In this post, I'll lay out the basic framework Alex Hormozi uses to get more clients for his businesses and relate it to therapists. For those who don't know, Alex Hormozi is a businessman who specializes in taking companies from 5 million to 20 million a year.
(Kind of a crazy job.)
One of the things Alex talks a lot about is how to get clients. So I've been studying his process and adapting it to counselors and therapists.
Trouble is, it's turning into quite a long blog post.
So I've decided to break it up into three blogs. This one, the first one, will lay out his basic framework.
The simple strategy counselors can use to fill their solo private practice
On the surface, Alex's strategy is very simple.
Make two things.
Give the first thing away for free. Now you have clients.
Offer the second thing to your clients in exchange for money. Now you have paying clients.
How counselors can fill their solo private practice by using lead magnets and loss leaders
The first thing, which you give away, is called a lead magnet. A lead is a marketing word for a potential customer. So a lead magnet is something you give away because it draws in customers (like a magnet).
If you've ever gone to a website and a box pops up which reads "sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you our PDF," or something like that, then you've seen a lead magnet.
In fact, here's one now.
Most lead magnets are digital products: ebooks, online courses, podcasts, code, etc., because digital products cost nothing to reproduce. If a billion people want a hard copy of my book, then I'd have to figure out a way to print, store, and ship the books, all of which cost time and money. If a billion people want an ecopy of my book, they just download the book. It costs me nothing.
But you're not limited to digital products. In the real world, businesses use what's called a loss leader. A loss leader is something on which they lose money, but it draws people into your store, where they'll likely buy something else.
For instance, a movie theater loses money on your ticket (they sell tickets at a loss), but they make back the money when you buy popcorn (movie popcorn is massively overpriced). The movie is the loss leader, and the popcorn is the money maker.
My business partner and I have also started using a loss leader.
August 4th we'll be coaching (live) a not-fully-licensed therapist on how she can start her private pay practice now. Usually coaching with us is $360 per hour, but we're opening this coaching session to our community as a case study webinar.
We only have 7 spots left though, and registration closes soon. So if you want to come please sign up ASAP.
We're doing this, transparently, because we're following Hormozi's framework.
Have two products. The first you give away to get clients (1 hour case study webinars). The second you sell to make money (individualized coaching).
Why some counselors try to fill their solo private practice by using lead magnets, but it doesn't work.
The trouble with lead magnets is that most of them are low quality. No one actually wants the thing you are giving away.
Alex's fix for this is revolutionary.
First, look around at what the competition is doing.
Second, spend real time and money making a better product.
Third, give the product away for free.
The idea is you want your free thing to be better than your competition's paid thing.
This is hard for most of us. We don't want to work on something for six months only to give it away. I get it.
The fix is to know your LTV or lifetime value of a customer.
For instance, say you run a barbershop. You know that your average client comes in twice a month, and you charge them $20, and they tend to stay for about a year. That means in the course of a year, they'll come 26 times. At $20 a visit, your average client is worth $520.
If you wanted more clients, you could do Free Cut Fridays where every Friday you give away free haircuts. That would "cost" you money. Every person you saw on Friday would be $20 you didn't earn. However, each person who became a long-term client would earn you $520 over the course of a year.
So that client cost you $20, but you made $520 for a net profit of $500.
Of course, in practice, it's a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea. The client cost $20, but then you made $520 off of them, so it was a profitable trade - if you think long term.
How counselors can fill their solo private practice by using lead magnets: An example
So how does this work in counseling?
Well, you could create a lead magnet. In my area, I see a lot of Mormon couples . So I could write an e-book like "Sealed in Love: How to maintain the spark while parenting young kids" (sealed is a reference to a religious ritual in the Mormon church).
Or I could create a loss leader and give free/low-cost classes on healthy relationships for different wards (the Mormon version of different congregations).
The trouble is you have to avoid the two traps therapists fall into when using this approach: they don't define their client, and they are afraid of losing money.
Defining your ideal client
Most therapists make two mistakes when defining their ideal client.
First, they pick a diagnosis instead of a demographic. They say, "I'm running anxiety groups" when they should say "I'm running divorce recovery groups for women."
Second, they try and pick an imaginary demographic instead of someone they already work with. They say, "I want to run yoga classes for C-suite executives" when they've only worked with middle school kids.
Don't get me wrong, you can do yoga classes for C-suite executives. You'd just have to put in the work. First, you'd have to find out who are the gatekeepers who have access to c-suite executives (Maybe it's business coaches or certain professors at universities). Then you'd need to learn to present yourself in such a way that they'd take you seriously. Then you'd need to figure out what's trendy with c-suite execs. Do they do yoga, or are they more into mindfulness now? And of course, you'll have to figure out a dozen other things that will come up along the way. You can do that. It's the hard way to get clients, but you can do it.
The easy way is to look at the demographic you already serve and see what problem they commonly have.
For example, I wouldn't normally try to start working with the Mormon community (I'm not Mormon), but I already have connections to the Mormon community in my area.
I already see a good number of Mormon clients.
I have several Mormon friends who already refer to me.
I have been invited to several Mormon community events.
Because of this, it's reasonable for me to target my efforts towards that community.
Be comfortable losing short term money
I think some therapists will read this and go, "oh, I already do this. We have interns who provide therapy at a reduced price."
What Alex is saying is a little different. Alex recommends your free/low-cost product be better than other people's paid product. This means you'd have your best therapists, not the interns, providing low-cost therapy.
I know this is a big ask for many group practice owners because your best clinicians probably make you more money than interns.
Maybe this idea wouldn't work for you. Just think it through and run the numbers.
Would it make sense to showcase your best clinicians so they can bring in more clients? If they brought in more clients, how quickly could you fill your other clinicians? Instead of them doing low-cost therapy, could they do community events or give classes?
It's up to you. Just make an informed decision.
To fill your practice this way requires a change in focus.
When I first heard of this, honestly, it sounded like too much work. I think it feels this way because I was focused on the wrong thing.
In my anxiety, I was focused on getting clients, and anything which cost time and money felt like a move in the wrong direction.
But what if we change our focus from getting to giving?
What if we changed our focus from acquiring clients to providing something uniquely valuable to our clients? Think about someone like Esther Perel or Bessel van der Kolk.
Many people feel Perel and van der Kolk have given a lot to the field. Perel has given sex therapy insights to the masses, and van der Kolk has done the same for trauma.
Both of them focused less on getting and more on giving of their time and expertise. And I suspect they wound up with more clients than they can ever handle.
Wait, before you go!
Alex Hormozi's brand new book 100M Leads is coming out, and we're invited to the launch on August 19th.
If you're interested, you can sign up here for free.
When you sign up, not only will you be notified the day Alex's book comes out... But you'll also get two exclusive bonus chapters (Released after the event). And, you can get all the free goodies he'll be giving out on the 19th of August (Only if you want).
Alex's first book sold over 430,000 copies, and I think this new one is going to sell even more copies.
I'll be adapting more of his content to our needs as therapists, but I think the book will still have tons more than I can outline here. So I just wanted to let you know about this.
It's a one-time event, so make sure you don't miss out. Sign up for the book launch.
Jordan (the Counselor),
 I want to acknowledge that many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do not prefer the term Mormon. I merely use is for clarity as most people are unware of the official title.
If you liked this post, consider reading this next. I think you'll like it ;) It's about how to make 100k as a counselor.
Jordan Harris, Ph.D., LMFT-S, LPC-S received his Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana Monroe. He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Arkansas, USA. In his clinical work he enjoys working with couples. He also runs a blog on deliberate practice for therapists and counselors at Jordanthecounselor.com