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Massage Today
April, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 04 >> Practice Management

Six Steps to Help You Establish a Six Figure Practice

By Sharon Desjarlais, CC and Michele McGrew

Does the idea of making $100,000 a year or better feel like a pipe dream? Or does the thought of it leave you feeling exhausted? Then you're probably making the mistake of thinking your individual healing sessions should be your highest-priced offer.

Even if you charge a healthy fee, tying yourself to individual sessions limits your income to the number of clients you can see in any given week. When your client load is low, your income suffers. And when it's high, you're making more money, but you're also working too hard. And you're not modeling the kind of self-care you want your clients to commit to.

So, how do you grow a healthy six-figure practice? By changing your business model. Instead of offering individual sessions, offer high-end private programs that attract clients who are willing to make a generous investment in their health. After teaching practitioners how to design and sell private programs for years, we promise you this: right now you have clients who would gladly step into a high-end program ... if only you offered one.

A high-end program is designed around four specific features:

  1. Structure – Babies crave structure. As adults, we're not so different. We're relieved when we can depend on an expert to guide us to the outcomes we want. And we enjoy having a consistent rhythm and routine to follow. When you offer a program that's delivered in a structured format – with a set number of sessions delivered over a specified period of time – your perceived value instantly increases. Which makes your therapy worth far more than the sum of your individual sessions.

  2. Speed – Have you ever been sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Many of your clients feel that way, too. They're not getting the same results they once did by dropping in for a session here and there. High-end clients want high-impact results. They're ready for faster, more permanent improvements. And they're willing to pay a premium to receive them.

  3. Access – Imagine having an open invitation to e-mail or call your favorite doctor whenever you have a question or concern. That's the kind of VIP access high-end clients want from you. It gives them a sense of security knowing they have the support they need when they need it. And if you're already giving away that privilege for free, you're not only undervaluing yourself, you're also allowing your clients to take their healing for granted. Many people need to make a big investment before they're motivated to invest themselves in creating the results they want. And as you probably know, a highly motivated client is a treasure.

  4. Accountability – Remember all those New Year resolutions you broke because you didn't follow through? Your clients also know all too well how fast their good intentions can get tossed aside. That's why holding them accountable to themselves through your program is a powerful motivator. When they know they'll be reporting their progress at each session, they make it a habit to look for their improvements. And when they look for improvements, they tend to find them.

Ready to design your first high-end program? Follow these six simple steps and you'll be well on your way.

Step 1: Your Signature System

The key to crafting your first high-end program is to start with the topic we shared in our last Massage Today column called, "How to Clear the Path to a Wealth of Loyal Clients" A comprehensive high-end program is designed to walk a client through each step of your system to achieve the outcome they want.

Step 2: The Program Structure

Once you've got your signature system, how long do you think it would take to walk a client through every step? Answer that question and you'll know how long your high-end program should last. Of course, radiant health is a lifelong process. But that doesn't mean your high-end program has to last a lifetime. Most practitioners get excellent results delivering their programs over a period of six months. Some programs are longer and others are shorter, but six months is a great place to start.

Once you have your program time frame, you're ready to create your monthly structure. Here's one format that works very well for many practitioners.

Month 1

Start with a 1-day private retreat that covers the first couple steps in your program and includes one or two hands-on sessions. This kind of immersion experience gives your clients the big breakthrough they'll build on through the rest of the program. And it jump starts their transformation, giving them the speed they're looking for. Follow up the retreat with a telephone check-in and healing session within two weeks.

Months 2 through 6

Do a hands-on or distance healing session two times each month. Conduct a simple telephone check-in once a month between healing sessions. Give your clients exercises, tips and assignments between sessions to continue their progress through each step of your signature system. Add in priority e-mail access to you with a reasonable 48-hour turnaround during weekdays.

Final Healing Session

Celebrate with a half-day wrap-up retreat. This gives your clients room to reflect on all their improvements. And fully embody their accomplishments.

Step 3: Your Core Components

Once you've got your signature system and basic program structure laid out, the next step is to choose your core program components. What services do you already offer that you'd incorporate into the program? And what other tools and modalities would you love to bring in to facilitate each step of your system? A private program gives you plenty of time to blend in even self-healing techniques that complement your bodywork. Consider adding components like guided meditations, creative journaling and nutritional tips.

As you see in the program format above, you always want to give your clients exercises, tips and assignments between sessions to maintain their healing momentum and prevent backsliding. But whatever you do, don't call it homework. Work sounds like pain and no one wants more of that. Clients who don't feel well also don't want to be overwhelmed with information. They want a connection. They want to feel witnessed. And they want a transformation. So resist the urge to throw every one of your therapeutic tools into your program. Instead, carve a few of them away and offer them as bonuses.

Step 4: Attractive Bonuses

One of the most delicious aspects of a high-end program is having the opportunity to give your clients a rich and indulgent experience that makes them feel as treasured as they are. That's where the benefit of extra bonuses comes in. It's like adding a great big gift on top of all your other core components. To make this easy, include some of the self-healing tools you carved away from your core components. Especially tools that don't take any more of your time or energy, like home-study systems, home-healing products, even products that other healers offer. As long as they complement your system, your program and your clients, it's a win-win.

Step 5: A Compelling Title

The title of your program is often the first detail people see when they're deciding whether to sign up. And like anywhere else in life, first impressions count. That's why you want to give your program a name that makes an instant connection. What's the biggest outcome or result clients want from your therapy? Name your program after that and you'll have a magnetic title.

Step 6: A Healthy Price Point

Here's where you might be inclined to backslide and devalue the rich program you've created. We understand; you're probably stepping into a level of investment you've never offered before. So before you decide on a final price, take some time to track the ripple effects of your therapy in your client's life.

When your favorite client is feeling fit and fabulous, how does that impact her job performance and income? When she's feeling well-rested and patient, how is she responding to her kids, her friends or her spouse? When she's finally feeling free of the pain and stress that have been her constant companion for too many years, what is she able to see in her future that wasn't even possible before? That's where you'll find the value of your program. And only then will you be able to price it for what it's truly worth.

For a typical 6-month program, our clients find $4,000 to $6,000 a great place to start. That means, instead of having to work with 17 to 25 clients a week, you only need 17 to 25 clients a year to break the six-figure barrier. And when you have that kind of breathing room, you're being as generous to yourself as you are to your clients. And you're offering a healing gift that takes your clients – and your practice – to the next level.

Click here for more information about Sharon Desjarlais, CC.


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