How to attract quality clients!

This article is written by David Haworth, our tutor in Malta & Gozo, successful massage therapist, and author of many of our online personal development courses. You can find out more about the courses he teaches here, and about his online personal development courses here.

Well, there is one very simple answer to this question, which many therapists resort to time and time again. If you lower your prices and put out regular offers and discounts or multiple booking discounts, you should get more clients, right?

Well, yes, in theory, you should. However, beware of undercutting your bottom line. You’re running a business and need to make a profit. No matter how vocational your work and how much you love it, this is the bare bones truth. Profit is necessary for a successful business. 

So, by all means, go for this strategy, but first, work out whether you can afford it. What if your new client becomes a repeat client and expects the preferential rate forever? Can you make a living that way? And what if your new client recommends someone else after your offer has ended? Are you going to offer them the same preferential rate too?

Either way, it’s possible to make a quick win and increase your client base, with offers like this. 

With this in mind, perhaps we should actually be asking ‘How can I make more business more profitable?’, not simply ‘How can I get more clients?’

Or, if it makes more sense to you, think of the principle ‘work smarter, not harder’ when approaching this problem, and it might yield better results for you in the medium to long term. 

Work smarter, not harder!

If you’re in the business for the long haul – you’ve invested money in training, equipment, maybe even premises, and need to make it work – then working smart makes sense. Working hard does not. 

If you have been working, say, as a massage therapist for a while, you’ll already know that it’s hard work. Not only are you standing all day, working with your hands (and, let’s face it, your whole body), then you’ll know it’s tiring. Looking after your own physical and mental health (more on this in our other blog posts) is essential if you are going to have a long and successful career. 

For this to work, you won’t want long days of back-to-back clients all day long. That’s a surefire way to become exhausted, and even jaded. And a jaded therapist can lose clients faster than the blink of an eye. Your skills and your passion are your product, and high-quality products are worth more money. 

If you’re a highly trained, highly skilled, passionate, and dedicated therapist you can expect clients to seek out and value those skills and, more importantly, are willing to pay for them. So in this sense, it’s important to charge what you’re worth, not simply what someone is willing to pay. The quality of your clients, then, is just as important as the quality of what you offer, and the two go hand-in-hand. 

Clients who fall into this category come to you for a reason, not just for a ‘massage’. They come to you because they’ve heard you’re really good with neck issues, back issues, or sports rehabilitation. They come to you because they want reliable, effective treatment. The same goes for any therapist, whether you’re focused on beauty treatments, sports massage, or Thai yoga massage, it doesn’t matter. 

All of that is great. But how do you get those quality clients through the door?

Well, word of mouth will begin to work in your favour once you have a few quality clients in the first place, and word of mouth is, in my opinion, always the best advert. But first, you’ll need to advertise, put yourself forward, and sell!

If a quality client is one that comes to you for a specific reason, then you need to advertise that reason. If you know you’re amazing with issues runners often face, perhaps because of your own experience, or because you’ve had some specific training, focus on this. Advertise yourself as an expert in post-exercise recovery, massage for tired legs, postural correction…. Whatever it is, explain to your ideal clients why you are the ideal person to help with their specific problem. And don’t worry about the other 90% of clients who won’t resonate with your message. Along with the inevitable word-of-mouth advertising that will follow, there is bound to be another message that will resonate with them, when you’re ready. 

Put yourself in the runner’s shoes (or trainers), and write advertising that will make them see you and your product as the perfect fit for them, and their specific issue, directly. 

Are you a runner? Do you suffer from tight hamstrings after a run? Would you like to recover faster and develop strength and resilience that will enhance your running? Many of my clients are succesful runners who make post-exercise massage a regular and essential part of the training.  For more information and to book, contact me on….  etc etc.

You don’t need to tell them how well-qualified you are, or how long you have been working, or which prestigious training school you attended. What you do need to do is tell them how they could feel after working with you, and how to get hold of you. 

You’ll need to play with your message, to begin with – it’s unlikely that you’ll hit the sweet spot on your first attempt unless you’re a marketing pro!

So, by all means, go out there and offer your services cheap, treat all comers and make a living that way. But, if I were you, I would work smarter, not harder!

You might like to check out the blog post on finding your niche too if you are in any doubt about your USP.