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

Showing posts with label Referrals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Referrals. Show all posts

Friday, August 31, 2012

Client Acquisition [Infographic]

As a follow-up to this recent business tip article on, here's a nice little infographic to illustrate just why an existing client is easier to reactivate than acquiring a new client.

According to this, it's 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one!

What do you think?  How much focus do you put on retaining clients versus gaining new clients?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Series: How To Set Your Massage Referral Program On Fire / Part 4

In last Monday's post, we discussed tip #3 of rewarding the referrer.  So moving right along in our series...

Referral Fire Starter Tip #4: Give Great Service
It almost goes without saying – but I’m going to say it anyway. The number-one way to ensure quality referrals is to give great service in the first place. The happier your clients are, the more likely they’ll be to refer their friends and colleagues in your direction. Here are some past posts for some ideas on making sure your current clients are as pleased as possible:

When you implement these ideas, you’ll see your client satisfaction and natural referrals increase. And when you combine great customer service with some of the other tips in this series, you’ll really experience the snowball effect that will lead only one place – to more clients and more money. 

  1. Provide an easy way for clients to schedule an appointment with you. Whether it’s a phone number or an email address, have your contact information and make it easy to find on your website. You DO have a website, right?  Offering online scheduling is an awesome convenience to your clients that will help set you apart and stand out in their minds.
  2. Set expectations. If you’re a solo therapist and only check email between 9-10 AM, you need to let your clients know that you won’t be on call 24/7. Likewise, if you only answer your phone at certain times, letting clients know beforehand will head off any concerns about non-responsiveness. You can post your “office hours” on your website, or create an outgoing message or autoresponder that lets people know when to expect a response from you (a word of warning: In today’s “microwave” world, anything more than 24 hours is considered long).
  3. Underpromise and overdeliver.  Underpromising and overdelivering is a quick path to clients’ hearts.  
  4. Take the extra step. Do whatever it takes to make the client happy – then go one more step.  Provide exemplary service and find ways to thrill your clients. They’ll pay back your efforts in loyalty – and referrals!
What ways do you provide great service to your clients?

Series wrap up:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Series: How To Set Your Massage Referral Program On Fire / Part 3

Last week, I covered tip #2 of setting up a successful process to set your referral program on fire.  Now that you've got a process implemented, (you do have a process implemented, right?) let's move on to #3 in the series.

Referral Fire Starter Tip #3: Reward the Referrer

Many people will come up with a name or two if you ask them for friends or acquaintances who might be interested in your services. But promise them a reward of some sort, and they’ll suddenly think of long-lost aunts and former roommates who are in the market for someone just like you.
Before you sign away your hard-won profits, though, read these five tips for creating a great referral rewards program:
  1. Reward based on QUALIFIED referrals. What’s worse than having no referrals at all? Having a notebook full of unqualified leads.  One mistake I had made when I first started my referral program: I didn't put any stipulations on gift cards.  (The thought hadn't even crossed my mind). That is, until I had a client buy several gift cards for friends, and then expect a free massage for referring those people.  (Before the referrals even came in to redeem their gift cards.)  While you may be thinking, "hey! you still got paid for those gift cards, so what's the harm?".  Well, the whole point of my referral program was to get new clients.  (As we all know, not all gift cards get redeemed!).  So while I may have made a quick buck selling those gift cards, that situation didn't accomplish my goal and therefore didn't warrant rewarding the client.

  2. Reward related items. Offering a free oil change for anyone who sends five new clients to your massage therapy business? Umm, no.  (This one is probably a no-brainer.)  Make the reward fit your business model for continuity and branding; it’s just one more way to make your image stronger.

  3. Reward quickly. Waiting a few months or even weeks can delay the action-reward cycle. When people are rewarded quickly, they are more likely to repeat the behavior so they can get rewarded again.

  4. Reward intermittently, too. While it’s important to have a set reward schedule (for instance, $20 credit for each new client who schedules a session with you), it can be powerful to send “surprise” rewards as well. Once a quarter or so, send a thank-you email, coupon, or small gift as an additional thanks. These small surprises solidify your program in your clients’ minds.

  5. Reward the referred party as well as the referrer. While it’s great to reward the client who refers new people to you, it’s equally important to reward the new client. Regulars will be much more likely to tell their friends about you if there’s something in it for the referral as well. You can offer $10 off for the new client as well as for the referrer. Then it’s a win-win-win for you, your current and your future clients. 
Do you already reward your clients for referrals?  What reward has worked well for your business?

Don't forget to check in next Monday for tip #4.

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.

                                                                       Incentive photo:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Series: How To Set Your Massage Referral Program on Fire / Part 2

Last week I posted the first in this series to rev up your referral program for your massage business.  The first tip was to ask for referrals.  Did you ask some clients for referrals this past week?

Let's move on to the next step.

Referral Fire Starter Tip #2: Set Up a Successful Process

In an article in a sales magazine, a successful veteran sales manager stated that when his team received stacks of business cards and leads from the marketing team after a multi-day trade show, the leads often sat on the salesmen’s desks, or ended up in the garbage. What a waste! Hundreds, if not thousands, of leads – left to shrivel up and die. Just imagine the unclaimed revenue for that company…
If you don’t have a process set up to handle your incoming referrals, you might be committing the same referral crime. Here’s how to create a successful referral process:

  1. Map it out. You ask your client for a referral, and you get one. Now what? If you get the name on a card or sheet, where does that go? If you get it via email, what happens with that information?
    A pile of papers scattered throughout your massage studio isn't likely to result in a fired-up referral program.

    Grab a large piece of paper or a mind-mapping software program and go step-by-step through your process. Start with the request for a referral and keep asking yourself “Now what? Now what? Now what?” until you’ve worked the entire way through your process and that referral has now been converted to a client.  Have a planned process to send each referral a postcard offering a discount off their first session, or some other enticing introduction to your business. 

    Also include a plan to easily track who referrals come from.  As I mentioned in the best thing I ever did for my massage business, this can be as simple as index cards in a recipe box.
  2. Look for problems. After you’ve implemented your process according to your map, give it a month or so and then revisit it. Are referrals being held up at a particular step? Are things going off-track? Figure out where and why, and figure out how you’re going to fix it.
  3. Refine. Times change and people change. You decide to close your Twitter and Facebook profiles. You revamp your entire massage business… As a result, you need to revisit and refine your process as your business changes and your client profile evolves. Everything might still be okey-dokey, but you may need to adjust things to accommodate how referrals are coming to you, or how you’re contacting referrals.
Processes can seem stilted and, for some people, boring. But getting it down and getting it right is a critical step to making your referrals pay off. 

Do you already have a process in place for referrals?  What has worked well for you?

Be sure to stop back next week for tip #3.

Series wrap up in case you missed it:
Part 1

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Series: How to Set Your Massage Referral Program On Fire / Part 1

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!

massage referralsNo matter what the business, the number-one source of  new clients is through referrals.
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Asking may seem uncomfortable at first, but practice makes perfect. Do it enough times, and it will become a natural part of your interaction with your clients– with fantastic effects.

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

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tips To Focus Your Marketing

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. 

Marketing for massage therapists
  • 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.
  • Have a privacy policy in place
    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?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Best Thing I Ever Did For My Massage Business

One of the best ideas I ever implemented for my massage business was a referral program.

I offered a "refer 3 friends, get a free massage" program. I put a sign up in my massage room, as well as placed around my studio. Signs like "want a free massage? Ask me how!"

I was amazed at the response. I got a lot of new clients from this program. But actually ended up giving away only a handful of massages. Very few times did 3 new people come from 1 client.

I definitely recommend having an organized way of tracking your referrals. It can be as simple as index cards in a recipe box. Have a card for each client who has referred to you, and list the clients they have referred. After 3 (or however many you decide to make it) - offer them their free massage and mark it on their card when they received that massage.

*Shameless Plug: if you use Bodywork Buddy, there's a referral tracking feature built in. When a new client comes in, you can record who referred them. Then look up a client file at any time to see how many people they have referred.

Do you have a referral program? How has it helped your massage business?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Powerful Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Clients

This recent blog post from Massage Table Outlet about the value of connections got me thinking how important it is to connect with our clients.  A great way to do this is to show appreciation to them.  After all, if it weren't for our clients, where would we be?

Here's a few simple ways to make your clients feel appreciated - which will also help to deepen the connection between you:
  • Send them a thank you card after their first visit.
  • Reward them for referrals.
  • Offer them $10 off the month of their birthday, or an add-on for their birthday, etc.  Or simply send them a birthday card.
  • Listen to them and remember (or take notes on) the important things in their life.
  • Ask for their opinion and feedback.  Create a client feedback program and make them feel special to be selected to take part in it.  This is easy to do with services like Survey Monkey which allow you to create free surveys for clients to take anonymously.  (Anonymously is the best way to get honest feedback!)
  • Rapid response to complaints - an unhappy client is an opportunity for excellent customer service!
  • Create a client loyalty program.  (buy 5 massages, get the 6th free is one example).
  • Support your client's businesses.  (This doesn't necessarily mean buying what they are selling). Give referrals and recommendations to their businesses.  Tastefully display their business cards at your massage studio.
  • Send out newsletters to regularly communicate with your clients.  Clients want to learn information you have to share.  This is also a great way to educate your clients on the benefits of massage and position yourself as an expert - which is something I recommend to set yourself apart from your competition.

What are some ways you like to show your clients how much you appreciate them?

Cindy Iwlew is co-founder of Bodywork Buddy Massage Software, a complete online management solution for independent massage therapists that includes online scheduling

She continues to operate her own private massage practice of 13 years, and has been an associate instructor for Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy since 2007.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Client Referral Tracking

Do you have a referral program to thanks clients who refer to you?  Wouldn't it be great to have an easy way to keep track of who referred who?

With Bodywork Buddy, you can do just that.
Not only is there a graph on the Reports page that shows a percentage breakdown of how many referrals clients have sent you, but each client file includes an area that shows who they have referred, as well as who referred them. 
This makes it easy to track how many referrals you are getting and who they are coming from.
Word of mouth advertising is the best way to build a massage practice, and thanking your clients for referrals will definitely help your business grow.
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