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Bodywork Buddy Blog

Bodywork Buddy: business management software for the solo therapist that keeps you organized and makes tax time a breeze.

Monday, September 11, 2017

How to Make Free Events Suck Less

Ever been asked to work for free doing chair massage to promote yourself? To do it for “the exposure”?

“You can come and do free chair massages and in exchange, we’ll let you hand out your business cards!”

How about no.

Um….. People DIE from exposure.

Many skilled massage professionals have learned the hard way that free chair massage rarely turns into paying clients. But the opportunities to give your work away for free abound.

I find it’s actually even rare for PAID chair massage at an on-site event to turn into table clients. I definitely did my fair share of free work in the beginning of my massage career, with little to show for my efforts.

So, you’re a newer LMT (or even a seasoned therapist) and looking to promote yourself and gain paying clients. What can you do instead of giving away your work for free at an event?

We recently had a discussion about this in the Bodywork Buddies Facebook Group. (You can join the group if you’re a member of BWB or have ever signed up for our free trial.) One Buddy suggested instead of offering free chair massage, to do some quick samples of hand massage. While working on the client’s hand, you’re face-to-face with them and can talk to them about your business. They get a little sample of your touch, and you get to tell them about what you do. (Thanks for the suggestion, Erin!) I think if you’re going to give something away, this would be a better way to go than to do free chair massage.

When someone asks you to work for free, it’s likely out of their own ignorance than purposely insulting you. Rather than take offense, offer some other suggestions to the event coordinator.

  • Set up an information table featuring a drawing for a retail product, an add-on to a table service, etc. Something that adds value but doesn’t discount your services. When people register for the drawing, they agree to be on your emailing or mailing list so you can continue to build that relationship with them after the event.

  • Have a tv, laptop, or even a digital photo frame playing a video of a massage promo. Bodywork Buddy’s videos are a great option to sell the feeling of relaxation and stress relief.
  • Offer to do a scheduled 10 minute talk on the benefits of massage instead of doing free chair work.

What ways have you promoted yourself at events that didn’t involve doing free massage?

Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.

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