Giving away free chair massage can often feel like a lame activity as a massage therapist.
You stand there all day, with your little sign or just your massage chair, and hope someone will be brave enough to take you up on your offer of absolutely free massage.
Here’s how to make the process less stupid, and make sure you get as many clients as possible in the process.
1. Have a hook
In marketing, a hook is the thing which gets you to “take it for a test drive”, “have a free sample”, or “Get 30% more for free.”
Your hook for your massage business is the equivalent of the back cover of the book which works to entice you to buy the book.
What’s your hook? How do you get people to take you for a test drive?
Hint: If your “hook” is “free massage,” you’re dead in the water.
Your hook should inspire a thought or a question.
Here are a couple of hook ideas:
How about “7 Points In the Body Can Free You From Pain.”
The question your passerby must answer is “What are the 7 points?” and “I can be pain free if I know those points?”
Then figure out what those 7 points are and highlight them in every chair massage you do.
Point out how each point needs at least 45 minutes of specialized attention (i.e. future appointments for you).
SCHEDULE the appointment while they are THERE in the massage chair!
Or how about “Exotic Thai Massage That Has Nothing To Do With Sex”
The questions they could have from this are many, but one could be, “but I thought Thai massage was only the kind with special “happy” endings?”
You would have to be careful, but if you used it correctly, you could get a lot of people to try out your chair massage using this kind of a hook.
What’s your hook for getting people to sit in your massage chair?
Take 10 minutes and come up with 5 GOOD marketing hooks that relate to the kind of massage you offer.
Test them on a few friends.
Ask your friends: “If you saw a poster advertising free massage, which of these sentences would make you most likely to stop and get a free massage?”
2. Give A Discount
Offer a coupon from the outset.
Before they sit in your chair, have an offer on a poster somewhere nearby: “If you like the free chair massage you get from me today, and you schedule an appointment today, I will give you a 37% discount on a 1 hour massage.”
(20% or 25% is a good discount, but 37% sounds like a huge discount, and once again causes them to have to ask a question. Them: “How much is 37%”?
37% also sounds more like a real discount, as opposed to a 20% discount which sounds like a number you just made up.)
3. Make Them Feel Good
Yes, it can be very difficult to stand at a fair all day and give massage to random people.
But without fail, every time I give chair massage at any street festival or summer fair, I end up with at least 1-2 new ongoing clients.
The key is to make them feel really great while they are sitting in your massage chair.
You can do this with the massage you are giving them, and also with the questions you ask them during the massage.
Example of a hypothetical conversation:
You: “I notice some tension here in your (lower back, shoulders, neck, etc). How long have you had this?”
Them: “I don’t know,” or “Years.”
You: “Do you know what caused it?”
Them: “Oh, well it’s from years of this job I had doing…” At this point, they’re likely to say something negative. Your job as a massage THERAPIST now is to turn that into a positive thing.
You: “What did you like about that job?” or “I’m sorry to hear about that, but surely there was some thing good from it, yes?”
Get them to talk about something they absolutely love.
You: “Forgive me for intruding, but are you excited about something right now? Sometimes I get a sense about people, and I’m thinking that you’re pretty excited about something in your life right now?”
If they say, “Nope.”
Your response: “Hmmm. I doubt that. Really? Isn’t there something you’re somewhat excited about right now?”
And then wait. SAY NOTHING. Just wait. Keep working on them.
Once you have waited for about 30 seconds (sometimes less), the pressure will build for them to find something they are really excited about and they will start to tell you about it.
If they truly are not excited about ANYTHING in their life right now, you do not want them as a client anyway. Seriously.
People like to spend time with other people who they feel good around.
If the person you’re giving massage to feels good when they’re around you (both physically and energetically), and you help them feel good by talking about things they feel good about, they are more likely to want to spend more time with you by scheduling future appointments.
While you are giving them massage, make them feel really great, both with the massage you are giving them and with the words you’re helping them to say.
4. As mentioned, you should schedule the appointment during the chair massage.
Don’t be pushy, but you need to get their appointment with you on their calendar.
This means firming up a time and date with them before they walk away from their free chair session.
Make sure they put it in their iPhone, day planner, or other scheduling tool, and make sure they see you put their appointment in your calendar.
By following these simple practices;
- Having a hook
- Helping people feel good
- Offering a discount
- Scheduling appointments during the chair massage
You will find that giving free chair massage becomes one of the very best ways for you to attract clients to your business.