As a doula, you will meet many potential clients. Birth work is often a field many of us feel called to, but we still need basic business skills. Meeting potential clients, providing doula client consultations, and ultimately booking clients is part of our work.
For many new doulas, doula client consultations can be intimidating. What do you say? How much pregnancy or birth education should you share?
Each doula will have unique business approach depending on many variables. However, there are some good business basics to help whatever your personal business style is.
Here are our top doula client consultations tips:
Come Prepared For Client Consultations
It’s important that you be well prepared for your consultations. This tells potential clients that you take your work seriously. For some doulas, this may look like:
- Arriving a couple minutes early or right on time – avoid being late
- Have a handout, pamphlet, questionnaire, etc.
- Dress professionally – you don’t need a business suit but be sure you’re well put together
- Try to remember their name, due date, etc. (Be sure to ask these things on the phone/email when setting up consult)
- Have your “elevator” speech ready – sum up what services you provide in a concise and easy to understand manner
- Have your contract or service agreement available for them to hire you on the spot or take with them to review and return
You want to be well prepared and show that you take your business and client support seriously. Some doulas obtain handouts and samples to provide a little goodie bag for their potential clients. Others have pamphlets, contract/service agreement, and other info in a tidy folder the client can take with them.
Providing them with something tangible can be a great way to ensure they remember you. Some potential clients like to take the information home and discuss their options. Others are comfortable hiring on the spot. Either way, tangible items are a great way to be remembered.
What Should You Say During A Doula Client Consult?
As mentioned, every doula will run their business in a unique and personal way. However, some basic business skills can assist you in trying to decide what to share and discuss during a consult.
The most important thing is to be confident and personable. Keep in mind that you’re interviewing to be with them during a very vulnerable and intimate time.
Some key points for discussion during a client consult:
- Introduce yourself, share your training information, skills, etc.
- Share information about your specific services
- Ask them what support they’re looking for. Some families aren’t sure, so you can share what many of your clients often find helpful about your services and support
- Give them time to share anything about their journey, what they’re looking for, birth desires
- Take time to provide them with your handouts, contract/service agreement, questionnaire, etc., explain them and give them time to ask questions
- Ask if they have any specific questions or concerns about their pregnancy or birth. Provide evidence-based information and reassurance. Discuss how you’ll share more in-depth and personalized information during your prenatal visits
- Avoid sharing too much about your own births, make sure they feel the consult is about their birth desires and preferences
- Share what sets you apart as a doula. Do you have other certifications or skills? A specific area of birth support interest?
- Explain what you will do at each prenatal visit, birth, and your postpartum visit
- Share any additional services you offer, fees, etc.
- Let them know how long you hold space on your calendar for potential clients deciding whether or not to book. Some doulas offer no guarantee until booking, others provide a few days to two weeks
In many cases, once you get the conversation going it tends to flow well. Sometimes you will have potential clients who aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for and you’ll need to lead the conversation.
Things To Avoid During A Consultation
With all of the to-dos during a consult, there are a few things which many doulas like to avoid. You needn’t stress over every word, but there are some good things to avoid, making the consult go smoothly.
Things to avoid include:
- Giving unlimited time for a consult – schedule it for 20-60 mins depending on your personal availability and preferences
- Sharing too much personal information such as chatting about your births, your kids, etc. Share small tidbits as relevant to the natural flow of the conversation. However, keep the focus on their situation and your professional experience
- Do not answer any and every pregnancy, birth, and postnatal question so much so that they feel they don’t need to hire you. Provide short, evidenced-based information and/or resources, and then say something like, “…and I cover this more in-depth during our first prenatal visit.” This reminds them that you are offering a professional service, you’re not a free resource
- Never badmouth other doulas or birth services, highlight what you offer and what makes you stand apart
- Do not give medical advice
- Be careful how you speak about their chosen provider and don’t create an us versus them mentality
Every consult will be unique. You will also become more confident as you do more consultations. As you discover more about your brand, business style and more, you will have your consults down in no time!
Holding virtual consults due to covid-19? Be sure to read Providing Virtual Doula Support to learn more.