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How to Turn Occasional Clients into Regulars


Do you know how to convert those occasional or special occasion massage clients into regulars? You know, those clients that only come when they’re really hurting, or just once a year for their birthday when their spouse buys them a gift card, or something like that? How do you take those people and convince them to come in regularly; once a month, every two weeks, or even every week? To get it through to them WHY they need to get regular massage, all the health benefits, that sort of stuff?
This is such a common issue and something I know I personally struggled with early on in my business too. So here’s a few things I figured out along the way.

My first question if you’re struggling with this is…is this part of your ideal client profile? If not, but you want this to be the type of clients you attract, then you need to reorient your ideal client profile and change your marketing to fit it better. You see, this is most often tied to your client’s locus of control.
This is a psychological term that refers to the degree in which people feel a sense of control over their life.
So if someone has an internal locus of control, that means they readily believe that the things that happen in their life are greatly influenced by their own choices and actions.
On the other hand, those with an external locus of control believe that the actions of others, random chance, and environmental factors are more responsible for their life and the situations they find themselves in.
You could say it’s the difference between you taking charge of your life (internal locus of control) versus life happening to you (external locus of control).

Why is this important? Because this defines the type of professional relationship you have with them and what they believe your role is, and their role is, in their life and their wellbeing. Where you want clients to fall on this scale directly translates into how you market and how you interact with them throughout their experience. It’s clearly stating how much of an effort they’ll need to make as part of this bodywork…meaning you weed out those who maybe aren’t going to commit or aren’t willing to put in any effort.

So for those with a balanced locus of control, where they understand the need for your role in their wellness AND that they need to take steps to aid in it as well, your marketing message is clearly stating this is a continuous care type of facility, not a one-off, special occasion type place. It’s something they have to commit to, at least a little bit, right? While talking with them throughout their experience, you’re regularly referencing things in a way that makes it clear they’re expected to come back; things like. “here in your first session we’ll do…blah blah blah”, or “at your next session we’ll do…xyz”. Stuff like that.

And this brings me to my next point…
Are you educating on it as much as you think?
It may seem obvious, but are you really doing this in depth or just as a one-off mention at the end? How body-aware are your clients? When you consistently bring to their attention the benefits they’re experiencing, you’re subtly reminding them of your value; that what you’re doing is helping them. The more you can educate your clients on becoming body-aware, and improve their perception of what’s going on with their own body, the more they will see the signs of what you’re doing, as well as notice when they need to see you again.

It’s not just about making statements and bringing to mind how great they feel right after their massage, but being specific with their improvements in their day-to-day lives. Do they have an improvement in range of motion? Can they stand up straighter? Are they able to sit at their desk for longer hours without pain now? Can they reach the upper shelves in their kitchen without pain? Quantify your results in their daily lives and make sure that not only are they aware of it when you ask, but that they regularly acknowledge these things throughout their day.

Now, as for objections to coming regularly…there are multiple reasons a client may not want to return regularly. They may not particularly like massage. I mean, I think it’s a little odd given how much I love massage, but there are a lot of people who just don’t like it. My own mom is one of those people. She definitely will never let anyone else massage her but me, and even I can only manage to get her to let me massage her feet, and occasionally more when she’s gotten injured. She sincerely just doesn’t like it. Laying still is not her jam. And there are all kinds of people like that.

When it comes to cost objections, again, ability and willingness to pay is part of your ideal client profile. Market to the people that can and will pay and let the ones who don’t and who make a fuss fall to the wayside. This is something to be more firm on as your pricing is set for a reason (at least it should be!) and clients don’t get to dictate that price…even if they are, or want to be, a regular.

And lastly, to put it bluntly, there are those people who just don’t want to improve. This isn’t nearly as common, but I’ve seen it plenty of times in my own practice. It seems their pain, illness, or dysfunction has become so intertwined with their identity, it’s too hard to let go of. And they will flat-out refuse to do anything to actually make a big difference, especially if it requires consistency.

So to sum it up, there is a portion of the market you simply have to let go, that will never be regular massage clients for a variety of possible reasons. Just like any other characteristic of an ideal client, this is a factor; those people aren’t for you. But the majority quite possibly are, and it’s up to you to make the strategic effort to educate and market to those particular people.

Every piece of marketing content can subtly speak to the facets of your ideal client. Your ideal clients aren’t just a set of demographics…it’s the psychological and emotional components of what makes them them. Speak to those components.

If you’re not sure how to figure out those components of an ideal client, I’ve got a quick class that can walk you through the whole process step-by-step.
 Check out the Identify Your Ideal Client class. I go into all the details of demographics, psychographics, buying behaviors, communications, market research, and more.


Hey there! I'm a massage therapist, educator, writer, and business pro helping massage therapists around the world build successful businesses. My goal is to give you everything you need to start, run, and grow a profitable massage practice that supports a life you love, all without the headaches I went through learning how to do it myself.

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