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Massage Today
April, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 04

Let “Show and Tell” Boost Your Massage Business

By Cary Bayer

"Show and Tell" was one of the earliest games you played in kindergarten. You loved it so much you still remember it half a lifetime later. Your teacher had you play it so you could learn how to share with others, and how to speak in public, essential skills that still serve you today.

So, as they used to say on "The Lone Ranger," go back with me now "to those thrilling days of yesteryear" when you were about 5 years old. See if you can recall standing up in class with what you brought to school to talk about - a doll, a new coloring book, maybe your very first baseball glove.

Can you feel the excitement you had for this item, how your heart raced just looking at it? When you loved something, you loved it with all your heart. You were passionate about life, enthusiastic for what each day could bring. That particular day, you had brought one of your very favorite things to school to show the other boys and girls.

Let's say it was your favorite teddy bear. There you were, with your "Cubby" or whatever you called it, telling your classmates about the softness of his fur. You talked about the delicious squeak that he made when you pressed his belly. You squeaked him and your classmates "oohed" and "aahed." You described how cool to the touch his little nose was, the nose you cuddled up against at night when you went to bed. You described his beautiful eyes; to you they were jewels in the midnight sky.

By the time you finished describing your stuffed animal, virtually everyone in class wanted his or her very own cubby. You "sold" them on your adorable pal, even though you weren't trying to sell anything. You were 5 years old - what did you know about selling? Nothing ... and that's just the point. You inspired them to buy - or more precisely, to have their mom or dad buy this wonderful item. You weren't trying to; you simply were telling them from your own heart about something you loved with all your heart.

Now, fast forward 40 or however many years, to the present day. You don't own Cubby anymore. There still are things in your life, however, that you do love, that you're passionate about and have gained great value from. If you are wise and fortunate, whatever that thing is has been transformed into your career. (Hopefully, it's massage, and if so, your livelihood is a "lovelihood.")

If you're a self-employed entrepreneur, it's your task to share massage work with others. The act of telling them about your craft is what we call sales. Now, you might be wondering what sales has to do with "Show and Tell." Actually, quite a lot. In "Show and Tell," you told others about something you love. When you own a massage business, you also can tell people about something you love. Instead of it being a furry stuffed animal, it might be your shiatsu-healing touch, or your hot stone massage.

If you're like most adults, you might worry about bills you have to pay (and, therefore, how much money you need to make) and strive hard to sell. You focus on each prospective client or customer as a ticket to getting your bills handled or your debt reduced. Or, you might be too shy to "sell" yourself. Last I looked, selling yourself is another word for slavery, and that's been illegal for a good century and a half. Even prostitutes don't sell themselves, though they might rent for the hour. You can sell your services, you can sell your expertise, but you can't sell yourself.

If you're wise, you'll do something foolish. You will incorporate your inner child into your business, and let that 5-year-old kindergartener enthusiastically describe the healing effects of the massages you give. When you do that, you won't be selling. You will be telling - just like you did when you were small. The person to whom you're speaking is no longer a "prospect" in an adult's mind, but a "person" to your inner child, and will catch your enthusiasm and be wowed by it. They already need what you do, so there's a good chance they will ask you for it. That's the time to let your adult come out, and let them know what it costs to have it. This actually does them a favor.

When you played "Show and Tell" in kindergarten, you inspired many people to have want what you had; but then you sat down without giving them the chance to have it. You teased them; in effect, you were selfish because you inspired desire, but gave them no way to fulfill it. You were 5 years old and so were they; there was no harm, no foul.

But now that you're 45 years old, for example, when you inspire desire, you can give each person a way to fulfill it. Talking about price in this context won't feel uncomfortable - if it ever did for you - because price (or the money that it costs for your service) is what enables a potential buyer to have the very thing that you're so passionate about. You're actually doing them a favor.

The difference between "Show and Tell" and "Show and Sell" is very little. "Show and Tell" is for children; the presentation of something that arouses passion in the presenter and the listener. Since it takes place between 5-year-olds, no goods or services are transacted. "Show and Sell" is for 45- and 55-year-olds, even though it involves your inner child and your listener's inner child. The presentation also arouses passion in the presenter and the listener - and the listener is given the opportunity to have what you offer. That opportunity is what we, as adults, call sales.

Bring out your inner child in your massage business and enthusiastically sell what you love to do. You'll live longer, make more money, and enjoy your life so much more than you do now.

Click here for previous articles by Cary Bayer.


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