Getting Massage Clients to rebook or come in again is the easiest way to build a massage business. Why is rebooking important? Getting regular clients will create a client base for you to work off of and give you some level of security in your massage business. You will use less resources trying to get all new clients in the door in addition to having regular income. The majority of my clients have come in weekly for over 20 years. A few have come in 2x a week for 20 years. Just do the math! A regular repeat client is invaluable to a massage business.
Everyone that lands on your table has the potential to become regular weekly or every other week clients. Even once a month is a good return rate. The easiest and most effective thing to do is to just ask. Ask them when they are leaving your office if they would like the same time next week or tell them what appointment times you do have available and ask if one of these times would work for them.
OK so I guess there is also a lot that goes into getting a client that is ready to rebook that easily.
The first step is to get clients who are open to massage, who understand the value of massage and already want to be regular clients. You can start that process by determining who your ideal client actually is and create a very targeted marketing campaign towards those people. One of the best ways to do that is through your website and having an informative website that is filled with many articles on massage, what you do, how massage works and the various conditions that you work with. Doing this builds trust right off the bat. People will read it and when they get what you are talking about, they will know that you are the Massage Therapist for them. I get that all the time from people reading my clinic website that does just that. Sure I get a lot of people who also do not call for the appointment. I only want to work on people who already get massage and are open to it. Just educating them a bit can go a long way.
Once they are in for their appointment, I do an extensive interview. The interview can go a long way in developing the relationship. I ask about them and listen. As I begin to work on them, I repeat their concerns or issues and as I apply massage to different areas, I ask them how the pressure feels and how this specific area feels to get them noticing just what is going on in their bodies. I show them how it changes with the use of massage by pointing out that it might feel better when I feel the tissue release. I also point out how other area of the body are affected so when I work on the front of their shoulder/pec area for upper back pain, I explain what I am doing. Well from all of this you might think that I am talking the whole session but quite the opposite. I don’t do this with everyone. I do mainly injury work to begin with. If you are doing relaxation massage, you can do the same thing by asking about different areas when you start and showing them how it feels when you end. This is the best way to educated people – showing them how effective massage is.
So by the time I am asking them to rebook their appointment next week, they are already people who are most likely to rebook because they understand the value of massage from learning about me on my website. There is also the referrals from current clients that does sort of the same for rebooking. When they are able to really feel the difference in their body, they can also usually see that they need more work!
So then I just ask – When would you like to come in next week? Do you know your schedule? Is there a better time of day for you – morning, afternoon, early evening or whatever. Then I tell them what appointments I have open.
You might need more of a rebooking marketing plan too also follow up with people. Here are a few things you can try to see what works best for you:
- Call clients the next day and ask how they feel. Ask them then if they would like another appointment.
- Have a new client info kit that has a few articles on the benefits of getting regular massage. Tell them specifically what they can do to ask more questions or to make another appointment. Have a brochure or business card with your phone number or booking info on it.
- Send a postcard or note a day or so after the massage and refer them to an article on your website or write a little summary of their session. This area seemed tight, but responded well. This could use more work. If you got more work…this could help in this way….
- Send a newsletter either by email or a hard copy to them and add them to your mailing list. (Your intake form should ask them whether or not they would like to receive a mailing and your mailings should always have a clear way for them to opt out!)
- Send info on special offers, holiday gift certificate opportunities and self care tips.
Following up with clients is NOT bugging them. It is just asking for what you need- regular clients to build your business. Many are grateful for the call or follow up effort if it is done professionally and can be of benefit to them.
Having a follow up program is important if you are using a group buying promotion like Groupon or offering low cost massage to get people in the door. People who come in for low cost massage in my experience usually only want low cost massage. They will require more time to educate and get back in the door but it is possible with a good follow up plan.
you’re very lucky! I’m 2 and a half years in and no matter what I try I cannot get the majority of clients to re-book or change people’s attitudes to see massage as more than a once a year ‘treat’. I work in the UK. I, like most massage therapists started off with lower than salon prices because I wanted my treatments to be accessible to all regardless of your income. However, it just isn’t that easy! I have a loyalty card scheme, I say to people would you like to book/let’s book your next treatment so we can continue to improve… (whatever it is they would like help with), out come all the excuses or they book, then cancel or say they’ll get back to me and don’t. I have over 50 glowing 5* reviews and I can see by people’s body language and facial expression that they have enjoyed the treatment, so I don’t think it’s the service I provide. I currently work from home, each year I ask my clients would they prefer me to be in a salon, the majority say no, they like home based with lower prices, but lower prices when they only book once a year is not going to pay my bills! I’ve tried sending birthday cards out to previous clients with a discount voucher and tried emailing/messaging to say hi, how are you…, costly failed marketing approaches. So I’m thinking I’m going to have to move in to a salon, reluctantly as I do not see massage as ‘pampering’ which salons promote it as and I will have to charge double prices in line with salons, which means only the more affluent will be able to access it. My ideal client is someone who is engaging with my treatments, wants to help themselves and not expect me to ‘fix’ them, interested in healing be it physically/emotionally/spiritually or on all levels, wants to have treatments regularly, respects my time and is willing to pay my fees. I understand that some people see this approach as ‘hocus pocus’, so I’m tuned in to know which clients are open to this language and which are not. The main problem I have is that people who come to me see it as a once a year treat or have one treatment, get a little instant relief from muscle tension, but then aren’t prepared to pay for regular treatments even though I explain that dealing with muscle tension is an ongoing process, like diet and exercise. Many prioritise a new set of false nails every month (I see them all during treatments) for the same price as a massage, but will not prioritise a massage which has physical and mental health benefits! It really frustrates me! I have ran out of ways I can try to change their mind set to see massage as a necessary part of their life style.
Laura L says
I am also based in the UK and am currently qualified in holistic massage and training in remedial and sports massage. I think what the person above is saying is that you have to really zone in on the type of client you have (or more appropriately WANT), do background research on those clients and what thy like to do eg you sound like you want to treat people holistically which means tapping into the mind, body, soul market which is huge! But this will involve researching things like wellbeing classes or groups in your area, possibly making connections with the folk who run those things, asking to post on their fb page or give that group of people a specific deal eg friends of ‘namaste yoga club (made up name)’ receive 20% off for telhe month of March. This way you are working with people who are already engaged with wellbeing, are more likely to understand benefits of regular massage and THEN you can use the rebooking advice. Which I have to say is really very good. It”s about maintaining the relationship even after they’ve walked away to say ‘hey, did you know that putting your hands either side of a doorway and stepping through is a great pec stretch and can actually help relieve your shoulder pain if you work at a computer all day long?’ It”s indirect marketing as well as gentle nudges that remind folk to rebook that works. But you have to find your clan first. Great tips, really helpful, thank you!
Thanks for sharing your tips on how to get and keep massage clients. Unfortunately this does not work for everyone. I been a licensed massage therapist in for over 12 + years. I have everything I know Possible to retain clients. Some just don’t want to be bothered until they decide they need your massage. They don’t always understand the value of massage. I personally think a relationship built with your clients is key. I’m seen the up and downs myself. I don’t understand clients sometimes ..