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Massage Today
January, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 01

The One-Month Program

By Cary Bayer

There's nothing quite like getting a new client who looks like they might come in for a massage once every month. It's the kind of good news that qualifies for the proverbial, "Something to write home about." With this in mind, let me ask you a simple question: Do you tell your husband/partner/significant other each time a monthly client decides to book a session in two weeks instead of the usual four? I didn't think so.

And yet, the once-a-month client who shifts to twice a month is equivalent to getting a new client who comes in once a month. As far as the bottom line is concerned, it's an identical situation. But you probably don't relate to it that way.

Most massage therapists think about the numbers of clients they have, rather than the number of sessions they give, because few therapists think of clients in terms of revenue. As a healer who loves to help people, you probably focus more on a client's shoulders and back than you do on them being an income stream. This occurs because most therapists think of their massage work as a practice rather than as a business.

Let's shift our thinking a bit and evaluate a client in terms of revenue. For the sake of this discussion, let's call your fee $70 per session. If Mr. Jones is a client who comes in like clockwork once each month, he's a $70-per-month client. If you're like most therapists, you always encourage your enthusiastic clients to tell their friends or family about your work. If Mr. Jones does just that and inspires his wife to come in for a massage, and she loves your work, too, and also comes for sessions once each month, you now have $140-per-month coming in from this enthusiastic couple.

But let's look at a different scenario. Let's forget Mrs. Jones for the moment. If her husband suddenly changes his frequency to twice per month, he becomes a $140 client. As long as we're exploring different scenarios, consider a third: Suppose he loves your work so much that he decides to come in each week. He then becomes a $280-per-month client. This is equivalent to him keeping his current once-per-month session, but bringing you three new clients, each of whom comes in monthly as well.

Far too many therapists spend far too much time trying to get new clients instead of inspiring the ones they already have to come in more frequently. It's easier to encourage those who currently enjoy your work to enjoy it more often than to bring in new people who don't know how good you are. And that's where my One-Month Program comes in.

The One-Month Program is a marketing tool enabling you to quadruple the number of sessions you do for existing clients. Here, in a nutshell, is how it works. Scour your database or client files for a list of all the people you treat. Then, isolate those who don't come in each week. For most massage therapists, that's virtually their entire roster. Now, target those who come in either once a month or even less often than that. The objective behind the One-Month Program is to convert monthly clients into weekly ones, or, in bottom-line terms, to transform $70-per-month clients into $280-per-month ones. As we just saw, that's like adding three new clients at the monthly frequency.

Clients who sign up for the One-Month Program pay you $280, for which they'll receive four sessions in the next month and a bonus fifth session the following week for free. Clients love this bonus - who doesn't love things for free? This contrasts to the five sessions in five months they otherwise might receive. This heightened frequency gives your client an opportunity to see how good it feels in body and mind to have weekly treatments. After the fifth session in five weeks, ask your client if they would like to book a session the following week. After all, they've had five in five weeks. There's a decent chance they'll say yes.

There's a famous post-World War I song that speaks to this point: "How ya gonna keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" Most people are used to carrying around a great deal of tension or pain in their bodies. Monthly clients get relief from this every 30 days or so. Seeing and feeling the difference that comes with a weekly massage cycle might just be what their massage therapist ordered.

This switch in frequency also has the chance to quadruple your entire business if every monthly client is converted to a weekly client. If even just 10 such clients convert to weekly sessions, you'll have increased your monthly income by $700. That pays a lot of bills each month and also adds $8,400 to your annual gross. If 20 such clients convert, your monthly income surges by $1,400; your annual income skyrockets by nearly $17,000. All this without adding a single new client.

If, on the other hand, your One-Month Program client chooses to schedule their next session a month down the road, ask if they would like another free session again by signing up for the One-Month Program. If they do, you'll be giving away a free session, but you'll also be getting three additional sessions from them in a month. This same program also is useful to target clients who come in for sessions every two or three weeks.

By the way, if either of these scenarios play out, whereby you add between 10 or 20 more sessions each week, and you're unable to actually do this additional work, either because of lack of time or lack of strength in your hands, then you always can bring in another therapist. That raises the possibility of passive income. But that's the topic of a whole other special report.

Click here for previous articles by Cary Bayer.


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