Ingrid Skoog discusses her boutique practice

Interviewer: I have with me, Ingrid Skoog, a registered dietitian, board certified as a specialist in sports nutrition, and owner of Momentum Nutrition Coaching. Ingrid, welcome to The Call.

Ingrid: Thanks for having me.

Interviewer: Ingrid, I wonder if you could explain a little bit about your practice.

Ingrid: I’ll be happy too. I have what I consider a boutique practice in Eugene, Oregon, where I specialize in sports nutrition and performance nutrition overall. I see a fair number of people that are interested in weight loss and weight management, and then I also work with companies that are looking for development of educational materials and looking for a corporate level of nutrition information.

Interviewer: So you have a variety of focuses within your practice. What are some of the techniques that you use to get new clients, either within your main practice or within those sub-niches?

Ingrid: Sure, I think there are three ways that I get most of my clients, and I’m purposeful about these. The first is word of mouth, and that’s from client to client, so I get a number of referrals that way. The second is from colleague to colleague, so individuals that may have people that they know are moving out here or transferring out here, and they want to connect them with somebody in my location. Or because I have a specialty they want to connect me to someone who needs that information, I’d say.

And the third way is through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which has a function called find a registered dietitian, and I’ve been pleased with the number and type of clients that come to me that way.

Interviewer: That’s great. I’ve talked to some other practitioners who used the referral techniques to really drive their business. Is there something that you do with different practitioners to increase your referrals?

Ingrid: Well, I think that networking through national meetings, and being on the serves or sites that bring people together and sort of cross path. I think that’s the way that people get to know each other, and get comfortable with making those sorts of referrals. I think also now with technology that there’s a more media feed to finding out information about other practitioners.

So you’re a little bit quicker at seeing if you think it’s going to be a good fit or even picking up the phone yourself and talking to them real quickly. So it just sort of varies, but I think that does help being out there, people being aware of you, web contents, again all those sites of social media that are out there help too.

Interviewer: Great, and how do you effectively market your business?

Ingrid: Like I mentioned, I consider myself sort of a boutique practice, and I do that very purposely. I like to keep a smaller client list so that I can focus, and have a very specific way of working with my clients now, that demands a little bit more time and attention. And I feel like I get better results.

So marketing for me is … Let’s see it includes web function, includes I’m on Twitter a little bit. I kind of use these different areas, but I’m very purposeful of how I use them. I don’t over expose myself. I really want to almost pick my clients as much as they’re picking me.

I think also marketing is a tough part of the profession, and I might sound like I’ve got it all together, but I think that there’s lots to learn in that area. I’ve had to niche market on how to really turn the client idea into an actual partnership. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at it, but what works for me is just keeping it small, and being very purposeful with how I engage in some things.

Interviewer: One of the things you talked about was managing your exposure to social media. What are some of the other techniques you use to efficiently manage your time?

Ingrid: Well, I think that I find texting and working with my clients more real time is much more efficient than waiting and visiting with them once a week. I think that I do that once a week sorts of approach as well, but I find that actually helps me manage my time better if I leverage some of these other techniques, so Skyping someone, email, texting, those sorts of things actually help me manage my time.

In some ways, it might feel like it takes up more time, but I’m more effective with my clients. I can give them real time information which means they can correct or adjust what they’re doing real time. And that seems to stick longer than sitting in the office and doing that. I also don’t bill myself. I don’t bill insurance directly. They have to do that on their end if they want to do that, and I think being really upfront about fees, and the structure of those fees helps.

Sometimes I see online people won’t tell people what their rates are initially, they’ll make them contact them. And nowadays I just think that’s almost like a missed opportunity. So having accurate information on the internet that people can trust, and do some research beforehand is going to help.

Interviewer: Great, and that leaves me to the last question. What’s the one thing that you’d change about your practice if you could?

Ingrid: Well, I do think that it would be great to have, I don’t know what the right word is, but almost a hub or a place where you could crash your practice through to be able to manage it a little bit better. So something that provided, maybe there was a marketing component to it, but it was pretty straight up, I guess you’d say. If there was a system where you could track your clients, manage your clients, get leads, provide good information, and then also look at other practitioners, I think that would be really interesting.

One of the downsides to the academy list is not everybody puts up full information, and sometimes they can overinflate their areas of specializations, and then you’re going to get referrals that aren’t really a good match. So a system where people really can do a comprehensive profile of themselves, and then have some support on the back end for the business management side.

Interviewer: Well, that sounds great. That sounds like, again, your practice is very niche, but I think it’s effective. And it sounds like you’ve got a great rapport and relationship with your clients.

Ingrid: I try. I hope they feel the same way. I think They do.

Interviewer: That’s great. Well, Ingrid, I wanted to thank you again for coming on The Call today. We really appreciate it.

Ingrid: Thank you, and good luck.

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