I just spoke at the annual Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Conference in Edmonton as one of their opening day keynotes about marketing.
After my talk, I moved to the back of the room to organize a few things while the next speaker went up to speak about the ethical issue of ‘consent’ in the world of natural health.
It kept striking me how much this overlapped with the work I’ve been doing on point of view marketing.
Consent means that people are giving permission or agreement to an experience.
Informed consent means they have as full an understanding as they can have about what it is they are consenting to.
Every customer complaint ultimately comes down to a gap in expectations. They expected one thing and got another.
They came in for a massage but got craniosacral instead.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with craniosacral work. It’s that they didn’t sign up for it.
They went for a massage but ended up being touched in places and in ways they did not consent too.
Now, this doesn’t mean the intent of the touch was sexual. But, perhaps it’s a male massage therapist who is working some muscles around the breast the female lying on the table is receiving this as unwanted contact and feels powerless to say anything. She didn’t consent to this.
It would have been important for the massage therapist to discuss this and the kinds of touch and places he might touch her and to explain why. Then, before she was lying down on the bed and in a compromised position, she could have said ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
I’ve known people who got a bill from their contractor and were shocked to see additional expenses added in that they’d never consented to. A good contractor will always say, “Ok. We can do that extra bit and it will cost $4000. Is that okay?” They will always establish consent before moving forward.
There are two kinds of consent: there’s the consent you can give before an experience starts and then there’s the ongoing checking in during the experience to make sure everything is still feeling okay.
While the latter is vital, this post is focused 100% on the former.
I recall a colleague of mine, a naturopath, telling me how she’d had a couple of her clients left appointments part way through very upset because she had gone so hard for the energetic jugular on the issue they’d brought to her.
“Sarah,” I told her. “You’ve got to be gentle with people. You’ve got to let them know that this is your style before they show up.”
She nodded. She kept seeing this. She was realizing that her clients were coming in with no knowledge of her take on things and so were getting blindsided.
“Maybe you could host a monthly live workshop and insist they attend one before booking an appointment with you or maybe record it and ask that they watch it before your first session.” I suggested.
Another colleague of mine, a financial advisor, is incredibly blunt and brash in her workshops. She swears like a trucker. I sent a client of mine who was immensely sensitive to the workshop but without the forewarning. My client was mildly traumatized by the experience. She would never have consented to go if she’d known.
If you were a hardcore, raw-vegan, you likely would be upset to find out the naturopath you’d been recommended to go see was a hardcore paleo. You’d not have consented to go if you knew.
If you were a fundamentalist Christian, you wouldn’t consent to see a pagan healer etc.
These might seem obvious but it happens all the time: surprise.
Surprise is another way of saying, “I didn’t give me consent for this.”
Now, sometimes we are delighted by the surprise and sometimes… we aren’t.
If you do an intro workshop, my belief is that your goal must be to give them the information that they need to give (or not give) their informed consent about the next step in working with you.
How do you do this? You lay out your point of view.
You lay out your philosophy, perspective, take on things.
You tell them the generic process that you use.
You tell them the assumptions and principles upon which you’ve based that process.
You show them the overall map of the elements with which they’ll be contending in dealing with their issue and how that all relates to your core principles and your process.
You make your best case for this approach to the issue.
And then you make them your best offer.
It’s that simple.
I want to emphasize how much of this can and should be handled before you ever meet with them one on one.
A few years ago, I went to see a therapist who was specializing in a particular modality. I was paying about $185 for the hour.
She spent the entire hour going over everything I’m describing here. She told me the ethics of therapy. She gave me a flyer. She did everything but therapy with me. I was growing more and more agitated sitting there and listening to her go on and on.
Finally she picked up on it and asked me what was going on.
“I am paying $185 for something you could have emailed me and asked me to read over before I came here. You can have recorded this all in a video and sent it to me. Why am I paying for this?”
I did not consent to that experience. If she’d told me that this is how we’d be spending the first session I would never have booked a session with her.
Did I want to hear her point of view? Yes.
Did I want it in that format? No.
If you want your new clients to be delighted with your work, then give them the information they need to make the best choice for themselves.
The best marketing lets people know, “This is who I am. This is what I do. This is how I do it.” and then let’s them decide if that’s a fit for them or not.
They need to know your honest, considered take on the risks and benefits before they give you permission to do anything.
This means slowing down the marketing process even when you’re scared it will annoy them or that you might lose the sale.
It gives them the information they need to give you informed consent.
The challenge is this: what is that information?
Most entrepreneurs I work with have never articulated this clearly.
Want help crafting your unique own point of view?
OPTION #1: Join my next POV Lab. It’s a 30-day program for twelve people where you will be guided to dig deep into your own unique perspective and be asked over and over again why you do what you do the way you do it. This includes a lot of handholding and feedback. You can learn more here: marketingforhippies.com/povlab
OPTION #2: Get my Point of View eBook. This is my treatise on the subject and includes an incredibly useful workbook. You can get your copy here: marketingforhippies.com/povbook
OPTION #3: Get my workbook Don’t Market Yourself, Market Your Message. This is a sister piece to my POV eBook. You can get your copy here: marketingforhippies.com/messageebook