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Massage Today
September, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 09

Your Dog Can Help You Grow Your Business

By Cary Bayer

A dog, so the proverb goes, is a man's best friend. A dog also might be a massage therapist's best teacher. It can certainly be a massage therapist's inspiration for a new business program.

A dog embodies so many qualities of the enlightenment described by the world's great teachers — from Buddha, Krishna and Lao Tzu in the East, and Jesus and Mohammed in the Middle East — that it's hardly a coincidence that dog is god spelled backwards. If you'll allow me to speak colloquially like they used to in the Old West...Doggonit, a canine can help inspire you to grow your business.

Canis lupus familiaris, as scientists call the family dog, demonstrates not just love, but a form of unconditional love that's hard to find in our world.  What husband and wife don't like to think that their partner loves them unconditionally?  Many a husband, who's turned his head a little too long to gaze at the "hottie" in a mini-skirt passing through the mall, has discovered how quickly his spouse's love is less than unconditional. What if a woman gains 75 pounds? Unfortunately, that has moved far too many men in our disposable culture to be on the lookout for a slimmer (and, while they're at it, newer) model.

Express Your Love

bulldog - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark I'm not asking you to love each of your clients unconditionally. But, as a business coach for massage therapists, I'd like to give you a massage marketing tip: if you can find it in your heart to express more love for these people who help you pay your bills and enjoy your lifestyle, you'll set yourself further apart from other therapists. Loving them while they're on your table is essential; so, too, is loving them and caring about them even when they're not on your table. If you haven't seen them in a while — more than a month if they're weekly clients, more than six weeks if they see you biweekly, and more than two months if they see you monthly — give them a call to make sure they're feeling all right.

Express Forgiveness

To your dog, it doesn't matter how much you weigh, it doesn't matter how many hotties and hunks you stare at, it doesn't even matter how many other dogs you pet. Your dog is your pal forever. They love you unconditionally to their dying breath. A dog will greet you with a wagging tail and endless licks and kisses. (Does your wife or husband do that? I didn't think so.) You can yell at a dog in anger, and they will perhaps cower away in fear, but an hour later, they completely forgive you of such unconscious cruelty. Most spouses are less forgiving. Here's another massage marketing tip for you: forgive your clients for their mistakes, like showing up late or forgetting appointments, and they will feel your love and forgiveness.

Express A Heart Of Service

Another quality that dogs show us in abundance is service. It's a quality that's second nature to a dog. Make that first nature. There are many dogs that, if shown how, will retrieve the slippers of their masters on a nightly basis. The service that a dog manifests for his man rivals that of the most refined Jeeves-like butlers. Here's yet another canine massage marketing tip for you: As you rub your dog's belly tonight, let some of his spirit of service rub off on your hands and your clients will feel the spirit embodied in those hands, and will feel that much more cared for. You are, after all, in service to your clients. Embody that service and they will want their bodies on your table more frequently.

Focus On The Present

Eckhart Tolle wrote a best-selling book called The Power of Now, in which he elucidated the necessity for, and advantages of, keeping yourself in the present moment as compared to looking over your shoulder at the past or into the future that has not yet come. A dog never dwells in what once was, nor are they obsessed with what may or may not be on its way. They are firmly and resolutely focused on the present. Even when lying down to catch some shut-eye, they often will keep one of those eyes open to the goings on of the humans around them, just to stay present. Cultivate presence of mind and your clients and staff will feel that presence. Here's still another massage marketing tip for you: stay in the present during massage and in all other things that you do in your business and people will enjoy being around you. That will attract them to want to do business with you, as well. And that grows your business.

Express Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm, from the Greek entheos means "in god." If the wagging tail of a dog doesn't remind you to stay enthusiastic, nothing else can. Retrievers of the Golden and Labrador type, for example, are perfect embodiments of an enthusiasm that's hard to top in this world. A human being can throw the same ball to the same Retriever over and over again but, while the person might soon tire or be bored from this repetition, the dog will never tire.

The jaded LMT far too often says, "been there, done that." But, to a Retriever, the idea cannot possibly arise. Each new toss of the ball is a brand new moment, the first time to fetch. His presence in the moment, and his enthusiasm for chasing the same thing time and time again, display the kinds of freshness that points to an awakened state of being that our great teachers have both explained and embodied.

Here's a final massage marketing tip for you: cultivate enthusiasm for your clients, your work, your staff (if you have one) and your prospects, and your capacity to succeed will be optimized. Greet every client with mental and emotional freshness. Each massage you give them is like the first time. It doesn't have to be the same treatment over and over again. Your dog greets everyone he knows who enters your home as an opportunity for play. So can you.

With all of these things that dogs teach us, who really are the masters? Perhaps they love to awaken us so much that we're like our teachers' pets.

Click here for previous articles by Cary Bayer.


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