In one 60- or 90-minute massage session, we can stimulate circulation, drain lymph, improve joint mobility and release stress and tension held in the tissue. We can work wonders-but ultimately, it is up to the client to take care of herself and do what is needed to maintain her health and balance the other 364 days of the year.
Even if she is a regular, monthly client, she will still be on her own 353 days of the year. That's a lot of days where self-maintenance is needed.
As professional massage therapists, we all agree that ongoing treatment helps make a more significant impact on our clients' well-being. Making professional recommendations to clients as to how to extend the benefits of the therapy session in between visits helps provide long-term benefits and makes a sustainable difference in clients' lives. Making recommendations for home programs, we also demonstrate our professionalism to clients and we fulfill our professional responsibility to educate our clients and provide them with tools for self-care.
Continued treatment and maintenance, or home-program recommendations, are actually retail sales in disguise. I don't like the term retail sales, because I think it is intimidating to massage therapists. If we reframe this as home recommendations or home regimen, then what massage therapist wouldn't want to offer this to the clients he cares so deeply about?
There are many ways to develop retail sales in your practice. Doing so offers you an incredible opportunity to boost your income while serving your clients at a higher level.
First, choose to retail products you have used personally and believe in and endorse, along with products you use on your clients during sessions. The more you incorporate enhancements into your treatment, the more opportunity you have to recommend those products for a home regimen. Your client gets to experience them during the session and with repeated use at home, he will get greater results.
The home program provides support and lifestyle tools for your clients, and in turn helps to generate additional revenue for each massage treatment you perform. If you add $10 profit onto each service you deliver, you will increase your earning power by an average of 10 percent. What gets really exciting is projecting what the potential of retail sales is.
It takes a $20 sale of products for each service to add $10 profit to each service. Your cost of goods is $10, and your profit is $10., So, if you see 20 to 25 clients each week and you add $10 profit average onto each service, you now have added $200 to $250 per week in income. That is $800 to $1,000 per month on top of your hourly earnings. Even if you only have a 50-percent sell-through rate, that is still an additional $400 to $500 per month in your pocket.
The best products to offer are those you are passionate about and that you know promote structural balance, health and well-being. Products you use during the session can be recommended to your clients to use at home. Here are some examples:
- An eye pillow for relaxation and headache relief
- Aromatherapy massage oil to be used after bath or shower to continue the absorption of the essential oils for therapeutic benefits
- Moist-heat therapy hot pack to be used at home to warm muscles and joints
- Arnica oil or gel to reduce swelling, inflammation and trauma to the tissues
- Single note essential oils, such as lavender, orange, tea tree, rose, peppermint and lemongrass
- Calming herbal tea to sip after the session and to promote relaxation when at home
- Bath salts to soak in after the massage session or between visits.
- A self-massage tool
- Books and DVDs on topics like personal growth and fitness
- Relaxing music
Set up your space
First, get a resale license if you don't have one already. They are easy to obtain, and are required if you are going to resell products.
Designate an area or shelving unit for your retail products and home recommendations. Generally, your markup is called keystone or double your cost. So if an item costs you $10, you would resell it for $20. By setting up your retail with this kind of markup you cover your freight costs for the products.
Keep your display clean and visually attractive. When the shelves are dusty with old product that hasn't moved, it looks dead and is dead energetically. You need to keep it vital, fresh and clean. Think of this as your repertoire of support tools for your clients in need. You draw from it every day and replenish it regularly.
Pull products from your display shelf after each session to show your clients what you recommend for their home program.
Make a prescription card or home-program recommendation card, so that your client can take your recommendations home to follow in between office visits.
Make one to three recommendations for each client.
The information on the card would look something like this:
- Practice corpse pose yoga asana as shown
- Use your moist-heat therapy pack or neck pillow as needed
- Bath salts: soak in muscle soother salts after your workout three times per week
Ask your clients to do their homework. In order for you to work together in partnership to support their health and healing, they need to take responsibility for their part. (Check with your local and state regulations to make sure it is within your scope of practice to provide homework or instruction.)
Between sessions you task clients with self-maintenance and a home program, utilizing your support tools (also known as retail products) that you make available to your clients, conveniently located in your office.
By doing so, you will be offering a greater level of service with this ongoing plan to enhance the therapeutic benefits you have provided. Your clients will thank you when they see more long-lasting results.