Beverly Price, RD, MA, RYT, knows how slow business can get between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. She has put together a great program Marketing Strategies for Slow Times During the Holidays, and even includes a section on what to do for our clients and referrers.
It happens every year just before Thanksgiving and lasts through the end of the year—business tends to slow down for many ancillary healthcare professionals—particularly those professionals who work with patients needing diet and exercise. Why is this? Wouldn’t you think that individuals would want to pay more attention to their health with numerous food and beverage temptations lying around the office, parties, etc.? Stress and holiday blues revisit at an all time high—wouldn’t you think that your patients would want to address these issues to get through the holidays?
Often, the answer to this question is “No.” People create a busy-ness for themselves, whether it is running around purchasing gifts, attending holiday functions, traveling, etc. and tend to put their health on the back burner. However, there are some individuals who use down time from work to book those healthcare appointments that they didn’t have time for when the workload was heavy. Often, visits to the mental health practitioner are increased during the holiday season.
What can you, as a professional, do during the holiday season to promote your business/department and keep your patients motivated?
· Use the holiday party scene to schmooze with potential clients and distribute your business card. What a great place to talk about what you do, as you notice an invited guest complaining that the holiday desserts put her over the edge.
· Attend networking meetings that you may not have had time for during the year. These range from Women’s Business Groups, Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI), and independent entrepreneurs groups.
· Connect with colleagues that you haven’t seen for awhile. Go out to lunch and discuss how you can cross-refer.
· Write articles for local publications that feature holiday tips or New Year’s resolutions, or work on obtaining media coverage for upcoming programs where you can sell a story behind it.
· Update your website—maybe it needs a fresh, clean look.
· Revise your business and marketing plan—often when you put things in writing, they are more likely to happen because you will follow through!
· Deliver gifts to your referral sources. With money often tight around holiday time, consider the following:
-Homemade gift baskets—featuring fruit, essential oils, body lotion, soaps, dark chocolate.
-Mugs, pens, notepads and/or other office paraphernalia with your business or department logo
-Gift certificates for lunch at your referral sources favorite restaurant
-Bottle of nice wine (that isn’t too expensive!)
-Decorative item from local holiday craft sale
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, manage your stress and create some space for yourself. You’ll be happier, healthier and ready to start the New Year with a bang!
Beverly Price is a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist and registered yoga teacher who offers individual and group nutrition and yoga therapy in Bingham Farms and Royal Oak, Michigan. She provides continuing education programs and consultation for dietitians, diabetes educators and other healthcare professionals looking to expand their business, department or improve customer service. For more information, log on to www.gettingthatjumpstart.com