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Massage Today
February, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 02

Everything I Need to Know to Succeed in Business, I Learned From My Child

By Angie Patrick

It's true; children know exactly how to get what they want. Unabashedly, uncompromisingly and without regret, they give us what we need (love, joy, happiness) and, in return, we give them what they want (toys, ice cream and video games).

Isn't that the basic premise of business? Customers provide us with what we need (revenue and income) and, in return, we give them what they want (quality goods and services). I say we take a few cues from children - those mini-marketing moguls - and see how we can apply these principles in our own approach to business.

Children are not afraid to fall on their backsides. They will go after their wants with a fervor and desire so great that they are willing to try virtually anything to make it a reality. Have you ever watched a child try to reach a cookie jar? When the foot stool does not work, they get a kitchen chair. When it doesn't quite reach, they begin the dramatic and perilous ascent up the cabinets until they achieve their goal: yummy, delicious, seemingly-out-of-reach cookies.

Perhaps your own "seemingly-out-of-reach cookie" is an ample supply of people wanting to book you for a massage or spa service. Maybe you are timid and unsure about how you will go about attaining this goal for fear of failure. Take a lesson from your child or children in general: They fear nothing. Specifically, they have no fear of failure or being told no. If one thing they try proves ineffective, they proceed to the next plan until something they do makes the goal achievable. They do not fear the negative responses they receive, and they will devise a method to turn those negative responses into what they desire. In our case, negative responses represent those uninterested in what we present to them. Since what we want is a consistent stream of business, do not be afraid to try different venues and multiple approaches. By not giving up, you will reap the rewards of the fearless and be savoring your cookie in no time.

Kids are beguiling. They capture our hearts and change the cadence of our harried lives by being honest and candid, and by possessing a willingness to outwardly show they care about you. Face it; a child can melt the hardest of hearts with a well-placed giggle or a spontaneous hug. And so it is with business. Your passion for what you do makes you and your business attractive to those who seek what you provide. Conversely, if you are unhappy, it shows. Your attitude is contagious, and caring about your customer's needs, desires and wants is the fastest way to build your repeat business. Just as a child can make you forget about the dog chewing up your favorite shoes, you can have that same effect on a customer by sending a card and letting them know you miss seeing them. Offer them an incentive to visit you, such as a discount on their next massage or even an invitation to have a free, relaxing cup of tea with their next visit.

This type of outreach does two very distinct things. First, it makes your customer feel they are important to you. Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated, and sending a personalized note makes your customer feel they matter to you. It's like receiving a hug from a child − it can turn the tide on their day and remind them of the calm and relaxation your services can provide in their sea of stress. Second, it rekindles the buying cycle in a customer who has a proven spending history for services or goods you have provided for them in the past. Reminding them how wonderfully relaxed and stress-free they felt after their last visit can create a desire to relive the experience, netting you a repeat customer.

Just as a drawing we display on the refrigerator reminds us of the children in our lives, we can do the same with products we offer for retail to our clients. Providing your clients with an array of self-care products can extend the feelings of relaxation and well-being you have worked so hard to instill in your therapy sessions. A topical analgesic for aches and pains or a warmed pillow in the microwave can be a reminder to your clients of your commitment to their health and comfort, and could be a catalyst for them to make another appointment!

Kids are protective of what they consider "theirs." They coddle and prize the things they value the most. Often, a child's "blankie" is their reason for waking in the morning, and the reason they sleep well at night. Isn't that exactly the way we should look at our valued customers? Like a child's security blanket, they are infinitely valuable and difficult to replace if lost. Protect the relationship you have with your clients by being honest, fair, caring and overall appreciative of their business. Never, ever take their loyalty for granted, because acquiring loyal customers is a hard-fought battle. If you fail to meet their expectations, it's all too easy for them to look elsewhere. Give them no reason to look by fulfilling their wants, and you will have what you need: an ample supply of people wanting to book you for a massage or spa service.

Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.


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