I’m not a fan of considering other therapists your competition. However, from a basic business standpoint, they are. If there are other massage therapists in your area, that’s your competition. But the unique thing about this profession is that we’re not truly competition, because what we do is so individualized to us. It’s not like we’re selling the same exact product. So don’t be afraid to send clients to your competition.
If there are 3 businesses in the same town who all sell the same blue ceramic plate, whoever offers it for the cheapest price will usually win. But with massage, there are so many nuances to what we do – different modalities, different experiences, different education, different innate skills, all of those things.
It’s kind of like my little town here in Tennessee. If you want tacos, you can go to probably over 2 dozen different Mexican restaurants and get tacos. But if you ask 5 different people where the best tacos are, you’ll probably get 5 different answers because “the best” is completely subjective. It all depends on that person’s taste and expectations. Every restaurant uses a slightly different combination of spices and ingredients making each unique. And each restaurant has plenty of customers who prefer their style.
The same goes for our massage clients. Their expectations and ‘taste’ in massage is very individualized. It’s based on their body, on their needs, and on their history. So why do we try to sell massage like it’s just some generic product? We tailor our massages to our clients, so that’s the way we should sell it.
You have to get to know your potential client, at least a little bit. When someone calls with those standard questions of pricing and availability, instead of just answering, ask about their needs. Ask if they’ve ever had a massage before. Ask about the results they’re looking for.
Once you know that information, you can decide if you really are right for them. And if you’re not, send them to another therapist in your town who would be a better fit for their needs. Why on earth would you tell a potential client to go somewhere else? Because it shows that, even though they’ve never spent a cent with you, you are more worried about them getting the care they need, than you are the money. And that speak volumes!
If you’ve ever seen the movie Miracle on 34th Street (one of my favorite Christmas movies ever!), you probably remember when ‘Santa’ starts sending parents to other stores to get a better deal on toys for their kids. At first his boss is furious, but then comes to realize that people are extremely appreciative of the fact that they must be more concerned with helping their customers than with making money – and in fact, end up making more in the long run because of this – so it becomes a storewide policy. They send people to their competitors.
We can follow that same principle, not necessarily just about cost of course, but with what we provide. If you’re truly not right for a client, or a client isn’t right for you, send them to the other therapists in town. Get to know them and what they offer so you can best direct those clients. Those clients and therapists will be extremely appreciative, and it will usually result in a much better gain for you and your business in the long run.
Don’t be afraid of your competition. We all have a unique blend of spices and plenty of potential clients who will love that blend.
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