ABS or “always be selling” can really sum up the first free marketing tip. As a business owner you should always be on your game; ready to turn an acquaintance into a client within minutes. But how? This is where preparedness plays its role. Being ready for client creating scenarios will enable you to take your marketing to the next level. The first recommendation is to have a solid introduction of yourself and your business memorized with uncanny comfort. By doing this you will have no problem answering the question, “What do you do?” This next thing is to have your competitive advantages memorized. You should be able to carry on a conversation with someone and through the conversation be able to explain why you are the best choice for their massage therapist without explicitly saying so. To help in this situation and add to your marketing preparedness, always have marketing materials available whether it is a business card or some brochures. The last thing is to have some way of being able to schedule an appointment on the spot. Whether you use a pen and paper scheduling system or use your computer (recommended) you should always have with you the times you have available for massages. Even if you have to input your weekly massages into your personal cell phone’s calendar, you need to know when you are available. This will empower you to schedule a massage appointment no matter where you are. The last thing you want to do is make a great introduction, find out the person is interested in receiving a massage but now you have to call them later or worse they have to call you to actually schedule the appointment. This significantly reduces the chances that the massage will actually be scheduled.
There is a reason why restaurants serve fries with your sandwich or include soup with your salad. Everyone loves a combo. It is no surprise that by giving the opportunity to buy multiple massages at a discount, clients are enticed to do so oppose to buying massages separately. Whether you offer a loyalty card that gives the 10th massage for free or give the opportunity to buy massage packages where clients receive a 10% discount if they buy 5 massages at one time, your ability to sell multiple massages to the same person will compensate you for the discount you are offering. This way it is a win-win situation; you are able to book multiple massages and your client gets and discount. This is a great strategy that you can implement without spending any money out of pocket. Not taking advantage of this opportunity would be a mistake for your practice.
Appearance and Impressions
Your appearance and the impression you make is crucial to your professional success and adjustments to them only require a little confidence and common sense, not dollar bills. The way you dress and the way you carry yourself speaks volumes about you as a person and your outlook on your career. If you dress professionally and carry yourself in a presentable manner, you show that you are serious about what you do. This isn’t just a hobby, this is your career and you know it. There is a recent blog post on this very thing called Dressing for Success. I recommend checking it out for more in depth information on the subject, but the message is still the same. The way you present yourself to clients and other professionals in the community is how they will know how to respond to you. If you are a practice owner and dress and act extremely casual some clients may try to take advantage of this opportunity and ask for more discounts or feel that because you are so casual you wouldn’t mind if they pay you next time they see you. This is not what you want to happen and your appearance and attitude can mitigate this situation from the get go.
From an attitude standpoint, be assertive. Answer questions directly and if you don’t know the answer tell the person you will get back to them with the correct answer. When meeting new clients or networking shake their hand and look them in the eye when introducing yourself. Posture plays a major role in these situations also. Roll your shoulders back and keep your chin up to show confidence. People want to work with or patronize someone who is confident about themselves and their work. Making small changes like this to the impression you make will ultimately affect your reputation. Your reputation is the most important asset your practice has. It is hard to build a good reputation, but it is easy to destroy it. Think about this whenever you are meeting new or existing clients and when networking in the community.
Stalk competitors and sell your advantage
As a business owner you must know why someone should choose you over your competition. Without this information you have no selling point and if you don’t know why someone should choose you for their massages there is no way any of your potential clients will know why they should choose you. This is where your competitive advantage comes into play. You have to have some value to offer clients. What value will they get from you that they cannot get from other competitors? Do you have more education? Certain certifications? Are you able to schedule at later hours to be more accommodating? Offer discounts? All of this is information that your potential clients will use to compare you to the competition. But how do you know whether or not the keeping longer hours on Wednesdays is really a competitive advantage? You have to do some competitive research. During a successful competitive research campaign, you will know more about your competition than they even know about their own practice. You know exactly what value they are giving their clients and then you decide how you can do it better. Doing this puts you in the shoes of potential clients. If you know all the competitors potential clients will be comparing you to and what they offer, then you should easily be able to prove through marketing that you are the better choice.
Become a source of information
When potential clients are looking for a massage therapist they are looking for the best. But how do they define the best massage therapist? They haven’t received massages from every therapist and most likely have heard of only a few in the area. Your potential clients will define the best massage therapist as the one with the most knowledge, the expert in massage therapy for their area. So how do you become the expert they are looking for…for free?
While there are many different techniques to reaching the expert status, there are two main requirements: visibility and knowledge. The second requirement of knowledge is a given. To be the expert in your field you need to have up to date knowledge of trends, cycles, benefits and new techniques in massage therapy. This knowledge will give potential clients confidence in you as their massage therapist which in turn makes them more comfortable going to you for their massages and further information.
You may have all the massage therapy knowledge available, but if no one knows your name, that knowledge is useless for attracting potential clients. The visibility you are after in this type of scenario is not your basic marketing visibility, this type of visibility needs to exemplify your knowledge and expertise. Try offering small lectures or luncheons to the community giving information on the benefits of massage and healthy living. Find a local newspaper or magazine and see if they would be interested in offering a free weekly column to their readers where you could write about these benefits. These are the types of activities that will help create that expert visibility you are looking for. Once you are pronounced the expert in your market, potential clients will have a hard time choosing the non expert for their next massage.