A wait-and-see approach to strengthening your business will not work in this economic climate. There are many thoughtful ways you can better serve your clients, and in the process, improve your bottom line.
Americans have had their share of economic woes. When I turn on the evening news, I hear stories about the economy showing signs of recovery and consumer spending is slowly beginning to rebound. With all of this uncertainty, how can you strengthen your financial stake, and do it in a method consistent with your beliefs as a health care provider? Should we all just “wait and see” what happens, or should we perhaps bring the power home and do something within our own spheres of influence to improve health, reduce the mental stress of our clients and strengthen our own financial circumstance ethically and thoughtfully.
I am not talking about a huge swing in your behavior or your practice that will require you to revamp your whole philosophy. I am talking about things you can do and implement now without much effort, which may well be the key to your reaching and retaining more clients and strengthening your own bottom line.
I want to share three ways to expand your outreach, and help you care for clients in new and thoughtful ways they may not expect. When you are able to supply for a need proactively rather than waiting for someone to have the epiphany they even have a need, you are doing a great job of caring for your client in the physical, as well as the mental, sense.
Caring for a Need
What do I mean by caring for a need before the clients have the epiphany they even have a need? Let’s start with pain management and client self care between visits. Clients come to you for a wide array of reasons. One reason which leads the pack in many cases is pain. Your clients come to you in the hopes you can learn what may be causing them pain and then treat it. In this, and every case, they look to you to be a healthcare provider. We know that proper assessment and treatment are key to success in alleviating pain, however, many experience ongoing pain every day. How do we serve these clients in between visits and maintain our connection with the client for return visits to help manage their issues?
This method, in my mind, represents the better of two worlds. In doing this, you are caring for the needs of your client both in session and out, and doing it utilizing product for retail. Here is the easiest method I know to build revenue. Find an analgesic you love and believe in; one that you would use on yourself and your family should the need arise. Have this product available for sale in your practice. When you use this product on your client, no doubt they will want to know more about it and have some for use at home. This is a natural progression that requires no specific salesmanship. Your client can feel the product working and they then wish to have some to take home. You provide the product because it is a product you believe in and use, and they trust you in making the health care decisions. The client is cared for, and being proactive and having goods available for purchase has helped your bottom line. It is a natural win-win.
Benefiting Your Practice
Here is another way this type of retailing, or selling what you use in treatment, can benefit your practice. Let’s say that your client shares their product with a friend battling pain. Inevitably, the client shares they get this product from their massage therapist and offer your name to the friend. This is a fantastic way of receiving client referrals, as they just shared their trust in you for pain management, and that you offer this product to help with ongoing issues. This represents two great reasons someone may wish to call and book an appointment. Make sure your clients have a few of your business cards for just such an occurrence.
The second way you can strengthen your income and provide valuable service to your clients is to think ahead for them. It sounds crazy, but one thing people all share is the feeling that we never have enough time. With the holidays just weeks away, it feels like there is never enough time to get everything done we need to do and have any time left to smell the roses. I am sure you have heard this from your clients and when they come to you for the gift of relaxation, you are already imprinted into their minds as a place to go for stress relief. Why not take a bit more burden off their shoulders and offer creative solutions for the upcoming holiday gift giving? In doing this, you can expand your care for the client past the physical and begin to help them mentally and emotionally by providing solutions to save them precious time.
How do you do this? It is not as difficult as you may think. Consider gift certificates for your services. I am not talking about a sign at checkout that says you offer gift certificates. I am going a few steps beyond this. Gift certificates are an amazing way you can provide a great gift idea for your client to give, as well as perhaps bring potential new clients to your practice. These are an especially attractive gift idea when you have taken the time to create a small gift basket of items you have chosen to help provide relaxation and pain relief at home. Consider what an impactful and thoughtful gift this will be when you offer someone an hour of massage therapy and it is in a basket with a bath mitt, sugar scrub and a candle. This is a gift I would LOVE to get, and one everyone would love to give. It is this type of unique gift you can create and provide as an option for your clients to give friends and family. It is a truly thoughtful gift, one they will not find in big box stores, and you have supplied the means. You have effectively taken a shopping burden off your client, fulfilled their desire to offer the perfect gift and potentially expanded your practice. Again, this is a natural win-win.
Finally, consider building your holiday traffic by offering seasonal treatments utilizing products that speak to the client. How delicious does a Chocolate Peppermint scrub followed by a massage sound? It sounds divine and speaks to the holidays without being too commercial. Consider a cranberry inspired treatment utilizing products that carry the scent of cranberry. This is not only a fantastic Thanksgiving promotion idea, but also a wonderful regional idea for our friends in New England where cranberries rule. Treatment products come in a wide array of scent profiles that will enable you to use professional grade products while offering seasonal or regionally inspired treatments. Think about a pumpkin body scrub followed by rich emollient body butter. Does this just scream Thanksgiving or Halloween, while not compromising the professional treatment from a professional therapist? I believe this is a sound and practical way to entice clients to come back during the “busy season” and find time to re-book to see what wonderful indulgences you have planned next.
And let’s not forget the secondary upside to offering seasonal treatments: THE RETAILING! It is highly likely someone who has just been treated to a relaxing chocolate treatment will want to buy products to use at home or to give to a friend. Have product on hand, visible for the client to see and offered for sale outside the treatment room. This type of retailing also requires no salesmanship acumen, as it is suggestive selling without being overt. This will allow your clients the space to choose to buy goods without your feeling you have to “sell.” The key to doing this successfully is to use only professional goods in your practice. Buy from places that most consumers know nothing about because they cater to professional healthcare providers. Be sure to use goods they likely will not find on the shelves of big box retailers.
When you think about the scenarios I have provided, you can see how the idea of helping others is still the forefront. When you offer solutions in various forms to your clients, they will appreciate your caring attention to detail and understanding of their needs. In their own desire to help others, they may refer you to their own friend and family. This will only bring your clients closer to you, and in doing so, help strengthen your practice. Another more personal side effect is the additional income these ideas can bring you and your family. These ideas are simple and available for everyone to try. I encourage you to pick one or more and give it a try in your own practice to see how easy retailing can really be. I would love to hear about your success stories, so please be sure to share them. Happy Retailing!
By Angie Patrick, Director of Corporate Sales & Business Development, Massage Warehouse