June 9th, 2017
It’s an unfortunate side to the profession that most of us will have to deal with. At one point or another in our careers, someone calls or comes in for an appointment wanting much more than just massage. Today I want to talk about perverts, creeps, whatever you want to call them. They will eventually find their weasley little ways into our professional lives it is up to us to deal with them. But what if there are steps you can take to prevent them from even trying to reach out to you. I’ve had a few CE students tell me before that they’re having issues with getting a lot of these calls, and they’re not sure why. Oftentimes they know other therapists in the area that aren’t having to deal with it so what makes them so different? Well we like to blame these guys and ladies sometimes, we have to take a good look at what we’re doing and the image that we’re portraying. We may think everything is fun, but check again. If you find yourself with a large influx of these phone calls or suggestive requests, whatever, definitely consider these three things that you can do to prevent them from ever happening.
#1 Check Your Branding and Marketing Efforts
I know this is something you’ve probably spent a lot of time, effort, and money on and rightly so. This is one of the most important aspects of your business, right? But take a look at the language, and the photos you use. They may look legit to you, but they may give hints as to something else to those creeps of the world. How do you tell? Well, look at any of those shady massage parlors they oftentimes use very similar photos. Those ridiculous stock photos where the client is lying prone with their head jacked to the side with candles, and stones, and flower petals all around their head. As pretty as they are, first they’re not realistic in the least. Your clients might be confused when they don’t get that experience, but most importantly because those cheesy photos are used at pretty much all the brothels that pose as massage establishments. It can be a sign to some unsavory types that you might do the same sort of thing. Especially photos of feet, as weird as it sounds, that seems to be a trigger for these creeps. Probably because so many of these establishments, depending on where they’re located, of course tend to offer a cheap foot massage or reflexology session and obviously do a bit more than that. Also, if English isn’t your first language or even if you just struggle with spelling and grammar have someone edit all of your copy or all of your written promotions. So, your website, social media post, emails, brochures, and business cards. Let someone look them over and edit that stuff for you because if you’ve ever noticed, those parlors usually have big signs in their front windows with descriptions of how good massage is for you most often times with very, very broken English. I know I’ve seen one before that listed as one of the benefits of massage more-good for neck and back. Now, this obviously isn’t to knock anybody who doesn’t have the best grammar, or speak the most proper form of English. As you can tell, I’m from the south. We’re kind of known for our lack of concern with grammar sometimes, but if that’s something you struggle, with just have a friend or family member look over your stuff before you send it to print or before you post it online. Unique realistic stock photos, and proper English will go a long way in portraying yourself as legitimate and professional we can definitely help you with a stock-photos by the way, become a member with us and get access to hundreds of them.
#2 Screen All of Your Potential Clients
I know online booking is wonderful, and it opens up your time so that you can take care of all the other things that you need to get done in your business, but you should be having some sort of personal interaction with new clients so that you can screen out most of these creeps. Whether this is a setting in your online booking software where you have to confirm each appointment in some way, or you call each new client to go over any possible contraindications with them before the session. You can also require that they fill out an intake form, and sign a policy agreement before their appointment, or you may reserve online booking just for your pre-existing clients, and new clients have to call for an appointment. However you want to handle this is totally up to you, but you need to have some sort of procedure in place so that you can weed out the weirdos. Oftentimes, the simple requirements of filling out an intake form and giving their full name and address plus signing a policy agreement is enough to deter the creeps. Having your policies and your conduct expectations listed out on your website and your Facebook page is also a huge, huge deterrent but some of these guys don’t care to share their info and sign whatever and still think it’s okay to make the dreaded happy ending request. So, talk to each and every new client. Get on phone and ask them what exactly they’re looking for, what results they want to achieve with their massage. If your spidey senses go off or you hear some of the code words that usually indicate that they’re looking for a prostitute not a massage therapist then simply cancel their session and tell them you don’t have an appointment available. You have the right to choose who you work on. Also don’t jump the gun here, some guys really have pulled a hamstring or they need a lot of hip, glute, and abductor work but trust your gut and don’t book the ones who give you a weird vibe. It’s up to you to screen those creeps out you may not be able to get rid of them all before they come in the door, but you can probably stop the vast majority.
#3 Present Yourself Professionally
One of the quickest ways to weed out these individuals is to present yourself in such a way that they would never think that you would do something so unsavory. While yes, it’s important that you’re personable and friendly you also need to make sure your boundaries are very clear from the get-go. Think about every single way that a person can find you. Business cards, and marketing materials that you leave around town, your website, Facebook, anywhere potential clients are, how are you presented and how do you present in person? We already talked about your branding, which obviously needs to be professional and exude legitimacy, but also you need to be professional in exude legitimacy. If you want to post pictures on your Facebook page of you out at a club, in a tube top, with a drink in your hand fine. But dear Lord in heaven make that crap private. No, just because you enjoy that sort of thing does not give anybody the right to think that you’re a hooker, but guess what perverts don’t exactly think like normal people. So always come off as professional as possible. I’m not saying you have to be stuffy, or robotic by any means, but for example when you answer the phone, the more assertive you sound the better. When someone walks in your door, stand up, and greet them with a firm handshake. Look them in the eye, when you give off this air of confidence, and assertiveness, that’s not usually how women in those brothels behave. From my experience, the therapists who were meeker in nature had the most issues with clients requesting happy endings, be a badass and own it. One really, really important thing I want to note here. As much as we hate illegitimate and massage establishments that cater to this kind of crap, because it gives our profession a bad name, please keep in mind that the women who work there oftentimes are victims. They have been trafficked, sold, and then raped over and over again by these men. Most are not willing participants, they are threatened, they are beaten, and they are treated as property. They are literally sex slaves. There are more than 30 million people in this world right now that are slaves, more than at any point in human history. As individuals, and as an industry it is up to us to fight it. We need to fight this, if you believe one of these places is operating near you instead of getting mad that your state board and the police aren’t shutting it down even though that would be super convenient, report it to the National Human Trafficking hotline at the number below.
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