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Do Not Advertise What You Do,
But What Your Client Receives
by Coach Cary Bayer
I was recently teaching a series of classes in our nation’s capital and, wanting to get a banana and an apple for a snack, went into a Giant grocery store in Silver Spring, Maryland. Unlike just about every other supermarket and retail outlet that I’ve ever been in throughout this vast nation of ours, it didn’t have a customer relations department. That’s because this Giant has actually awakened its own inner giant: it has a Solutions Center. The difference between the two is indeed quite palpable. Customer relations is a service that stores offer, solutions are what customers truly desire.
As a business coach for massage therapists, I find myself regularly advising the LMT clients of mine to see how they can immeasurably benefit from this significant distinction when it comes to advertising their services. When I peruse the monthly wellness magazines that I see around the country when I’m teaching in different states, I tell them that I see ads from many therapists. Virtually every single one of these ads—usually just business cards plunked down in the publication for a hefty price—makes the same mistake. What they do is communicate what the LMT will do, rather than what the prospective client will receive. Advertising in this way is a huge missed opportunity for therapists and a waste of their hard-earned money. I don’t know too many massage therapists who can afford to throw away money in this manner.
What LMTs need to understand is that most of the people who could find their way to their tables wouldn’t recognize their own myofacial if its release hit them in the head. “Neuromuscular” sounds like something in a college physiology class to the average Joe on the street; it’s way too technical for some weekend tennis warrior who just wants some relief from the pain in his serving shoulder. Massage therapists’ advertising would benefit enormously by realizing that they’ll be far more successful if they engage in technical shop talk only with other therapists, but speak in plain and simple English to clients and prospective clients. It’s one thing to talk anatomy and modality to other LMTs at a convention; it’s quite another thing to talk that way to someone who’s simply looking for pain relief. To paraphrase the old acronym: KIST—Keep it Simple, Therapist.
If you ever happen to run into me at a party or a massage convention and you happen to ask me what I do, I won’t tell you that I’m a business coach for massage therapists—even though that is what I do. Instead, I’ll probably tell you that I help LMTs create breakthroughs in their finances, businesses, and relationships with clients and co-workers. In other words, I describe the results that they can expect to receive by working with me. That gets people’s attention far more quickly and persuasively than falling into the trap that most people—LMTs and professionals in other industries, as well--fall into by saying the type of service that they provide.
From now on, if I meet you at that party and I ask you what you do, you don’t have to say that you’re a massage therapist. You could tell me that you relieve pain from people’s bodies. And if I’m feeling pain in mine, you can bet your sweet myofacial that you’ll have gotten my attention in the proverbial New York minute.
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About the Author
Cary Bayer was keynote speaker at the 2006 AMTA national convention. Widely known as The Business Coach for Massage Therapists, Cary is a Life Coach, CE provider licensed by NCBTMB and Florida Department of Health's Board of Massage Therapy, and a faculty member of Massage Business University. He writes for Massage Today, and AMTA publications in 14 states. His 27 publications include 11 specifically for massage therapists. He's coached some 150 LMTs. His 6-CE seminar, “Build a $100,000 a Year Massage Business” is very popular among therapists.