I am constantly amazed by my massage therapist. In addition to having excellent skills, she is very good at focusing on her clients’ personalities when it comes to marketing her practice. Here’s what I mean:

The other day she called and left a message, “Hi, Deanna, I haven’t seen you in a while and I just had a cancellation for this evening. If you want to come in, I’ll give you $10 off. Give me a call before noon.”

Wow! See what she did? She noted my absence (She remembered me! She likes me!), she gave me an incentive ($10 discount), and then gave me a deadline. Nice. Very nice. I couldn’t make it, but I called her up to find out what inspired her to take this approach and why she called me.

In a nutshell, she knows that clients sometimes can’t give 24 hours cancellation notice and she is concerned about losing those clients if she charges them a cancellation fee. She wants to fill the appointment space when there is a last minute cancellation, so she decided to call clients who usually take appointments during that time slot and who likely wouldn’t be offended if she called out of the blue (that would be me). This is a new approach for her, but she says it’s working out fairly well. Often, if someone can’t take the canceled spot, she still gets people (like me) who call and make an appointment for another time.

Think about it.

This may be an approach outside of your comfort zone. It takes some guts to just up and call a client. But, it’s been working out pretty well for her. So take her idea, bend it, twist it, make it fit your practice. Take cues from your own clients’ personalities when it comes to marketing your business. When you get a cancellation, try calling clients who:

A) Usually make appointments around the time that was just canceled or leap at a chance for a discounted session ($10 off, for example) and

B) Wouldn’t be offended if you called out of the blue.

This gives you a good reason to reach out to clients, it demonstrates that you are aware of your clients’ habits, and it’s a chance to fill an otherwise empty time slot.

Here are a couple other ideas off the top of my head:

  • Ask your clients if they would like to be on a cancellation list. Make note of the general times they prefer. (Remember to ask at each session or phone call if they still want to be on the list. If they do, are they still interested in the same session times?)
  • Note which clients seem to respond to special offers most frequently. Ask if they would like you to call when you send out your next offer so they can watch for it. (Also ask which offers they like best. It’s a natural time to do it and it will help you focus your efforts more effectively.)
  • Do any of your clients always get your gift certificates from their family? Tell your clients you’re starting a birthday/anniversary service list. You’ll call or send a card to the client’s spouse/parent/kid two weeks before a special occasion and remind them of the event.
  • Or, better yet, when a client’s family member or friend buys a gift certificate for your client, ask if they’d like a reminder call around the same time next year.

Do you have any other variations on this idea? Please share in the Comments section below.

[Adapted from an original Natural Touch Marketing article.]