If you’re just starting your private practice, you may be nervous to see your first nutrition client. It could help to start with a friendly face!
You can begin by reaching out to friends, family members, and acquaintances, to see if they – or their friends – could use nutrition counseling.
Sending an email is a good way to do this, because (a) it’s free to send, (b) it can easily be forwarded and shared, and (c) it works for people of different ages and locations.
Ready to go, but not sure what to write? We’ve put together a guide to help. To get you clients, here are the 2 major things your email needs to do:
1) Connect with the Reader
Working with a dietitian or nutritionist can be very personal. Some folks may be embarrassed to admit what they eat or have other concerns or eating disorders. If they’re going to work with you, they need to feel comfortable with you!
That means you need to do 2 things: build trust AND make them interested in you.
Research shows that being perceived as trustworthy and likeable is actually more important than being perceived as experienced. And while you are both trustworthy and capable, this actually plays in your favor – because it’s why someone would choose to work with you, even if they’re your very first client.
To build trust, you can mention your credentials, your awards or commendations, or use a quote from someone you worked with during your internship. That will help put potential clients at ease.
To build likeability, you can share your story. That can mean mentioning where you grew up, why you decided to pursue nutrition, or anything else that helps the reader feel like they know and relate to you.
2) Ask the Reader to Take Action
Now that the reader feels good about working with you, you need to spur them to take that next step.
You may be tempted to share every contact method possible, from phone number and email to social media link and address. This can actually be distracting for readers. The key is to give them 1 specific action to take and to be direct in asking them to do it.
Data suggests that a clear call-out that tells you what to do and suggests you do it now is most effective.
For example, you can set up a Google Calendar with just your available hours and provide the link to it, asking readers to book an appointment. Or, you can ask them to send you an email describing what nutrition challenges they’d like to work on. Whatever you ask them to do, picking 1 action can improve the rate of people who take it.
So, what might that email look like? Here’s an example that you can send, to find your first nutrition client.
Hi Aunt Margaret,
I’m so excited to share that I passed my exam to become a registered dietitian! I’ve just started working at Idlewild Hospital as a clinical dietitian, but I’d also like to work with people one-on-one. That’s so important to me, because good nutrition can change people’s lives. During my internship, I got to work with a woman who lost 15 pounds, and that lowered her risk for so many serious health conditions. Seeing that was so meaningful, and I can’t wait to
Do you know anyone who is looking for nutrition help or counseling? I’m focusing on weight loss help right now. Maybe someone who is pre-diabetic or who wants to lose some weight before summer or a big event? It could be someone at your knitting club or a friend’s grand-daughter.
Could you share my email address with anyone who might be interested? They can email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what they’d like to work on!
Thanks so much, Aunt Margaret!
Ana Smith, MS, RD