I’m seeing some blogs and vlogs and Reels and questions about how to build a rapport with clients online but not a lot of clarity around who that info is meant for, so let’s shed some light on that! Right now building a rapport with clients online can mean one of two things: building a rapport with a client while doing online therapy or or building rapport with potential clients through online marketing. So let’s talk about both!
For online counseling, you may be surprised that what you normally do in person works online. Since it’s unlikely that you touch your clients in that initial session, if your computer is set up properly, it should feel as similar to in person. That means your computer is raised up to your natural eye level (natural meaning it feels comfortable and you’re not craning your neck or looking down). Some people talk about looking at the camera on your computer. I don’t do that. With my computer raised up (a stack of books or box is fine. You don’t have to use anything fancy) I look into my client’s eyes as I talk to them and it looks like we’re making eye contact. You may need to move the screen they’re on and instruct them to move your screen so everybody’s faces are centered underneath the camera. It’s just moving the window in your computer around but it’s really so impactful for rapport if you take a few seconds to do this. Word to the wise: careful moving the windows and don’t accidentally close it. A mindful click and drag is what we’re needing here. Speaking from experience.
There may be a little bit of the weirdness that comes with either doing therapy for the first time or doing therapy online for the first time, but your connection can be just as solid by the end of the initial session online as it can be in person. I think many of us have been facetiming or zooming with friends or family so it’s less potentially awkward for potential clients than it was before. We just have to be not weird about it and clients will often follow suit.
Now, if you’re talking about how to build rapport with clients through your marketing online, that’s a totally different thing. There’s a lot that goes into that– and we cover that in the Abundance Party and really get in there with people in the Inner Circle and help them with it, but the most important step is to make sure that everything you post is something your ideal clients actually care about. I know that seems obvious. But if you scroll through therapist instagram or through Psych Today profiles or through websites you’ll see how much work is put into writing things that clients couldn’t care less about, is totally business or therapy jargon, or could potentially something that scares them off of reaching out.
In order to do that, you have to have a clear ideal client. That doesn’t mean you only see that one kind of client. Ideal client exercises are tools to make your marketing easier. And to help you define what you really want in your practice.
So if you work with children, teens, and adults who are struggling, it’s nearly impossible to know what your potential clients want to hear. The mom of an anxious 6 year old needs a very different message than a man who just found out his partner is cheating on him.
So if you take the time to think about what your one ideal client wants and needs to hear right now, you’ll not only connect with your potential clients, you’ll help many more people that may never call you.
I hope that helps! If you want to go farther into that- including help finding your ideal client and learning how to speak to them, then join us in the Abundance Party.