10] Yes. Right. Because something else that occurs to me, too, is like you are reducing an emotional or a decision friction that people are going to have where if they need help now and they’re like, Oh, I can’t do a consult call with this person until next Wednesday. But that other person I looked at could talk to me Thursday and I’m like really suffering. You are also, you’re not as competitive. Like you’re not as appealing to somebody who feels like they need help. They needed help like three months ago. Let’s be real.
Nicole [00:06:35] Exactly. And their no show rate increases every day you make them wait. Know why? Because it’s sunny today and I’m actually fine. I’m just going to cancel or you made me wait long enough. Exactly what you just said. I actually found someone who can see me right now and solve my problems. Right?
Linzy [00:06:52] Right. So not only does it mean that that relationship starts faster, you know, the money starts coming to your practice faster from that good fit client. But also you’re going to convert more folks because.
Nicole [00:07:02] They’re going to show up.
Linzy [00:07:03] They’re not having to wait. There’s less time for them to change their mind.
Nicole [00:07:06] Yes, I think we’re in such a unique industry because our clients are suffering. I think that’s a big thing that people don’t realize. And there’s this sense of urgency and then other industries that they really need that appointment now and just a double check, because I’ll tell you a lot of group practice owners specifically that I work with, they’re too busy. They actually don’t know that that’s a bottleneck in their online booking. And then they go in like, Oh my gosh, here I am. All this marketing is going in and these people are- I can’t- I’m not allowing them to book.
Linzy [00:07:39] So true. Yes. Yes. So if you are listing now, I mean this would also apply to solo practitioners, but like go look at your website from like a potential client perspective. Like, I really need to see you. I’m having like perinatal mental health issues now. I just found out my partner’s having an affair. Now, how long do I have to wait to even talk to you to see if we could possibly be a good fit?
Nicole [00:08:02] Exactly. Yes. So that’s number one. There’s two more. Number two is reduce your no show rate. How do you reduce your no show rate? I’ll tell you this, your highest amount of no shows will be on your consult call. I suggest offering a free consult call. Think it’s so important in our industry. They need to talk to you. It’s about connection, right? They do. But your no show rate is going to be high on that because I think people didn’t- they haven’t met you yet. So they don’t really care to cancel. You know, they haven’t paid, they haven’t signed a consent form, you haven’t gone through the cancellation policy. So how to reduce your no show rate is allowing them to book within two days to reducing the sales cycle is going to help. But also having a follow up system. Maybe they felt okay so let’s say I booked three days ago and – a consult – and it’s today, but I’m actually feeling okay today. I actually had a pretty good sleep last night. I don’t need it. I’m going to cancel. If you don’t follow up with me, you’re not going to catch my cycle of moods. I didn’t deal with my problem. My problem is still there, and it’s going to pop up in probably another week. So you follow up.
Linzy [00:09:11] Right and like that follow up. What would that look like?
Nicole [00:09:14] Yeah. Oh, gosh. I teach people this.
Linzy [00:09:16] Yeah. You know, the bite size version.
Nicole [00:09:19] Yeah, I would, because the question is how quickly do you follow up and how do you even know? I love Jane App, because I can easily pull the metrics from Jane App practice management system. I would get your admin to follow up within a day. Now, that may seem like a lot, but I just canceled. I’m very warm in my buying process. I know, guys, this this feels weird because we’re talking about like sales and buying, but just hear me out. And so the fact that you reach out a day later, I’m going to be like, yes, okay, you know, let’s rebook. I will email, send them an email. No one answers the phones because of all the scams we get. Just send them an email. Within a day.
Linzy [00:09:57] Yeah, Because they’re still thinking about you. They haven’t forgotten about you yet. They just canceled, like, yesterday afternoon.
Nicole [00:10:02] You got it. Yes, you’ve got it. And maybe today’s not such a great day. So the probability that I book is high.
Linzy [00:10:08] Right. Which also I think, again, thinking about it from a potential client perspective, like they might be embarrassed that they canceled. And then feel crappy again the next day. So you’re also just normalizing like, hey, you know, noticed that you didn’t, you know, had to cancel yesterday. You just let us know if you need to rebook. We’d be so happy to talk with you. You’re also normalizing for them, like, Oh, okay. It’s totally fine that I canceled. It’s totally fine if I book another consult call.
Nicole [00:10:32] And we got you. You know what I mean? We’re here. You’re not alone.
Linzy [00:10:35] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I love that. Okay. And I know you have a third one. Yeah.
Nicole [00:10:39] Yes. Number three, increase your contact call conversion rate. So, number one, do you know it? Most people are like my what?
Linzy [00:10:47] Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole [00:10:48] And you can easily track how many calls, consult calls, you had this week, even in solo practice. For the group practice owners, I would have all my therapists in a sheet, just write down, Here’s all the consults and here’s the ones that didn’t book and then give them a process to help more people. There’s so many therapists that do not book on the consult. They feel weird about it, so they basically provide them value. Yeah, that person’s motivated, but they don’t say, Let’s book, right. I have Tuesday available and I actually suggest that they book four sessions. Here’s why. I think you’re setting up the stage that therapy is not a one-and-done at all ever. And at least I would explain it like, you know what, a treatment plan can vary. Let’s book at least the first month. Here’s why: my schedule is actually quite busy and you get 2:00 at two. Yes. And they just love that. They’re like, oh, my gosh, okay, they’re more likely to show up. And that commitment level to that, they’re like, okay, I’m in it. I’m excited. I’m going to get results.
Linzy [00:11:53] That’s so great. I really love that point about you’re setting an expectation from the beginning. You’re helping them understand, like, I’m not going to see you next Tuesday, and then you’re going to be like, I’m better. This is great. You are setting that stage for like, okay, now we’re going to start our work together. So let’s like plan out some of that work together. And I will say the regular schedule thing, the Tuesdays at two. People love that. Like when I did that, I- obviously there’s folks who sometimes like work shift work like there’s going to be exceptions always. Yes. But when I switched to a regular schedule in my in my own practice when I was solo and I said like, okay, your spot is Tuesday at two, we also had a cancellation policy that went with that. So there were boundaries around that. I had clients who were like literally elated, like so excited, like, I get to see you every Tuesday. Actually, that’s my spot. Yeah. You’re taking away that like stress too of them not knowing if they’re going to get in to see you next week. And like, you know, there is stress for our clients and our patients when they’re on an irregular schedule with us.
Nicole [00:12:51] And I also think it’s in a world that’s not predictable or consistent when you have young kids, let me tell you. Yeah. That it’s like, oh, I know one thing in my life that’s gonna happen.
Linzy [00:12:58] That’s right. Predictably, which like it’s such a beautiful thing because therapy, you know, as you talked about, what’s different about what we do is like folks are suffering right? And you’re giving them an anchor in their week to know, like no matter what happens, I’m going to see Nicole on Tuesday at two. It doesn’t matter what happens with my spouse between now and then. I’m going to get to talk about it on Tuesday.
Nicole [00:13:17] You got it. And I had some clients say, okay, three more days, three more days. And they would start planning all the things I know I’m going to tell.
Linzy [00:13:23] They already had multiple sessions with you in their head is anticipating that time together. Oh, I love that. That’s so good. So, I mean, with this, like, I know some of the group practice owners who are listening or are thinking about this, and they’re also thinking about 100 other things because something I’ve noticed also teaching group practice owners, like you do, in my course is group practice owners are some of the busiest humans. They are. They truly are. How do they do that? How do proprietors, owners, how do they pull it all off?
Nicole [00:13:54] Yeah. Thank you for bringing this up. I want to talk about this because some of them are like, That sounds really great, but I’m very busy. Yeah. Write this down, everybody. My favorite background music in my life. Create and delegate. Create and delegate. You probably have a little bit more freedom in your life, hopefully because you’re working a bit less because you’ve got other people seeing the clients. Yeah, I highly suggest that group practice owners. Yeah, they have to set it up once. Set up a tracking system for your no shows. A follow up system. Yes, that could take an hour of your day, but then you delegate it. It’s such a beautiful thing. Hopefully you have an admin that will change your life. So that will be worth every penny. And you’re not doing this because your hour obviously is worth way more.
Linzy [00:14:42] Yes. Oh, I love it. It rhymes. It rhymes. So it’s true. Create and delegate. But yeah, I love that piece too about, you know, an admin who changes. Like it’s something else that I’ve noticed. And I don’t know if you’ve also noticed this. The folks you support. Is you do also need to let an admin change your life. Like you need to let go. You can’t be the best at everything and the only person who does everything you need to create and then truly let somebody else own it.
Nicole [00:15:09] Yes. So in my program, one of the things I help them with is hiring, having really good interview questions, reference letters, giving them a personality test, because I think that trust has to happen first. Yeah, I was and still am, a recovering control freak, so that was hard on me. And so I get it. We’re type A, but once you find your unicorn, your life truly changes.
Linzy [00:15:31] Yeah, it’s true. Yeah, I 100% agree. So for people listening then, like what is the first thing they should focus on if they’re listening give they’re like all these things. There’s all your great ideas. There’s always so many great things you can do for your business. What’s one? What should they focus on first? Yeah, what’s one?
Nicole [00:15:48] Take a peek. Even if it means that you’re getting up an hour earlier. I know that doesn’t seem great, but it’s really my magic morning routine. I get up before my kids do.
Linzy [00:15:57] Yes.
Nicole [00:15:58] And go in there with fresh eyes and look. You know what? You’re looking for One thing and one thing only. Bottlenecks. Look for the bottlenecks. What does that actually mean? I want you to go into your online booking. Please use online booking. It’ll streamline so much for you. And be a client for a second. Click on the button and see. Can I get an appointment within 48 hours? Oh no. That means I need more availability and maybe I need to hire or I need to shift things around. But you probably are wasting money on marketing if you’re not allowing the people to book, they literally want to book with you, so you’re making them wait.
Linzy [00:16:34] Oh, that’s brilliant. Yeah. And the leaky, leaky bucket. Before I go back to that for a second, I think is so, so helpful because we hear about marketing all the time. Yeah. I feel like, you know, so many folks who have come on to the podcast or want to come on the podcast. Everybody talks about marketing.
Nicole [00:16:47] It’s the hot topic keyword. Totally.
Linzy [00:16:50] There’s so many ways to market. Marketing’s so exciting, it’s so sexy, so fun, So, so people think it’s not my fave, but it’s like that is seen as the one solution. And what I’m hearing is like, you could be spending tons of money on marketing, but you’re losing folks before they’re even getting in the door. In this case, you’ve got it.
Nicole [00:17:05] And you know what I love, Linzy, about everything we just talked about? It’s free. Yeah, totally free, right? Marketing is not free. Everything: reducing your sales cycle, reducing your no show rate, and increasing your consult conversion rate – Free, free, and free.
Linzy [00:17:18] Mm. Beautiful. Beautiful. Very affordable. Thank you. So, Nicole, for folks who want to get further into your world, where can they find you and follow you?
Nicole [00:17:27] Yes. If you love podcasts, I have one is about the business savvy therapist. Every Tuesday new episodes release and I have a starter kit for you. Expand your practice starter kit the first three steps because some people, even if you’re in group practice, are wondering, I’m feeling lost. Or maybe it’s time to take the leap into group practice and the link. I’ll give you the link. It will be in the show notes and you can get the starter kit.
Linzy [00:17:51] Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Nicole, for coming in today. This is like really great actionable stuff. So I hope folks who are listening, if this applies to you and your practice group practice, even solo practitioners, take those helpful pieces, go do the things. That’s going to make a big difference.
Nicole [00:18:04] Amazing. Thanks for having me.
Linzy [00:18:18] Something that sticks out to me from my conversation with Nicole is just we can’t assume that everything is working the way that we want it to. It’s so helpful to stop and just take a look at things. You know, she suggests that early morning, if you have kids, I can definitely see the benefit of that before the chaos of the day starts. Just look at your website. Look at that intake process. Like one is a contact call available. With those fresh eyes from the perspective of a potential client. Right. What is it like for them to try to get a hold of you and you might discover that it’s not the experience you want to be giving them. So really, really helpful, actionable piece there around making sure that folks can get in to see you sooner because clinically that’s helpful. And from a business perspective, that’s also really helpful. So great advice from Nicole. Group practice owners who are listening. I also want to give you a heads up that we’re going to be opening the doors again for Money Skills for Group Practice Owners, which is my course that’s all about taking you from feeling like an overworked, stressed, and underpaid group practice owner to being the confident and empowered financial leader of your group practice. To hear about the doors when they open for that course, you should get on the waitlist. There’s a link in the show notes. Get on the waitlist for Money Skills for Group Practice Owners so you hear about it when we start our next program, which is going to be running in January. If you enjoyed the podcast, you can follow me on Instagram at @moneynutsandbolts. And as always, if you are enjoying the podcast, I would so appreciate a review on Apple Podcasts. It’ll take you 2 minutes, maybe three. It is the best way for other therapist health practitioners to find us. Thanks for listening today.