by Stephen A. Kreger, L.M.T.

Collect Referrals from Other Businesses, MASSAGE MagazineMassage therapists should learn how to get other businesses to promote their practice. The example I will use involves a salon, but it works well with any business.

In looking for a way to get referrals from other businesses in the area, we decided the best way to do this was to offer something they could give their customers. We came up with a promotional coupon that was low cost.

There are several key components to using this type of marketing piece. Most importantly, remove your ego from the piece. The first and most prominent item in the piece is the other business’s name. The name of your business or practice should be smaller and at the end of the piece. It is important to make the business you are seeking referrals from look like a hero, as if the other business negotiated or developed this promotion exclusively for its customers.

The promotion must have a specific dollar value, not a percentage. This produces a psychological effect for the recipient that they are being given money instead of just a coupon. It can be as little as $5 or as much as $20. I highly recommend the higher amount and this is why:

You can print these pieces three to an 8.5-inch by 11-inch page, and then cut them down. Use white, not colored, paper; keep the color for the art and text. This makes your cost about $.03 cents per coupon. When you give these to another business, make sure they are personalized for that business, not just a generic piece. They will gladly hand them out to customers. It costs them nothing, promotes them and it makes them look good to their customers. Plus, you get the added bonus of someone personally handing them to a customer. This is almost like a personal referral, and the customer is more likely to use it. You get the other business to do all the work, and all you have to do is supply the marketing piece.

This works well for any business, including:

• Hair salons (as a thank you)

• Nail salon (as a thank you)

• Dog groomer (as a thank you)

• Apartment complex (in the welcome packet or with rent receipt)

This piece will bring you many new clients long after you hand it out. The salon we first worked with loved it, and our center received more than 50 new clients in six months.

Stephen A. Kreger, L.M.T. is the president of Island Software Company,