lotion on hands

I am a firm believer in selling additional services and products, such as pain-relieving topicals, to your clients. Why? Because people are going to spend money one way or the other on something they want. If you have something they want, why not give them the opportunity to spend the money with you?

The trick to add-on and product sales is finding something they want and providing it.

I see so many massage therapists make one common mistake when they are trying to sell something. If you do not go about it the right way, not only will you lose a sale, you will also lose a client.

Here is that mistake: Using the time at the table to talk to your client about buying your products or joining in a company you are selling products for.

The sell, or sales, must come after the massage.

Sell After the Session

You can answer clients’ questions, but the table work always has priority. Your client booked an appointment with you, and is paying you for your time and skills. No one wants to pay for a sales pitch that they have to listen to for an hour.

I learned this the hard way. I cannot focus on my work and sell a product at the same time. I have tried and failed; the result being a decrease in the effectiveness of the massage, along with the non-sale of the product—and the loss of a rebooking client.

If a client asks about what you’re selling, tell her that you would love to share the product information in detail with her, but that if it’s OK, you would like to wait until after you are done working on her because she is with you for a massage. The client will feel respected and appreciate you. Besides, this professional communication will ultimately assist you in your product sales and provides a little suspense.

Schedule Product Sales Time

Clients will typically purchase single products inside your office. That’s fine, because you really do not have time to sell anything more than a tube of lotion or a candle to a client between a full schedule of clients and sessions.

I schedule my clients one-and-a-half hours apart and I do not have much time left to cover product information. If someone is interested in a product I’m selling and I need a half-hour to talk to them about it to do it right, then I make a free half-hour appointment with them separate from their massage time.

I believe you also need to have neutral ground for something new, especially if it is a higher-priced item or something that involves a membership program. What you want to avoid the most is losing a client because he felt pressured and was afraid to tell you “no” and then does not schedule anymore with you in order to avoid you.

Great selling is really just about informing people of what you have and then letting them decide that it is something they want.

You may find that your clients for massage and your clients for product sales, as much as you would like the convenience of it, will not be the same clients.

Share Offers

If you want to offer a new topical product, or a new technique or spa modality that you charge a different price for, the best way to sell those services is to do a little non-pushy show-and-tell.

First, create a menu or information page with a coupon attached to try the new product or service for a percentage off the regular price. Give this to each client after his or her appointment with you.

Before you start the session, briefly tell your client what you have to offer and ask if she would like you to add a small amount of the new product or service for free. Make sure your client understands that it is a sample. Then allow her to choose what she wants to do. Some will say “yes” and others will say “no.” By just giving your client the option, you will have opened a door to sell the service or product.

After the massage, hand the client the coupon and let him know that if he likes the service or product that he can schedule it in for his next session or a future session at a discount. Allow clients to make the decision for themselves. Even if they don’t book the service or buy the product that day, trust me—they will go home and think about it.

A good sell does not always produce an immediate response. You have to let it simmer and let the person decide what he or she wants to do.

If you sell yourself right, and your client trusts that your interest in her is genuine, you should naturally start getting requests and bookings for those products and services. It doesn’t have to be a hard sell—it just has to be respectful.

Remember that sales come from 10 percent the product and 90 percent you. The quality of the relationship you have with your client can largely determine what he buys from you.

Sell Correctly

As far as selling products in conjunction with massage for additional income, there are two ways to do it: Sell products and manage an inventory; or get involved in a multi-level marketing business.

Know yourself and what you are most comfortable with. Do not jump into something you would not be comfortable doing or would not have chosen to buy yourself. Watch the needs in your business and fulfill those needs. There are many empty promises out there that just cost you money.

Outside of selling gift certificates or new services for massage, the products I have seen do well with massage are candles, essential oils and the products you are already using at the table, such as pain-relief topicals, lotions, bolsters and eye pillows. Inexpensive gift baskets to go along with a massage gift certificate can do well for holidays.

Ask other therapists what they sell, why they sell what they do, and how product sales works for them. Take the time to go out and find what you would be interested in selling. You might be surprised at what you find you like and not just what someone has sold to you.

You should sell anything to everyone at full price. When it comes to a membership or multilevel-company-based product, if a client wants a discount, then show him how he can get the discount by signing up as a distributor himself.

If you offer the discount and sell directly to clients, be ready to accept that there really is no incentive for them to sign up. You will end up losing money and wasting your time. Being nice is about directing them toward the discount, not providing it.

In Summary

Anyone in business for him- or herself should consider additional income opportunities by having products available for customers to purchase. Remember these important things when choosing to sell:

  • Never use massage time to give sales pitches.
  • Use time away from the massage table to do product sales of higher-priced items.
  • Only choose products that you would buy yourself and believe in.
  • Sell your products at a reasonable and profitable level for your business.

About the Author

Amy Bradley Radford, LMT, BCTMB, has been a massage therapist and educator for more than 20 years. She is the owner and developer of Pain Patterns and Solutions Seminars. She has also authored several books, including Finding Success for the Massage Therapist Who Wants to Succeed.