Things Your Clients Need From You (That They Might Not Be Getting)

by Barbara Rodgers, NC, BCHN®, NANP Board President

I know what it’s like when you first graduate from school and start your new consulting business in Holistic Nutrition. I’ve been there, it’s challenging.

I also relate to those of you who have been at this a while.

You may even have a fairly active practice….or should I say, HAD an active practice. Our country – in fact, our world – is in disarray right now which is probably impacting your business and your income.

Due to COVID19, we are looking at a bleak picture….at least right now. U.S. unemployment is higher than it has been since the depression in the 1930’s. Gross Domestic Product is lower in our country than we have seen for decades, our stock market is analogous to the worst of rollercoasters, and many businesses are looking at financial ruin. Some larger companies that are hanging on, like the airline industry, are posting losses of up to 96%. And lest we forget, more than one hundred thousand people have been afflicted with the virus.

I think it is safe to say, none of us are alone in this.

We have our challenges here at NANP as well. We are making careful and prudent decisions that we hope will keep each and every one of our team members employed and working. So far, so good, but it is an ongoing effort to be sure.

After spending almost 30 years in senior management within the securities industry before “coming into the light” (into Holistic Nutrition), there is one thing I know for certain:

Things are always changing.

Let me put this another way - the dismal view we have of things right now will not always be our reality. Our economy, our businesses and our interactions with people will eventually be back to some semblance of what we know to be “normal”.

For those of you who have children, remember when your first one was young and how you worried (or even panicked!) at the slightest little thing? Some examples: a toddler who refused to eat vegetables, a baby who stopped drinking from a bottle or the school-aged child who fought sleeping through the night. Indeed, many of us thought each "bump" was the end of the world. When you look back at those years now, yes, you realize each challenge was simply a phase in your child's development. 

That is how this upheaval in our country will be looked upon at some point in the future. A phase in our lives. An unpleasant one, yes, but still a relatively short moment in time. I saw a sign the other day that made me chuckle - it said "This too shall pass. Maybe it will feel like a kidney stone, but it WILL pass."

During this time, I want to remind you of some of the very important things I believe your clients want from you. Whether you are in a new practice as a recent graduate or have been in your business for a while, I think these will be helpful points.

Show Kindness. Reach out to your clients and find out how they are doing, even the ones who can’t pay you right now. On top of everything I described above, your clients are most likely dealing with health issues as well, some of them chronic or serious. Showing your concern will go a long way in calming their fears and helping them do their best at staying on track with your nutritional program.

Be Empathetic. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (a favorite quote by Zig Ziglar). Let your clients know you are there for them and you understand what they are dealing with. Demonstrate in your emails or phone calls with them that you are hearing what they say to you. Empathy is an art that we all must master if we truly hope to influence our clients’ behavior.

Tell Your Story. I know from talking to many of you that you gravitated to our industry because of a personal or loved one's health crisis. Don’t be afraid to share your own personal story. I believe it is vital that your clients know that you get where they are coming from. Never let your own story become the focal point of a conversation, but do not shy away from it either. A large part of your clients’ connection with you and whether you retain those relationships is based on your ability to communicate your understanding of their circumstances.

Speak with Conviction. You have a deeply personal relationship with your clients because of counseling them on their health issues. They believe in you. Do not be afraid to speak your truth, speak from your heart and always with conviction. Right now, more than ever, your clients need to be reassured that everything we see around us will eventually turn right-side-up – everything is going to be ok. Be the voice of sincere reason and calm.

Remember, all the craziness in the world right now will eventually pass. Don’t let this brief moment in time hold you back from doing great things with your clients.

They will remember you and love you for it!

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