Getting clients to come back for another session is really the heart of a massage business. Repeat massage clients are the foundation of a stable massage practice. So why don’t they come back?
Getting into the heads of people to learn more about this can help you to adjust your work to create more repeat clients.
A recent post in a Facebook group which I posted on my Facebook page (with permission) by a massage therapist inspired my continued research on this.
The top responses were:
- The pressure wasn’t deep enough
- The therapist creeped me out
- The therapist skipped my favorite areas
- I never had a massage before
- I can’t afford it
- It just wasn’t a good massage
- The therapist talked to much
Here is my theory on whatever the answer is….
People do not say what they need/want when they are in a relationship where there is a power differential like the massage therapist/client relationship. People want you to be able to read their mind and just know what they want. When people are lying half naked, under a sheet and having a stranger touch them, they are vulnerable to begin with so the state of transference is usually magnified. They want to be cared for and nurtured in a child like way (unknowingly!). My theory is that some or most all of those answers are also really code for something else.
Communication is key here to work through the issues of transference on the massage table.
The pressure wasn’t deep enough.
Getting the pressure just right is an art form. It is why people come for massage. The response from many of the therapists was – well I don’t want to hurt my body or clients don’t really need that deep of work and they don’t know it.
Really? If a client says they want more pressure, they want more pressure and they won’t come back unless they get it and it feels how they want it to feel. You can use whatever reason you want, but this is about the pressure and applying the pressure they need and want in order for them to come back.
The therapist creeped me out
Not sure what that is about…too flaky? Had their halloween mask on still?
The therapist skipped my favorite areas.
I can not tell you the amount of times this has happened to me even. Even when I tell them something like – I am having left leg pain and they worked the whole session on my back saying that is what they thought I needed.
I can’t afford it.
That really means that they don’t understand what massage can really do for them. People will pay for what they value. They will do whatever they have to to get what they want/need. They will save and skip their morning lattes in order to get massage when they know it is what can help them with whatever thing they are dealing with – some sort of stress or pain that makes their life more challenging.
It may also be code for – the pressure wasn’t deep enough, or you talked to much or any of the other reasons why people don’t come back for massage.
It just wasn’t a good massage.
A good massage – what does that even mean? A good massage for some is a bad massage for others. Getting to the clients idea of what constitutes a good massage comes through doing a thorough intake and communicating with the client. It really is difficult and challenging to say the least especially when people don’t speak up and know that they can and should speak up. I tell my clients something like – I can feel that there is tension or triggerpoints there but I do not know how it feels to you so you have to tell me.
The therapist talked to much
Oh yes…the gabby massage therapist. I know I can get caught up in this too. The focus of your massage session should always and forever be your client. No telling your troubles or complaining about your job. It is simple but complicated. How much do you talk in order to get the pressure right and get them the ‘good massage’ that they want in order to get them to come back but yet give them enough information to educate them about what massage really does and what you are doing during a session. Have an information packed website for starters. Write about all of the common questions that people ask you, write about how and why massage works. Here is a list of ideas to keep you going on writing your website content.
Why do your clients not rebook?
See also: Getting clients to rebook
(more than) 100 Reasons to Ditch Your Massage Therapist – by Jill Berkana, Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy, Denver Massage