Getting referrals from clients or other health care professionals can be a big part of building and maintaining a massage business. Connecting with people and developing a relationship with them is the foundation of a referral network.
Every client you work on has the potential to refer many people to you. They will go back to their offices exclaiming that they just had a massage or that they finally are getting rid of that nagging back pain. They will go home to their families exclaiming how good they feel after your great massage. In most cases people are very willing to refer to you if they like your work and the results they are getting. In fact that is one quality of an “Ideal Massage Client” that you might want to put on your list. The first step is just letting clients know that you are looking for clients and would love to have a referral from them. You don’t even really need to give them incentive for the referral -like offering an extra massage session when they refer so many people. What you do need is a solid system to get the referral.
When people leave your office and go and talk to their friends and family about their massage they will often say “Why don’t you go for that nagging foot pain you have been having” or “you should try it to help relieve some of that stress”. So they give people your name and maybe even your phone number but for the most part people are not going to be motivated to call and make the appointment. It isn’t that they don’t need a massage or trust their friend or whoever is telling them.
People don’t have time. They don’t have time to figure out if you will work for whatever thing is ailing them. They don’t know your schedule or if it will work out with theirs. They don’t know where you are located and it might be too far away taking more time. They aren’t certain whether or not you will answer the phone and will have time to talk to them. They don’t know if they leave a message if you will call them back at a time when they will be able to talk. People procrastinate when it comes to their health until they can’t take it anymore. That could be months away. The list goes on and on.
Your website can answer most of these questions and help people feel more comfortable with you. Your website is where you provide many articles on massage and what you do and build trust with clients. What people want to know is if you will be able to handle their condition or problem. With massage that can be many different things- stress, fibromyalgia, foot pain, back pain, neck pain, hip pain, a sport injury, a weekend of too much gardening or hiking, dealing with life at work and at home, grief, anxiety, depression – all of these things and many more of course. So what do you do? Yes – Write about them all! It is just doing the same thing as if they had called and asked you the same questions- Do you work with fibromyalgia? Have you worked with someone with foot pain? What do you say on the phone? What do you say to people when you are working with them on the table and they ask about muscle knots or say ‘is that a knot?’ or my all time favorite is ” Is that a bone? (when you are on a muscle that is so hard that it feels like a bone).
You website will be available 24/7 and should give them all of the answers to any of the questions that they may have. Once you get them to your website, they still might not be calling but the next best thing is to get them to give you their email and sign up for your email newsletter. You can also offer them a free report on something like back pain or tips for working on the computer or something like that . Just giving them incentive to sign up for your newsletter will help them add their email address to your list.
The other missing piece to this could be that there isn’t a clear way for your client to give their friends your name. I often have people even say – so and so at my office could really use you. When they do I tell them to send them to my website or call me and I will talk to them on the phone for 20 minutes to see if I can help with their condition. Tell clients how you would like to receive referrals so that they know what to do!
- Tell client you are building your business and are taking new clients
- Tell them how to send referrals to you
- Have your website set up with many articles on the things you talk about most with clients and more info on the types of massage you do and what massage does
- If you aren’t getting referrals consider setting up a referral system with rewards. Beware of clients who only come for the rewards or bonuses.