Imagine that a 38-year-old mom of four, who has frequent stress headaches, finally decides to give massage a try. She’s busy, but has a real problem that needs to be solved—those headaches have started interfering with her daily life. Will she:
- A) clip a coupon and schedule a session with whatever massage therapist is running a promotion?
- B) go to a local therapist—regardless of price—who was referred by a friend and promotes a package of massages designed to help people with headaches?
For the client—provided she cares more about her health than the price of the session—the choice, and benefits, are obvious.
That second therapist receives a benefit, too: She sells a package of massages, at a premium price, to a new client who will likely become a repeat client. That’s a pretty effective way to run a business.
So how do you get from being therapist A to therapist B? The answer is positioning.
Positioning Means Professional
Positioning is simply being known for something. It applies to you, the individual service provider with a set of skills. Positioning usually means you’re an expert, a specialist, a professional—someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about what you do, as opposed to an employee simply doing work for a paycheck; however, you can take the time to establish yourself as a professional, whether you work for yourself or as an employee.
“Positioning is the process of gaining a leadership position in a category. It is what makes it possible to become so well-known that clients start to seek you out by name,” said Philip Morgan, author of The Positioning Strategy Guide.
Positioning Will Help Your Business
Positioning isn’t something you do just to add more things to your business should-be-doing list. It’s an investment of time and energy and won’t happen overnight, but the rewards can help you avoid burnout and create a profitable massage business for years to come.
Having a reputation as a massage expert comes with many benefits:
- Respect from clients who need your help
- Referrals because clients know you will deliver
- Repeat clients who learn to trust you over time
- Premium pricing because you’ve made it clear you’re worth it
- Choices over how you work and who you work with
“Expert-level status is a lot about boundaries,” said business coach Laura Wieck, L.M.T. “When it comes down to it, by positioning yourself well you begin to have choices over who you really want to serve, how you really want to work, and how you can best help people. And boundaries are good—for both your happiness and your clients.”
Position Yourself as a Massage Expert
Call it a reputation, a personal brand or leadership, but if your goal is to make massage a career you need to be proactive about your perceived value with your clients and in your industry.
There are specific things you can do to improve your positioning. That’s where the next four articles in this series on positioning come in. Follow along as we take a practical look at four can’t-skip areas you need to have nailed in order to be viewed as a massage expert:
About the Author
Connie Holen is a Web and graphic designer who specializes in creating clean, modern and easy-to-manage websites for small businesses and professionals in the wellness and fitness industries.