Editor’s note: This article is part of a series on the business of Thai Massage. For more ideas on building the ultimate Thai Massage business please check out other articles I have written. You can find them here and here. The age old question in our profession and the biggest barrier for many is ‘how do I find and keep clients?’ This question is usually accompanied with some similar line of questioning along the lines of is Thai Massage covered under insurance plans? As there are people reading this from all over the world the answer certainly varies, but in most cases the answer is probably not. If you live in Toronto the answer is a little more muddled since our certification helps you to become a Licensed Holistic Practitioner and some insurance plans will cover you under the wider naturopathic umbrella.
But if we scratch beneath the surface of this question what are students really asking?
As I see it, they are asking about the practical side of life, namely ‘Can I make a living doing Thai Massage’? And ‘is it going to be easy or is it an endless struggle? Can I really give up my day job for this?’ Up to now I can honestly say that I know a small few who have had great success finding clients and they have to turn people away, I know others who have a steady but often inconsistent stream, while for many others it has been a struggle. As such many face a very difficult choice to either persevere amid lots of difficulty, or add it to a very multi-dimensional toolbox or possibly give it up altogether. And that is a hard truth to face for those of us who teach Thai Massage. We know this is one of the most rewarding ways to live, but knowing that there are only a small % of students who succeed financially is a tough truth to face and a hard nut to crack. What makes this even more frustrating for us as Thai Massage practitioners is that we know how many incredible benefits there are to receiving this incredible treatment and we want to thrive doing something we actually love. Finally here is a found passion that can pull us towards our dream life, rather than being full of drive that pushes forward towards our obligations (such as paying bills or taking care of our family) without a real direction towards more meaningful happiness.(Kudos to Randy Komisar and ‘The Monk and The Riddle‘ for pointing out this essential distinction in life) But what so many of us don’t love is doing business, the hustle and the innovation and the networking that is often involved. Many of us also struggle with our own mental barriers. We’ve always heard that going into business for ourselves is hard work and we internalize this to be true and in some ways that makes things even harder. Well full credit to one of my students who has helped me to crack the code. There really is a system that works and that can go a long way towards setting you up with lots of good paying clients with relatively minimal effort that in effect leaves you doing what you love: giving Thai Massage. I call it the 50-25-10 method.
The 50-25-10 Method
Here is the method in a nutshell: 1) New clients receive their first massage at a 50% discount -and you can speed up the number of new clients coming to you with the help of a deal site such as Group On or the multitude of competitors. More on this in a moment!) 2) The second massage is offered at a 25% discount -if your client books again before leaving the session 3) The third massage and all future massages are offered at a 10% discount -if your client books by the end of the session
It is as simple as that, but lets refine this and answer a few questions:
- This is a way of building a pricing structure that gives new clients an offer they can’t refuse and encourages consistency and loyalty for your repeat clients. Everyone wins
- I would agree that there are many who use deal sites for just that purpose- to get a deal and then they move on to the next deal. That has certainly been my personal experience – until I fell upon this system. But since you are offering your client a second deal on what is bound to be an amazing and unique massage experience that can only be used if they book right away you are also playing right into that mentality. Putting a strict time limit towards the special price is a vital part of the puzzle if you’d like to capitalize on repeat business. Every experienced marketer does this in order to create a feeling of urgency and scarcity, because it has been proven time and time again to generate the most amount of business.
- Personally I had toyed with the idea of giving clients 24 hours to decide. I think it may be worth testing out different policies until you decide on what works best, but I would say if the goal is to have the greatest number of repeat clients then you would be more likely to lose some of that business if you extend it beyond the actual session. In that moment while the effects of the massage are at their peak and it has their complete attention is when people would be most likely to rebook.
- Another concern is being overrun with new clients, but if do decide to build your new clientele with the help of a deal site you can certainly cap the number of deals you offer at any given time and you can also make it a policy to book those deals on certain days or at certain times so as to reserve key and the majority of your time for your regulars. One possibility after you build your pool of regulars would be to offer deal site massages two days a week and reserve the rest for your regulars. Keep in mind that you can schedule these in any way that works best for you, and it is best to be strategic about it.
- Where I anticipate some resistance from some of you reading this is giving a full 50% discount (which ends up being in the ballpark of half of that coming your way if you work with a deal site). Just keep a couple of points in mind… This is essentially your marketing cost. Instead of paying something out of pocket you take a cut. But this will help keep you busy and getting in lots of practice, it will also help with all word of mouth efforts and is going to help grease the wheels of abundance. There are going to be clients who couldn’t otherwise afford massage coming your way and it becomes a perfect way to give back. But at the end of the day it is up to you to decide how much of an initial discount to give and how long you would adopt this policy. My advice is to come to your answer from a place of generosity.
- If you don’t want to use deal sites it is simply a matter of building your word of mouth network. You can click here for my previous post on strategies for building a strong network (and of course you can do both at the same time). And now you have a great hook to offer your word of mouth partners. Just note that there are 3 things to keep in mind when deciding on your dream clients and niches: 1) You need to be interested to work with that population 2) There needs to be a large enough pool of potential clients 3) There is a great need within that population
The results we have seen so far with our students using this simple system have been amazing. We are talking 100% retention rates, even with people coming from deal sites. This method provides an amazing strategy for finding new clients and rewarding your regulars. And of course it is all supported by the Still Light method which is centered on how to build relationships and provide a one of a kind service and experience for your clients. I am sooooo excited to share this with our students, and also with the Thai Massage community at large as I know just how much this can ease the pressure of building a real business and sharing this incredible massage and way of life with the world. If this is all making sense to you here is what I suggest as next steps: 1) Believe in it and your success! If doubts were to creep in then quietly observe them -they are a product of your ego, your busy mind and your past and they don’t go away just because you want them to, but they don’t have to have power over you if you realize they are not who you are fundamentally. 2) Get started right away – as in today 🙂 3) Share this post and keep coming back to it to leave your comments and ideas for improving this system. Giving back is one of the best things you can do to help the positivity flow! This strategy is all about creating abundance. It can work for everyone.