This One Strategy Improves EVERYTHING In Your OT Private Pay Practice

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The way you show up with your occupational therapy private pay practice makes all the difference in whether you are attracting clients who are excited to work with you or constantly dealing with no shows.


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Fo Occupational Therapists who find their private pay business not as busy as they'd like, or facing client no-shows, then one of the best things you can do is really step into being the "expert." Being seen as an "expert" doesn't mean you know everything or have to talk down to people, rather it is about sharing your knowledge and passion to attract clients.

In this video, Doug Vestal, Ph.D., discusses 3 different places that you can immediately start implementing an "expert" strategy that builds client confidence, makes them excited to work with you, and leads to less no-shows and more referrals.

This video is not intended as professional or legal advice. Be sure to seek the services of a professional and understand the risks you are undertaking.

Transcript of Video:

If your OT private pay practice is struggling then you may have an expert problem.


If your OT private pay practice isn’t attracting clients who are willing to pay out of pocket then you may have an expert problem


If your OT private pay practice is having clients who drop off from your schedule before completing their plan of care then you may have an expert problem.


And, if you are having these types of struggles, then its going to be hard for you to keep your doors open, retain your staff, and ultimately have the ability to impact your clients lives.


And when I say you have an “expert” problem what I mean is that you likely have a perception problem of being an expert.


Of course, you are an expert in your OT practice area – but likely, if you are struggling in these parts, there isn’t enough being done to project this expertise to your clients.


And luckily, there are a few fairly simple ways to fix this.


If you are new here, my name is Doug Vestal and I help OTs just like you open and grow thriving Private Pay practices.  OT school doesn’t teach business skills and I’m here to fix that.  My wife and I founded a very successful private pay OT practice in NYC and I make these videos so you can achieve success faster based on our experiences.  The world needs more OT entrepreneurs just like you.


If your practice is struggling to grow, one of the first things I would look at is what I call the “Expert Strategy.”


And, here is the difficulty, in much of my coaching with OTs many of them recoil at the idea of being called an expert.


Even thinking about being a quote/unquote “expert” can bring up really strong feelings of being an imposter.


And I talk about imposter feeling a lot in my online course Private Pay MBA because it can be such a roadblock to attracting the client you can help.


But here’s the thing, you are an expert, you can help people.  You have helped people.


So you should absolutely embody being an expert in your area.  Being an expert doesn’t mean you have to know everything, which is what we often think.


An expert can be someone who knows something very specific, very bespoke, and focused that others don’t know.  And, I bet that describes some of your abilities.


And know this, your clients are looking up to you. 


You have to remember this – in their eyes, they want to see someone who is an expert.  Your client is looking for guidance.  The client wants your recommendations.  They are looking for someone who knows more than them.  They are waiting for you to step into embodying your expertise.


As you establish your expertise in your community, you will find that you will attract more clients who willingly pay your rates, refer to you, and sing your praises.


In addition, you will attract clients rather than chasing clients because they will already decide they want to work with you.


We have to remember this:  there isn’t any client in the world who is thinking to themselves “let me go see an amateur for my problem.” 

All clients want to see “the expert.”


And so operating from this stance is one of the best things you can do for your practice.


And there’s 3 areas I would recommend you start with.


The first is your marketing content for your practice.  This is likely how most new clients will first come across you.  This is your website, your blog posts, the videos you post, the workshops you give.  Anything that falls under marketing.


And here is a key idea – to establish yourself as an expert, don’t talk about yourself and your qualifications.  Yes, I know that sounds weird.


You are probably saying, well how am I supposed to be seen as an expert if I don’t tell them about my degree, the certification I have, etc.


The way you do this is you talk about your potential clients and their problem.  You don’t talk about yourself.


The quickest way to be seen as an expert in your OT specialty is to show your clients you know what they are going through, use language they use to describe their problem, and offer valuable information for how they can get better.


An expert isn’t about the letters after your name.  An expert is about making your potential client feel heard and understood.


You want a potential client who says to themselves “wow, she really understands what I’m dealing with” instead of just “well – she has a degree on the wall.”




Focusing on education in your marketing is one of the best ways you can use to build up your expertise in your community.


The second way to be seen as an expert in your OT services is how you recommend the plan of care.


One of the biggest problems I see in the OTs I work with is what they do immediately after an evaluation with a new client.


The new client has finally come in for an evaluation.  Taken a risk and decided to finally do something about their problem.


And the client is looking to the OT to provide some certainty. 


But, often what happens is the OT is very nervous to suggest an entire plan of care.  Instead of recommending 6 sessions to start, they say things like “let’s start with a couple and see what happens.”


Now, this happens for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes it is imposter syndrome coming up.  Sometimes the OT is subconsciously trying to not suggest the needed amount of sessions due to concerns around money and the client.


But – you have to remember, that the client wants a solid recommendation.  The client wants your clinical opinion.


That’s why they are there.


And so, we can unconsciously sabotage our efforts to be seen as an expert by not being sure, not being certain, in recommending a plan of care with authority.


If you don’t, the client will 100% come away confused.  They won’t know what to think but most likely they will think to themselves “well I guess they can’t really help me, otherwise they would have more recommendations.”

So, step into your clinical reasoning and don’t shy away from expressing the entire plan of care that you think is clinically reasonable.


Remember, your client after an eval is looking for that expert opinion, so provide it – don’t artificially hold back


The 3rd way to establish yourself as an expert in your community is how you are following up with your clients.


When you follow up with the client between sessions, you are establishing not only that you care, that you are invested in their progress, but also that you have faith in the work.


That you have confidence in what you are telling them to do between sessions.  And that if your client isn’t making progress that you have alternative recommendations for them.


This gives them both conscious and subconscious clues that you are a wealth of information.  And it constantly reinforces to them that you are the OT they want on their side.