Crushing Your Consultation Calls
Crushing Your Consultation Calls
Many mental health clinicians who work in private practice offer some form of consultation before their initial session with a new client. These consultations are usually free, within 10-15 minutes long, and can be scheduled if the client doesn’t feel ready to jump right into an intake session. Some clinicians host these calls over the phone, while others may have a Zoom interview to screen a new client.
Regardless of how your consultation calls look logistically, the purpose is usually the same: to give the mental health clinician and client seeking services a brief chance to talk and ensure goodness of fit. However, clinicians may have some hesitation about consultation calls: where am I supposed to fit a free call into my schedule when I have so much other administrative work to do? What if the client tries to turn a free ten minute call into an impromptu session? What am I even supposed to say during an intake call?
We get it - consultation calls can be confusing, or even frustrating! Luckily, the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions are here to help. Here are our top three tips on crushing consultation calls with potential new clients!
Have an Outline Ready
While we wouldn’t suggest having your consultation call totally scripted - this could take away warmth and personality - there’s nothing wrong with having some notes going into your call. For example, if the potential client has emailed you already and stated they want to see if you’re a fit to help them with their anxiety, you may want to include a brief statement about what modalities you’ve used with anxious clients in the past. You may also want to have what insurances, if any, you accept written down, along with your private pay fee. You should also have a general idea of what spots you have open - if you only have a 12pm Monday slot open, this is certainly important for the client to know.
Set Firm Boundaries with Time
We’ve heard from many clinicians that clients may try to turn their consultation call into a surprise free first session. One way to avoid this is to set a firm boundary with your time. Including a statement such as “I have ten minutes before I’ll have to go to my next session, so any questions we don’t get to I’d be happy to cover in an email or in your first session.” This makes it clear you’re not willing to get too “therapist-y” over the phone.
Additionally, having a Virtual Assistant return phone calls to host consultations is one way to avoid having a free session altogether. A Virtual Assistant can still answer questions about your typical client demographics, fees, availability, training, and credentials, while not falling into the trap of giving out free therapy. Many times when potential clients hear they’re talking to an administrative assistant, they’ll understand the consultation is just for general questions and not to ask specific life circumstance questions.
Sure, the point of a consultation call is to answer logistical questions, like availability and insurance concerns. However, potential new clients want to hear that you can help them. Use your chance at a first impression with the client to instill hope. Even a phrase such as “I think we could do some great work together,” or “I’ve had many clients in the same boat that I’ve been able to help on their journey” can help a client feel more at ease.
We hope these tips help you crush your consultation calls! If you’d like a Virtual Assistant to handle all calls for you, we can help. We can also help with your blog writing, social media posts, scheduling, insurance billing, and more! Reach out today to be paired with a Virtual Assistant that can do it all. We look forward to hearing from you!