Sponsored by: Sohnen-Moe

You have time before the winter holidays arrive to begin selling massage and spa products that will augment your sessions and build client loyalty, as well as increase your income.

You have a relationship with your clients, and retailing is simply another avenue of supporting your clients in their wellness. Launching a retail component of a massage practice requires understanding some elements of consumer purchasing behavior.

Many commercial merchandisers start their holiday buying marketing campaigns in September—then there’s the major push with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Kwanzaa and Christmas. Consumers are barraged by these holidays’ advertisements, decorations and festivities.

As a small-business owner, you can ride the coattails of these promotions to generate additional sales for your practice or expand your product lines.

While some people are savvy shoppers and purchase gifts throughout the year, the majority wait to buy their gifts until the holiday season is in full swing. Whether your clients buy early or shop late, by offering a range of affordable items they can’t get elsewhere, you will provide healthy home-care options while making more money for your practice.

Add Value to Sessions

Product sales, or retail, in general, is a great diversification method, and profiting from it can defray overhead expenses. It’s hazardous — physically, emotionally and financially — to rely on your hands-on work as the sole source of your livelihood, particularly if your work requires intensity, as massage therapy does.

Retail adds value to your sessions, extends the session benefits to home and increases your bottom line. Retail is a natural extension of the standard of care and healing already associated with massage therapy. You have a relationship with your clients, and retailing is simply another avenue of supporting your clients in their wellness.

Many people are overworked and time management is a problem for them — particularly during the holidays. If you can save them the time of having to stop to buy a product, you’ve simplified their lives. and that’s priceless.

You save clients time when they don’t have to make a special trip to buy an item, spend hours researching online, or wait days or weeks for it to be delivered. Most clients would rather purchase products directly from you, their trusted practitioner, than from an impersonal company.

Also, as a massage therapist you have access to many professional-quality products that aren’t usually available to the general public.

For example, there are wonderful topical treatments and self-care tools that your average clients can’t find at their local health emporiums or online. Many of these products aren’t even directly available to retail consumers; they must be purchased by practitioners and then sold to clients.

The Holiday Edge

The holiday season can be stressful, and choosing holiday gifts can be mind-boggling. You can help by providing retail options for your clients that make it easy for them to give to friends and family.

Offer gift options in several price ranges: $10-$20; $25- $50; $55-$100; and $100-plus. Your retail display should offer ready-to-give products that are visually appealing. You can bundle packages with items you might not normally sell during the rest of the year, such as small boxes of local organic chocolates, CDs with instrumental holiday music, mugs, holiday spice blend teas, and hot cocoa mix.

You can effectively generate new clients with these retail packages by including a business card and an invitation for an open house or a complimentary mini-massage to generate interest from potential clientele.

Whenever you sell retail gift packages, include an option to add a gift certificate for a massage or other services you offer at your office. On the flip side, whenever you sell gift certificates, include a product sample.

By doing this, you provide a means of instant gratification, plus you plant the seed that people can buy wellness products from you.

Meet Clients’ Needs

Holiday retailing need not be limited to gift items clients buy. Keep your practice at the top of your clients’ holiday self-care routine by offering unique services and product combinations that meet their holiday needs.

Are clients crunched for time? If so, offer an express service that helps them unwind quickly and get back to their busy schedule; and include a product they can take with them, like a relaxing essential oil or a soothing CD.

Do clients need an escape? Put together a getaway package that incorporates several services, such as stone massage, reflexology and scalp massage, along with spa products the client can use at home.

You can keep it simple by offering holiday-themed treatments with the scents of the season, like cinnamon or cranberry — and sell items with those fragrances, too.

Holiday Merchandising

Put your holiday items in a focus area in your waiting room or on a tray in your office. One of my clients put up a Christmas tree and placed several presents of differing prices under the tree.. She had additional stock behind the counter ready for purchase. You could even attach a gift certificate to a holiday plant or decoration.

Make a sign mentioning these products in your promotional materials. Use products throughout your office building. For example, if you sell holiday-scented items such as soaps, lotions or air sprays, place them in the bathroom for your clients to experience.

For those of you who do mostly on-site work, you can still create a holiday environment. Assemble a kit of items in a small box. The box becomes the stand. Drape a piece of colorful material over the box and display your items, such as candles and a small silk plant.

An effective visual way to inform your on-site clients about your holiday specials is to take pictures of your holiday packages and make a small poster with a heading such as “Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas,” attach the print to a cardboard picture frame, and unobtrusively place the frame on your display box.

Here’s to a healthy holiday season — for your clients and your practice.

About the authors:

Cherie Sohnen-Moe is an author, business coach and international workshop leader. She has been a successful business owner since 1978. She is the past president of The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE), and served on the faculty of several schools (massage, acupuncture, and holistic health). She is the author of the book “Business Mastery,” now in its fifth edition. She is the co-author of “The Ethics of Touch” and “Retail Mastery.” Cherie is also a MASSAGE Magazine All Star, one of a group of body-therapy masters who have dedicated their lives to empowering and informing massage professionals.

Lynda Solien-Wolfe is a licensed massage therapist, esthetician, continuing education provider, writer, and business consultant. She is a strong supporter of massage therapy research and an avid consumer of massage therapy. She co-owns a day spa in Merritt Island, FL since 1994, where they have continually sold retail products since their opening. She is currently the chair of the Massage Makes Me Happy Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute and led the movement to create the Global Massage Makes Me Happy Day.

About Sohnen-Moe:

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