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Massage Today
February, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 02

Unlocking the Secret to a Thriving Massage Practice

By Stephanie Beck

Whether you own a thriving massage practice, you just want to develop a base of recurring customers, or you're just starting to get clients this article will reveal the little known secret to have more joy from your work, get more clients, ultimately make more money doing what you love, and show how online marketing allows you some of the best ways to achieve those goals.

And it doesn't matter whether you have employees of one or 101, all of these ideas can be applied to any sized business.

Here is the little known secret to every successful marketing campaign: always lead with your WHY. That's right, "Why are you doing what you are doing?" It sounds so simple, right? If you want to be successful as a massage therapist, you must find a way to separate yourself from your competitors. There are about 250,000 registered massage therapists in the U.S. alone ... and guess what they all have in common? They massage people. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd and have clients wanting to work with YOU rather than any of the other countless massage therapists out there, do NOT just tell people WHAT you do, tell people WHY you do it. This is your unique angle.

In this day and age, the world of business is undergoing a completely revolutionary shift. The rules are changing. Businesses that solely focus on their bottom line will wither away and soon be forgotten. So, for most of you reading this it would be safe to say you were first drawn to massage because you had a passion to heal others, right? And if you are just starting out, you have invested countless hours in your education. And if you have been in business for a few years, lets add a few more hours of continuing education to fuel the inspiration that keeps you focused on why you continue to do what you do. But it really goes beyond that. You need to fully understand your "Why" and for most in the profession, it isn't about the money. It's so much more.

Unlocking Secret - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Consider this, if the massage profession is so inspiring and full of passion, why is it estimated that 50,000 therapists out of the total 293,531 leave the profession each and every year? To put it in simple terms, that means more than one out of every six massage therapists will leave the profession this year, and not because you don't enjoy it, but simply because you do not know how to translate your "why" you do what you do into how it helps your customers and potential customers lead better, healthier lives.

Want to make a change? Start now by getting a piece of paper and a pen. Begin by making a list of your personal, professional and financial "whys." A personal "why" could be that you want to help make a difference in someone's life. A professional "why" might be you want to educate 100 people on the benefits of massage within the next year. A financial "why" might be that you want to be able to offer free massages once a month to a woman's shelter. Or, your financial "why" might even be something to the effect of you want to stop working your other part-time job and do massage full-time. They can be as simple or complex as you want. Take five to ten minutes and complete this exercise now.

Incidentally, this is a great exercise to repeat frequently because as your business grows, your "whys" will evolve, change, or in some cases, get much bigger than when you first started. This is even something you can have all of your team members within your organization complete.

As you are reading this, think of five other therapists you know, perhaps ones you went to school with or attended a CE class with or that you have met along your path. Now, which one of you will not be practicing massage a year from now? That is a very sobering thought, but not to worry, if you are reading this and want to make some simple changes you are on the right path. This isn't all doom and gloom. The sole purpose of sharing these ideas is to offer some simple steps to create, not only the massage practice you really want, but the life you truly desire. A successful massage practice just happens to be in the picture.

Since you have a nice list of reasons why you do what you do, let's take it a step further. Being a massage therapist and simply massaging people is one thing, but being a massage therapist, where you're skills, open heart and your deepest desire for improving other people's lives fuels a cause and a bigger mission is completely different. It's no secret that as a massage therapist you are incredibly passionate about what you do. You may even be among the vast majority who chose this line of work because they were answering the same noble calling: to heal the world. That's the difference between what you do, and why you do it.

So, how do you translate you're "why" you do what you do into how it helps your customers and potential customers lead better, healthier lives? You know why you do what you do so how do you get that communicated into benefits for your customers? Unless you understand the modern-day solution to creating the massage practice of your dreams, you are in danger of being just another statistic. Think about it, all of the greatest companies in the world don't just offer a product or service, they offer an experience and at the core of it all, and those that do it well, offer an opportunity to be a part of something bigger. Your "why" is something bigger.

Let's take a real world example like Apple. Why do you think they have such a loyal, raving customer base, and own such a huge part of their market? They don't just sell electronics. They offer an experience and an opportunity to be a part of something bigger. If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them might sound like this: "We make great computers. They're beautifully designed, and simple to use. Want to buy one?" And that's how many of us communicate. We say what we do, or how we're different or how we're better, and expect someone to take action based on that. But it's not inspiring.

Now, here's how Apple actually communicates: "In everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed and simple to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?" Do you see how this is completely different? That's a perfect example of leading with "why" and how the why benefits the customer.

treasure chest - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark In order to communicate your "why" into that experience and make it so the customers see, feel and understand how it benefits them, remember to see it from their point of view. "How is my why going to help them?" When you lead with why you do what you do and how it's going to benefit them and you share this beneficial vision to others, you will attract more people who share that same desire. Furthermore, those people are going to happily pay a premium to have an ongoing relationship with you. People want to know YOU. When clients want to work with you, it's because of your connection, the rapport, what is unique and fascinating about you, and ultimately, how they feel by associating themselves with you. Of course, it's important to be able to massage people well, but remember, at the end of the day, they buy YOU, not your massage service.

By sharing how your why benefits them you are creating a relationship. Remember that saying "no one care how much you know until they know how much you care?" Your why you do what you do to benefit your customer shows them how much you care. To help you get clarity on translating your "why" into benefits for your customer, on the same piece of paper answer these next 3 questions:

  • What aspect of massage do I love the most?
  • What vision do I have for my life and of the world, and how does massage play into that?
  • How does massage improve other people's lives?

Be sure to give these some thought and take your time to really think about what it is that you feel most passionately about massage and why you chose this profession. Once you have answered these questions you should have your why and how your why benefits your customers. You may be asking yourself why this so important. It's important because people are starting to care less and less about what a business does and more and more about the people behind the show, who they are, and what they stand for.

So, that's the little known secret. Lead with your why and how it benefits your customers and you will reap all of the rewards that come with having the business of your dreams. Live your passion and serve millions of people around the world simply by sharing your why.

Click here for previous articles by Stephanie Beck.


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