Massage & Bodywork

March/April 2013

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When a mind-boggling and complicated client walks through your door, remember you are a member of a wellness team, and you can utilize the team at your disposal. Setting Up Your Network OK, so you've assessed that your client needs a chiropractor, or a physical therapist, or a personal trainer—but do you know who to send her to? You've got two options: use your present client base to get word-of-mouth knowledge about the specialists you are looking for, or go out and find them yourself. Clients will often mention that they've seen a wonderful doctor. Pick up on this. Ask "What made her so great?" "How did she treat you that was so special?" Then ask your client to bring you a wad of business cards the next time she visits that doctor. Your second option takes a little more work but gets you out of the practice room, plus it's a lot of fun. Say you need a reference for a good neurologist. Hit the web, find one in your area who looks good, then call the office and say, "Hello, I'm looking for a great neurologist to refer my clients to, and I'd like 10 minutes of Dr. Smith's time to learn more so I can refer my clients to someone appropriate." I have never had a doctor turn me down with this approach. On the day you are to meet with the good doctor, look your professional best, have your list of questions prepared, take up only as much time as you said you needed, and express genuine gratitude for the time and effort. During the last two minutes of the appointment, tell the doctor exactly what massage therapy is and leave a stack of business cards with the receptionist for any patients who might be looking for an experienced massage therapist. Everybody wins! If the physician refers a patient to you, write an immediate note expressing gratitude and include a couple of your business cards in the envelope. Likewise, if you refer to a specific doctor, write a note saying, "Thank you so much for taking care of my client, Alice Jones." At least every six months you should drop by the office, perhaps bringing flowers, and refresh your pile of business cards. A great marketing tool is to offer a free massage to front-desk and nursing staff—they'll see your session room, experience your massage, and be able to rave about you the next time anyone is looking for a good massage therapist. Finally, for the doctors I refer to, and from whom I receive regular referrals, I offer one Christmas gift certificate for an employee of their choosing. When a mind-boggling and complicated client walks through your door, remember you are a member of a wellness team, and you can utilize the team at your disposal. It shows you care, that you're thinking beyond the table, and sends a message that, although massage therapy is widely beneficial, we can share this responsibility with other compassionate and capable professionals. Charlotte Michael Versagi is a national presenter and the author of Step-by-Step Massage Therapy Protocols for Common Conditions (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011). Contact her at charlotteversagi@gmail.com. www.abmp.com. See what benefits await you. 99

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