Soil must be healthy in order for the seed to grow; it is the source of what grows and blossoms. We can trust the seeds to grow along with producing a robust crop when the soil is rich and healthy.
What is the rich soil that is needed for rebooking clients? I believe it is believing you can. Your mindset is crucial to success in life. There is a saying by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” When we think and believe in more abundance, we shall receive more abundantly.
This is why we must carry a deep desire to serve our clients and hold a belief in ourselves and the value of our work. Together, these will direct our path into success.
So, then, what are the seeds in this garden of re-booking clients and getting more clients? Our clients want value for their time and money. I gently invite you to consider: When clients leave your session room, what is important for them to remember? What gives your work value? These are the seeds you are planting in your massage practice.
These seeds might include therapeutic skill, education, communication, customer service, trust, gratitude, curiosity and focus.
Therapeutic skill. We accommodate our clients in many ways. Our therapeutic skill is one of the primary ways we accommodate our clients. Clients must feel safe in our presence and with our touch.
How we touch, where we touch and why we touch helps grow the garden of nurturance that causes our clients to want to return. Touching our clients with a loving presence and right intention will bring our seeds into a blossoming practice filled with clients who feel the joy of the work we love.
Educate. There is great value in educating our clients and getting more clients. It is important that we take time to offer our clients feedback. We need to educate clients about their body by asking what they felt and help them identify and feel holding patterns they carry in their muscles.
We can then recommend techniques to restore function and healing. Keep this education simple and direct your feedback to their needs and goals, and perhaps gently open the door to something new for them to learn.
Communicate. Choosing to listen, to really listen, is one of the most caring and affirming gifts you can offer your clients. Remember, everyone has a deep desire to be seen and heard.
I have been active in this profession for more than 25 years. No matter where I lived, I was always able to build a very successful practice with a loyal clientele. My therapeutic skills are good, but certainly not the best. One thing I do offer my clients consistently is a listening presence.
By bringing your whole self as a listener into the session room, you can be in touch with your clients in a way that is not often experienced in our noisy, fast-moving culture. Think of it this way: Every client has a message on his or her forehead that asks you three questions. Those questions are: Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do you authentically care?
Practice etiquette. Exemplary customer services add extra value to an already wonderful service, and help you when it comes to getting more clients. What extra value can you offer your clients? I would like to suggest the following:
- A friendly and gracious follow-up filled with deep gratitude.
- Resources such as suggestions of books and articles supporting the client’s goals related to your work together.
- Post-massage self-care guidelines offered verbally or in writing. For example, you might suggest the client drink water, rest, perform gentle stretching or take a warm Epson salt bath.
- Retail products the client can purchase for self-care between sessions.
Build trust. Trust is the basic tenant for all relationships. It is important to be reliable, responsible and accountable. Your words and behavior must be congruent in order to foster trust.
Be early and prepared for your appointments. Do not cancel or reschedule unless absolutely necessary. Be professional, authentic and present. Clients feel our energy and sense our sincerity. I cannot stress the importance of this particular seed enough.
Be Grateful. Grow rich in gratitude. What we offer gratitude to will only grow.
In addition to listening, I have learned the importance of practicing gratitude. I teach my students what I practice faithfully; always send a thank you note to first-time clients whether they re-book or not. Also, send a gratitude note to your regular clients thanking them for their loyalty and the opportunity to serve them. Pick one or two clients a month.
My recommendation is still regular postal mail. A nice card found in the mailbox still proves to be a delightful surprise for the person who receives it.
Ask. Ask your client to book the next appointment. When I first began in this profession I was scared to death to ask my client for the next appointment. I did not want to face rejection or sound pushy. Time went on and I knew I had to find a consistent model that would support me in re-booking clients and grow my practice.
My desire to establish and grow a loyal client base lived deep within me. My desire spoke louder than my insecurities and fear. I designed a six-point closing interview, practiced it often, used it with my clients and I saw my practice grow and flourish.
Not only did my practice grow, but I grew as a practitioner. My self-confidence and belief in the value of my work continue to serve me well. I continue to use this exit interview today, even after 25 years. Having an effective exit interview is crucial to re-booking your client.
Following is a snapshot of my closing interview:
- Return to the client’s goal. For example, you might say, “Susan, when you came in today, your goal was to minimize your back pain so you can run a 5K this spring. You rated the pain in your low back as 8 on a scale of 10. What would you rate it now?”
- Ask your client what was most effective and least effective about the session. Take notes and mention something that you will incorporate next time. This is an assumptive close.
- Next, ask your client if he or should would be open to professional feedback. This is where you stress the value of your work.
- Offer your client your professional recommendation. This is the time to ask for the next appointment. It can sound something like this; “May I offer you my professional recommendation? I would recommend receiving massage once per month (or whatever you feel is best for your client) Will this work for you?” Schedule the client at the moment he or she says “Yes.” This is also the time to offer post-massage guidelines.
- At this point, you can also discuss follow-up. It is important you follow up, especially with a new client, and to let the client know why you feel it is important to follow up. Establish an agreement on how you will follow up, whether by phone call, email or text. Allow the client to share with you his or her preference. And, of course, follow up. Do what you say you are going to do.
- Always thank the client for coming in.
Take a moment, close your eyes and imagine your massage practice growing into a robust and plentiful health care business. Imagine yourself retaining clients and getting more clients.
Notice what you see. Envision yourself as busy as you want to be.
Breathe and take a moment to sit in gratitude.
Say to yourself, “I am so happy and grateful now that I have an abundant supply of clients and my re-booking rate is 90 percent. I am so very grateful to be doing work I love and touching the perfect number people each work day.” (Decide on the number of clients you want to see in a day and affirm it in your mind.)
Growing a garden of regular clients takes more than the tools of effective business practices. It is also filled with the richness of offering your clients your best self each and every day, and of seeing yourself as the master gardener, tending your garden with great care.
About the Author
Kathy Ginn has been active in the profession of massage therapy and bodywork since 1991 as a practitioner, teacher and mentor. She is the founder of Ethical Dimensions and is the co-creator of Life Empowered Institute. Her passion is to bring the study of ethics to life and help others see their uniqueness and potential that far exceeds what they believe themselves to be. Her courses are National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved.
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