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The power of words!

I have been getting a lot of clients re-booking lately – more so than usual and I was thinking about why this has happened? What have I done differently or have they finally realised regular massage is better for maintenance rather than booking every time they feel pain returning?

This may be the case but I think also it is down to how I have been speaking to them.

I used to explain the benefits of regular massage and then skate around maybe they would like to book in, or maybe they could text me to book when they have checked their diary….

Quite often they leave my clinic with the intention of rebooking and then other things get in the way – life happens.

Often I find myself thinking I haven’t heard from them and I should chase them, maybe drop them a text to check in and see how they are feeling in the hope they book but life gets in the way for me too and one week rolls into the next and it doesn’t happen.

Now when I see my clients I make sure I let them know my clinic is getting pretty busy and that it’s best to book now to make sure they get a space. Or if I haven’t seen them for a while I say

“Lets book your next appointment now so you don’t leave it too long next time”

I don’t pressure them but say it in a way to make them feel I am helping them out.

A few will say they need to check their diary but are happy when I suggest they book and I text (while they are still with me) the appointment details so they can check when they get home. I always reassure them that they can cancel if it doesn’t suit. This gives them a get out if they really don’t want another massage!

So far I have only had one text to change an appointment but no one has cancelled.

They are happy its already booked and one less thing to think about and I have regular slots filled.

Win win!

It’s all down to the words that are used. Rather than giving them the option of booking when they have time to; making sure they book before they leave the clinic.

Obviously you need to be polite and phrase it in a way that they see it is benefitting them. Which of course it is!

There are other ways words can be used to influence your clinic, when your client arrives ask how they are feeling, maybe refer back to past visits –

“How’s your knee now?”

or even “

How’s work going now? Any easier?”

Not only does it make your client know they have been listened to in the last visit and you care enough to ask but it gives you a base to work from.

After the session you can refer back the original question if it was relevant to their body and rather than ask

“How was that?” or “How do you feel now”

Ask things like

“How does your knee feel now?” “Does that move easier?”

make them aware of the changes in their body.

I had one client come in with lower back pain, he could hardly move and he was hoping I would be able to fix him in one session. First thing I did was limit his expectations and explain I would do my best to ease the pain but seeing as it was difficult for him to move at all it was unlikely he would feel full benefit unless he had a few sessions.

Then after I assessed him and gave him a treatment, I left the room to enable him to get dressed.

When I returned he was sat in the chair looking sad, he said he was still in pain.

I was a bit worried but I asked if he got his socks on any easier, his face changed as he thought and nodded and agreed actually he hadn’t noticed because it was painful but it was easier. Then he stood up and said

“look I stood straight up right – I haven’t been able to do that”

It was because he was in so much pain he hadn’t noticed when things became easier for him. I had to remind him about how he found it hard to get his shoes and sock on before to reinforce how I had managed to help him.

It’s so important to limit client’s expectations and draw attention to certain aspects. Had I not done this he could have gone away thinking he received a nice massage but it didn’t really help and I would have felt terrible taking money for it when I hadn’t helped him.

All in the words we use.

Try and be positive about the words too, it’s always nicer to say,

“does your shoulder move easier now?”

rather than

“how does your shoulder feel now?”

Sometimes you need to be specific with your words to get the right answer especially if they are in chronic pain.

Reaffirm that it is easier than when they walked in. If possible ask about an action they struggled with, like the socks.

I would love to hear of any other examples you have found. Comment below and we can share the ideas.

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