Get Massage Smart staff article posted June 16, 2012 last updated May 17, 2016
Building a massage referral network is the most reliable way to grow a personal massage practice, massage clinic or spa. To accomplish this very important business development task. it is necessary to be as comfortable with the business side of your practice as you are with the massage session. Next take a big deep breath and know that the clients that you are meant to find you will find you.
The key is to take the time to make personal connections. Social media for business is part of the process. Keep in mind that the goal is to connect on a professional level with individuals who need your massage therapist skill set. In a small personal massage practice or large therapist clinic the number one goal is the same develop a following of clients who need and want a massage.
Word of mouth marketing has become a multidimentional proposition and is fundamental to developing a massage referral network. The most important level has been and will always be the face to face verbal interaction. Have you ever had an appointment with a business professional who had a photo album filled with letters of recommendation? The photo album is less often used today with access to mobile devices and social media, the letter of recommendation is still a particle tool for practice development.
Now that same letter of recommendation will be posted to what we lovingly refer to as a wall. Not a wall in your office or home, but a digital wall on the internet. Facebook and Twitter can be remarkable channels for connecting to others. It's important to know that this connection should be personal while remaining professional.
You probably use social media to connect with family and friends. That's great they are a part of your personal referral niche. Now It's time to think like a business entrepreneur and grow your social net work on a professional level.
We like to work with, work for and be worked on by people that we like. This is a serious business the art of connecting to others. Think old school manners will using new school state of the art digital tools.
Every city has a slew of networking business organizations. In the early days of your referral development it is very important to connect with other business professionals. This is a networking community were each member is looking to make their own type of sale. They may be realtors, brokers, doctors, chiropractors and any other type of service or retail business.
Remember they have the same agenda that you do make a sale! So what do you need to know before you throw yourself to the wolves? Your there to make a personal connection to another business professional. Leave your business cards at home, you want to get to know each of the professionals in this group to decide which ones can help your massage practice grow.
They will ask for your card simply tell them to Google your name and massage to find you. This massage marketing tip works best if you already have an active website that focuses on you and ranks well with search engines. More importantly you will be collecting their cards getting to know them and deciding which of them you will reach out to with more information about yourself and your website. The website should be up and running with a minimum of 30 pages of quality content, before you reach out to networking groups. So leave your cards in your car. Let the group think you are just a little green at this networking game.
Relax and be yourself, your there to get to know the members of the group. You will naturally feel drawn to a few. Take the time to really get to know them. People like to help out people that they like.
When you leave take their cards out in the car and jot some important notes about them on the back of their cards. It will help you remember your conversation and the people you felt a connection to. Take about 3 to seven days to reach out to the ones that you feel will be open to your requests for referrals. Let them know that they can send people to you and your website for more information about massage and how you can benefit them.
As human beings, we are all just a little bit curious, let the joy of meeting new people shine through forget the others around you, let yourself shine at what you do best. One on one intimate personal communication with another equally interesting human being. Let them tell you who they are, they will go out of their way to tell you all about themselves. Whether you are in the massage room, business networking group or at the grocery store.
At this point you have a solid take on your website development and keep working on it weekly. You have taken the time to join a networking group or two. You have developed your conversational skill set along with your massage skill set. It is time to reach out to adjunct service providers and businesses that are close to your office or are within your range if you are a mobile therapist.
What are we talking about here? If you are good at writing letters of introduction write a letter of introduction, if not find someone who can. Now send your specialized letter of introduction to the chiropractor across the hall or across the street. Let them know who you are and introduce them to your website. Let them know that you refer your clients to them. The ones who are interested in chiropractic or fish if you are introducing yourself to the fish market two doors down.
Follow up the letter with an in person visit. Introduce yourself to the staff in a professional office and see if you can set up a meeting. Introduce yourself to the staff at the local coffee counter or fish market. The more people you personally know near your massage office or spa the greater your referral reach has grown.
You want to make connections to the types of business that are most likely to refer clients to you. This is how you build a massage referral network. Who are they you may be asking? You know the PT office that does not have a massage therapist on their staff. The Chiropractor who does not have a massage therapist on their staff. The OBGYN, orthopedics, neurology or internist's office where the staff needs a relaxing massage and who will discover how good you really are. The office staff of these types of medical practices will send over patients when they need your kind of help. The dental office, because you specialize in TMJ work!
Let's take a moment and review. What does it take to build a massage referral network?
Your website and professional social media accounts will be the foundation for your practice development and massage referral network. Your busy doing massage after all! Take the time to develop these two vehicles of referral. You have a business card and a brochure to give out make sure they contain your web address. Pay attention to your site until it comes up on the first page of a Google search, then make sure it stays there.
It is just as important to be comfortable giving a referral as it is getting one. Referrals are given and received that is a lesson that is crucial to understand. It becomes very clear the giving and taking, that's why it is highly recommended to join at least one networking group. Massage therapists will approach marketing by solving clients' problems and providing the solution with a benefit of massage.
Take the time to be sure you want to create your own website the advantages are profound. If you decide not to create your own website make sure the hosting company and web developer understands what you need and want out of your website and can make it fit your massage practice.
Just as important as your website, is your ability to connect with ease to your clients and referred clientele. You will need an online scheduling system. It will be helpful to set up your website to include professional activity on social media sites. These steps will provide a clear path to your massage table or chair.
Use rewards and loyalty programs to your advantage. Either a simple in house by hand tracked system of discount coupons for referring new clients and rewards to those clients who have referred them to you or an integrated loyalty program within your website.
It is easier than ever to have an integrated rewards program for your massage establishment or practice. These programs can even send out text messages to you and your clients as well as emails. A big one around the world is mindbody.com, they have an integrated loyalty program, schedule management for one or more therapists. It does not matter whether you are a single mobile therapist or a spa with multiple locations.
If you have decided to create your own website then take a look at what loyal2.com has to offer in a voucher reward system. You can set it up to work for you while you take care of the daily demands of your massage practice. Clients want to help you grow just let them know you could use their help.
Get Massage Smart does not receive any financial compensation form MindBody.com for providing the informational link, Mind Body offers cloud based business management software for therapists and service oriented business.
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