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Massage Today
March, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 03

How to Clear the Path to a Wealth of Loyal Clients

By Sharon Desjarlais, CC and Michele McGrew

Do you know what the holistic practitioner's most valuable asset is? It's not your massage table. Or your treatment room. Or even the modalities you offer. It's the lifetime value of a faithful client who understands that whole-body health doesn't happen in one fell swoop. Instead it's a natural state that's revealed, layer by layer, over time.

That's the beauty of having a toolkit overflowing with services that address your clients' needs at every phase of their healing journey. Just ask MaryFrances Barbisan, a light-touch therapist in Calgary. She blends CranioSacral Therapy with massage, crystal therapy, wellness coaching, medical knowledge and intuitive insights to help busy professionals relieve the symptoms of stress. Then she tops it all off with a piece of "living vibrational jewelry" that complements her clients' fresh new state of well-being.

The problem comes in when you try to promote a laundry list of services like these. That's a sure-fire way of stopping new clients from walking in your door. Because you're putting them in the painful position of having to figure out which modalities they need and when they need them, which is overwhelming and confusing. And a confused mind always says, "No." Fortunately, there's an elegant solution. Bundle up all your services into one signature system that makes you the expert who gets to decide which modalities your clients need.

That's what MaryFrances did when she wrapped all her skills – even her jewelry – into her signature Radiance Rejuvenation system. Now her clients understand the outcome they can expect to get over time. And because the result is something they value, they're invested in reaching it.

Begin and End With Your Divine Right Client

mountain path - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark What exactly is a signature system? It's simply the step-by-step journey you walk clients through that helps them get from the discomfort they're in when they first start working with you to the results they want at the end. The benefits of having a signature system are especially rich for you, because it gives you an easy way to talk about your work. When you say you've got a 5-step system for solving your client's most pressing health problem, they breathe a sigh of relief. Because you've got it all figured out for them.

That's why a strong signature system starts with knowing who your Divine Right Client is – that person who brings you more energy and more joy with every session. When you look back over your favorite clients, what similarities do you see in their characteristics, challenges and goals? Use those details to flesh out a Divine Right Client profile. But remember, before you guide your clients on any healing journey, you need to know where they want to go. Determine that by making a list of 30 results they get from working with you. Why 30? Because if you've been in practice for any length of time, listing 10 results should be easy. Stretching to 20 might be a challenge. But making the commitment to list 30 results forces you to become very specific.

It's easy to say that your clients leave your sessions with less pain and stress. But notice how the value of your therapy comes alive when you realize they're doing things like swinging a golf club, casting a fishing line, digging in the garden or pulling their grandchildren into their laps for the first time in years. To make this exercise even more potent, imagine that you're following your favorite client around for a day. What situations do you see them in that indicate they are enjoying the benefits of your work? Be sure to watch them from the moment they wake up. What are they doing in the morning to get ready for their day? How are they responding to their clients and colleagues once they get to work? How well are their creative juices flowing and how is that impacting their income? How are they handling their children, their partner or spouse around the dinner table at night? What future do they dream about now when they finally nod off to sleep?

Allow the Path to Reveal Itself

Once you have your 30 results, you're ready to give birth to your signature system. Here's the best part: right now, this moment, it's already alive inside of you. You just need an intuitive process that gently coaxes it to come out. We recommend our Signature System Pathway Process. It's based on the holistic concept that we each subconsciously store information in and around our body. When we set the intention and create the space for that information to reveal itself, the signature system comes bubbling up like magic.

To uncover your signature system, start by choosing a room indoors where you won't be disturbed. It should have plenty of space to walk in a straight line without having to dodge furniture or stacks of books. Even a long hallway works well. Now, with a pen and paper in hand, stand at one end of that space as if you're standing at the gateway to a path that leads across the room. As you look down along that path, allow your gaze to gently rest at the far end. And imagine that your Divine Right Client is standing there, in that space, enjoying the results of your work.

You may see them. You may hear them. You may feel them. Or you may simply intend to know that they are there. There's no wrong answer; it's only the connection with your satisfied client that counts. When you finally have a strong sense of your client, take a deep breath and then take one step forward. And when both of your feet land on the ground, ask yourself, "What's the first thing my client needs to do to get from where they are when they first start working with me to those results they are experiencing at the end?" Then pay attention to the ideas that pop up. Sometimes they come fast and clear. Other times they're wisps and impressions. Don't edit yourself or judge what comes up. Just write it all down.

Once you get a sense of completion, take another step forward and ask yourself, "Now what's the next step they need to take to get to those results at the end?" Allow that one to reveal itself, too, then continue along the path until you've reached the last healing step. When you're done? Celebrate! Join your imaginary client at the end of the path and soak up all their joy and gratitude. Congratulations, you've just uncovered the path to more clients like them.

Now Bring Your Logic Back In

Once you've got the first draft of your signature system, refine it by starting at the beginning and walking the whole path again. As you do, read each step out loud. Does each one feel solid and complete? Good, that's what you're looking for. Don't worry if the steps don't sound special. You're not writing for your website or brochure yet, just confirming that each step is correct.

Now you're ready invite your logical mind back in for some fun. Under each step, make three columns with these headings at the top:

  • Points to Make
  • Tools to Use
  • Results They Take Away

Under Points to Make, jot down a few notes about why this step is important. Under Tools to Use, list the modalities and exercises you enjoy using most at this stage in the healing journey. And under Results They Take Away, write the results your clients get from this particular step. Each step represents a mini-outcome along the path. Then they all weave together to lead to the ultimate result your clients want at the end.

A Tantalizing Name

Once you've refined your signature system, you want to give it an attractive name that'll appeal to your Divine Right Client. The key? Don't name it for what it includes. Name it for the ultimate result your clients take away. In MaryFrances' case, her clients feel so rejuvenated after her sessions, they radiate. Which made Radiance Rejuvenation the perfect name for her signature system.

So, what's the biggest result your ideal clients crave? Name your system after that. Then use it to fill your practice with a wealth of new clients who return, again and again, for your healing gifts.

Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.


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