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Massage Today
June, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 06

Three Keys to Connecting to Your Clients

By Colleen (Steigerwald) Holloway, LMT

In the bodywork business, marketing to obtain new clients truly is the first step in building clientele. This holds true for any service business. However, unless your focus shifts from obtaining to retaining new prospects, you'll find yourself continually looking for new ways to market your business.

Learning how to build rapport with your new clients is a must if you intend to turn them into loyal clients. In order to retain them, you must first connect to them.

Here are three basic keys for connecting with your new clients:

1. Sell Solutions Instead of Selling Your Services

Marketing is all about selling solutions. That's why it's essential to describe your business in terms of benefits, not features. When you market your services, your intention is not to "sell" people something they don't need. It's to show them how you can solve their problem with your services.

When prospective clients seek out service providers, they look for the best solution for solving their problem. Keep this in mind when marketing your services by placing yourself in the prospective client's shoes. When you personally seek out services, you become sold on the benefits, not the list of services that are available. Ask yourself why you would hire a massage therapist. Maybe it's so you can manage your migraine headaches, or maybe you need to reduce stress and feel better about yourself. Perhaps you'd like to prevent injuries while training for your first marathon.

Your marketing should reflect the benefits your services offer. This is what consumers can relate to and will buy.

2. Focus on the Client

What is everyone's favorite word to hear? Their own name, of course! We are human and we love to focus on ourselves. But, as a service provider, your goal is to learn how to focus on your client's needs, while setting yours aside. This means learning how to practice "active listening." If your clients feel like you are really hearing them, they will feel you care about them, and a connection will be made.

By asking questions and repeating what you've heard your client say, you assure the client their needs are being heard and understood.

It's equally important to hold off on offering advice until your client has finished explaining their story. If you jump too quickly to offer a solution to their problems, you'll lose that important connection.

A perfect way to focus on your client is to take personal notes while documenting your SOAP notes. For example, when your client tells you her daughter began applying for colleges, write that information in her file, and make sure to ask her how the college search is going on her next visit. Your client will be impressed you remembered the last conversation, and a connection will be made.

3. Relate to the Client

Sometimes the best way to relate to a client is to let them know you've heard of their problem before. By sharing a story of another client who suffered from similar problems that you've helped, you assure the client you can help them, too.

Be careful, however, not to trivialize their problem as being no big deal, as people tend to be attached to their problems, and you don't want to turn anyone off. Your goal is to reassure your clients they are not alone, others have experienced their problems and experienced success at solving them through your great work.

If you can sell solutions instead of services, you will more easily obtain clients. If you can learn to focus on your clients and their needs, you will build rapport and keep them loyal. And, if you can assure your clients you've seen their problems before, and that you've treated them with success, you'll master the art of connecting with your clients. This will not only build your clientele, but it also will save you time and money spent on marketing efforts. Connect with your clients and build your business.

Click here for previous articles by Colleen (Steigerwald) Holloway, LMT.


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