sale tagsMany independent massage therapists have dabbled in selling products to their clients, sometimes with success and sometimes with frustration.

Maybe you have a couple of shelves of products that are getting dusty in your entryway or lobby of your office. Perhaps you are considering turning your crafty hobby into a product you can offer to your clients. When it comes to sales and retail, there’s always room for improvement! We’ve taken some wise advice from massage therapists who know the biz and compiled all the ins and outs of selling products in your massage therapy practice.

Low pressure selling

It’s not always in the best interest of a massage therapist to upsell or push sales of your products. You don’t want your client to feel pressured into buying something they don’t want, and you certainly don’t want to do anything that would prohibit them from coming back. However, there are gentler approaches to selling! Some examples of low pressure sales techniques are:

  • free samples
  • gift baskets during holidays
  • reminder that you have this particular massage oil or hot pack on hand if the client likes it (during treatment)
  • signage
  • discounts 

Know your niche

The first thing you must do is understand your target market and sell to that market. Let’s say you specialize in pain management. You might sell BioFreeze, hot/cold packs, rice bags or other kinds of products that relate to pain relief. Your clients are coming to you for a particular need. Focus on products that help the client continue therapy at home.

Do you use aromatherapy in your massage practice? Consider carrying the best essential oils and aromatherapy products that your clients can’t get at the local health store. The key is to make sure your products relate closely to your business.

Ask your clients what they would buy

Go straight to the source! What health and wellness products would your clients like to see on the shelves and purchase regularly from you? Ask them and see if there is a need you can fill. You might be surprised to find that you can get these products for them at a better cost from your suppliers, or that you can buy certain items wholesale.

Avoid products that are everywhere

This goes along with knowing your niche. Be aware of those products like candles, teas, and various bath and body gift items that saturate the market. What other items have you tried selling that simply flop?

Retail to go

monogram
image: parsik93

Retail to go! Here’s another low-pressure sales technique for moving your products. If you do outcalls or events, try putting together a sample bag of products you sell. Purchase a cute monogrammed bag with your company name on it, fill it up, then invite your clients to look through your “goody bag” while you’re setting up your treatment space. Make sure the items are available to sell right then and also let them know you carry more items in your shop.

Sell handmade items 

If you’re at all crafty or enjoy making gifts by hand, you can cheaply make nice DIY rice bags, pillows, bolsters, accessories, essential oils blends, etc. There are so many tutorials, how-to videos, free patterns, and ideas out there for easy handmade items that relate to your massage therapy practice.

Take your shop online

This is an especially good idea for handmade goods. You can set up your own online shop on Etsy.com, a place to buy and sell crafty handmade things. We’ve found many cool things on Etsy and Pinterest that relate to massage therapy and wellness.

etsy-resized-600

Check into sales tax and licensure

Don’t forget the legal stuff! If you are looking to get into retail sales, you may need to get a sales tax license and file state sales tax returns. Do a quick bit of Googling to see what your state requires.

Retail may not be right for you

Selling product on the side may not be for everyone, and that’s ok. Here’s a story from a massage therapist, Phillipa, on her experience with selling products as part of her massage practice:

“I tried retail and it just did not work for me. I have a full book, but the same people over and over. They would buy a bottle of Biofeeze and not buy another one for a year. My Esthetician friends have also stopped retailing because there are so many choices in the market it was too costly to keep an inventory of products suitable for many skin types. I do not like to be upsold in spas and think that many customers feel the same way. The only product I had for a while that all my clients bought were cherry pit filled hot packs, which I do use in my practice. But after all my regulars had one and bought a couple for gifts the demand dried up.”

Talk with therapists who have been successful

Get ideas from the pros! We know one massage therapist, Karen, who has a booming retail business that accounts for 50% of her revenue. Karens says, “I focus on products that will help the client continue therapy at home that begins with the Massage Therapist, Esthetician, etc. These products are used in the treatment or service given. Approx 25% of our space (250 sq ft) is devoted to retail and this focus results in 50% of the revenue of our two therapy room store/clinic on an annual basis.” Her best-selling products are:

  • Mother Earth Pillows (her own products she’s developed, available wholesale)
  • Pain products Cryoderm and Topricin
  • Essential oils and massage products, to a lesser extent

“I started out small when I began in my private practice in my home.. and have expanded over the years to retail and therapy in a small strip mall and retail sales have helped every year! I feel Massage Therapists are the perfect ones to really devote attention to client needs. To have products right there for purchase, means your client will honor your efforts to help them have a better quality of day to day life. It is a win-win situation. 

If you use the products, give a sentence or two of education about what muscles the client can focus on. This extra attention is more than they ever will receive in a store or at other Health Care practitioner appointments. And these happy customers will tell their friends and family where they can get the products… so your clients become your marketing team!”

Be authentic

Many massage therapists feel squeamish about selling products for various reasons. They may feel like it sends the wrong message, that the client will feel pressure to buy, or that any kind of selling will feel like a “hard sell.” Here’s the thing: if the product truly helps your client and you really believe in the product, then don’t be shy! Many people start selling products that they use themselves and absolutely love. It’s natural to want to share the benefits of a product you find useful, especially with clients you care about. Your genuine enthusiasm for the thing you’re offering will translate appropriately to your client. They won’t see it as pushy, just helpful!

Please share your own experiences with selling products as part of your massage therapy practice! We would love to hear what works for you and what doesn’t.

Source: ideas, stories, and tips shared in the awesome LinkedIn group Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).

 

Comments from original Massamio post:

You can only do so many massages so to be a successful therapist adding nutritional products to help not sell to your clients is very profitable, just know your products — Posted @ Tuesday, June 18, 2013 7:21 AM by Charlotte Irwin

Whatever you do, DO NOT PURCHASE a Best massage table from AMAZON. I did and despite the horrible workmanship on my Best table, Amazon would not help me even find Cavalier Wholesales, who denied selling me the table even though I have my receipt. Amazon refused to help me track down their seller because it was over 30 days. The headrest fell apart after 5 uses and the table padding is completely uneven.The table is unusable. Best buyer and Amazon buyer BEWARE! — Posted @ Monday, March 10, 2014 10:23 PM by Gayle