When we talk about “sales” on a therapist website, what we’re referring to is the experience, from design to words, that helps a website visitor become a client.
When done well, the experience for your visitor includes:
- Feeling seen and understood around their current pain
- Understanding the therapist is curious about the potential client’s emotional experience
- Not feeling alone – like the therapist is present
- Discovering concerns are cared for
- Feeling clear on what the next steps are for getting help
- Connecting with a fellow human who is vulnerable, relatable, and shares a reality
Deeper aspects of sales, such as confirming fit and caring for any further concerns are a continuation of the sales process initiated on the website. The conversation continues during that first consultation call or session.
Why Therapists Educate On Their Sales Pages
Educating on a therapist website is a very common mistake and is less effective at connecting with clients. Educating can also lead visitors to feel like they are responsible for diagnosing themselves, not great.
Here are some guesses as to why therapists educate on their websites:
- It’s hard to know the difference between education and sales. Educating may seem like what ought to go on a website.
- Therapists may not think of their website as “sales” – maybe due to sales aversion.
- Educating feels aligned – a natural extension of the hearts therapists have for being helpful.
- You want to be sure that your incoming client has “all the information” – especially if you are offering specialized modality (EMDR, ART, expressive therapy, MBSR…)
- Or maybe something else
It makes so much sense that educating instead of selling so common. And, it also makes sense for therapists to understand the difference and take courageous action to sell instead.
Examples of Education vs. Sales
The best way to get an idea of education vs. sales is through real examples.
Education: “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest and can interfere with your daily life…”
Vs. sales: “You play video games for hours, not because you actually enjoy them, but because when you stop, reality hits, and it becomes difficult to deal with your thoughts. Sleep deprived, with zero joy, you sometimes find yourself wondering if you’ll ever feel like your normal happy self…”
Education: “What is Trauma? Trauma is the lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Experiencing a traumatic event can harm a person’s sense of safety, sense of self, and ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships…”
“You know you want to ‘regulate your nervous system’ but you don’t know how. All the TikToks, Youtube videos, and books you’ve consumed have given you pieces of the how-to-regulate-puzzle but you still aren’t quite sure how to do it…”
(Note that how sales is written for trauma really depends on the level of healing and awareness your best-fit client is in. This example above, I wrote it for myself, someone who’s been in trauma therapy healing from CPTSD for 10+ years and is actively seeking regulation skills)
Education: “Dr. John Gottman created the concept that a secure partnership is like a house. It has walls that bear weight and levels that each individual in the relationship builds upon to create a stable bond. He called this model the Sound Relationship House…”
Vs. sales: “… Imagine having the love you’ve always wanted. Imagine resolving those same arguments that keep coming up again and again. Wouldn’t it feel nice to have a home that didn’t feel like a warzone? One where you aren’t walking on eggshells around each other?…”
But Kat, What If I Love Sharing What I Know?
Educating is awesome. It’s just not sales.
The good news is there’s a place for education on a therapist website and beyond: put education in your blog, social content, or other avenues for content marketing.
Turns out being generous with what you know can be a key piece of attracting clients and referral sources to your website. So sharing what you know is awesome – just in the right-fit contexts.
Doing Sales On Your Website Is The Most Compassionate Thing You Can Do
It’s ok to sell and in fact, it’s what people NEED most when they land on your website.
- Being conscious the pain of another
- Taking action to alleviate it
So what is the actual pain that someone is experiencing that lands them on your website?
- They aren’t looking to learn stuff like a psychology student.
- They aren’t seeking a deep intellectual understanding of the challenges they face.
- They aren’t wanting to sit back and say, “Hmmm yes yes, it’s so interesting all the types of depression someone could have. So glad I landed on this therapist website to understand that seasonal affective disorder is only one type of the 5 major types of depression…”
So what is their pain? What are they looking for? They are in pain and they are looking for help with that pain. AND they likely have already determined that therapy could help.
The most compassionate thing to do is to meet them where they are and sell them the help they are seeking.
They aren’t seeking information. They are seeking therapy.
So sell therapy. Help more clients. Contribute to easing global suffering. Change the world. We believe in you and the important work you do.