Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sitting Duck

As promised last week, thought I'd talk about ducks. Ducks, you say? Yes, ducks. And yes, it pertains to hypnosis and life in general.

Lisa Halpin (if I recall correctly) coined this term "duck" for potential clients who are probably not willing to be good clients. These people wants the quick fix and want to take no responsibility for creating their own change. They may use a skeptics logic as an excuse to not utilize the benefits of hypnosis (I wasn't really hypnotized. This won't work. And the list of excuses goes on). A duck expects you to see them after normal business hours or weekends. A duck may also be someone who makes repeated appointments (if you let them) and does not have the courtesy to cancel. A duck may try to stiff you on the payment end. In other words, a duck is not a good client.

Why are they called ducks? If it quacks like a duck, it's a duck (unless it is a hunter with a duck call, which I suppose, would be even worse).

I bring this up because a while back, one of you emailed me and asked if I had a problem with people not showing up for appointments. I didn't answer in the email because I thought it might be worth addressing here. Yes, I have people who miss appointments. It is annoying, especially since my office is about 45 minutes away from where I live (the price we pay for living in quiet isolation rather than the near by metropolis). I tend to think of these people as ducks. But I do realize that there may be valid reasons why the person missed the appointment. As one psychologist friend says to his clients, "You have one time to miss an appointment without canceling in advance. After that you pay for the hour whether you are there or not." I use this now and have it on my intake form, asking people to sign off on it. I also have new clients fill out an intake before I agree to see them. If they are not willing to go so far as filling it out in advance, then well, duck, duck, no goose, just a duck.

Also, if I get an inkling that someone is a duck, I always provide them (mandatory) with a free information session. If they are willing to show up for that, it gives me an opportunity to learn more about him or her (are they analytical or non-analytical, how do they process information, what is the real motivation for seeing me). Oh, the other important thing about scheduling information sessions with a potential duck - if your office is not convenient to your life, schedule the appointment for a time when you are already at the office (after another client, etc.).

The day before the appointment, I also send email or call to confirm. This seems to help.

If someone misses an appointment (the first paid session), I tend to email or call them and say something to the effect, "I had you down on the calendar this afternoon. Is everything okay?" This keeps the door open.

So, potential or already clients of hypnotists, please don't be a duck. We know your life is important, but so is ours. Please be courteous. It doesn't take much. (Keeping in mind that if you are actually reading this, you probably are not a duck).

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