Who Wants to Be Soup? Beyond Commodity Based Marketing

Scott Mills, Ph.D.

commodity value marketing holistic practitioner massage doctor acupunctureSo the other day I was at the grocery store looking for soup. I was in a new organic grocery store and didn’t see any of the brands I was familiar with. What a dilemma! Which soup should I pick? They all looked about the same and their price wasn’t much different. And I didn’t see a big difference in the nutrition. So finally I used my fall back decision making strategy. I picked the one with the coolest label. You can probably imagine that in this context the marketer didn’t have much control over my decision. And unfortunately, most holistic practitioners market themselves as if they were just a can of soup on the shelf. Today I want to invite you to consider a value based approach to marketing that let’s you be a nourishing experience for my body instead of just a lifeless can of soup on the shelf. (And, as an added bonus, when you do value based marketing you can get paid a whole lot more. )

I was in a workshop the other day where a woman introduced herself as “just a massage therapist.” Maybe I’m sensitive to this but all I could think was how sad that she thought so little of her practice. And then I realized that most people I know introduce themselves like that all the time. They are “just a massage therapist” when they sell their time to other people as if it was equal to everyone else’s time. Where is their expertise in that world? They are “just a massage therapist” when they try to stuff themselves into a label like “massage therapist.” As soon as I hear that I’m sure that I know what you do and I might even be thinking of someone that I worked with who wasn’t a very good massage therapist.

I want to suggest that your greatest asset as you share what you do with clients is the results that you create in their lives. Are you a massage therapist that helps people alleviate pain and feel great in their body? Are you a coach who helps move people through serious points of transition in their lives? Are you an acupuncturist that gives people back control of their lives when they’ve been suffering from migraines? There’s more to you than a label. There is all of your experience and the concrete results that you can offer people as a result of it.

There are three things that you can do to shift other people’s understanding of your value in their lives.

1. Shut up. Alright, I know that sounds a bit harsh but I want you to remember it. If you want clients to relate to your value then your first goal needs to be to listen deeply to them. To really hear what’s going on for them so that you can offer a way to work with their problem. A good rule of thumb that I’ve discovered is that in my first meeting with a client they should talk 80% of the time and I should talk 20% of the time.

2. Offer your value not your process. People don’t really care about your process when they’re in pain. Chances are they don’t understand it anyway. All they want to know is that you can deliver. So when you offer what you can do for people, explain the results that you have been able to get other similar clients. Tell them what you believe you could help them achieve. And then ask them how that would be for them. For example, I often ask clients, “What would your life be like if you had all the clients that you wanted and were charging what you’re worth?”

3. Help them see it when it happens. There’s a funny phenomena in most holistic practice. It’s definitely true for coaching. Most people don’t see the changes until well after they’ve happened. And because of the time lag they may not be able to pinpoint what created the shift. The easiest way to shift this is to bring awareness to clients. “Since I saw you last what have you noticed changing?” I also like to find ways to track client results. That one’s easy for me. We just measure number of clients and how much they are getting paid. If you are working on the body you can measure flexibility, time that they had pain or relaxation or mobility. If you are working to solve a problem with a client, if you help them see progress you will immediately become more valuable.

All of this translates to greater value for the client and greater earnings for you. Clients can leave excited knowing that they are creating powerful shifts in their bodies and their lives and that you are helping them do it! So get off the soup shelf and start showing people how much more you actually have to offer them!

Scott Mills, Ph.D. works with holistic practitioners who are struggling to find clients and make the money they deserve. He assists them in expanding their practices, charging more money and feeling great doing it! If you would like more information please go to or call 800-276-3124.

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