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A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 21 One of my favorite things to talk about with therapists is how to generate and sustain a healthy practice. But, to be honest, there are only so many ways to get from A to B. Our job is to help stimulate, motivate, and indoctrinate you, our beloved readers, with ideas to make your practice more successful and fulfilling. But when we come down to it, success in business is made up of attracting new clients and keeping your current ones. And there are only so many ways of achieving that, right? Well, I'm going to spend a little time this issue trying to break that mold, and focus on unconventional means to achieve your goals. One of my favorite podcasts used to have a segment they called "Half-Baked Ideas"— outside-the-box suggestions to make life more interesting, with the understanding that these things may not be quite ready for prime time. So, consider this my swan song, and my "half-baked ideas" column. After you read it, you may celebrate my departure! UNIQUE (AND POSSIBLY TERRIBLE) WAYS TO FIND NEW CLIENTS Go to a Bar Typically, professional decorum and contraindications suggest keeping massage and alcohol separate. But what about marketing massage? We're not suggesting you set up your table at the end of the bar, but if you're a person who enjoys an occasional pint and sets foot in an establishment, why not reach out to potential clients there? Take a stack of business cards to your next happy hour— after all, we know those patrons aren't afraid to use some of their disposable income. Go to a Funeral Bear with me here. I'm not suggesting replicating Will Ferrell's performance in Wedding Crashers (well, not exactly, at least). And I'm not suggesting you actually go to a funeral. But providing support and relief to your clients is your mantra, right? Volunteering your services to clients in their time of need is wholly consistent with why we chose to practice massage. Showing your support to grieving clients is not only a heartfelt gesture that will be appreciated, but it may help build the client-therapist trust that can lead to a lifelong client. Go to a Wedding OK, more traditional, but only if you're invited. Offer the bride and groom a free massage, or crazy discounts for the wedding party. Everyone is happy and celebrating! Don't be afraid to leverage that joy into a little subtle prospecting. Go to Jail Just kidding. Wanted to see how far you'd follow here. However … Partner with a Bail Bondsman Look, people make mistakes. And those people undoubtedly are going to be stressed, right? Partner with a lawyer and offer a discount after they meet with the lawyer (the lawyer can screen them for you). Have the attorney give out your discount card. Speaking of which … Partner with a Divorce Attorney Talk about stress! Same concept. This is one of the most difficult times in someone's life. An arrangement with an attorney could give you an opportunity to provide support for someone in a tough time. Or, just do like every mobile phone carrier and/or mattress store and … Be a Sign-Spinner Stand on the corner for hours at a time spinning a sign with your latest promotion. And while you're at it, schedule yourself for a massage—your delts will need it! WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH CLIENTS Text Them Perhaps you've heard of this. The kids all really seem to enjoy it. Here's how it works: you type a message into your phone. We're not sure what happens after that, but the other person somehow knows what you wrote. Seriously, make sure when you sign up a new client that you get their mobile phone number and get permission to send them text messages. Then, set up a weekly "Openings" message group where you blast out open session times and get your calendar all filled up. Call Them As mentioned, this is a half- baked idea column. But what if you actually went old school and picked up the phone and spoke to another person? OK, sit down, and read that last sentence again. This is a bit out there, but the strategy of calling people to (a) check on their welfare and (b) politely ask for their business has actually been used quite often since 1876. Don't be afraid to go old school.

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