Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2016

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C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 97 WHAT'S YOUR COME-BACK STRATEGY? educated on its benefits because you've just had the connect-the-dots talk. So, how do you ask them to rebook? That's really up to you and what approach you feel most comfortable with. Some go with the "assume" approach: "When would you like to schedule another appointment? How many weeks from now should I look for availabilities?" And others "recommend": "Based on your current areas of concern, I recommend you make another appointment in two weeks. Let's look to see what's available." There are many, many variations on the theme. The most important pieces are (1) you're saying or doing something to encourage clients to rebook in the moment, and (2) you're comfortable and confident with whatever approach you're using. Clients will sense if you're uncomfortable, and it often comes across as a lack of confidence in your own work; plus, you'll dread saying it, which means you won't do it half the time. What works for one therapist may not work for you, and that's absolutely OK. Find your version that's true to who you are as a practitioner, but is directed enough to get another session on the books. And, if you're already scheduling another appointment, why not schedule their next two or three so they can lock in the dates and times that work for them, and you can increase your retention rate? 4 TAKE CONTROL What if, for whatever reason, your clients don't want to (or can't) rebook right after the session? Do you let them leave your space with a little wave and a "Hope to see you again?" No! Put yourself in the driver's seat for whatever happens next. Take control and ask how and when they would like you to follow up with them to book their next session: "Should I send a reminder text next week with some appointment times for four weeks from now?" "How about I send you a follow-up email with a link to my online scheduling program?" Give clients options, but pin down what the next step will be and make sure that you're the one in charge of the follow-up. From the Client's Perspective By Mary Abel I had been dealing with some chronic shoulder pain for several months. I enthusiastically sought out a local massage therapist who specialized in pain management. After my massage, which I felt really good about, I looked forward to the conversation in which she would share her thoughts about what the problem might be and how she might help me manage my pain. The conversation didn't happen. As she processed my payment, I felt like I was trying to telepathically will her to tell me when I should come back. At that moment, I needed her to be the expert. I was desperate for her to tell me what to do. I wanted to book another appointment, but she just thanked me for my business and sent me on my way. I never heard from her again. Mary Abel is associate editor for Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. 5 REVISIT THE PAST You know all that work you did at the start of your session to encourage clients to do an extensive self-assessment and the conversation you had about how your work affected their specific concerns? That wasn't a once- and-done deal. Begin the next session by checking in about how those problem areas feel today, how long the effects of the work lasted, etc. Review the thorough SOAP and session notes that you're writing after every session (right?) so you're prepared. To understand the value of massage and bodywork, clients need a constant reminder of how effective your work is, and they often forget what you focused on in the previous session. Picking up the dialog where you left off last time reminds them of the work you did together and its lasting effects. It also identifies chronic problems that may need additional attention or a modified treatment plan. Don't wait until the next session to check in with clients; a "How do you feel?" phone call, text, or email a few days after your massage shows incredible customer service and reminds clients of the benefits of your work. Note 1. Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals 2015 National Consumer Survey, conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. Kristin Coverly, LMT, kristin@abmp.com, is the manager of professional development at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP). She blends more than 15 years as a massage therapist with her background in marketing and public relations to help therapists develop unique strategies to successfully market and manage their practices. Watch her business webinars in ABMP's Education Center (www.abmp.com/ ce), including "Yes, You Can Market Your Practice! Essential Marketing Skills Made Easy."

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