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Guest Post: 3 Cs to “Selling” Music Therapy

by Kimberly on June 22, 2011 · 0 comments

I am incredibly exciting to bring you this guest post! I presented with the author, music therapist Sarah Thompson, at our most recent regional music therapy conference on offline and online marketing strategies. As soon as she explained the 3 Cs outlined below, I knew you’d want to know about it. So I asked Sarah if she’d be willing to write it up as a blog article…and she graciously agreed.

3 Cs to “Selling” Music Therapy

by Sarah Thompson, MM, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist, Fellow

In my 8 years of clinical practice, I have started many new contracts and programs, and encountered a wide variety of situations. While we aren’t always given insight as to why we win some contracts and not others, I have found a very useful tool to use in my marketing approach.

Author Michael McLaughlin provided some great tips in his book Winning the Professional Services Sale.  One of things I have found helpful is his discussion of the 3 C’s.

1) Connect

This is the process of preparing and completing your in-person discussion with a potential contract. I think we often miss 2 key points in this step:

  1. Do your homework. First, I think many music therapists are not as prepared as they should be for their meeting. Learn everything you possibly can about the company and the leaders in the company before the meeting so that you have an easier time connecting with them. This includes learning about every possible funding source they could use to pay for you.
  2. What problem are you solving? Second, I think we often focus on selling ourselves and forget to uncover what problem the facility is really looking to you to solve. Is the staff overworked by unhappy patients? Are the nurses getting burned out because they can’t get patient’s pain under control? You may not be able to figure out what issues they are facing in the initial meeting, but you can anticipate and predict what many facilities who serve that population struggle with.

2) Collaborate

This is the core of your meeting. These are the stories that you tell during the meeting, and the time that you get to spend listening to them and what they need from you. As music therapists, we often have amazing success stories to tell.

This is also the time when you win them over with your proposal. A key point here is to really show that you are willing to listen and work with them. Don’t just get caught up in selling your credentials. Present your proposal as if they are initial ideas. You want to convey that you are willing to work with them in order to meet their needs.

3) Commit

You already know that you are committed to your profession as a music therapist. This is when you show your commitment to working with that population or community.

Let them know that even if they don’t hire you today, you are going to continue to do wonderful work with that population and in that community. Let them know that you are a resource for them and that you are always around. Ideally, this is where they commit to a contract with you, but if they don’t commit that day, this is where you leave the door open to a future contract. Show that you are committed to the same mission (serving that population/community).

Even if you don’t walk away with a contract, these tips will help you build a good professional reputation and a network of key professional contacts.

About the Author: Sarah is owner of Clinical Rhythms which provides products and consulting for music therapists. She is also owner and music therapist for Rehabilitative Rhythms Music Therapy, her private practice in the Denver metro area. Connect with Sarah on Twitter by following @ClinicalRhythms or by emailing her.


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