Remember my post a few weeks ago about the best thing I ever did for my massage business? Implementing a referral program really got the word of mouth advertising working for me. I thought we could detail how to really get referrals working in your favor. So this post is the first in a 10 part series on how to set your massage referral program on fire. Every Monday for the next 9 weeks, I will have another post in this series. Each week, work to implement ideas from the series and see what kind of difference you have in your massage business in 10 weeks!
Experts say that clients received via referral cost less to convert, are more likely to become regulars, and are more likely to refer you even more business! As a result, no massage therapist who is serious about growing their business can afford to overlook this lucrative source of new clients.
In this series, I’m going to cover ten tips that will have your referral program skyrocketing. Even if you just implement one or two of these suggestions, you’ll experience an almost immediate increase in the number of clients heading your way.
Ready to get started?
Referral Fire Starter Tip #1: Ask!
It’s disappointing how many massage therapists tell me they don’t regularly receive referrals from their existing clients. But when I dig a little deeper, the reason becomes clear: Most times, they’re not asking for referrals!
You might believe that if people are happy with your massages, they’ll naturally tell others. While this is sometimes true, it’s not necessarily so. There are three main reasons people don’t refer friends and acquaintances, even when they’re thrilled with the service or product they received:
- Laziness. Most of us are lazy. We don’t go out of our way to do something unless there’s something in it for us.
- They forget. Out of sight, out of mind. Once they leave your massage studio, they forget about you – unless there’s something that brings you to top-of-mind again. (Which is why you should be keeping in touch with them in between their massage sessions.)
- No one asked them to! It sounds crazy, but just asking someone to refer you can increase the amount of referrals you receive. All you have to do is ask.
While asking for referrals doesn’t have to be complicated, there are some guidelines that will make your request more likely to be successful:
- Ask at the right time. Right after your client has received a great massage is the perfect time to ask for a referral. The experience is fresh in their minds, and they’re more likely to have a strong positive emotion. You can imagine that asking for a referral from someone who hasn't gotten a massage in months is probably not going to have the same impact.
- Ask when you’re having personal contact. When your client is in front of you or on the phone with you, or when you’re wrapping up a series of personal email exchanges is a great time to ask. That personal interaction increases the chances of a positive response.
- Ask specifically. “Do you know anyone else who might be interested in our services?” is a great question, but even better is, “Who do you know who might also be stressed out and could use some relaxation?” is better.
Have you been asking your clients for referrals? Did you notice an increase in your business once you started asking?
Stay tuned for next Monday's post for tip #2. And if you're not already, subscribe to this blog via email or RSS feed so you're sure to see the rest of the series!
Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling.