If you’re waiting to feel like a pro before you open your massage practice, you’re wasting precious time. Instead of waiting, think about doing the opposite: put yourself out there.
Putting yourself out there means that no matter how uncomfortable you feel and/or how low your confidence is, you are in front of the people who can refer clients to you.
But I’m Weak
This may seem counter-intuitive— showing the world your massage talent when your confidence is shaky—until you view confidence as a moving target.
When a client sings your praises you feel pretty good, right? But a couple of days in a row with no work and you doubt if you can even spread cream.
The truth is that everyone waxes and wanes with confidence. When you’re waning, here’s a technique to help you along: How to Stop Feeling Like an Impostor.
Holes In My Massage
But what if your lack of confidence is partially due to the fact that you have holes in your massage? Great! If you’re putting yourself out there, you’ll now have an immediate need to plug the holes.
Early on in my career, I wanted to be a pro with pain and muscular conditions. However, my anatomy was weak. One day a chiropractor called and asked me to fill in for a sick MT. That quickly lead to a full-time job and suddenly body parts were flying at me. I needed to get up to speed on anatomy fast!
So before my shift, I’d call the chiropractor to get my client list (and their conditions) for the day. Then I’d study the anatomy that pertained to each case before I went in. It worked.
The reality is that most holes that need to be plugged are a lot smaller than we think. To quickly patch holes when doing relaxation and pain relief massage, check out my posts New Therapists Can Be Good Therapists and Competing with Bob for Clients.
Putting Yourself Out There
There are a lot of ways to put yourself out there and get in front of referral sources. I like this 4 step process. It reduces the scariness by easing me into the process.
Step #1: Ask Your Current Clients
Approach your regular clients for referrals, but instead of simply asking them for referrals, give them an incentive to refer to you, like a free massage for each referral. If you have an email list, you can announce your referral program to everyone all at once. Check out How to Email in More Clients for help.
Step #2: Email/Call Other Health Professionals
Next, do a Google search for local businesses with referral potential. Look for businesses that do NOT have massage as part of their business. My list includes: chiropractors, pain management doctors, personal trainers, individual physical therapists, yoga and Pilates studios, country clubs (tennis and golf), cycling shops and running stores.
Once you have your list, it’s time to call or email to introduce yourself and make a special offer. As a special offer, free demo massages have worked spectacularly for me. Here’s a demo-massage email Email-to-Potential-Referral-Source-Example-2.docx (169 downloads) that I sent to personal training studios. You’ll need to modify it, but it shows you the main points to get across.
In the email you’ll notice that I offer the demo massages to the business owner, her employees and her clients. In fact, I give the business owner and her employees each 60 minutes of free massage and her customers/clients 15 to 20 minutes.
My first goal is to win over the business owner and her employees. If I do, they will champion my service to their customers/clients.
Step #3: Special Intro Offer
After the demo-massage customer gets off my table, I tell him about our special intro rate. (Our special intro rate is $45.) If the person liked the demo massage, the special intro rate is hard to pass up. Keep your schedule nearby in case someone wants to make an appointment right then. Seriously.
Step #4: Ask the New Clients from the Demo Massages
The people from the demo massages who are now your clients are potential referral sources, too. If you have a referral program, let them know about it. If a demo massage client works at or owns a business that’s a good fit with massage, offer to do demo massages there.
Putting Yourself Out There Is Currency
It’s not an overstatement to say: “Putting yourself out there” is currency that you spend to build a practice.“Putting yourself out there” is currency that you spend to build a practice. Click To Tweet
And you don’t need to be an extrovert to put yourself out there. Most of us aren’t. You just need to follow a plan:
- Give your current clients a referral incentive.
Email/call businesses and offer to do demo massages.
Tell the demo-massage customers about your special intro rate.
Offer demo massages to new clients who work for or own a business that’s a good fit with massage.