Educating Massage Clients is one of the best ways to create awareness and acceptance about massage. Education is not talking at people telling them about massage, about what you can do and why they should get a massage. The root word of Education is the Latin word educare, which means to “draw out.” To educate, therefore, means to draw out something that fundamentally is already there. In the process of education, you actually become aware of yourself. In most of our standard examples of education like in public schools and in massage school it becomes just a memorizing of information and a regurgitation of that information. It isn’t education.
To educate clients and potential clients it is more about building a relationship with them. It is about setting aside your own agendas to even get a massage appointment and showing a real interest in them. It begins with asking people questions to find out their needs. Then if you find that their needs match what you have to offer you can then easily talk about what massage can do for them.
I have heard a few massage therapists say things like ” I have sent many letters over the years to doctors and others trying to educate them and it didn’t work.” While I don’t know for sure what was in the letters I would guess that it wasn’t educating and it was more about them. It might have been more along the lines of presenting information that the recipient wasn’t interested in.
To educate others you need to forget what you know about massage – all the big terms, the name of the muscles and things like that. The ‘Curse of Knowledge” from Chip and Dan Heaths Book “Made to Stick” says:
Once we know something it is hard to imagine what it is like to not know it. Our knowledge has cursed us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t really create our listeners state of mind.
- Make sure your website and communication is about the client and what is in it for them. So often massage therapists make the mistake of making everything about themselves. Assume that people know little to nothing about massage and what it can do until you find out otherwise. Keep it simple and in plain English.
- You need to understand what your client/potential client wants. They start with saying they want to feel better or be out of pain – but why? So they can play a sport better? So they can play more with their kids? So they can enjoy their work, home life, vacation? Ask questions to get to their why? Tell them how you will help them solve their problems and help them achieve their goals.
- People want to know that you are the expert and can handle whatever health issue that they have and that you will be able to do the right thing to help them. Let them know that you understand by sharing a story about other client situations (without names or client ID) or let them know a story about you. You are the EXPERT! People want to know that. Google wants to know that too! Google wants your website to be good enough to pass their E-A-T guidelines that were just released by Google in 2014 and recently updated
E-A-T (“Expertise, Authoritativeness or Trustworthiness”
- Believe in what you do. Understand what you do. Be always learning about what you do. But more than that, make sure you know how to express that belief without sounding like a used car salesman.
Example: I started my business renting a room out of a health club in downtown Seattle. I used to sit at the front desk and greet club members and hand out towels and locker keys. One guy would go out running when he was there and he did his stretching by the front desk and would stop to talk. He kept saying “Oh I need to get a massage someday” etc etc but never would book. One day I asked him why he was running so much – did he have a personal goal or was he training for some event. Turns out he was training for a marathon. When I was able to make the connections to how massage could help him run better and train better, he signed up for a massage….not just one massage… but one massage a week for about 10 years.
Yesterday on Facebook I saw this post from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills show that showed just how much people do not know about what massage is and who massage therapists are. We have lots of work to do.
Originally written on June 5 2010. Updated May 18, 2019