Archive for February, 2009
You need to answer the questions Who? What? Where? When? And How? Who you are? What services or products do your offer? Where are you located? When you are open – your hours of operation? How can a potential client contact you?
Your website should be easy to navigate. Some ways to avoid having that potential client get lost in your website and giving up altogether is to have a “Site Map” button which shows a map of the entire site and a “Find” function which allows searching for a particular word.
There is also a big discussion on the number of graphics it should have. According to Jim Green of OpenNet, Inc., “only companies that need a graphic-intensive website are graphics companies.” Flash animation looks cool, but it can be costly to design and can take a long time to download. You don’t want to put off an impatient potential client who is annoyed with waiting. Other companies should only have graphics for staff, products, and services.
Sites should be kept up to date. I can’t tell you how many website I saw while doing research that had not been updated in 2 or 3 years. I didn’t know what to think. Is the company still in business? Are the prices correct? Is the staff current? It kind of turned me off to that company because they were not professional enough to keep it up. So, if you are going to put “The Last Time This Site Was Updated” on your site make sure it is up-to-date.
Buy your own domain name!!! An article in one of the massage magazines featured websites that were sub-pages of someone else’s website. This is a poor idea because it looks as if the business did not consider itself important enough to invest in its own site. I admit that I am not that Internet savvy, but I am sure that there are other people like me and those are lost clients because they gave up trying to find your site. It costs so little to register your name and maintain it on a yearly basis that I strongly recommend you do it.
Are your beliefs holding your back? Or are they serving you?
Most of us became massage therapists because we have a need to help others and because we believe in the healing power of touch.
In our desire to be the very best, our time is spent trying to improve our techniques, our businesses, and our facilities. We often overlook the need to maintain the homeostasis of our bodies.
During your training period, your body becomes accustomed to having the benefits of regular massages or bodywork. Once you finish school and get involved with the business of growing your business, it is very easy to neglect getting massages or bodywork for yourself. In fact, how long has it been since you last received a totally relaxing massage? Or do you spend your hour trying to understand the wonderful technique the therapist is using that your mind never rests and your body really doesn’t relax? Believe me, it happens far too often.
Think about the technique you learned and practiced when you first started out. Just as your bodywork techniques have evolved, your body has adapted itself to your method of massage and the repetitive movements you do every day. In fact, your body probably could perform an adequate massage with out any conscious interaction with your mind. This type of “unthinking” massage is what we want to avoid. Getting regular bodywork is the best way to prevent “unthinking” methods sneaking into our work.
Each client deserves our focus and full ability each and every time we do a massage. In order to ensure that, you have to guarantee that your body is able to provide what you will require of it.
As therapists, we can become like our worst client . . . so busy “doing” that we have forgotten how to relax. This imbalance will eventually lead to burnout and total fatigue.
This is a very scary place for a therapist who wants to continue doing massages or bodywork until they retire or die as I have heard some therapists attest to. So, how to prevent this? Just getting a regular massage sounds too easy. There must be something else, some enlightenment, some dragon to slay, something difficult. No. Regular weekly or monthly bodywork is all it takes. (Didn’t you just finish telling your last client that?)
Remember that keeping yourself healthy is keeping your business healthy. And it is a wonderful experience!
What prevents you from reaching your goals?
I can hear you yelling at me already. “When do I have time to rest?” That can become a theme song of therapists. It seems like there is seldom enough time to get half the important things done, let alone spend any of our precious time resting.
I have discovered that resting doesn’t actually have to be sleeping. With resting, you have a number of options.
Stretching can be restful, especially if you have been doing a number of massages back to back. Stretching between your appointments is an easy way to relax those tight muscles and the exercises you find helpful can be passed on to clients who experience tight, painful muscles.
Massage sore pressure points with an essential oil blend that is designed to help relax or calm the body. Your use of Aromatherapy will also enable you to speak confidently to your clients of what you have experienced. (Try 20 drops of Lavender (relaxing and uplifting) and 20 drops of Sandalwood (relaxing and calming) in 2 ounces of carrier oil. I like Hazelnut Oil.)
Lay down on your massage table. It feels just as good as your clients have told you. Just lay there for 5 minutes, taking deep breaths. You will be surprised how much better you feel.
Meditation is one of the nicest ways of resting for a short period. Allow your awareness to rest in quiet. Allow your busy mind to gradually desist from bothering you and rest, even for a few minutes. This can be done with open eyes, looking at a picture that pleases you or with closed eyes. I find I drop into meditation quicker by looking at my favorite ocean picture and letting the beauty of the picture capture my mind and still it.
Breathe deeply. Slowing down an automatic movement is an easy and excellent way to center and relax your body. As you slow your breathing, you can alter the way you are feeling or thinking and discover a new sense of stability and calm. To breathe freely, your belly should be relaxed; your back straight and your shoulders down with a relaxed diaphragm. With conscious effort, take a deep breath, hold it for the count of three then slowly release. Do this at least six times.
Open your mouth wide and let the jaw relax. Keep your head still then move your lower jaw around into as many shapes and positions as you can without strain. This will reduce the tension in this area. It is amazing how this helps the neck and shoulders.
Get adequate sleep. This may be the hardest one to actually do. At least three nights a week try to get adequate sleep. Since “adequate” is different for each of us, if you are really rested after four hours, then four hours is what you need. Most of us, however, require closer to eight or more (I know I require about ten, yes, ten hours). Whatever you need, get it. It really makes a giant difference in your massages and your health.
Just one thing to keep in mind, the less sleep you have shorter than eight hours a night – the more it affects your output. You have to look at the overall impact to see that falling asleep in front of the TV every night is not good for you!
You may be one of those people that can ‘naturally’ cope with very little sleep – but the rest of us need to make sure that we have a nightly ‘oil change’ to keep our minds in gear and working efficiently.
As you noticed, most of these don’t take but a few minutes to do. It is the remembering to do them that is hard. Rest well.
How can you ensure that you have a decent amount of sleep every night?
Here are some ideas:
· Take a bath
· Use lavender essential oil on your pillow
· Dim the lights and close the curtains/blinds in your bedroom an hour before you want to go to sleep.
· Have “blackout” curtains or blinds installed in your bedroom so you can sleep without having light come into your bedroom waking you up too early (especially as we move from Winter into Spring).
· Soundproof your room as much as possible – turn the telephone ringer off.
· Get one of those “white noise” machines.
· Use ear plugs.
· Read a book before falling asleep. Just make sure it is not a book that is going to get you all revved up so that you have to stay up half of the night finishing it.
· Go to bed earlier…rather than getting up later. That way you can make the most of the beginning of the day…and begin achieving things before most people even get going!
· Listen to peaceful music.
Getting enough sleep is as essential to your success as the amount of work that you do.
Do you have any other tips you would like to share about getting the proper amount of rest?
What are you putting off right now because you are waiting to know for sure that you can achieve the outcome?
Don’t overlook rebooking your clients as a powerful marketing tool. It is much easier for you and your client to get on your schedule for their next massage right after they have had one, especially if it is a good one.
As you start to get busier, you are going to want to make sure that your good clients are already booked when they want to see you. You never want to be completely booked when they call.
When I had my massage practice, I had a very good client who liked to get a 90-minute massage every other week. At the beginning, he didn’t want to commit to scheduling the next one because he didn’t know his schedule. A couple of times he called and I didn’t have any openings. Because he was a good client, I went out of my way to fit him in somewhere by coming in early or staying late. I didn’t want him to keep getting discouraged by not being able to get in and eventually go somewhere else. The next time he was in, I mentioned that I wanted to make sure he gets the time that he wants and suggested we schedule him then. I made sure that he knew that if he needed to change the appointment, he could, but at least he has a reserved spot.
How do you get a first-timer to rebook? Explain the importance of regular massage and ask if they would like to get on the schedule for next time. Wait for the response. If the question is “How often should I get a massage?” You may want to say sometime like “Some people get a massage once a week, some twice a week and some once a month. I recommend once a month to keep your muscles relaxed”.
Then wait for the response. There is an old saying in sales, “He who talks first, loses.” So by saying something else you give the client a way out. Some people think that this may be misleading, but my view is that you are providing a valuable needed service to your client and you want your calendar full.
What do you think? Do you have a different method of getting clients to rebook?
–Louis E. Boone, Author
What could you have achieved if you only had tried?