It’s a complicated question and one that can have ethical implications, as well. Of course, you want your clients to book appointments as often as possible because this is your business and livelihood! Daily, weekly… massages for everyone!
However, your clients trust you to give them an honest answer and serve their needs.
Your answer to this question sets up a relationship of trust and respect. There are many ways to make this recommendation and a lot of it depends on the client’s condition and therapy needs. We’ll address these concerns and give you a few suggested ways that experienced massage therapists answer the question “How often should I come back.”
As often as you can
The last thing you want to do is cause your client to feel pressure or guilt about booking their appointments. Many therapists prefer to say “As often as you can fit massage into your schedule and budget. It’s up to you.”
Consistency is more important than frequency. Encourage your clients to decide on a massage schedule and stick with it. This might mean your client comes once a month, or four times a year, or every Thursday. The key is to remind your client that keeping a regular schedule, however often you decide together based on their need, is more important than frequency.
Use yourself as an example
Some therapists will use themselves as an example, to show that they practice what they preach. One therapist on the ABMP LinkedIn forum says “Many clients do want to know … how often I get a massage myself, and I will tell them. I think that having some regular schedule of bodywork gives some indication of what you, the therapist, believe about the benefits of getting regular work.”
Simple sales technique
We know massage therapists get a little squirmy when you start talking about sales and marketing techniques, but listen up. One massage therapist, who happened to be in sales prior to starting his practice, told the forum he uses this simple, effective sales technique with his clients:
When asked the question “How often should I get a massage?” My answer is: “Most of my regulars come every two, three or four weeks depending on their schedules.” And then I STOP TALKING!
The reason I stop talking is so they can think about that answer. And believe me, if the client is asking you “how often?”, they like what you’re doing and are already planning their next appointment. The hardest thing to do is to stop talking. If your client wants more information, they will ask.
This is a multi-purpose answer: 1. it’s completely honest 2. you make the client feel normal compared to his peers (a basic, human need) and 3. it helps clients commit to booking regular appointments.
Minimum effective dose
In the end, it is up to the client to decide how often to book massage appointments, but if they have trouble figuring out their needs and frequency then have your answer ready. Many MT’s like to set a minimum frequency rate that they personally feel is effective or most beneficial.
One therapist in the forum says “I invite my clients to come in whenever they feel the need, but advise at least once a month for lasting benefits.”
There is no one-size fits all answer to this question and there’s a lot of great discussion in the massage therapy community on the topic. Some therapists feel very strongly about never making specific recommendations. How often their clients get a massage is strictly up to the client and their physician or chiropractor. Others may feel perfectly comfortable recommending specific treatment schedules for pain or chronic conditions. There are many factors involved and each client is unique. The most important thing is to deal honestly with your clients to establish trust, care, and integrity in your business.
How do you answer this perennial question? What do you find most effective in getting client to commit to regular appointments? Share with us in the comments!
Comments from original Massamio post:
I usually say, “In a perfect world we would all get a massage at least once a week, you should come as often as your schedule and budget allows!” My friend Greg says, “How do you feel right now? Good? How often would you like to feel that way?” It works! — Posted @ Monday, May 20, 2013 7:44 AM by Allissa Haines
This question arises with new clients on a regular basis. Most clients are referred therefore pain is the major reason for their appointment. “To address your chronic problem 3 or 4 30 minute targeted sessions on a regular basis will help. However when this is under control you may feel every now and then suits you better or when you are feeling your body needs an ‘ironing out’,just call and we’ll book you in. — Posted @ Monday, May 20, 2013 7:57 AM by Petrina Steer
It’s not really that complicated. I use a simple answer for people who don’t have physical issues, but are seeking massage for relaxation purposes. “Most of my regulars come in every two, three or four weeks depending on their schedule”. I keep budget out of the conversation because they know what their budget is and you don’t have to remind them. But after saying what I say, I SHUT UP!!!. Let them think about your answer. They’ll figure it out how often they want to come in and re-book. If they asked “How Often?” they like your work and want to do it again — Posted @ Monday, May 20, 2013 11:15 AM by Don
Most of my clients come to me because they are in pain. I tell them that most of my clients come in once a week for a couple of weeks, then we’ll see after that. They almost always agree to come in once a week! — Posted @ Monday, May 20, 2013 8:54 PM by Kate
I am not a therapist doing any form of “treatment.”. I am a simple massage practitioner providing structured touch to people who are seated in a chair or laying on a table and want to feel better. From that perspective I offer the following as way to respond to the question, “How often should I get a massage?” First, I ask for more information. “If time and money weren’t considerations,” I query the customer, “how often would you like to feel this way?” While this reply often engenders momentary confusion, the reply, often accompanied by a little laugh, is most often something along the lines of, “Why, every day, of course.” Thus, the customer arrives at the best answer to their original, literal question, but we are not quite done yet. We still have to find the answer to the unspoken content underlying their question by reframing it for them. “So, now we know how often you should get a massage.” I say. “Now factor in time and money and you can figure out how often you can get a massage.” By not answering their question directly, we teach people some important lessons: 1. They are the ones in charge of their bodies, not some perceived expert. 2. For better or for worse, they are in charge of the feelings inside their bodies. 3. They can change how they feel for the better at any time utilizing a simple tool called “massage.” You can <a href “http://tinyurl.com/oteh7zj”>view the complete article from which this answer is excerpted. — Posted @ Wednesday, May 22, 2013 9:22 AM by David Palmer
David, excellent thoughts! Thanks for sharing. — Posted @ Wednesday, May 22, 2013 11:27 AM by Benjamin McDonald