Channeling Oliver Twist and the Two Steps of MORE

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This past week, for the first time, AdvoConnection Directory-listed APHA members were able to access their statistics (analytics) for their AdvoConnection profiles.

  • How many visitors found the advocate’s profile in the last month?
  • How many of those visitors were unique? (first visits)
  • How long did they stay, on average, to read the profile?

Of course, the idea for each listed advocate is to try to improve upon those numbers, month over month, knowing that the MORE people who contact them, the MORE clients they may end up working with…

Or, with a nod to Charles Dickens, and channeling Oliver Twist, “Please Sir! I want some more!”

M-O-R-E?

Well – yes – most AdvoConnection-listed advocates would tell you they would like more clients. And most believe that MORE clients will result from MORE profile visits.

But that assumption is only partially true.

To better understand why, let’s more closely examine that concept of MORE.

The Questions Asked

With the new stats review came questions:

  • How many people need to look at my profile before someone actually hires me?
  • Why do people call me, but then no one hires me?
  • She didn’t get as many profile visits as I did, but two clients hired her. Why didn’t they hire me?

Finding the Answers

The more people who find your profile, the more people who then contact you about helping them, and the more conversations you have. Many advocates believe that is all there is. A numbers game. With more conversations come more clients.

But that’s not necessarily true.

In truth, MORE conversations mean MORE opportunities to engage with a contracted client. That’s the key. Those phone calls and emails don’t represent new clients. They represent opportunities.

So – Step One is to maximize your opportunities.

Maximizing your opportunities means better marketing, including updating and honing of all your online presences. SEO, links, commenting on others’ blogs, Facebook pages or Twitter posts – those can be done to make your profile and web presences more enticing. Public speaking, newsletters, maybe some advertising – those must be done off line so people actually go looking for you….

Marketing is the very vital task of creating opportunities; the one that will make your phone ring and your email sing!

Further – marketing is totally within your own control and responsibility. YOU are the one who makes it happen. You don’t have to wait for anyone else.

Once you’ve honed your marketing, then the tougher work begins, and it’s often ignored. It’s time for Step Two.

Step Two is to convert an opportunity to a paying client.

That’s a huge leap, and its too often overlooked by new advocates, especially those who have never owned a business before.  It’s the recognition that now that you have an opportunity to acquire a potential client, you must encourage them to say yes, to sign on the bottom line, and to write you a check.

How do you do that?  You practice, practice, practice. You must learn how to carry on the conversation, how to listen carefully to their needs and concerns, what important phrases and concepts to share, how to discuss the cost and scope of your service, how to estimate your time and skill commitment, then how to review a contract, ask for a signature, and of course, ask for money, and get paid.

This, too, is totally within your own control and responsibility. But it does take work! And, like any new skill, it must be learned and honed to become efficient, effective, and successful.

As you can see. MORE requires both steps. Encourage opportunities, then convert them to paying clients.

Let’s look at two examples:

Advocate A has a very standard online profile that talks about her ability to help people navigate the healthcare system and provide them with basic advocacy skills. She lives in a large metro area so there are millions of potential clients within a 50 mile range of her.

She gets 500 online visitors each month (the total for her AdvoConnection profile, her website, and her Facebook page) resulting in about 50 calls a month from interested individuals. But it’s rare a new client hires her.

She’s frustrated. She doesn’t understand about Step Two.

Advocate B has a very standard online profile, too. It talks about the benefits to people who hire him to navigate the healthcare system and showcases his ability to support them with basic advocacy skills. He lives in the same large metro area as Advocate A, so there are millions of potential clients within 50 miles.

He gets those same 500 visitors to his profile, website, and social media each month and gets about the same number of calls, too.

3-4 new clients hire him each month.

 

So what’s the difference?

Advocate B has developed his skills for Step Two.  He has worked hard to perfect his phone work. He knows how to qualify inquiries, how to conduct the calls to be sure the salient points are made in the shortest amount of time, how to be sure his callers feel HEARD, how to transition to the discussion of money and contracts, how to arrange for electronic signatures and money transfers – all those BUSINESS skills that separate good advocacy practice owners from good advocates.

And that’s the big difference. His acquisition of MORE clients reflects his ability to convert his opportunities, achieved through practice, practice, practice of BUSINESS skills.

MORE Is Totally Under Your Control

So many people who could have been great independent advocates end up walking away from advocacy as a career because they never work on Step Two, and this redefined concept of MORE.

Please make sure you aren’t one of them!  Please realize that the ability to attract and contract with more clients is totally within your own hands through basic marketing.  Further, that converting them from a simple phone or email outreach, to a paying client, is totally under your control, too.

Your early success is not about advocacy. It’s about business. Or, to channel Oliver Twist – it’s about MORE business than advocacy in the early years.

Do you want M-O-R-E?  It IS within your grasp!

And it’s time for you to take control.

 

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