Join the 30-Day Productivity Challenge – It’s Free

End 2014 with a bang!

Each day, Monday to Friday, throughout September – that’s a whole 30 days -  I’ll be sending you an idea as to how you can maximize your productivity and effectiveness. I’ll challenge you to integrate that strategy into your daily routine. Do what you want with these strategies, but the more you adopt, the more you’ll accomplish your business an personal life.

More info here: bit.ly/bbiz30day

Join the 30 Day Challenge and you’ll learn:

  • A simple way to add 13.6 years to your life in an instant (seriously!)
  • Why it’s important to be unrealistic
  • What’s a Pomodoro and how to do one
  • Why you shouldn’t exercise too much
  • How Michel Lotito ate a plane and what you can learn from this incredible feat
  • Why you need to adopt a ‘minimal choice” lifestyle
  • How to create a complete business plan in less than two hours
  • Why you should vomit your brain onto paper regularly (ew!)
  • And a whole lot…

Sign up here for free and let’s have some fun:

bit.ly/bbiz30day

 

What Color Is Your Massage Practice?

People definitely have a reaction to color and this can affect the way they perceive or feel about your massage practice. Here’s an interesting infographic that I thought was one of the best summaries on using color.

What about your practice? Do you associate a particular color with your business? Why did you choose to go with that color?

True-Colors-InfographicSource: http://www.marketo.com/infographics/true-colors-what-your-brand-colors-say-about-your-business-infographic/

 

What Type of Facebook Post Is Best?

When it comes to getting the truth about what works and what doesn’t in social media, I turn to Dan Zarella (http://danzarrella.com). He analyzes huge data sets to get an accurate picture of what’s happening in social marketing.

His latest project involves the geeky analysis of 11.4 million Facebook posts published by over 24,000 of the most liked Facebook pages, dating back to 2010. The aim was to take a historical look at what type of Facebook post gets the most engagement.

The findings are interesting, but not incredibly surprising…

fb_type_likes_months

In short:

  • Image posts have always been the most engaging type of post and so pictures should be considered your “go to” post type.
  • Text posts have been showing a downward trend over time, but are still as popular as posts with video and links.
  • Both video and link posts have been showing an upward trend in engagement over the past year and a half, so be sure to use these occasionally.

When should you post to Facebook for most engagement. Check out this blog post: Best Time for a Facebook Post?

 

 

 

 

Are You a Referral Wimp?

referral-wimpThere is no doubt about it. Referrals are one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective ways to build your practice.

However, some practices are thriving with a torrent of referrals whereas others seem to sputter along with just the odd referral here and there. Why the difference?

The sputtering referrals practice assumes that referrals come naturally from doing a good job. Give a great massage and your client will tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on.

But the truth is that while giving a great massage is important, this alone won’t ensure that you get referrals.

Three Steps to Getting Referrals…

The practitioner who gets lots of referrals understands that the process of getting referrals isn’t a passive one. Referrals don’t happen by accident. Massage professionals in successful referral-based practices know that you have to:

  1. Earn referrals
  2. Ask for referrals
  3. Reward referrals

Building a practice through word of mouth requires a systematic approach in all three of these areas.

I can’t cover each of these in detail in this newsletter. So I’ll focus on one area right now. That’s the ASKING part of the process. This is one of the quickest and easiest things you can do to generate increases in referrals. After all, clients don’t even know you want referrals until you let them know. And the simplest way to let them know is to ask them.

But when it comes to asking for a referral, too many therapists are simply too wimpy. They just don’t do it.

If you are not asking for referrals as often as you should, it could be because of some false assumptions on your part. Take the quiz below to uncover some of the things that may be hindering you. (Don’t worry. Spelling doesn’t count.)

Are you a referral wimp?

I don’t ask for referrals as often as I could because…

T / F I’m not sure that my clients are getting enough value

T / F I feel rushed at the end of each visit and I always forget to ask

T / F I don’t know how to ask for referrals in a way that’s comfortable for me

T / F I don’t want to ask for their help because it makes me look needy

T / F I don’t want to appear to be too aggressive

T / F Most clients feel uncomfortable when I ask

T / F I hate getting a “no” or getting other negative response

That quiz was painless, wasn’t it?

Scoring…

Now how many “true” answers did you choose? If you have none, good for you!

If you got only one, not bad. But even that one belief is going to stop you from being as effective as possible in getting referrals.

If you got two or more T’s, you are likely a true referral wimp. Your confidence level in handling referral requests is low. You are making assumptions that are stopping you from taking action and being successful in getting the referrals you deserve.

Now let’s take a quick look at each of these excuses. (Oops! Did I say “excuses”? I meant assumptions, of course.)

I’m not sure that my clients are getting enough value
This is what I hear from professionals who are new in the field and who are just starting their practices. Don’t make assumptions about the value that your clients get. Ask them. At the end of each session ask your client, “How does your body feel now compared to when you walked in here? What feels particularly good? Or what did you like most about the massage?” They’ll tell you how they benefited. It brings the benefits they’ve received to their attention. They’ll be more conscious of how the massage has impacted them. Most importantly, you don’t have to assume that they didn’t get value.

I feel rushed at the end of each visit and I always forget to ask
You “forgot”? Puh-lease! That’s as lame as “the dog ate my homework.” Plan ahead. Leave some time to debrief your client. Put a sticky note in your appointment book over their name. Tattoo the word referral to the inside of your wrist as a reminder.

I don’t know how to ask for referrals in a way that’s comfortable for me
There are a thousand ways to ask. I touch on many of these in the various BodyworkBiz courses. Check out this approach for starters. Assume that you are in the middle of your massage. Here’s how you can approach the subject…

Susan: “This feels amazing. I don’t know how I’d get through the week without your massage?”
You: “I’m really glad this is helping you. (casually) Susan, if there was one person you like to see come in here for massage, who would it be?
Susan: “My sister-in-law. She’s a mess!”
You: “Really?”
Susan: “She works at that big law firm on the corner of Main and Wilson. You know the one? They work her to death and she gets these awful headaches.”
You: “They’re pretty bad, are they?”
Susan: “Gosh, yes! They knock her out. She can’t function. She ends up in bed for a day or two at a time.”
You: “That’s horrible. You’re right. She really could use massage.”

Leave it at that. Then at the end of the session, say,

“You know, I’ve been thinking about your sister-in-law. I see a lot of people with bad headaches and I really think I could help her out. Would you be interested in giving her a free half hour gift certificate to get her in here so I can do an assessment and see if she could benefit from some regular massage?”

Then give Susan a half hour gift certificate with a two-week expiry date so that she can send her sister-in-law in to see you. Simple enough?

Sidenote: This is a strategy that is discussed in the 60 Clients in 60 Days program. If you are having trouble building a busy, successful practice, then check it out at www.bodyworkbiz.com/60days.php. It will it help you build your practice quickly and will give you the confidence and methods you need to develop a solid referral-only practice. To hear about the results people have had in their own words, go to: http://www.bodyworkbiz.com/60days-audio.php. These audio reports from participants are quite fascinating.

I don’t want to ask for their help because it makes me look needy
First, asking for help is a sure sign of high self-esteem. Second, you are not asking your clients to help sell your services for you. You are asking them to help their friends, family and colleagues who are suffering needlessly. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

I don’t want to appear to be too aggressive
You don’t have to be aggressive. You don’t have to be a bully and you don’t have to compromise your relationship with your client. You ask for referrals when it’s appropriate and you’ll never be perceived as aggressive.

Most clients feel uncomfortable when I ask
Are you familiar with the term “projecting”? You are uncomfortable and you are projecting your feelings on the client. The truth is that a few clients may feel uncomfortable, but MOST feel absolutely fine with it.

I hate getting a no or getting other negative responses
Some people may decline a request to refer someone into your practice. That’s okay. Don’t sweat it. Focus on the 99% of the clients that respond in a positive way rather than focusing on the rare negative response. Simply, consider negative responses as useful feedback. If you get frequent no’s, then it’s a sign that you have to work at making yourself more referable.

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. And what holds us back is not know-how, but rather our self-limiting beliefs. Take a look at what negative thoughts stop you from asking for referrals. Ask yourself if your thinking is really grounded in reality.

What would happen if you were wrong and asked for referrals anyway? You’d get more clients of course! So start asking today.

You may also be interested in: The Secret to Getting Referrals

Before and After: Sex and the Single Parent

I’ve done well over 100 web development projects with people often calling me to help revamp their websites so that they work to bring them traffic and customers. My latest makeover is for a comedy duo, Melissa Story and Precious Chong at http://sexandthesingleparent.com. Here’s a little glimpse into the thought process behind the changes.

Home Page: Before and After

before and after homeThe original site was developed as a WordPress blog.

Blogs by default show the latest posts on the homepage. But as you can see this doesn’t make for a visually interesting experience and doesn’t give the visitor who has just landed on the site a sense for the scope of the site and doesn’t give them reason to explore.

The new site is still a WordPress blog and still displays the most recent posts, but does it in a visually engaging way with custom images. I’ve set a featured post at the top to showcase their work. The primary goal or my most wanted response when someone lands on this site is to simply have them explore. This invites the visitor to scroll down and engage with the site. Although it’s not visible from this screenshot, each type of post (text, video, podcast) is represented by a symbol to indicate what they’ll find when they click through.

Blog Post: Before and After

before and after postVisually, the content takes a more prominent place with the redesign. And now that the visitor has expressed some interest in the content we want to invite a response from the viewer. If the viewer scrolls down the page, the large header disappears, but the top navigation remains (blue bar).

In the old site there were some social sharing buttons under the content. In the new site, the social sharing buttons are still there, but are more interesting visually. They are also dynamic and are always visible on the page if the visitor scrolls up or down.

Our new goal, once someone has expressed an interest in the content, is to get them to identify themselves so that they can be contacted either through email or social media (whatever they prefer). So once they click on any piece of content, they’ll see prominent green and blue buttons on each page. If you glance at the page quickly you’ll see that your eyes will naturally fall on one of these those two buttons.

The green one under the post says, “Never miss a post. Click for updates.” And the blue one says, “Behind the Scenes”. Both of these are designed to capture email addresses. The thank you pages and future emails will encourage them to connect through other social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Melissa and Precious are in the process of building an audience and need a way to reach them, so they can get them coming back to the site again and again and so they can encourage their audience to spread the word by sharing with their friends.

The email signup has some unique functionality and you can check out the site to see how it works.

Blog Post: Navigation

before and after category

In the old site, it was difficult to get any sense for the range of content that was available. It involved a lot of scrolling on the homepage until you reached some obscure navigation at the bottom.

In the new site there are several navigation items that always appear in a blue bar at the top of the screen to take people to the type of content they most enjoy: videos, podcasts or blog posts. And when they are on a category page the posts are nicely arranged for scanning eyes.

2014-07-04_11-50-48As well, every page, except the home page, has a clean navigation bar that opens to the right side of the page. The categories are listed near the top. But there’s also a clean tab system so that visitors can explore the site in a way that they want: By recent posts, popular posts, comments or a tag cloud.

Of course, the site is SEO optimized so that it shows up in Google search results. Google cannot read videos or audio files (podcasts) to understand the content, so besides the hidden SEO that you can’t see (i.e. metatags, authourship markup, etc.), I had the girls write a description for each video and podcast.

It’s difficult to convey the site’s functionality with these screenshots and you can get a better sense for how it all works by visiting the site:

http://www.sexandthesingleparent.com

Takeaways

  • Your website and your email list should be key elements in your marketing strategy. It’s vitally important to get it right. Make an investment in these two areas.
  • Make your site look good. It gives you instant credibility.
  • Have a clear objective for your site. Decide what your most wanted response is on every page and structure the page to make that happen.
  • Capture contact information. Work at getting emails and getting visitors signed up to any social media channels you use. You want to build an audience so you can drive people back to your site on demand and not wait around passively hoping someone finds it.
  • Make use of video. The web is becoming increasingly visual. People expect a multimedia experience, so make sure they get it.
  • Make it easy for the visitor to find the information they are looking for. Pay particular attention to the way someone navigates around the site. We live in a society of instant gratification. If they don’t get what they want right now they will leave. Wasting ten seconds of a visitors life is the eighth deadly sin.

I seldom do small web projects like this one, but if you have a large project or an interesting challenge you need help with feel free to drop me a note.

Did you like this before and after post? If so, check out my makeover of Laura Allen’s Educated Hearts website.

They Are Buying the Destination, Not the Plane

dream-destination-39676I’m listening to a webinar by Lisa Sasevich on making Irresistible Offers. The message is a simple one, but really isn’t understood by 99% of small businesses. In simple, terms the message is: Focus on benefits.

For years I thought I understood this concept. I considered myself pretty good at writing sales materials until I read a book called Make Your Words Sell about 14 years ago. That’s when I had a light bulb moment and finally got it.

As massage therapists our primary interest is in our craft, in our technique, in the processes we use to get a result. That’s reflected in the sales copy that most therapists have in their brochures and on their website as they talk about the training they have and the techniques or modalities they use.

On the other hand, the client’s primary interest is the outcome they are going to get. They are interested the benefit they are going to get; how they are going to be transformed by your hands.

So instead of spending 90% of your time talking about what you do, change your focus and spend 90% of your time talking about to what’s important to the client, which is the outcome they’ll get.

In explaining this concept in workshops, I always said that people don’t buy a drill because they want a tool; they buy a drill because they need a hole.

Lisa’s phrase was: Remember, they are buying the destination, not the plane.

The approach works and I’ve seen it in my own businesses over and over again. The first sales piece I wrote after reading Make Your Words Sell was a sales letter for a chair massage workshop. I was getting something like an 8% conversion rate with my original sales letter. That means that out of every 100 people who requested information, 8 signed up for the workshop.

After re-writing the letter to focus on benefits, my conversion rate shot up to about 13%. That means I got close to twice the sales with no additional expense. (75% more to be precise, but it’s still a big number.) I was charging $1,600 for the workshop so that translated into a lot more sales.

The only thing that changed was that the focus on my sales pitch now focused entirely on the benefit of taking the course rather than the process.

In fact, many months later my assistant said, “Someone’s wondering what we teach.”

“Haven’t they read the sales letter?” I asked.

“I looked at the sales letter,” he informed me. “It doesn’t say anything about what you teach in the classes.”

He was right. The sales material didn’t say a word about what they were going to learn. In focusing on benefits I had completely forgot to include an outline of the curriculum. But the crazy thing was that people been responding and signing up for months based on that information and they really didn’t care what was taught in class. This is the first time in months that anybody actually asked about what was taught. Most people obviously didn’t care about the learning process. They only cared about the freedom, the excitement, the flexibility and the money they would get by learning chair massage. They were sold on the outcome.

So the next time you write any communication, put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask yourself, “What outcome do my clients really want?” and focus 90% of your attention to making that benefit come alive for them. Remember, they are buying the destination, not the plane.

Here’s Why You Are Unsuccessful (Short Version)

“Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.”
~ Calvin Coolidge

Any business needs to perform well in these three area to be successful:

  1. The product, in our case an intangible product called massage
  2. The marketing of the product, that is, educating people about the unique benefits that you offer them
  3. The delivery of the product, in other words fulfillment and customer service

So if your business is not successful, there is a failure in one of those areas of your practice.

So ask yourself:

2014-07-03_23-37-43Do I give a great or even decent massage? If yes, then the product is not the issue.

Do I provide great or even decent customer service? If yes, then you are good in that area.

That means if you are not as successful as you want to be then the only thing left that could possibly be a problem is your marketing. Your marketing sucks!

I hear a lot of therapists blaming the economy or market saturation or price cutting or a myriad of other factors for their inability to earn the level of income they desire. But the fact is that there are clear winners in every competitive, saturated, and price sensitive industry. These are the companies that know how to market their products and services.

I didn’t get into providing marketing education to make a fortune. I’ve made my money in other ventures because I’m a good at marketing. I’ve made my money with corporate chair massage, massage clinics and education. BodyworkBiz has always been a bit of a hobby business and a way for me to contribute to a profession that I love.

For the record, my marketing skills are not a natural talent. I have spent and continue to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours every year on my own marketing education, through live workshops, online training, books and business consultations with people who have expertise in areas that I’m lacking.

I know the disenfranchised and cynical people reading this will doubt my motives, but my sincere wish is for therapists in this profession to focus on their marketing skills so that they can literally touch more lives. Invest as much in your business education as you have in your massage education because it is just that important.

That’s a major paradigm shift for most therapists. And no doubt most people who have read this far are already brushing this off as hyperbole or fear mongering of a business sort.

When you get tired of struggling however, remember the words of Calvin Coolidge and get the marketing help you need. If not from me, then get help from other marketing experts. Beware though: Nothing is worse than the advice of someone who struggles themselves and who has not developed mastery of their own marketing. Don’t listen to them. Just don’t. They will take you down.

Make sure you only follow people are models for what they preach and are highly successful themselves. The shortest path to success is to model those who have already been there.

My rant is done. I’m off my soapbox now.

The Secret to Getting Referrals

massage-referrals-stats

The number one secret to getting referrals from your massage clients is not a secret. How do you do it?

You ask for them.

Over the past 25 years in business I’ve seen a number of studies looking at the willingness of customers to give referrals and the results are always similar.

A Dale Carnegie study several years ago found that 91% of customers would be happy to give referrals, but only 11% of sales reps ask. 

A more recent study by Bain & Co. found that that while 87% of satisfied customers are happy to pass leads to sales reps, only 7% of sales reps actually ask.

Do you need more clients? Do you ask every client to refer their friends and family? Are you ready to start?