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Massage Today
April, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 04

Learning to Create a Need for Your Clients

By Velvete Womack, PhD, LMT, CE, MI

Last month we discussed just how important it is to be professional when it comes in our industry of massage, and some ways to enhance the practice of massage to become even more valuable to clients.

In the world of business, there is a very old saying that goes like this, "Help people see that they need something that they didn't even know they needed." What this means is simply this, create a need.

As I was shopping for my holiday goodies, I noticed that my local grocery store had put together isles of ideas. They put together a display of green beans, dried onions, cream of mushroom soup and even a dish to put it all in. Isn't that genius? They made me want to buy all those ingredients because they invoked a spark in me that reminded me I "needed" a green bean casserole for my holiday dinner. I really didn't need it, but I wanted it after seeing the display.

When clients come to us, we can simply let them tell us what they need and be very limited, or we can let them know the added benefits of a hot paraffin hand and foot dip and add it to their current session. As therapists, it is our job to inform folks of other services we provide that they might need.

There are many clients that receive massage therapy because of arthritis pain. If we have a client that is having pain in their fingers or toes, then additional therapy would not only be good for them, but also good for you because you are now servicing a need they didn't know they had. As we evolve as professionals, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge and awareness. It's our responsibility to always be on the lookout for what the client might need that they didn't even know they needed.

Have you ever noticed your physician bill when you are checking out? Before they started using computers, the form had these little boxes that would indicate a particular diagnoses, then under the main heading it would have a list of subcategories that would go along with the diagnoses. This would allow the physician or nurse to check additional services, tests or revisits to ensure that all the patient's needs had been covered and/or billed.

In our profession, creating a system of what a client might need or want while making it very visible to the client will enhance not only the level of professionalism that we stand for, but it will also increase our bottom line, just like the green bean casserole display! Let's play and put it all together.

  • Each clinic should have a service menu available either in each room or in the main lobby.
  • The service menu should cover all modalities that are offered separately.
  • Additional services, each listed separately, such as foot bath $45.
  • And last but not least, services for conditions such as arthritis. Here is where you would put the additional services along with the basic services. It would be up to you to create your own packages that will enhance the overall experience for your client. They trust you in doing this for them.

The reason I do additional services and then one for conditions, is because some clients will want these services just because they are available. It's genius really. And the more conditions you have that are reasonable on your service menu, the more professional, caring and knowledgeable you will not only appear but will become.

If I have a lot of golfers coming into my clinic or this is a target market for me, I'm going to make sure I have something specific for them on my board. And don't limit yourself with thinking that this means you can only provide additional services in-house. I make sure that my out call clients have the same experience and benefits as if they were walking into my clinic. Of course, I'm probably not going to be providing hot wax sessions, but I can do stones. There have been a number of clients that have benefited from hot stones during an out call. Using a small crock pot and having some medium size stones work perfectly. It's a way for me to upgrade the session or just provide an additional service at no charge.

Each client is a treasure chest full of ideas and new ways to assist and help others. Listen to your clients and what they complain about then solve a need for them. Together we grow and expand. Evolution takes partnerships. We can't evolve alone we need each other in order to grow.

Dr. Velvete H. Womack, PhD, LMT, CE, MI, is a published author, inventor, licensed massage therapist and wellness coach. With more than 35 years in corporate American, and in the medical and holistic field of health and wellness, Dr. Womack strives to provide individuals tools that will aid in balance and stress reduction. For more information, visit


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