Transitioning Patients and Clients to a Maintenance Plan as a Therapist

Hi, there, wellpreneur. Welcome back. Today, we’re talking about Transitioning Patients And Clients To A Wellness Or A Maintenance Plan As A Therapist

This blog can be for physical therapists, yoga therapists, yoga teachers, massage therapist, whatever you may resonate with and call yourself with. This is transitioning them from their original goal. When you complete and fulfill that original goal, what do they do next?

Now, often, this is called a maintenance plan. Or if you’re a physical therapist, quite often, it’s called a wellness plan. You want to transition them from physical therapy to wellness. And then what happens at this point is a whole lot of confusion.

What Usually Happens After Clients Fulfill Their Original Goal

Typically, I see many therapists get stuck in, the mindset, “Well, I’m not sure what to offer them.” And then they create all these different offers and a whole other set of tiers. And then it becomes confusing.

Ask yourself this question: When do I transition someone from the original plan that they were seeing me with coming once or twice a week to now? Possibly, this wellness or maintenance plan coming one time a month, as an example, as this one tier. How do you describe it? What do you say?

And what I see, a lot of wellness entrepreneurs making at this point is causing this to be very complex, and almost creating a whole other business for themselves where they have a physical therapy business and a wellness business, for example, or a yoga therapist is now creating a whole other set of offers.

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A Plan Or Program That Continues To Get Patients and Clients Result And How To Name It

Once that original goal of stress reduction, for example, is fulfilled and someone is feeling more color and confident in their life, okay, so what happens at this point? Let’s just view it from the client’s and patients’ perspective. Your clients and patients do not want a maintenance plan for sure. They may want a wellness plan that sounds a little bit more enticing. But what they really want is a plan or program that continues to get them results.

So if you’re going to name it, which you don’t have to because sometimes it’s the naming of the thing that causes confusion in the freezing, you don’t have to name it. But if you are going to name it, you want to name it something that is a little bit more enticing than just a maintenance plan or a wellness plan. And you want to think of a name that’s geared towards those results.

So let’s take some practicality here. If you have a program that heals low back pain, for example, or anxiety, let’s imagine that your patient or client completes their goal. They heal their low back. What do they want after that? Think about it. They’ve just healed their sciatica. Now they’re back in their favorite yoga class, they are hiking, they’re spending less time healing on the couch, they come in for the last session in their package, and you say, “I’ve got this maintenance plan. You can come in one time a month at this price, you get an online portal, what do you think? You want to do it?” How does that feel? 

Now some of your loyal patients and clients who know and trust you will maybe say yes, because they trust you to fulfill whatever you’re giving them next, even if it was described in kind of a generic or less than enticing way, no judgement here. However, if you’re not getting as many conversions at this point, the key here is not because they don’t want to work with you more, it’s not because they don’t want more wellness. The key is to work on the messaging.

And the second key is helping them to understand the value of continuing the work. So for example, they might have decided to start working with you because they could clearly see that they had a back pain problem, it was impacting their life, and in this way, working with you, they would solve their back pain problem.

So now in their life, they could do this in this where maintenance plan, there’s no vision, there’s no understanding what their new problem is and where they want to go. It’s up to you to help them figure that out. 

So in this blog today, we’ll talk about how do you help them figure that out? How do you paint that vision for them? How do you describe the process simply for them? So they understand the value of continuing to work with you and how it’ll impact their life. 

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And how do you make it simple for your business so you’re not having to create a whole other set of tiers of offers, for example, you have your first tier, which is solving that first problem of reducing anxiety or reducing low back pain. And now you have this whole second tier of offers. That’s the wellness plan. How do you avoid that and keep things simple?

Changing The Goal Instead Of Changing The Program

Well, first off, if you’re doing one-to-one, you don’t have to create something different, you don’t have to create a whole separate offer. For my business coaching clients, and I have many people who work with me for two, three, four rounds even more, and I don’t change my program, it’s exactly the same. What we do change is their goal.

So we still meet the same amount of times every week. But their goal is they’ve hit their goal that first round, and now we’re in the second round, we changed the goal, that’s the only thing that changes. Simply put, your maintenance and wellness plan can be the exact same structure, same exact price as your healing program, you just shift the goal for them.

And maybe they come to a separate consult call with you to figure out what could be that next goal for themselves. Or maybe you structure that as part of a wrap-up of the last sessions or two is reviewing their wins, what they did complete, the progress they made. And part of that wrap-up is figuring out, “Okay, what’s next for them and their lives?”

And so then they can decide, “Oh, there is more to go, I feel my lack low back pain, and now I want to get stronger, so I can go on these longer hikes, so I can travel to this part of the world and see these amazing monuments or ruins, and it’s a 20-mile hike to get there.” Or maybe they want to compete in a race, or maybe they want to feel stronger so they can do x. Or maybe they want to attain a yoga posture, lose weight, and get more energy, so they can run around playing soccer with their kids.

So there are so many goals beyond healing, which helps to transition them into more wellness. But the structure of your offer can be exactly the same.

Now think about why that might benefit the patient or client. If you had the original structure to attain a certain goal like healing low back pain, and they had to come to achieve their goal in a reasonable amount of time and see progress and not have it so delayed where they’re not having momentum in your program, they came once or twice a week, and they’re setting a new goal, why would they drop down to one time a month? Are they really going to achieve that new goal at one time a month? Does that really serve that, and does it really serve your business?

No, because you’re leaving money on the table. First of all, you’re creating a whole separate other offer that now you have to market in a new way and figure out where and see the patient and client already has it in their schedule and their lifestyle where they’re used to coming to see you one time a week or so. And so it just carries on, it keeps things a lot simpler. 

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Plus, who really just wants to maintain anyways? No one really, maybe occasionally you get a person who heals low back pain or heals their original problem, and they’re like, “I’m good.” And maybe they do just come once a month, that is the benefit of doing one-to-one, you get to decide on occasion, “Okay, this person really only wants to come once a month,” so do it and just create a simple price for a down-sell, which you sell on occasion, or better yet, just create a package of 12 or 16 sessions and they can use it however they want. If they want to come every other week or every week, you do you and what works for your business.

Providing a Different Perspective When Introducing A New Plan

For me, I know my business coaching clients do so much better and get better results by contacting me, working with me weekly. So that’s what we do. My programs stay the same, but you figure out what’s best for your niche and your people. I just want to provide a different perspective so that you don’t have to create a whole different offer. 

You might just change the name. Again, you don’t have to change the name. For example, you could have, let’s just take a very simple situation where you have originally a package of 12. So you work with someone for approximately three months to heal their low back pain, they heal their low back pain in those three months. And now they want to plan for a race coming up. I don’t wait to the last session.

Truthfully, I work with people for six months. So the beginning of that last month, I actually tell them, Okay, we’ve got about four sessions left, we start to review the progress we’ve made.” Look at what that client wants to accomplish in that last month. 

I have a whole e-mail that sends out a bunch of questions to help them review, helps them figure out their next goals if they didn’t achieve their goals exactly how they wanted, what they learned from that process, so they can continue going forward with more momentum.

And then I have them plan what’s their next best step. Because it’s normal to have not 100% of people carry on. However, I have a high conversion rate of people who do want to carry on, it’s upwards of 80 to 90% for me, and that’s for both my brick-and-mortar business and my coaching business. So give them a heads up. Don’t surprise them at that last session. “Hey, did you know this is your last session? What do you want to do?” And then they’re put on the spot like a deer in headlights? No. 

Give them time to think about it and plan. So if you’re doing 12 sessions, maybe it’s not realistic to start that process the last month before. Maybe you just do it two sessions before their last session and say, “Hey, you’ve got about two sessions left, how are you feeling? I can see that we’re close to your goals, you’re having less and less pain, you’ve mark that you only experience two out of 10 pain. So let’s start talking about what your life looks like when you’re not in pain. What do you want to cover? What do you want to do in your life?”

They might look at you and be like, “Oh, I’ve never thought about that. I’ve been dealing with this pain so long. I haven’t even imagined what I could do with my life when I’m not in pain. Wow, that was a fun conversation.” That would be right. So you can say something simple like, “Okay, well, no worries, I do have the option for you to carry on working with me. If you want to schedule a consult call, we can just take 20 to 30 minutes, and talk about what that might look like. So if you’ve never thought about what your life could be like without that back pain and things that you could do like planning, hiking trips, or going to a yoga class for the first time, without worrying tweaking your back, we can set certain goals. Or maybe if you want more energy, so you can run around playing with your kids or losing weight. Did you know that I help people with this? I actually have a nutrition certification, and I can help you further along your wellness goals. Would you like to set up a consultation call to talk about this?”

Or you know, I have people who do go for the consult call when they’re thinking about renewing with me or I have some people who are like, “You know what, let’s just do that. I’ll think about my goals. And I’ll bring that to the first session.” How easy is that? And then they keep going at the same pace, or if at that time, they say, “Yeah, I want to keep going with you. But once a week has been really tough on my time. And my budget because I hadn’t planned on coming this amount of time permanently. Could I possibly do every other week?” You can decide, say yes or no. And talk about the pros and cons of it.

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You can then say something like, “Listen, sure you can come every other week. But the risk is that you don’t see as much progress as quickly.” If that’s okay with them, maybe they’re not competing in a race, or they don’t have a deadline for a big traveling trip, or they’re playing with their kids an amount that they love, they just want to be more energetic with them, that may be coming every other week is just fine. You both can decide that together.

Try To Notice Why You Push Back Offering Your Wellness Plan

The important part to notice is why you might not be doing that. So why are you waiting to the last session to let them know that they can be working with you more? Why are you never telling them that you have these additional certifications and trainings to help them beyond the original problem that they came to see you with? Why are you pushing out there programs so they are only coming once a month? Why do you want to offer so many different tiers of your wellness or maintenance plan? Or even why haven’t you thought of what they might want as their next step?

Instead of just labeling it something generic like the wellness plan and if you examine it, a lot of the times, it comes down to your own thoughts, your own fears in your body, maybe you have a fear that they will say no, maybe you think that your wellness plan isn’t worth it, maybe you think that they don’t have the money to carry on, maybe you think that they don’t have the time to carry on.

But here’s the thing, if you get ahead of the cart, meaning you start to prejudge or think all these things before even talking to them, that’s where you hold yourself and your business back. And it doesn’t serve anyone. It doesn’t serve them. Because, again, your patients and clients might not even realize they have more dreams beyond the initial problem that they came to see you with. 

Imagine this, how amazing would it be if you had someone who came to see you with debilitating pain, they solve that debilitating pain, and then they went on with you to lose weight, transition their whole life, have more energy, play more with their kids, develop a better relationship with their kids, as they age, maybe even run races with their kids, start new rituals with their kids around health and wellness. You’re changing generational patterns now at this point. And they might not have realized any of that was possible for them until you sat down in court and told them, “Of course, it’s possible, all we need to do is get more strength in your body so you can run longer, get more flexibility if you want to go to your yoga class so you don’t end up tweaking or re-injuring yourself when you do go to class.”

I can’t tell you the number of people who have stepped into my brick-and-mortar clinic, thinking that they could never practice yoga because their bodies were not flexible, and that they were just going to injure themselves more. And I was like, “Well, no, everybody can practice yoga. It’s just modifying the practice for yourself.” So you know, I would teach them a healing practice to help solve their problem originally, and then we could progress on to fun poses. But that doesn’t mean they always let go of their healing program, right? It just gives them more flexibility and options to go to different classes. And they can develop a whole community. It really changes lives here.

So if you are not saying any of these things, because of your own fear, or your own assumptions, you are doing your patients and your clients a disservice. They have more to their life than they realize. And as a wellness practitioner, part of your role and your job is to hold the space.

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And for me personally, holding the space means seeing that vision of what’s possible for their life, and helping encourage them to get there, step by step by step, and when they achieve one goal, helping them to realize, “Oh, there’s more.”

You Will Never Run Out Of Things To Teach Your Patients and Clients

And a common fear is also like, “Well, what if I run out of things to teach them?” Trust me here, I’ve been in the wellness field for 20 years, and I have people who have worked with me now for a decade or more. If you’re always learning and growing, then you will never run out of new things to teach them. Plus, if you’re just keeping it client-focused, focused on their goals and what they want to achieve, you will never run out of things to teach them because you’ll always be listening to them and what they’re struggling with and how you can help them.

If you do run out of things or bump up against the scope of your practice, just refer out, it’s not a problem. If you refer out and they get results with that other practitioner, they will love you for it. Plus, if you’ve worked with people long enough, that connection remains. I still have some of my old patients sending me Christmas cards. Last year was the first year I actually sent out Christmas cards ever. And so my old patients got Christmas cards from me. I love that I love to see what’s happening in their family. I’ve seen so many babies born, so many families grow. I love to see what’s happening in my old patients’ life. It’s meaningful to me, it’s fulfilling.

That’s the whole reason why I got into this business, is to connect and help people. And sometimes, as people evolve in their own lives, they come back to me. I have people who were my patients and now work with me in the busy business coaching facet. So you just never can predict. Or referrals, of course. People will always give you referrals if they’re happy and trust you. I get referrals from people who were clients five, six years ago.

It just happened the other week, someone that I worked with five, six years ago just gave a referral. And that person started working with me. So you can never predict what’s going to happen if you just keep going and realize the extent of the scope of your practice and have the courage to say the hard things and refer out when needed.


Okay, so here’s a process to wrap up today’s blog. So you can get more renewables, keep your business more efficient and running more consistently and getting revenue, more reliable, and most importantly, helping your people to get results again and again and again, where they’re continuing to grow and evolve and seeing at first small transformations in their life.

But eventually, when they work with you round and round, again, it leads to bigger shifts, bigger changes in their life. So first, you want to decide what is the initial result that they will achieve when they first start working with you. And if you need help with this, then head to the blog on Creating Your Signature Wellness Program.

Next, you want to think about what are some examples for next phase results? So think of your ideal client. What might they want to achieve next, after achieving that initial result for you? And what is the container that they can achieve that in? Meaning, can you just keep your program the same? Make it the same offer? And if that’s the case, what are some optional offers for those of your ideal clients that maybe don’t fit that criteria? How can you keep it simple for both them? And you? And when you think about that, also think about what is your process for when you will discuss the renewal with them, meaning not leaving it to the last session?

So when will you discuss it with them? Maybe two sessions prior a month prior, depending on how long your initial packages? What exactly will you say to them at that point? What will be the offer that you will offer to them? How will you know the criteria for making that offer? And then how will you plant seeds about renewal throughout your process of working with them, so they know that there is an option to continue working with you? And it’s starting to get their gears going. So you and them both work on scheduling and finances, so working with you become part of their lifestyle in a sustainable way, not just something they’re doing temporarily as a one-off one-fix thing. That’s how you really create a reliable and consistent revenue and business.

How will you have an end-of-package wrap-up evaluation for them? So they see exactly the changes, the small wins that they’ve gotten over the time working with you, how will you celebrate their small wins and acknowledge that? How will you track their progress when working with you? So maybe it’s tracking progress. In the beginning of the session, what they walk in with their struggle? How do they feel at the end of the session? And then how will you track progress overall, week by week?

What I do personally is I have a form that I send out at the beginning of each month to evaluate and review the previous month. Go over areas of concern as well as celebrate those wins. So how will you have a tracking process for helping to, again, your clients helping them to evaluate and celebrate wins?

And what are the actual logistics of renewal? So for example, for me, I start the process of the conversation of renewal, actually sitting down and saying, Okay, you have about four sessions left in your package or three sessions left in your package, we’re coming up on your last month here, let’s talk about the progress you made, where you want to go in the future, start to think about new goals that you want to set in the future.” And if they need a consult or not to help them with that decision.

And if they go through the consult, or they just decide right then and there that they do want to continue on with me, I say, “Great, let’s book the first call of that next round, you can keep your same day in time, if you would like we’ll just go for it. I’ll block it off in my schedule. And then payment is due for the new round starting your new round before the first session of that call. I’ll just send you the link you can pay at your convenience.” So what are the logistics for you for renewal for your people? So think about that.

Now if you have questions about any of this or it feels overwhelming, just write it all down and take it one step at a time. For me, again, I’ve been in business since 2016. So this process has really evolved for me over time where it has been a process and a system that I can do efficiently both for my business, and for my people to make the process of renewal simple.

I‘ve worked with practitioners, whom I’ve wanted to work with more, but they had no renewal process. And so I just stopped because it was never offered to me. I even inquired about it, and it wasn’t easy. And so it just ended, and that doesn’t serve your people because they want to continue working with you more, they want to get more results. And, of course, it doesn’t serve your business to leave that money on the table when it can be easy to renew. 

So if this seems overwhelming, what is the simple, smallest step you can do today? Write that down. What is the simple, smallest step you can do today to help simplify your process of renewals, just do that one thing, get it implemented, get it into your system. And then, when you’ve completed that, go on to the next simple, smallest step. And then, eventually, you’ll create your process and your system. 

And of course, if you want help with this, deciding what you do if you have your signature wellness package or program, especially if you’re a physical therapist, and you want to add more wellness into your clinic, in your practice, but it’s feeling very complicated, then just reach out to me and we’ll jump on a consult call and talk about it.

So there you have it. I look forward to seeing you guys next week on next week’s blog. Bye for now!

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Alison McLean

"I help the Entrepreneur reduce stress and live a more fulfilled and balanced life."