In today’s Massage Marketing Tips newsletter, I’d like to give you access to part of a lesson from the Fill Your Practice 101 e-course. More therapists have bought this program than any other on the BodyworkBiz website.
I was recently doing a workshop at a conference and was discussing ways to increase your income fast. This strategy was one of the first to come to mind. It has the potential to increase your income dramatically and it costs absolutely nothing to do.
To view and download an expanded version of this article go to:
Announcing a Price Increase
What’s the best way to introduce a price increase to clients while having a minimum impact on your practice? Linda Gray asked me that question and sent me a notice of fee increase letter that she was about to send her clients. It’s a pretty standard notice that I’ve seen before. Take a look at it and then take a look at the suggestions I’ve sent to Linda.Announcing a price increase
Linda took my suggestions and created a powerful piece that will serve the purpose of notifying clients of the increase, but more importantly reinforces the benefits they derive from seeing her in such a powerful way that the price increase becomes inconsequential.
Here’s the original price increase notice. It’s pretty standard and it’s what most practitioners do when their prices are raised. Its not formatted here, but you can get a sense for it.
|NOTICE OF FEE CHANGEDear Client,Effective January 1, 2002 My fee rates will be changing to the following:
I am available for appointment on Weekdays:
The Touch of Gray: 9:00am – 4:30 pm
I am available for appointment on Weekends:
Special Offer to Clients of 2001: Old Year (2001) rates will be given to all appointments booked before January 1, 2002 and sessions received by March 31, 2002. This offer also includes all gift certificates purchased in the same time period.
Remember — Book 9 Sessions, Receive 10th One Free
Here are my suggestions to Linda:
Here’s some feedback for you on the fee change letter.
There are really two schools of thought on this. The first is don’t bother making a big deal of a fee increase. Clients don’t really care. They don’t like it when fees go up, but it is expected and tolerated. Your fees are certainly not excessive so it won’t be a big deal.
This is what we did at our Ryerson University clinic this fall. We decided to raise fees (by about 10% – not a small increase) and implemented the increase three weeks after the decision. No written notice was sent. Clients with bookings were informed by phone and anyone making new appointments was informed of the price. We really had no complaints and volume was not affected in the least bit.
In most other industries, prices tend to be quite plastic, that is to say, they move up and down with no big fanfare. Have you ever gotten a letter from your dentist, podiatrist or even hairstylist announcing a fee increase? It’s almost never done.
The other school of thought is making sure everyone is notified. Give clients lots of notice and heavily publicize the increase via direct mail and in clinic signage. This is done to ensure that everyone knows and there are no surprises.
That’s what I used to do, but now my personal feeling is that it makes too big of a deal of the issue of price. In most cases, we care more about our clients’ wallets than they do. It draws too much attention to what we charge and not enough attention to how they benefit from seeing us. It’s about us…it’s not about them and frankly speaking, they don’t care about us.
The one time that I think a focus on price would be beneficial is when you are tying it into a promotion i.e. “Our fees are going up next month, but here’s a way you can continue to receive massage at our old 1998 prices for another year!”
So here is what I would suggest. Instead of a standard price list/menu like the one you’ve sent, write up a letter – just one or two pages. I like the letter format because it’s more personal. You are speaking one-to-one with them. It’s not like you are sending them a sign or poster that everybody gets.
Make the focus the benefits they’ve received from seeing you specifically. Because you practice modalities that most people are not familiar with, educate them about how they can benefit from those approaches that you use.
Briefly, mention your new fees. I like the way that you focus on their individual needs i.e. “Modalities are blended for each person’s needs, giving a uniquely interactive and personally tailored session every time.”
Just take it a step further to emphasize the benefits to them: “You’ll receive a uniquely interactive and personally tailored session each and every time. You’ll get the perfect mix of techniques to best meet your individual needs…so that you get exactly the results you’re looking for.”
Just as an aside, notice that I’ve created sentences that use an active tense. I also use contractions liberally (can not = can’t). It’s much more conversational, isn’t it? (Not making use of contractions seems too formal, does it not? See what I mean.)
Convenience is the currency of the century. If you don’t mind traveling, increase your travel fee and promote the benefits of home visits (for example, convenient, takes less time traveling, don’t have to go out in the cold, no hassles of driving after you are relaxed, you’ll never find yourself pushing your car out of a snow bank after a session, etc.)
Instead of saying, “I do occasional weekends,” focus on how you go out of your way to accommodate them. For example you could say, “I know that you’re busy and that it’s not always possible to get into the clinic during my usual hours. If you have special needs, please let me know and we can possibly set up an evening or weekend appointment. My evenings and weekends can get a little hectic, but you have my promise that I will do my absolute best to try to accommodate you. It’s so important that you get the care you need and I don’t want you to suffer simply because you can’t get away to see me during the day.”
Can you see above how you are giving out the same information, but at the same time communicating your exceptional commitment that you make to your clients?
Make a big deal out of the promotion! Sell prepaid packages at the “old price” – maybe 10 massages for the price of 9 as you are already doing. Let them know that these treatments are fully transferable to their friends, family or colleagues (to encourage referrals) and that they can be used over the next year. That’s a whole year of savings!
Make the most out of every contact you make with your clients. Use this price increase notice to reinforce the benefits they get from using your services and remind them of the value they get from seeing you specifically. Also look for the opportunity to promote further appointments or purchases.
Here’s the new and improved version
Here’s what Linda created. Notice how the focus in now almost entirely on the client. Also notice how the letter is chock-full of benefits. Every paragraph communicates a strong benefit. There is so much benefit in seeing Linda that it makes the price increase irrelevant. In addition, her clients are reading about something they find really interesting – themselves!
Good work Linda!
|Dear Client,I want you to be among the first to receive the 2002 schedule for The Touch of Gray so you can make plans for your body’s care in the coming year.To meet your individual needs and busy schedule I am offering an interesting variety of times, sessions and travel conveniences. My specialties, as outlined on the enclosed brochure, are blended for your individual needs and you will have a uniquely interactive and personally tailored session each and every time so you receive the results you’re looking for.
I know you’re busy and that its not always possible for you to arrange an appointment during usual hours so I have varied both hours and place of work, thus allowing you to choose one that works best for you.
The new location, Apples & Dandelions, gives some extras such as access to Mastercard, Visa and Interac machines, and a central location with lots of free parking…all included in the same fee rate.
When you choose in-your-home or out-of-town appointments you are allowing yourself convenience and relaxation while eliminating travel and weather hassles such as waiting for a cold car to warm up after the session.If none of these choices suit you please let me know and we can possibly set up an evening or weekend appointment. My evenings and weekends get a little hectic but you have my promise that I will do my absolute best to try to accommodate you. Its important that you get the care you need and I don’t want you to be in pain or discomfort simply because you can’t get away to see me during the day.
I encourage you to utilize the old fee scale to its maximum. Packages of 10 sessions at the old price are offered for one full year (’til December 31st). Assure yourself of low-cost pampering for 365 days – or give them as gifts for your family, friends or colleagues to use. You’ll enjoy their thanks for your thoughtfulness.
Remember too, the Year End Special – the old price applies to single appointments and gift certificates which are prepaid before January 1, 2002 and their sessions received before Mar 31, 2002.
To further entice you to The Touch of Gray let me tell you about three workshops I attended this past year. In May I participated in Level I of the Skywalker Synergy method; in June I attended a workshop on the Rubenfeld Synergy Method; and in October one on Traditional Thai Massage. Each technique is unique and accesses the body’s energy, muscles and mind in a different way. At the same time, because we are all working on the human body, there are similarities that blend well with the specialties I already use. All of the weekends were very exciting and beneficial, and I was surprised at how easily I was able to incorporate aspects of them into the sessions. The feedback from clients continues to be enthusiastic and, in some cases, tells of remarkable results. Great fun!
To ensure I am continually improving my session style and the techniques of all modalities, every week I either personally have a session or perform a session on a colleague. This routine, along with Tai Chi, visualization and meditation allows me to be in a consistently balanced state of mind and body to give you the best sessions possible.
My commitment for 2012 is to continue advancing and learning about all of these techniques, to remain open and interested in any others that are made available to me, and to keep networking with colleagues of holistic health and massage. In doing so I continually heighten the level of improvement you achieve during your Touch of Gray session.
Wishing you health and happiness this holiday season and in the new year.
And the winner is…
Will writing a letter like this really make any difference? Both letters are essentially announcements of price increases, so is it really going to matter how you break the bad news?
While you might not think so, I’d like to share with you the results. Linda called me a short time after the “updated” letter had been sent to her clients. She sent 95 letters in total. She was incredibly excited by the results.
She sold 15 gift certificates in three weeks! On top of that, she sold five prepaid packages of ten sessions. That’s about $2,700 in sales.
And that’s not all. Linda also reported that the letter simply reminded her clients that she was there for them. She has received a number of return visits from previous customers and has also gotten several new clients from referrals as a result of the letter.
All these new and returning clients will continue to purchase at a higher rate and that means more money in Linda’s pocket. If she was making $30,000 and increased her price 10%, for example, she’d end up at the end of the year with an extra $3,000 in her pocket – with no added expense and no extra work.
And to top it all off Linda said she had a lot of fun in the process.
If we use our Return on Investment yardstick to measure the results we can see that the investment was about $70 to send the letters and the financial return that can be attributed to this letter will likely be a bare minimum of $4,000 over the next year, but probably much more. Wow! You can’t beat an ROI like that.
A fee increase can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line; especially when you use it as another opportunity to convey benefits your service holds for your clients. So if you’ve been thinking about raising your prices, maybe it’s time to stop the thinking and start the raising.
You can see from Linda’s example that increasing your prices can be one of the best things you can do to boost your income. It’s just one of the many strategies that I cover in the Fill Your Practice 101 program available at BodyworkBiz.
As you can see, the ideas are not just theoretical mumbo-jumbo, but practical, easy to implement ideas with specific examples for you to model. To see the table of contents for the course, go here:
You can get a copy of this invaluable e-course for yourself at: