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Massage Today
May, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 05

You Don't Have to Spend Money to Make Money

By Angie Patrick

You are a healer. You are a motivator. And you are an entrepreneur, even if you have never really thought of yourself that way. There are many reasons people decide to become massage therapists, not the least of which is the desire to help others.

Maybe you like the idea of encouraging others to seek alternative venues for health and wellness, and sharing the benefits of massage therapy. Perhaps you enjoy the thought of building a business that is uniquely your own, and that expresses your vision of who you are.

Any way you look at it, there are many reasons to become a massage therapist. But how do you take your business to the next level? How do you create more income for yourself and your family, while still providing the quality care your clients have come to expect from you? It's not as difficult as you might think. In fact, I will share with you some very easy and economical ways to add black ink to your bottom line while providing a service that fulfills a very real need for your clients.

You probably have read that retailing products to your clients can aid in generating revenue for your practice. The problem is, maybe you aren't really keen on the idea of "selling." Well, your initial instincts are correct: No one likes to be "sold," and it's a feeling that leaves a very bad impression on your clients. That is why you won't "sell" them. You will simply help educate them about options they might be interested in knowing about. Do you think medical doctors "sell" patients? No! They simply prescribe a course of action to improve health and it always results in spending. And yet, people rarely question the doctors' directions because they are the professionals of their craft. Well, how about you?

Maybe you have thought about making a small array of items available to your clients after their massage, but you are just unsure about how to make them attractive without seeming overwhelming or pushy. The good news is that you can create tasteful and elegant displays for your chosen retail items that enhance the calm and serenity of your treatment room or facility. Merchandising and displaying items for resale in your practice need not cost a fortune. A few well-placed items, some planning and a little imagination can create an atmosphere of pampering, self-indulgence and continued self-care for your clients to take home with them.

There are a myriad of ways to display your chosen lines; I prefer inexpensive glass shelving, either in ready-made units or attached to the wall. The glass will keep the "cluttered" feeling to a minimum and allow the products to be the true stars of the display. Additionally, lighting your displays is much easier with glass and shadows kept to a minimum.

Often, finding related props that can help create a certain feel in your display is not as hard as you might think. Natural elements are easy to find and can assist in creating an attractive display. For instance, if you are retailing a sea salt scrub, then shells, sea sponges and beach glass could be scattered on the shelf to reinforce the feeling of the ocean. These things are easily found at a local discount store. While you are there, purchase a few baskets to create ready-made gifts for your clients to purchase.

Baskets are a time-saving way for your clients to shop for special occasions, such as baby showers, holidays or other events. Create your baskets with a theme in mind. Some ideas might include "Home Spa Night," which could have an array of soothing teas, a salt or sugar scrub, a foot treatment, some soothing music, a candle and a loofah sponge. When packed into a basket, covered in organza and tied with a ribbon, this inexpensive gift becomes more than a gift of a few products; it is a gift of relaxation that would be appreciated by anyone! By having this ready-made gift available for your client, you have just made their gift giving easier, and have increased your own income!

In addition to the pampering products, client self-care products are a primary source for successful sales. In your treatment, you might choose to use a topical analgesic, or other pain-relieving items such as a microwave warming pack or cryo product. Since the continued use of these items relieves the client's discomfort between visits, suggesting them should be a natural part of your service. People want to live pain free, and they come to you for that very reason.

As a therapist, you are aware of a wide array of professional-grade products that reduce discomfort. Simply arrange the bottles and jars of products of your choice on a shelf, in clear sight of the client. Seeing the items will often prompt the customer to ask questions about the wonderful products you used during the session. Offer clear and concise directions for use. The client will appreciate the suggestion, and likely will recommend their friends and co-workers to you for care.

Merchandising and retailing of products is a natural progression in your patient care regimen. It doesn't have to be pushy or over the top, but there is no reason to feel sheepish about it, either. Rehab therapists sell equipment, hair stylists sell shampoo, and athletic trainers sell protein drinks. Full-service massage therapists should sell products to enhance their services as well.

You can create a retail environment in harmony with your practice while maintaining a high level of care for your clients. Your clients will appreciate the ease in shopping, and you will reap the benefits of increased income through providing them with this welcomed service. If you have questions, want to comment on this article, or just want to learn more about how to increase your profits through retail, e-mail me at .

Happy selling!


Click here for more information about Angie Patrick.

 

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