Sep 2008 Massage Marketing Newsletter

“From The Massage Table: Marketing and Motivation That Works”

September 30, 2008
Volume V, Issue 3

Welcome to “From The Massage Table”! My name is Michael Humphreys, cofounder of Help Your Practice.

Each month, From The Massage Table will hit your email inbox with the latest news, special offers and great massage business tips that can help you create the massage practice of your dreams.

Want to make sure you don’t miss an issue? Please add mike@helpyourpractice.com to your address book and keep the spam filters from eating your subscription!

Quick Message From Michael: Ever since I became the father of 2 kids under the age of 3, I’m finding my memory isn’t as razor-sharp as it used to be.  I’ll blame it on a lack of sleep as my wife and I are still averaging about 4-5 hours per night due to our “duo in diapers”.

Because I’m a bit foggy-brained at times, I make it a point to review what topics I’ve written about when so I don’t write about the same topic more than once in a short time span.

As I’m flipping through the past issues, I came across this one that Eric Mitchell and I wrote back in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina had struck New Orleans.

We dedicated that issue to a subscriber named Jonas who had contacted us just one day before Katrina hit.  Fortunately, Jonas and his family escaped New Orleans before Katrina came to town.

It really hit home for me because 3 years later… New Orleans almost got hit by a major hurricane again!

Instead the hurricane creamed southern Texas, particularly Houston where my good friend Bruce lives with his family.

The good news for Bruce was his neighborhood only lost power for about a week.  The bad news is, his 30 foot boat — probably his biggest passion — was docked in a marina outside Galvaston, Texas and was completely destroyed.

Hurricane Ike didn’t just hit Texas… people as far north as Ohio suffered property damage and loss of electricity.  Millions of people were affected by Hurricane Ike, just like Katrina affected millions just 3 years ago.

So this month, I’m republishing one of our most popular issues ever.

And on behalf of retired Help Your Practice co-founder Eric Mitchell, I’d like to dedicate it to everyone who was recently affected by Hurricane Ike.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Do you know someone else who would enjoy reading this newsletter?  Please forward this newsletter to them and help share the wealth.

(Quick Note From Michael: I received a question from a newsletter subscriber
that I’ve decided to write about this month. I had received several follow-up questions from a newsletter subscriber named Jonas, who was from New Orleans. I received his last question
was just one day before Hurricane Katrina stuck New Orleans.
So, both Eric and I are hoping that he got out of New Orleans in time. Either way, this
issue is dedicated to you Jonas and everyone else who have been devastated by this
natural disaster.)

Check It Out: “Bootstrap Your Massage Business!”

Attention New or Struggling Massage Therapists: Discover the Secret To Marketing Your Massage Business For Practically Pennies!

To learn more about “Bootstrap Your Massage Business”, go to http://www.bootstrapmassagebusiness.com

Motivational Monthly Tip *** By Eric Mitchell

Last month, we talked about Slumps. In light of the recent disaster we are going to talk about Hope. For all those in Louisiana and surrounding states who have suffered great losses and are feeling despair, Help Your Practice would like to say our thoughts have been with you.

It’s when tragic events like this happen that we are reminded that life is very short and we must take advantage of everything that life has to offer.  When we are faced with “issues” whether it is the horror of a disaster or the conflicts of everyday business we must remember that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.
Life will always throw us curve balls, which may cloud our ability to make the decisions that will further our lives.  However, our greatest human attribute is Hope.  You cannot forget that no matter what happens you must never lose the Hope that life has to offer.

Mike and I know that we are primarily a business that was designed to help you build your massage practice.  However, the reality is, we hope that positive life improvements are what we are really helping give.  Therefore, no matter what happens you must never lose the Hope.

Hope Builds Confidence
Hope Builds Your Business
Hope Improves Your Life
Remember, when life gives you lemons, you must make lemonade!

Monthly Massage Marketing Tip *** By Michael Humphreys

Here is one question that I have heard many times before and this month, I’m
going to address it.

“Is Being A Male Massage Therapist An Advantage Or Disadvantage?”

When I first started doing massage therapy in 1993, I heard from several people that male massage therapists have a harder time finding clients. That “every massage client would rather have a female massage therapist instead”.

Even a popular book on the massage industry said that male therapists have a harder time getting clients.

But this didn’t make sense to me. I knew I was a good massage therapist and that a professional massage is just that: strictly professional. Heck, the gentleman that taught me massage had more clients than he could handle and 13 years later, he is still seeing 30-40 clients every week personally.

So I opened my massage practice and started promoting massage therapy to everyone I met or could talk to. And sometimes, I’d hear someone say something like:

“I prefer a female therapist.”

“I’m not comfortable with a male massage therapist.”

And I would do the absolute wrong thing…I’d take it personally.

After all, I heard them tell me where they were in pain. I knew the exact massage techniques to get them out of pain. I was eager and willing to help them. And my gender was a stumbling block.

It turns out that there are people who won’t use a male therapist because of his gender, after all.

How I Overcame This Stumbling Block

One day, I was doing a massage trade with another massage therapist, who I’ll call Melissa to protect her privacy. Melissa is a very successful massage therapist who became so busy that she started a massage therapy office with four other massage therapists to handle her overflow.

As I’m giving Melissa a massage, I ask her if she was on vacation and wanted a massage, would she schedule an appointment with a male or female massage therapist.

And Melissa said:

“I don’t care if they are a male or female therapist. I want somebody who is good and can give me the type of massage I asked for!”

Don’t Try To Sell A “Chevy Car” To A “Ford Truck” Man

It was then I realized that I had trying to get clients the wrong way. I thought everyone was a candidate for massage with me.

Well, not everyone is a candidate for massage with you. Trying to get everyone to get a massage from you is like trying to convince a “Ford Truck” Man to buy a Chevy Car:

* They have always bought Ford Trucks
* They have always been happy with Ford Trucks
* They are not interested in any other type of car or truck, no matter how much better it may be built, cost less, etc.
*   They consider themselves a “Ford Truck” Man for life.

What I Learned As A Massage Therapy Center Owner

I’ve answered the question of therapist gender numerous times in my career. As a massage therapy center owner, I started tracking the client requests, so I could hire additional massage therapists that could quickly match what clients were asking for.

I’m going to save the question of what massage techniques were most requested for another time. When it came to client preferences on therapist gender, here are the results I can share.

I can loosely divide every type of massage client into one of these three categories:

* They will always schedule with a male therapist. (About 30%)
* They will always schedule with a female therapist (About 30%)
* They don’t care: They want a therapist who will deliver the results they want. (About 40%)

So it doesn’t matter what gender you are. There will always be about 30% of the people who will get a professional massage, who won’t schedule with you because they want a different gender. Or perhaps their spouse dictates what gender they can go to.

Focus on the 70% who will consider scheduling with you instead. Target them and tell them how you can deliver the results that they are looking for.

The other 30% who won’t schedule with you because of your gender, you can refer them to a massage therapist of the opposite gender.

Another massage therapist?

Yes, they can be a great business ally for you. They come across people who want a massage and tell them that they are the wrong gender too.

How I Created A Natural Referral Network

About 10 years ago, I started getting clients who would ask me if I knew of any good female therapists for their spouse, friend, boss, etc.

So I started developing a network of other massage therapists that I could refer to.

If a client’s spouse wanted a female therapist who did energy work, I knew a female massage therapist that did energy work. If another client’s boss wanted a female therapist who did sports massage, I knew another massage therapist who did sports massage.

I identified these other massage therapists, mostly through networking. Those who I felt comfortable with, I would do a massage trade so both of us could get an idea of what each other’s technique and overall strength might be.

When any of us has a potential new referral to send, we just make the referral. There’s no expectation of referring X number of clients every year.
It costs us nothing but a few minutes of our time and everybody wins.

Got Feedback Or A Success Story You Would Like To Share?
Drop Michael an email at mike@helpyourpractice.com and tell him now.

That’s all for now. I look forward to talking with you next month.

Seize the Day,

Michael Humphreys
Help Your Practice

1 Response to Sep 2008 Massage Marketing Newsletter

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