Have you ever had someone enthusiastically agree to go out on a date with you and then have them seem bored and disinterested at dinner?

Perhaps the better analogy would be the relationship that seems stuck. You’re ready to be exclusive, move in, pop the question, but for whatever reason, the other party is just not interested.

As a music therapist in private practice, a lot of what I’ve been doing to grow and increase my business is ‘courting’ other businesses that might be interested in offering music therapy.

Funny, I thought I was done dating when I married my husband.

All jokes aside, getting time in front of these businesses has been difficult at best. My process is as follows:

  1. Research the company to see if music therapy services would be in line with their philosophy and an improvement upon their currently offered services.
  2. Make a call. Some websites have staff listings that help me pinpoint who to talk to. Most times, I have to speak to an operator, explain what I’m looking for, and play a lot of phone tag.
  3. Sell them on listening to me past the initial contact. If and when I talk to a live human being, I give a run down of what my services are, how they fit with the company philosophy, and find out if they would be interested in hearing more. I ask if I could come and give a brief talk about music therapy, or send on some more detailed information. (Note: Unfortunately, this is often as far as I get. Some people are masters of the shut down. Fortunately, I’m the master of persistence, so I see if there is someone else I can speak to that may be more interested in what I have to offer).
  4. Give the in-service or provide the information. I throw together the materials or go give the talk. I prefer to give the talks because that gives me the opportunity to discuss with them, right then and there, possible expectations.
  5. Seal the Deal.

It’s the seal the deal section that is giving me trouble. I’ve managed to secure consistent scheduling with a few of my ‘dates’ but it hasn’t expanded past what was initially scheduled for the ‘trial’. They’re interested, but corporate red tape seems to be presenting a challenge.

Things I have done to try and “move in”:

  1. Provided an outline of the additional services that the facility could greatly benefit from. This included prices, how the additions fit with the directions the facility was moving in, and therapeutic justifications.
  2. Sent along relevant articles like the article from the Wall Street Journal featuring our very own Kat Fulton.
  3. Documented in my notes what clients I’ve seen who would benefit from additional services.

The thought that popped into my head when I actually wrote down what I have done so far was “Why haven’t I talked to the ‘powers that be’?” My answer to that is this: I have a relationship with a specific department. Pursuing additional services through channels other than them could a) damage my relationship with them, b) be seen as bypassing chain of command, or c) result in termination of services all together.

I’m interested to hear from you!

If you are a music therapist offering contract services, did you have a ‘trial’ period? How did you ‘move in’ with the business?

If you are a client or business who could benefit from music therapy services, how would you best like to be ‘courted’? What are your thoughts on the contractor wishing to ‘intensify’ the relationship?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!