Post Updated [September 28, 2022]
It’s a familiar dynamic for health and wellness practitioners everywhere. One month your practice is thriving, and the next month you can almost hear the crickets when you open your weekly planner. So, why are there suddenly gaps where client bookings should be?
When you’re busy managing other aspects of your practice and helping people reach their health and wellness goals, making sure clients continue scheduling appointments and follow-ups might not always be top of mind. But it is a critical component to stabilizing and scaling a business. That’s because repeat clients drive recurring revenue, which makes it easier for you to predict cash flow and generate sustainable profits. Determining exactly how much profit is required for successfully growing and managing a small business will be unique to each practice.
How Much Should a Small Business Grow Each Year?
The answer to how much growth is appropriate for your health and wellness practice is, “It depends.” If you have external investors or partners who expect your business to grow at a certain rate, your goals will be different than someone who is a sole proprietor setting their own goals. In the absence of any external pressures, it may be helpful to know that the health and wellness industry overall grows 5-10% per year.
Why Booking Recurring Appointments is Important to Fueling Growth
What you’re striving to build is a practice with enough predictable revenue to remain stable while you work on scaling it. When you consider that 82% of small businesses fail because of cash flow issues, finding more ways to generate recurring revenue makes a lot of sense. While you can explore different methods for diversifying revenue streams—such as selling digital products like templates, courses, and eBooks—encouraging clients to book recurring appointments is low-hanging fruit for increasing cash flow.
If you’ve already mastered scheduling appointments for a client’s first intake meeting, it’s time to turn your attention towards how to get clients to rebook. Keep reading to discover a few simple strategies for rebooking clients so you can keep the momentum going (and your revenue flowing).
3 Simple Strategies: How to Get Clients to Rebook
1. Book Their Next Session Before the Current Session Ends
When you’re finishing up a session with a client, you’ll typically send them off with a list of next steps or goals to follow through on. But keeping clients on track is easier if you both know when you’ll see each other next. This is a fantastic opportunity to build on the wins of the session you’ve just completed and book your next appointment with them.
- At the end of every session, make a habit of letting your clients know about your upcoming availability and suggest a few possible dates and times for their next booking.
- Even better, after their first appointment, see if you can convince them to book a recurring appointment for a set period of time. Just remember to keep it bite-sized. Bi-weekly follow ups for the next two months will be easier to commit to than weekly appointments for the next six months.
- Let your clients know the importance of these follow-up visits as part of their overall health plan. You can even frame it as a deadline around what they should anticipate accomplishing by what date–something psychology tells us is quite powerful for improving motivation and performance.
Encouraging Advanced Booking Suggests You’re in High Demand
Booking sessions in advance is also an organic way to remind clients that your services are valuable and desirable — this can add a sense of urgency and exclusivity to your request to rebook. If the client knows you’ll be busy in the coming weeks or months, they’ll be more inclined to try to get one of those hard-to-get spots. The Make Me Look Busy function in the Practice Better scheduler can help you automatically manage your availability and visually convey to clients that your professional time is highly coveted by others.
Want to make booking follow-ups even more attractive? Offer your clients the choice of making their next appointment virtual or in-person. If a physical meeting isn’t necessary, consider offering the option to meet over the phone or via video chat services like Zoom, or Practice Better.
When you choose to ask your client to book their next appointment is up to you. Some practitioners like to get it out of the way at the start of their session, but rebooking clients may be an easier ask later in the meeting once you’ve developed a rapport with a new client or provided them valuable advice.
2. Bundle Up Your Offerings
Bundling is a common marketing strategy that encourages the purchaser to purchase several products and/or services at once. While bundling often involves offering a group of products or services at a slightly lower price than if they were purchased separately, this strategy gives practitioners another tool for encouraging clients to book recurring appointments.
- Imagine you offer a client a bundle of four 1:1 nutrition counseling sessions, plus a few months of access to an online peer support group. Once they’ve bought in, the logical step is to book in those sessions right away. Since the online support group is at a regular time, that’s another repeating touchpoint you put in the client’s calendar. All of this not only increases customer loyalty to your brand, but it can drive up a client’s lifetime value (LTV) as they continue to come back for more of your services.
- Those quiet periods in your calendar could be another good time to introduce bundled deals. For example, if July and August tend to be slower times, bundle offers can act as an incentive for clients to book in with you.
- You can experiment with making it a condition to pre-book recurring appointments any time a client purchases a bundle. Remember: it’s important to highlight the added value customers get when they buy a bundle over an individual item. Benefits to underscore could include things like more focused 1:1 time with you, a predictable cadence towards reaching goals thanks to pre-booked appointments, and even more value for their health and wellness spend.
3. Use a Scheduling Software that Automates Your Booking Process
If you’ve already been using the strategies outlined above for rebooking clients and still struggle to keep your calendar filled, then Practice Better can help. One of the many great features of Practice Better is the ability to send appointment booking reminders and invites to your clients with just a few clicks.
- From your My Services page you can easily send reminders to your clients to rebook follow-ups or other package sessions.
- Inviting a client to rebook is as simple as clicking Invite to Book — no need to sell them on a package or broach the subject during an in-person meeting.
- Simply customize the subject line and message and send.
Has a client purchased a package of sessions but not booked their appointments yet? Practice Better has you covered there as well. Again, with just a few clicks you can remind a client about the package they’ve purchased and invite them to rebook with a simple reminder. You can also click the Invite without package button to send your client a reminder to book a session not associated with an already purchased package.
If you’re having trouble standing out in a noisy client inbox, you can send booking reminders via SMS text message with the Practice Better Pro and Plus plans. You also have total control over when you’d like the client to book by suggesting an exact date/time or earliest date available to them.
Even highly automated admin tasks can feel like they are taking you away from your primary goal of spending more time with clients. You can take some of the admin load off your plate by hiring a virtual assistant. A combination of Practice Better plus the right virtual assistant has the potential to free you from the time suck of administration, so you can focus on higher-value activities that contribute meaningfully to scaling a business.
How a Scheduling Software Can Get You Recurring Business
Motivating clients to take action is a common challenge for practitioners. There’s solid evidence that prompting people to make concrete and specific plans makes them more likely to act on their good intentions–like scheduling appointments to follow up with you. Scheduling software can make it push-button easy to get regular prompts out to clients, so you stay top of mind and they stay motivated to rebook.
Growing and Managing a Small Business by Focusing on Retention
Acquiring a new client is said to be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Client acquisition costs aside, returning clients are good for your bottom line. Not only do they tend to buy more from your business over time, they refer more clients who are already warmed up to your services and expertise based on the glowing reviews of their friends.
It’s a win-win. Repeat clients get your ongoing expertise to help them successfully navigate their health and wellness journeys, and you get to enjoy the fruits of a stable business that continues to scale with the least amount of friction.
Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.