It’s common business knowledge that it takes less time, money and energy to keep customers than it does to acquire new ones. Having a thriving practice is the perfect combination of attracting new clients while retaining those we already serve. When it comes to our marketing efforts, do we really need more clients or can we achieve the same results by leveraging the ones we already have?
When we say we need more clients, what we really mean is that we need to make more money. The clients we have established relationships with are who we should be focusing on. They are our best advocates because they know first-hand how working with us improves lives. We should be using this to our advantage by giving them reasons to visit more often, book longer appointments and refer others.
Encourage Frequent Visits
Massage franchises offer discounted memberships and packages because it makes them more money overall. They know that a customer coming in once a month for $50 will earn them more in a year than if that customer comes in every other month for $75. In order for this to be effective, there has to be an incentive to stay on schedule, which is typically an expiration date. Enforcing it can be the hardest part because we don’t want to play the heavy, but it’s crucial.
I find that explaining how the loyalty program benefits them rather than concentrating on when it expires makes them easier to sell. Making the terms reasonable limits the number of expired specials, thus minimizing those uncomfortable conversations. Shoot for offers that reward at least one massage per month. For example, I tell clients that they will save 25% if they visit once a month or more. I don’t go into what happens should they be unable to do that unless they ask.
When I only offered discounted packages, I’d say they had two more massages to book before it expired (I now have packages that don’t expire for less than 10% off). I gave credit for any money already spent if a package did expire because it just felt like the right thing to do. So if all three massages weren’t redeemed by the expiration date, only the difference between my regular fee and what they already paid for that last massage was due.
Booking Longer Appointments
Longer appointments may not make you more money per minute but they can increase your total income. Do some number crunching to see if this approach will benefit your practice or not. Obviously, if we have an open thirty minutes, filling that will add money to our sales total for the day.
There are two main reasons why we hesitate to ask clients if they want to add time to their sessions: we’re afraid we’ll alienate them or we don’t know what to say (or both). Letting someone know you have an extra thirty minutes to massage them will most definitely not upset them. In fact, most clients prefer longer appointments (they may book shorter ones only because they believe that’s what their budget allows).
Once someone gets a longer massage, they seldom go back to a shorter one. There’s no harm in asking, “Would you like to add thirty minutes for an additional $30 (or whatever you charge)?” If it feels too awkward, start practicing when you’re exercising, taking a shower or driving until you feel comfortable. I promise it will be worth it!
I’ve seen a little controversy surrounding this topic. Some think that a sincere “thank you” shows enough gratitude for referrals. If that describes you, I honor your beliefs. We have to be true to ourselves to create businesses we love.
I give clients $10 off when a new client names them as a referral. It’s a small token of appreciation in addition to a sincere “thank you” that I feel better demonstrates how grateful I am that they are endorsing my practice. I find that once a client gets that credit, they are motivated to tell more people about me. I’ve even had clients who had fallen off the face of the earth make another purchase when they learned they had a $10 credit.
This credit is given in addition to any other frequency discount they would ordinarily receive. Not only is it easier to calculate, the extra few dollars I might make from some kind of reduced referral credit for my best customers diminishes the message I want to be sending. One referral can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars over time, so being generous with those credits is worth every penny.
There’s also the argument that referral credits may be considered fee splitting. I’m not a legal expert, so you’ll have to decide if this is a concern for you. As for me, I’ll take my chances.
Acquiring new clients comes with the territory of owning a business, so we must continue the marketing efforts we find effective. While we wait for those to manifest, maximizing the income potential of our current clientele is not only efficient, it promotes better outcomes and builds loyalty. It’s an essential principle for sustaining the practice that I love!
How do you make the most of the clients you already have? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment/comments link to share. Thank you!