Work Like A Therapist Think Like A Boss

Why you may be struggling with your therapy business

You’ve got to work like a therapist but think like a boss. There’s no new magic. It’s investing in yourself, your business. Not more therapies, not having a huge long list of therapies. I was watching a program a couple of weeks ago. It was doing up a chateau DIY.

There were two chaps there who had this fantastic, amazing chateau that was running weddings. Somebody had gone there to advise them and to help them out because they were really, really struggling. And if they didn’t make their business work in that year, then they were going to give it up. Once she actually sat down and worked with them, she found they had a long list of what they offered. She found out that they didn’t actually own, they didn’t have their own tables, didn’t have their own chairs, didn’t have their own cutlery, dinner service, nothing like that because they were hiring it for the wedding. They were getting the people to have their choice of square tables, round tables, rectangle tables, pattern plates, plain plates, white plates, this cutlery, that cutlery, these different glasses, that different glasses.  And the thing was, probably like our own clients, we get overwhelmed with what’s available, what to choose. She said, “Get your own tables. Get your own stuff and then they know that’s what they’ve got. They’ll either book with you or they’ll go elsewhere. Just make it available.

That’s why we say it’s a niche. That’s why we say to bring it down. Because putting the marketing message out to everyone, nobody is going to see it. You will work with everyone. You will still get out to other people and other people will do the recommendations and the referrals for you. So that’s where word of mouth comes in. But what you really need to do to get your marketing message to save you time, to save you effort and to make sure you are saying that you are visible, that’s when you niche down and make your marketing message much easier.

I’ve done exactly the same thing in my business. You get really passionate about all the therapies. You learn umpteen things and keep adding to it. So I’m qualified in Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, hot stone, Thai herbal, sports, and I’ve done some Thai. I’m also qualified in reflexology, vertical reflexology and I’ve done foot reading. I’m also qualified in Indian head.  I’ve done nutrition, stress management. I’ve done yoga. I’ve got a whole long list. Now, I can package that together and sell them as really good well-being packages, but as standalone therapies, people just see a long list and go, “Oh. What am I after?”

So what’s happened over the years, a bit as well with my marketing and what therapies I like and what therapies I don’t like doing, it’s this year that I’ve narrowed it down to I’m only offering a select few therapies. That’s what I will market on and it will be targeted at a niche market. So I’ve narrowed it right down. I’m not forgetting my other therapies, my long list of therapies is still there as a toolbox that I’ll dip into what I need for my client, or I’ll recommend to that client. But I’m not going to spend my time marketing on all of them. I might bring them out and market them at a special time of the year. I might make them a Spring offer or an Autumn offer or I might do something special for the Summer or I might do a special something for Mother’s Day.

This is why you work it and you niche it. It comes down to mindset and this is where I said work like a therapist, think like a boss. It’s having that mindset because we all love our therapies, we all want to train. But then we forget to invest in ourselves or we think we don’t need it. Investing in ourselves and learning about the business, because how do you market? How do you do social media? How do you sell? How do you network? How do you write your marketing message? How do you write the content for your newsletter? How do you run that promotion? How do you sell? You’ve got your features and your benefits.  What’s the difference between the two? Why would the benefits be better than the features?

I see loads of lovely offers that therapists are putting out there on social media and they’re saying 10 pounds off. Come and see me for reflexology, blah blah blah. Why? Why should I book with you? Why should I come and see you? Just because I want that £10 off? Am I then going to come to you? Am I then going to be loyal to you? What’re the benefits that I’m going to get as a customer, as a client, when I come through the door? What are you going to do for me? How are you going to make me feel? That’s what we should be selling, not our reflexology, not our massage, not our hot stone whatever. We’re selling the sizzle. We’re selling how we’re going to make them feel, how we’re going to make their lives better, how we’re going to make their well-being better.  You’ve got to believe in yourself and how you get your business out there. We are human. We will have our faults and we will have our doubts and we will have our, “oh, do I want to step out into my comfort zone?”

If there’s somebody who inspires you, or who you admire in the industry or there might be some woman or therapist or whatever that motivates you. If you come up to a dilemma or if you come up to a snag or a problem or something you’re trying to work out, just think what would they be doing. Just think how would they think. Put yourself in their shoes. What would they do?

Back 20 years ago, when I did the business side of my course, nothing about marketing. Oh, we developed a leaflet and we developed a business card. But nothing about how could I get my business out there. Now marketing 20 years ago is certainly different than what it is now. Marketing changes and it changes so quickly because you’ve got the internet, you’ve got social media. It changes so quickly. So that’s what you’ve got to do is to keep updating, even if you’ve trained in business for three, four years ago. Things will have changed since then because now also, we’re bringing out the GDPR. So that’s going to change how you market. You won’t be able to take, offer a freebie or offer a free draw or stuff now and automatically put people onto your database without getting their consent.

So that changes things on how you market to what you were doing last year, what you’ve been doing the last 18 years or whatever. So things are always changing. Another question I put to the people I work within the hub on Facebook. I put a question to them that when they’re looking at running their business, do they keep up to date with the business news? Because I was interested to find out how many of them knew about the GDPR and I knew some of them weren’t already because they were asking me questions. But I’ve been talking about GDPR since January. But I’ve been learning about it since last year. So, I’m still getting comments now from therapists that say, “Oh Allie. I’ve just found out about GDPR. Have you got any tips around my Facebook live in January? I run a webinar on it in February.”

How is it that organisations that are telling them in a later stage? Is it just purely through social media they’re picking things up? And it’s what I said, again, to therapists where I say work like a therapist, think like a boss. What else do you follow on social media? What newsletters do you get through? You don’t have to follow everybody. But are you looking at the Chamber of Commerce? Or are you looking at Federation of Small Business? Or are you looking at any other business experts on social media or in newsletters or whatever to follow, to keep up with the latest news? Yes, I read the daily mail on a Saturday. Yes, I know it’s called the Daily Hate. And you may hate me for that, but in there, it’s got a business section. [inaudible 00:17:59] flip through that just to see what’s going on. Some of it’s totally out of my league and I’ve got no interest in, but I just like to see because in there, it tells you what’s the latest trend in marketing, what’s the latest thing that you need to do.  So it’s those type of things that you need to look at.

Marketing always gets outdated. It goes through changes so quickly. You’ve got to keep up to date. I see many, many students come out that they’re great with their qualifications, but they’re not then don’t know how to put the business out there. Don’t know how to be visible. Don’t know what to say or do to get the clients in. Some of them even come to leave with a belief that they’re just going to set up and people are going to come to them, they’re going to find them. Well, it’s not. It’s about being visible.  What you want is the people that really need you and that want you. Also remember with running a business, and again, it’s one that we see often when I’m in the therapist groups and I’m chatting is that it does take time. I’m sorry, it’s not quick. It does take time to build a business out there, to get the word out there, to get people seeing you, to get people coming on.

That’s why the first 12 months, maybe even longer, it is a bit of a hard slog. It is networking. It is being at events. The initial 12 months, it is the legwork. It is the groundwork.  Now there’s a mass market. We’re all clambering out for people. We’re all looking for people. But, there are enough people there for us. There are enough clients out there for all of us. But, it’s getting the word out there. It is enjoyment, but all this comes down to its implementation. It means taking action. You might have a very, very, very long to-do list. So every week, plan some things from that to do list, prioritise it and do it. Add to that list what really needs doing, what’s been an idea of your for months that really needs doing? Is there some marketing you really want to try and haven’t yet? Well, don’t keep putting it farther down your to-do list, pull it out and work on it. It always takes implementation and action. Small steps every day. I hear therapists say to me, oh I’m going to have a website. And they’re still saying it three years on. Well, when are you going to do it? If it comes down to money, all right, put a little bit beside each week, each month and save up to get that website built.

Or maybe your web developer, web person that you know will do a plan. My big academy site cost me thousands and I couldn’t pay that initially. So we had a payment plan in place so that I could pay it off before it actually all went out live. So we’ve just built bits and we did things as and when I could afford it. It might be the case for you with a website. Some people don’t have websites. They’ve got a Facebook page and that’s fine. That works for you, that’s great. But it’s sending them in the right direction. You’ve got to see what you need, who you’re looking for and what you’re doing, what you need to have in place, what you need to do with it.

It’s that working on your business, not in it with working with your therapies. You’ve also got to be working on your business every day. So that’s why you might be struggling is that you’re not being visible. You’re not putting your word out there. You haven’t got the mindset in place. You haven’t got the belief. It’s that prioritising. It’s that taking those steps. It’s being visible and putting the word out there. As I said, there’s no magic tool. There’s no magic wand. There’s nothing that you can do that will miraculously turn things around. It’s the same as what every business does. It’s just that we’ve got to do it in our own way.  Like I said, work like a therapist, think like a boss. And it is. Try and find time every day to sit and work at your planner what needs to be done, what marketing have you done this week? Where have you put your business cards this week? Where have you put your flyers? Who have you spoken to? What posts have you shared? What blogging have you done? You might be going oh my God, that’s too much work. Well then, where’s your clients going to come from?  Some people do Facebook ads. Some people do AdWords and have Google AdWords, the marketing and the ads on the side. I’ve never done that, but I know therapists who have and it really works for them. It’s finding what works for you. But it is, it’s all about the groundwork. It’s all about that foundation. It’s all about taking action, implementing, pulling up and prioritising, and putting it all in place.

Go on out for a walk today in the glorious sunshine might bring some new ideas, might give you the motivation and the energy to go yeah, I can do this. I’ll have another crack at it. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. I’m going to contact this girl. I’m going to contact that health shop. It might be the things you need to do. But that’s why you may be struggling is you’re just not putting that groundwork and putting that word out there.

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Do You Run Your Business By Your Heart Or Your Head?

Are You Heart Or Head Led?

Is your therapy practice run by your heart or by your head?  An interesting idea and some of you might be thinking well what’s that got to do with it? Actually, it’s got a lot to do with how you’re running your business and whether your business is as successful as you want it to be. I know of therapists that, for them, this is just a hobby and they’re doing it part-time for their family and their friends.

I’m often chatting to therapists and they are saying to me that’s it’s not been a success, or they’re retiring now and in the background, it’s because they haven’t got the clients they want, they haven’t gotten the business they want. So they retire. I know some that have had therapy businesses and they’ve given up and they’ve gone back into full-time work.

Sometimes these decisions are being made because your, not motivated, your mindset may not be quite there.  I want you to look at things and look at ideas on how you perceive and how you look and run your business. The reason I’m saying this is because we go through so many things. What are you like when you’re making a decision when it comes to your business? Whether it’s for marketing, whether it’s for going to run a stand, whether it’s actually identifying your ideal client or whether it’s working with a client when a client wants to book. When your phone rings, all these little decisions to big decisions. How are you making those decisions in what you do?

It could be a case of that you’re being head lead so that you’re looking at everything, you’re planning everything. You are pushing yourself, working out of your comfort zone, setting yourself goals and learning to grow. If you’re heart led, well you go with the flow. You see where the universe takes you. You’re not stepping out of the comfort zone. You’re not trying new things. You’re not developing and learning.

Making decisions. Is it that you’re head led so that you’re planning, you’re writing everything down, you’re prioritising what you need to do, you’re looking at new ideas, creating new ideas, planning it all down and then stepping out of your comfort zone to achieve it? Or are you being heart led and going with the flow, seeing that the universe will provide and not setting goals, not setting targets, just seeing where the clients come from every week?

I want to help my clients.  I want to help and be there for my clients. It’s brilliant. That’s what we all want to do. But, you’ve got to work on your business to get the business out there. Now again, there are therapists that have a totally run business all purely by recommendations and referrals and for those, I tip my hat off to you. Well done. To have that type of business is brilliant. But, a lot of us still have to market and work on our businesses to get the clients, to be seen and to get the clients to book. So that means all about blogging, social media, newsletters, databases. We’re looking at a whole stream of different systems that we need.

Are you heart or are you head led? Do you look at every challenge, look at everything that comes along, look at everything that you know you need to do to say all right, I need to get more clients. What marketing can I do? How many clients do I need to cover my expenses? How many clients do I need to make a profit? How many clients am I short of this weeK? How many clients do I need by the end of the month? What marketing can I do to get out in the big wide world? Or like we had  GDPR that came out in May. All the forms and the consents etc. Are you looking at all that facing it and going all right, what do I need to do with this? Prioritise and make it all down into small, achievable steps? Or are you heart led and go no, nothing to do with me, not dealing with it. I’m just going to work with my clients.

What is your response for late cancellations and no shows?  Do you have a cancellation policy in place and uphold it?  Do you have a booking fee?  Or do you let them off as you do not want to upset or lose them?

Because again, that’s what I’m seeing. I can see the divide between the therapists that are being head led and they’re working on different things and then I can see the kind of therapists that are being heart led that bury their head in the sand. It’s my very black and white way of talking about it. But sometimes that’s what it needs to look at on what you are doing and what is happening with you and your therapy practice. Again, I’m often seeing this in Facebook groups and support groups and therapist groups that they’re saying … and again, I’m guilty of this when I first started out. I’m very, very guilty of it in my first few years of running my therapy practice that one was passion and two was just learning more and more and more therapies and adding them to a list.

I’ve got a lovely long list of therapies that I’m qualified in and I now call it my toolbox, the things that I can dip into to help my clients out. So that’s very good. But the thing is, I’m often again, reading in these therapist support groups of therapists going, “Oh, I haven’t got enough clients now. So what therapy would you recommend that I train in to get more clients through my door?” That one I’m hearing often, that people are asking for recommendations of what therapies are out there that’s good to qualify in to get clients than what clients need, to what people are looking for and to book.

How about looking at it and looking at what your skills are, looking at what you can do with your marketing. Are you doing the marketing? Are you putting the word out there? Are you existing? Are you at the fairs and events and different things? Are you doing the newsletters? Are you doing the follow-up? There’s all this behind the scenes background work of working on your business that can help bring clients in through your door, get them to keep coming back. Work with what you’ve already got. Develop those skillsets of learning about marketing, learning about techie things like learning to work with MailChimp, learning to work with social media, learning to write and to develop blogs, building relationships and contacts with your clients and with people out there so that they get to know, to love and to trust you.

Which are you? Do you feel you’re heart led or do you feel that you’re head led? Do you feel that you’ve got any stumbling blocks that are stopping you from moving forward, from working with your business, moving it on there?  This is what it all comes down to, heart or head led. Which direction are you going? What are you doing? Do you review your business? Do you see what’s working or not working within your business? Do you set yourself goals? Do you set yourself deadlines?

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Why Do Clients Book With Therapists They Know, Like & Trust

 

One thing we’ve got to remember is a lot of the time people won’t book with us the first time they see us. Whether it’s at an event, or they’re coming across our website for the first time, or they’re coming across our Facebook page. Even when they Google Search looking for a massage therapist, or reflexologist, or whatever on the internet, on their phone, when they’re going through the pages, they’ll see what’s available, what therapists and how many. So, they will check out your Facebook page, they’ll check out your website, find out what blogs you do, read your blogs, they might have a look if you’ve got a freebie sign-up and sign-up for one of them to receive it. They might want to see if you cover what they’re particularly looking for if you’re an expert in that. They might want to see what you look like first, what you sound like if you’ve got any videos.

A lot of the time, people don’t book with a therapist they don’t know unless it comes from a very good recommendation. And then, even if somebody’s recommends and refers, they still tend to check you out. So this is what I always say when you’re looking at your marketing, or you’ve got your proof of evidence, is to show all about you, being visible. You might have your blogs, you might have your social media posts, you might have a sign-up, you might do videos, you might be networking, you might be attending events.

There are lots of different things to show our authentic self. You need to be the real you. You are you. You will only talk like you. This is going sound kind of a strange thing to say, but don’t worry about when you’re doing Facebook posts, when you’re writing blogs. Anything like that. Don’t worry about having to sound so professional all the time. The reason why clients book with you, book with a therapist that they know, like and trust is that you’ve built that relationship with them. You’ve let them in. You’ve let them get to know you. It’s not just all about being in the white tunic and coming across professional. Yes it can be the client’s experience and that’s a huge thing. But to make that booking there has to be lots of things in place for people to buy from people.

So, just be you. You might find that your clients are you. You are looking for clients that are just like you. You’re not going to be able to work with everyone in your town or village. There’s only gonna be a certain set of people that will want to work with you and that’s fine. You can’t be the therapist for everyone. That’s why we always go on about niches and ideal clients.

Again, where I come across and I say about adding value to your therapies whether it’s enhancements, whether it’s the experience, whether it’s that added value, don’t keep discounting because discounting only brings along the clients that are looking for that discount. What you want is to build that know, like and trust with your client.  Get to know you, they see behind the scenes with your therapy room, you’re sharing little bits of videos, bits and pieces about you and your interests and if you’re going out to a conference or a training session, taking photographs and  sharing it on your timeline, your business page, letting your clients know that you’ve got exciting new products coming their way and your excited to show them. It’s building that relationship and that’s what Facebook’s trying to do with business pages. The more that you can share that, build like a community, then you get more interaction with your page. You get more comments, more likes, more shares within your posts because you are building that relationship with people. You’re not broadcasting, you’re not just selling. You’re actually sharing your knowledge, your expertise, and helping and building that relationship with people.

You take them on a journey, they see your website,  your page, they read your comments, they read your posts, they look at your images, they listen to your podcasts. They read your blogs. Maybe they’ll sign up for your newsletter and find out more from you there, but taking them through a journey into finally book with you and that’s that end result is when they book with you and make that appointment. It’s just like a journey that you’re gently holding their hand and you’re taking them through.

I tend to take a lot of pictures with my phone. I go out for a walk and I’ll take a photograph of the beach, or out in nature, or might take a photograph of a friend I know, they’re having coffee, but I sort of put that in as an image about doing self-care. I might take an image of a book I’m reading, so it’s different things that are going on in your life and you can use as images on your Facebook page and you can add a quote to them  or just images of your therapy room and say, “Come in and relax.”

Well, what can I write? What can I say? You know what you’re qualified in. You know aromatherapy, talking about an essential oil, talk about a blend, talk about the safety standards, the safety reasons for aromatherapy. Talk about the massage, talk about the massage routine and the techniques. What a new client should expect on their first visit. You’re story, to let people know how you got into this business, why you’re providing therapies, what got you started into it. Share your story and keep doing that. It’s not good just putting that up and posting that up for once and expecting people to scroll through your timeline and find it months or years later. Keep putting that. You can keep redoing, resharing that post. So put your story out there.

I hope this helps. It all comes down to what you’re putting across, building that relationship with your clients and your leads. Whether it’s through Facebook posts, whether it’s through videos, through blogging, through our newsletters, through your freebie which can be a newsletter or a helpful document or something like that, so it’s making that contact. It’s building that trust, building that relationship, letting them in a little bit, just showing a bit of you, being authentic, talking as you, but also educating our clients and the leads why they should work with you.

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How To Find Time For Marketing

How To Find Time For Marketing – My 5 Top Tips

We’re talking about today is finding time for marketing. It’s important to working and running our businesses, that we show up, that we’re visible, and that we get our business out there so that people, clients can find us. But it’s all about finding that time. All we really want to do is work with our clients. But if we don’t market our business, if we don’t show up and be visible, then people won’t know we exist and we won’t find our clients, and our clients won’t find us.

You might be only doing your therapy as part-time because you’ve got a full-time job. There’s so much that goes on in everyday life that it’s difficult to try and get everything in –  family, kids, life, sickness, clubs, school inset days, holidays.

What are the things and what are the tips that you can do to help you to market your business?

  1. What does success mean to you? Can you see success in your business? What are you aiming for? Because you want to know your clarity on that, because then once you’re there, once you’ve got it, you know what it is. Because you could be running around like a headless chicken with no plan, no goal, no target. So if you haven’t got that, you won’t know when you’re there.  How many clients do you want a week? How much money do you want to earn? What things do you want to slot in? What is it you want to achieve out of your life? Is it your work/life balance? So have a clarity, have a sit-down, write down what will success mean to you. What does successful business mean to you?
  2. Don’t try and do it all at once.  Don’t try and do it all. You’re not Wonder Woman. You’re not Superman. Don’t try and do it all. You may see a long list of, “Ah, social media, right, I’ve got to do platforms on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.” Don’t, don’t. If your clients aren’t there if you haven’t got time, just pick the one platform you really want to use, and stick with that. Become a master of that one, achieve that one, just do the one really well.  So prioritise, pick out what you want. What’re the most important tasks you’ve got to do that day? You may have a long list. Pick out three things from that list that really needs to be done on that day, and prioritise it. Make sure that you’ve got three things that you want to achieve.
  3. Schedule in your diary.  I just used to have a to-do list, a big planner with all my lists of what I was going to do. But then I’d look at my diary and I’d see when my therapy clients are booked in. So what I do now is in between my therapy clients I actually book in what I’m going to do. So whether it’s the marketing, whether it’s accounts, whether it’s social media,  I actually schedule into my diary what I’m going to do, so that when I look at it, I know then what I’ve got planned on that day.
  4. Finding that time.  You have to schedule into your diary the time to work on your business – whether it is in the time between clients or schedule before or after them.  Is it before the kids get up for school in the morning? Are you going to get up that hour extra early and do an hour before the kids go to school? Are you going to do an hour after they’ve gone to bed, and schedule in that time before or after? It might be that you have to schedule a day off in the week and make that an admin day.
  5. If you’re still, “Ah, I can’t do that, don’t want to do that. It’s a struggle.” Then outsource it. Send it out to somebody else. Give it to a VA who can do it for you, a virtual assistant who can do that for you. Or give it to a bookkeeper who can do your bookkeeping and your accounts, give it to them. If you don’t want to do the social media, give it to a social media manager who can take care of all your social media posts for you. Outsource it.

These are really my five tips for finding the time to market your business. It is all about time management. It is all about having to look at and prioritise it as your clients. Working on your business and marketing, being visible, being seen by the outside world, is very important, as much as working with your clients, because if you don’t do that, then you’ve got no clients and you’ve got no business.

Library of content available to access on Time Management

Overwhelm Organisation and Scheduling

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Marketing – Just A Bit Sleazy

Marketing – Just A Bit Sleazy

When we are heart centred and spiritual workers, why do we not like marketing?

I have even heard a therapist say that they don’t do marketing.  When I asked them why, with a surprised look on my face, their answer? – “it’s all a bit sleazy and unnecessary really, people will find me if they really want me”.

You cannot be serious?

Well, my immediate thought was, well you won’t have a therapy business for long.

But actually, there are many therapists who feel like this about marketing – who are shy when it comes to talking about their therapy business.  There are too many whose inhibitions and worry about what people might think or say stops them getting the right message out to the right people and as a result, their lives are diminished AND so are the lives of their potential clients.

Marketing is helping people who need each other to find one another.

If you run a therapy business that helps couples with fertility then you have a moral responsibility to market that service in your area.  To not do so would deprive couples of the support to start a family.

If you know that your beauty salon has the treatments and staff that really do make women feel better, more beautiful and more confident, then isn’t society diminished if no one knows about it?

The best salesperson is the one who takes immense satisfaction from the satisfaction that the client gets.

If you substitute the word “salesperson” with the word “marketer” or “business owner” then it’s pertinent to all of us, isn’t it?

Real marketers solve problems for our clients.  We ensure that the services meet or exceed our client’s expectation and we work really hard to fix that where it doesn’t happen.

Is every therapist like this?  No of course not, there are some bad marketers about. But, it is wrong to suggest that therefore all marketing is sleazy and unnecessary.  That’s like suggesting all sportsmen/women are cheats.

Good marketing does much more than just sell services and products – it adds real value to society and crucially, it helps people who need each other to find each other – and that’s what you should be focused on.

If you do not let them know you exist, you won’t exist.

www.alistherapyacademy.co.uk

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Client Retention

CLIENT RETENTION

Client retention is a phrase that is often thrown around in the therapy industry. What’s the big deal about client retention, anyway? You work hard to bring in new clients each week, so who really cares if existing clients choose to come back or not?

Well, that’s just it: Bringing in new clients takes your time, money and resources, if you are constantly having to seek new clients, it’s exhausting and expensive —while it may be true no business can thrive without bringing in new clients, if you can retain your existing client base, then you’ll end up reducing your costs (and improving your return on investment) in the long run.

Simples, keep more clients coming back! This sounds easy enough—surely providing fantastic therapy services is enough to keep clients coming back for more, right? But if you’ve been practising massage for longer than, say, five minutes, you probably realise it’s not exactly this cut-and-dried.

What can you do, other than offer a great experience, to improve client-retention numbers?

First thing is to remember that there are 3 stages in this process of retaining clients!

  1. The First Impression

Many businesses neglect this first and arguably most-important stage. During this stage, you have, at most, 60 seconds to make a good first impression. Most of the time, this won’t include any portion of the actual therapy session. The first 30 to 60 seconds spent interacting with your business generally isn’t spent with another human – rather, this is the first phone call, e-mail, social media or website visit.  Making a great first impression is more than having a smiling face greet new clients who walk through the door. The number one rule of making the first interaction a successful one is to never make new clients (or any clients, for that matter) work to find information.  From your answering machine to your website, frequently asked questions should be addressed in a simple and straightforward manner.  Some things to address include a description of your therapies, pricing, hours of work, contact information and what to expect during the first session. Offering email and newsletter signups on your page will ensure you obtain a potential client’s contact information if they visit your website but don’t want to call.  Offering online booking allows clients who access your website outside of business hours to avoid phone tag.

  1. Then What

Once you get a new client to come through the door for a first visit, your next objective is to keep her there. Your strategy should consist of staying connected to your new clients and encouraging commitment to your business.

Why does staying connected to your clients encourage them to come back? Establishing a way to communicate with clients will keep your business at the forefront of their minds. And then when most people think of massage, they’ll say to themselves, “I could use one of those right about now.”  You can connect with your clients in many ways, and one of the easiest is to use automated e-mails and text messaging. These little gems can be sent out to remind clients of upcoming appointments, to confirm a booking, even to wish them a happy birthday or to remind them to book their next appointment.  Automated emails are not only helpful to the client but are also a great micro- marketing tool when coupled with promotional codes and offers.

It’s also possible to stay connected with clients through education, using your newsletters, blogs and social media.   Many first-time clients aren’t aware of the benefits regular therapies can have on their overall wellness routine. Educating clients on the health benefits of different types of therapies can lead to them incorporating it more regularly into their lives.  Another benefit of education to your client-retention strategy is when your clients look to you as an educational resource, they are less likely to shop around for appointments elsewhere.

Feeling important is also a key factor in client retention. If clients view your therapies as part of their overall wellness routine, then they are more likely to book in advance and plan for the expense in their budget.

  1. Ongoing Clients

Many businesses work hard to retain their new clients, just to forget about them once they reach the status of a long-term client. Just like the first two stages of the client retention, the third and final stage of an ongoing client needs its own, client retention strategy that focuses on great customer service. Great customer service begins with learning what your clients want, and the best place to start is by asking your clients. Get feedback in the form of asking them directly, a suggestion box or an online survey. Once you receive feedback, respond to it. Let clients know their opinions matter; this will ensure you continue to receive feedback.  When you receive negative feedback, respond in a manner that acknowledges how your client is feeling with a “how can I make this better” attitude. Your client may or may not be in the right, but it doesn’t matter. The fact is she is upset and your job is to recognize this and work with her to find an appropriate solution. If you’re able to turn the situation around and make your client happy, she’s not only going to come back but is also likely to refer your business to others.

Once clients reach this stage, you’ll notice a higher-than-average retention rate. However, you’re still bound to see lapsed clients, those who have inexplicably stopped booking their appointments.  Send them an email with a special promotion. Reaching out to lapsed clients will let them know they are missed and you’ll see your retention numbers rise when they book their next massage.

When it comes to the therapy industry, no two clients are alike. Every individual has unique needs and will benefit from your therapies in a slightly different way; just as you use different methodologies of massage to accomplish different forms of healing, you should be using different strategies of client retention to keep clients coming back to your business.

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