To complement “Step Out of Your Comfort Zone—and into Your Success Zone” in the August 2016 print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.
Some of the biggest problems that I see with massage therapists have to do with knowing what to say to clients and potential clients, and knowing when and how to say it.
I often get asked questions such as, “I want to go out and market myself, but what should I say?”; or “How can I ask clients to reschedule without feeling awkward?”
Creating and using scripts can help with this sort of situation—and a lot more. Things like: exactly what you should say to rebook that client; how to explain the benefits of a retail product; and how to ask for a sale. Scripts can help you to figure out what to say, remember to say it, and not leave out any important info.
Scripts are a great business-building tool to help with communication with clients—until that communication becomes second nature. This does not mean we want to sound like massage robots. Of course, you will need to customize what you say depending on your clients’ needs—however, scripts give you a framework for great customer service and consistency.
Communication with Clients
I’ll never forget the day a young client in my spa called her mom, who was in the lobby, from the treatment room, because the therapist had left and the client didn’t know what to do. I was more than a little embarrassed.
That’s when I realized how implementing some systems and routines would help my business, and avoid sticky situations. I had them in place shortly afterward, and it really improved our level of service.
You can work on developing scripts for any business skill that you want to improve on. A few scripts that you may want to think about creating are:
- Marketing, in terms of introducing yourself and your business, and asking to leave marketing materials
- Answering the phone, booking appointments and screening new clients
- Greeting clients; your intake procedure
- Checking your client out, and asking him to reschedule
- Recommending retail products and asking for the sale
- Follow-up calls
- Asking for referrals
- Enforcing your office policies, including letting clients know you can no longer work with them
An example of a greeting and intake script might look like this:
Welcome to Smith’s Massage Center. I’m Jane Smith, and I’ll be your massage therapist today. I’ll need you to fill out this health form so that I can give you the best massage today. Would you like some water or tea? Great; I’ll get that, and the restroom is down this hall on the left if you need it.
Intake interview (in waiting area or lead to treatment room; make notes as needed):
Do you have pain or tightness in any areas of your body right now? Do you have any medical issues that I should be aware of? This includes any specific diagnosis of condition or disease.
Now, I’m going to go over some areas that I’d like you to be aware of. First, would you like a full-body massage, or a targeted session? Would you prefer to begin face-up or face-down?
Also, please be sure to tell me if the pressure I use is too light or too deep, and I will adjust. Also let me know if you feel cold or too warm, and I will adjust the temperature as well.
Finally, this is how to get on the table; with all clothes removed; under the sheets. This is where to leave your clothes and purse/wallet.
I will be gone for five minutes, and then I will knock on this door. Please let me know if you are ready for me to come in.
Of course, you will adjust and tweak what you say based on the flow of conversation, your client’s responses, and whether it is someone’s first massage with you.
Think it Through
Can you see how thinking through the details and making a plan will help you give consistently great service? It’s worth it to take the time to go through your client interactions and create some scripts. They can even be in checklist form. I kept mine handy to review between clients.
You will want to customize your scripts to fit your personality and business model. For more ideas, you can search Google for massage client intake script, rebooking massage clients, and selling retail to massage clients.
I also use and suggest a recommendation form that you can fill out for each client. You can write down your suggestions for a treatment plan, home care and retail, then just review it with your client and ask them when they would like their next session.
After using your scripts for a few weeks or months, you will find that you rarely need to refer back to them. Skilled communication with clients is just as important to your business as your skill giving a massage. You will know what to say and when to say it, and the results will show in your growing clientele and paychecks.
Gael Wood has worked for more than 20 years in the massage and spa industry, and now concentrates her energy into educating and training massage-and-spa therapists in the areas of marketing, business start-up, customer service and spa services. Read more and enjoy free business-building resources at her website.