From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expert Advice,” by Gurukirn S. Khalsa, in the February 2010 issue. Article summary: You have spent time, hard work and money becoming a massage therapist. Still, your income isn’t what you want it to be. But what if you continued to make money even after the massage session ended? How? you might ask. The answer is simple: retail.

by Lloyd List

As a massage therapist, I understand the apprehension of some therapists to carry and sell products to their clients. Some people feel it’s unethical, while others believe they’re not good salespeople and just want to focus on massage.

First, there is nothing unethical about carrying a legitimate product that will benefit your client. Second, if you have repeat clients, you’re already a great salesperson. Clients like your work and believe in you and what you do. So let’s get down to the basic question: Why should you carry products for you clients to purchase?

The answer is simple: You have access to products that are not available to the general public that your clients want and need. By selling professional products, you provide a valid service, creating good will and greater client satisfaction.

Selling to clients should always be in the form of a soft sell, meaning not pushing people to buy, but just making them aware that some of the products you use on them can be purchased through you. The following are some examples:

• Let’s say you use a massage cream that is also a great moisturizer. Tell your client, when you are applying it, that the product is great for the skin, it moisturizes, contains arnica for bruising and swelling and vitamin E. At the end of the massage, when the client notices how soft her skin is, you say, “By the way, if you want to purchase some of this for home use, I carry the line.”

• The same holds true for analgesics. If you are using a topical pain reliever— which will provide the client greater pain relief than a drug-store product—during the massage, selling him this product is a benefit to your client and helps him manage pain between massages.

As massage therapists, we are dedicated to helping our clients—and that can be extended by selling them products that are useful to their health care. Additionally, selling products to clients produces passive income and creates word-of-mouth advertising, as your clients will tell other people about the products you carry and your massage.

Remember, when you became a massage therapist you didn’t take an oath of poverty.

Lloyd List, CEO of CRYODERM®, is board certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and holds certifications in neuromuscular therapy, cranial sacral therapy, orthopedic massage, orthopedic assessment skills, clinical massage, neurosomatic integration, Vodder lymph drainage, reflexology, zen shiatsu acupressure and Oriental healing arts, tuina, ayurvedic bodywork of Tibet and India and polarity therapy.