How I Got Clients When No One Yet Heard about Doulas
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in marketing, and as an introvert, I am pretty challenged in this field. However, as a pioneer doula, I had to not only sell my service but to initiate and engage in PR campaigns and give many interviews to spread the concept of hiring a doula. In the 24 years since then, I have overcome my resistance to engaging in sales conversations to enroll potential clients and have a thriving doula practice. I gained confidence by showing up for my potential clients, and in the last seven years, as a doula trainer and the founder of a new approach to birth support – Transformational birth and postpartum coaching, I am committed to helping my students get clients and manifest their thriving practices. So I can’t ignore the fact that although ‘doula’ is a term in the dictionary and a well-known support figure, the most asked question in my Facebook group “The Aspiring and Thriving Doula” is “How do I find Clients? Well, marketing strategies must change and adapt to time changes. For example, I endlessly talked about the benefits of hiring a doula in my PR engagements and sales pitch. But if you do it today, you repeat already known information, right? You don’t add value and leave no impression. So when you put yourself out there as a doula or any other birth support pro, you need to use optimal strategies that deliver the results you want – getting clients. I gathered a few strategies I teach my doula and transformational birth support coaching students here for you.
Storytelling – I’ts about YOUR passion and motivation:
You no longer need to convince potential clients to hire A Doula; you need to get them to hire YOU! So you can skip the ‘doula benefits’ pitch, connect with your listeners personally, and build rapport. While sharing statistics sounds very knowledgeable, it doesn’t move your listeners or inspire them as much as your story.
People are more likely to remember and refer to you when they like you or feel some special bond or connection. Have you ever met a new person and, after 10 minutes, felt like you just found your long-lost pal? That’s rapport! Share your story of what inspired you to become a doula and how you were moved and changed for the rest of your life by this new career path. A good story evokes people’s emotions, intimacy, and empathy and allows them to visualize how working with you would feel. Your potential clients stay tuned, wanting to know more about you, how you got to be a doula, what motivated you, and why you are passionate about supporting them. They want to be reassured that you are curious about them. While sharing statistics sounds very knowledgeable, it doesn’t move your listeners or inspire them as much as your story.
You’re hired for the RESULTS you deliver or help your clients achieve
Be curious about your potential clients:
It may come to you as a surprise, but you should lead the interview and every encounter with a potential client with QUESTIONS! Everyone loves to feel seen and heard, especially individuals seeking leaders, coaches, and support persons. Potential clients must feel that their mindsets, beliefs, challenges, and desired experiences are at the center of your attention. Therefore, informing, sharing, telling, and even cheering will not result in getting clients, but asking questions and being curious about an expectant individual will navigate the conversation toward a signed contract. When you actively listen to what people desire and the challenges they experience, you can focus on how you can help them achieve their goals.
Leading the interview with questions is a strategy I teach in all my programs, and if you’re not ready yet to jump into my immersion programs, you can read my book, The Art of Coaching for Childbirth. You’ll find many powerful questions to lead and establish rapport with potential clients.
Focus on RESULTS instead of your knowledge or actions
Potential clients do not hire you because of what you know, do, or say. They hire you because of the RESULTS you deliver or help them achieve. I lead the most comprehensive doula training possible and certify highly knowledgeable doulas. I also am a great believer in doula certification. However, this is not a marketing strategy but a pathway to deliver the results your clients want; their desired experiences.
Everyone who studies our programs heard me saying it’s time for doulas to join the results revolution. Individuals seeking leadership, coaching, and support focus on getting their desired results, and so should you. Your clients have access to Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram just like you, which means they don’t hire you for the knowledge. Instead, they need a coach to get them to the finish line. So in your 2-minutes sales pitch and on all your marketing materials, focus on the results you help your clients achieve.
Potential clients must feel that their mindsets, beliefs, challenges, and desired experiences are at the center of your attention
Marketing Materials and Networking:
If you’re a beginner doula, make simple business cards or a one-page brochure with your short bio, photo, and contact info. I advise my students to launch their businesses using simple homemade marketing materials. It’s better to invest in more expensive and professional marketing materials only when your professional identity – what makes you unique as a birth worker, becomes clear to you. Then, when your story and homemade business cards are ready, you can begin networking.
Networking is vital. At the beginning of my career, it was hard not to have a professional group to which I belonged. It felt lonely, and loneliness lowers motivation. I also had no accountability buddies. Networking with other birth support pros is not only a way to get clients; it’s how you manifest yourself as a professional. The more you associate with this group of professionals, the more it will strengthen your confidence that this is who you are!
Once you feel comfortable networking, you can aspire for a leadership position that gives you credit among potential clients. Here are some ideas to help you become a leader in your local birth support pros circle:
- Throw a holiday gathering for birth pros
- Initiate a monthly peer review
- Invite guest speakers: It will be my honor to give a talk about the power of integrating verbal coaching into your colleagues’ practice. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
- Initiate a monthly Meet the Doula Night, where couples learn about doulas and meet them.
- Throw a yearly event for the community of local expectant parents to learn their choices and meet local providers.
- Establish a non-profit organization and think about possible fundraising events.
If you’re already in business and find yourself in a drought: New clients are not contacting you, and you feel unmotivated and not committed to getting new clients or attending networking events, I recommend reconnecting with your past clients. They LOVE you! They already know and appreciate your service. Reconnect with them by expressing gratitude for supporting them and sharing your story of how being a birth worker inspired and influenced you. For example, write something like: “I cherish you and our joined experience, and I look forward to serving and supporting your friends, relatives, and community members. Your referrals and support would be the most beautiful gifts ever!”. (The advantage of investing in a greeting card rather than email is that you can insert some of your business cards in the envelope). You may also consider asking clients to write you a supportive review to share on your site if you already have one.
Knowledge is not a marketing strategy but a pathway to deliver the results your clients want; their desired experiences.
Create a Digital Consultation Button
When you have a website, have a button with which potential clients can immediately schedule a free 20-min consultation. Give this session a catchy and inviting name: “Your Better Birth Session” or “Your ‘Make a Wish’ Session” to attract your ideal clients. To create a free calendly account, click here.
A Freebie or giveaway
Freebies are very popular among leaders and coaches. Creating a freebie or a giveaway is how you add unique value with which you position yourself as an outstanding doula. Avoid using ‘copy and paste’ and giving away something your potential clients can easily find online. A giveaway can be printable if you don’t have a digital marketing platform yet. However, it is usually downloadable. My first freebie was just a landing page. Nowadays, you can download my FREE COACHING TOOLS: Coaching prenatally, during birth, and postpartum by visiting my BLOG, either using the light blue pop-up box or the pink box on the right side of the screen.
There are so many more creative ways to attract clients. But, as I said before, doing it all alone with no accountability buddy can be unmotivating and lower your commitment level to your thriving practice. It may sabotage your success. That’s why my doula training program offers a virtual monthly support meeting for all our past and present students for life. It’s a monthly opportunity to come together and share dilemmas and success stories, ask questions, and be inspired and motivated. The Transformational birth and Postpartum coaching program is an immersion program with weekly virtual sessions that keep our students engaged, committed, and accountable to manifest their thriving practice. It will be my honor to have you as my student.
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