Helping Clients Choose You

By Karen James Chopra

Last month in the Career Convergence article "Launching a Successful Private Practice", we explored fears about launching a private practice. For many, not being able to attract and keep enough clients is the greatest concern. Finding clients for your practice does not require glitzy marketing materials, just some careful thinking about how you can build a relationship with potential clients so that coming to you for help is easy, almost inevitable.


Each of the tools below is an opportunity to foster a bond of trust and openness with a potential client.

Your Website

A website is essential. The bulk of my clients find me on the web, making marketing easier. A website with the right information and tone can convince a client to work with you. To increase the impact of your website:

First Phone Call with the Client

Once a potential client has left a message for you, return it as soon as possible. This contact can determine whether the client will choose you.

The Welcome Packet

Create a welcome packet to mail or email to clients before the first session to orient them on how you work. It conveys your professionalism, and further strengthens the bond between you and your client. Here are some suggestions for what to include:

The First Session

The first session is another critical step in crystallizing the bond between you and the client. Focus on the client's concerns. Among the topics to cover are:

Final Note

When clients feel respected and heard, and see you as accessible and professional, it is easy for them to decide to work with you. By giving potential clients multiple opportunities to form a bond with you, you remove selling from the equation. Then you can do what you do best: career counseling.


Karen James Chopra, LPC, MCC, NCC, has a flourishing career counseling practice in Washington, D.C. She has also worked in the outplacement industry for Lee Hecht Harrison and Resource Careers, and was a regular guest commentator on a local radio show "Your Career Life." Recently, she has filmed several career "how to" videos for MonkeySee.com. Her website is http://www.chopracareers.com/, and her email address is: Karen@ChopraCareers.com .

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