After my recent post on The Worst Thing I Ever Did For My Massage Business, a fellow therapist asked me to elaborate on how I got my "in" with the large corporation in my town.
For starters, I didn't approach the company itself. In fact, they already have a massage therapist on contract in their fitness center (offering chair massage only). But I happen to know that a lot of their employees never use the fitness center, and therefore might not even be aware chair massage is available there.
Here are some tips that I would recommend for building your clientele within a certain company. This is assuming that you already have a few clients within this company. Which is pretty likely if they are a large employer in your area.
- Focus on a referral program and getting the word out to your existing clients who work at the company you want to build within.
Have signs up in your office and send out postcards promoting your referral program. A monthly e-newsletter that includes info on your referral program and an easy way to forward or share that info is also a great idea.
- Word your referral program to accentuate what is in it for the client.
"Want a FREE massage? Ask me about my referral program!"
Whatever your referral program, make sure you are thanking your clients for any referrals they send your way.
- Project positivity.
Whenever a client asks how business is going, respond with:
"Great! But I can always take more clients, do you have any friends who would be interested in my services?"
You don't want to come off sounding desperate or hurting for business. No matter how slow business is, never let that on to clients. But also be careful to not give the impression that you're so busy that you can't take on new clients.
- Make sure your clients know you're available for on-site chair massage in their office and for personal parties.
(Signs in your office, list it on your menu, promote it on your website.)
Even though the company I'm referencing has their own MT in the fitness center, I regularly had clients want me to bring my chair to their department for special events. This is a great way to get your hands on all of their colleagues who would be great potential clients! They are also more likely to become a client knowing that Anne from Accounting gets a massage from you once a month. (I'm not suggesting you tell them this, of course, but Anne will likely tell them when you're there). So unlike regular chair massage events, this scenario is more likely to turn chair clients into table clients.
Remember that your clients probably socialize with their work colleagues as well, so being available to do chair massage at personal parties is another great way to meet more potential clients within a certain company. I did chair massage for about 3 hours at a party several years ago for a good client. I gained 5 awesome, long-term clients from that party... clients who are still coming to me today. (this was a paid event, by the way... I'm not suggesting that you give chair massage away). It's all about what events you're working and who you're likely to meet at those events.
- Reach out to them in their world.
Many companies in the corporate world have an intranet that includes an e-bulletin board where employees can post things. You can have a client (whom you trust) post an ad on the bulletin board. A great way to do this is if you have an email newsletter, or an email special, and they can simply post that info and link back to your website and encourage people to schedule online (if you offer that service). Or create a specific digital graphic ad to be posted - don't just make it text. Keep in mind the clientele you're targeting and make sure it will be appealing to them. For example, make sure it's more classy and less cutesy for an upscale clientele. Maybe offer some kind of promotion specifically for employees of that company.
- Use testimonials.
Collect testimonials from your current clients within the company in question. Ask for their permission to post their testimonials on your website and in your brochures - including their name and profession. Having a testimonial from the VP of their company can give you tremendous credibility.
- Know the company culture of the corporation you're marketing to.
This will help you customize your marketing to them, and also tailor your services to them.
Post it on your website, in your massage room, etc. to assure your clients that their visits and anything said during them are confidential and will not be shared. (You should adhere to this regardless). Some clients will be hesitant to refer colleagues if they think any information about their visits will be shared. Keep in mind that the corporate world is very different from the massage world. It can be competitive and cut-throat. Something that might be totally normal for us could be perceived as vulnerability within their company culture. Your clients will appreciate knowing their visits are confidential.
If you try any of the above, I would love for you to check back and let me know how it works out for your massage business.
Have you built a clientele from a specific company? What worked well for you?