How to Grow Holiday Cheer with Events

celebrateThough there are lots of events already happening around the holidays, you can easily plan something fun and festive to get your clients in the holiday shopping mode.

This Week’s Tip – Host an event to get your clients in the spirit and mindset of buying, giving AND receiving. Now you may be thinking that it’s too late to plan a successful bash for the holidays, but I totally disagree. There is plenty of time to do something simple at your office or spa for your clients and prospects as well.

Here’s a few ideas right from some of my own past events:

  • Spread some holiday cheer by inviting your clients to a simple reception with you and your staff. Of course you’ll want to have some “event only” specials or features for retail products, gift certificates, booked appointments that are only good during the event. If you like, you can opt for a theme such as an Egg Nog Holiday Social or a Toys for Tots benefit where you ask every person to bring an unwrapped toy for a local children’s charity.
  • Take your event a step further and invite other complimentary businesses – that is people that seek and serve the same kind of clients you do – to take part. This could include any number of businesses including yoga studios,  jewelers, travel agents, chiropractors, chocolatiers, bakeries, or health food stores among many other possibilities. Have each business cross promote the event to their clients as well and have each business donate a product or gift certificate to be given away in a drawing. People can drop a business card to enter, buy raffle tickets, get a chance for every gift certificate purchased and so on.
  • If your event is one that you charge people to attend, offering deeper values or providing them with a thank you gift can make them really feel like they got their money’s worth as well. Have plenty of supplies on hand for providing whatever services you are featuring and have plenty of gift bags ready to fill up with purchases made that day.

Be creative about what you decide to do and promote for your event. Take the time to do some basic planning and organizing so everything runs smoothly. Be sure you know everyone on your team knows what the sales goals are for the party and how you will each follow up with the guests afterward. And more important than anything else, make sure you and your employees are there to do whatever it takes for everyone – including all of you – to have a great time.



1 Easy Tip for Improving Your Holiday Sales – Gift Certificates

giftThe holiday shopping season is almost here! With Black Friday and Thanksgiving just around the corner, holiday gift giving and buying will soon begun. With that, I’d like to arm you with a some ideas over the next few weeks to help you prepare for improving your holiday service, retail and gift certificates sales. Use these suggestions immediately, share them with your colleagues and re-cycle each gift oriented season.

This Week’s Tip – Make Gift Certificates available and easy for clients to buy! Make sure your clients are aware that you sell gift certificates in-house and online. Try to remember and ask every client that comes to your practice or business if they need to purchase gift certificates for the holidays.

Do this in the same way you would ask them if they would like to reschedule their next appointment or buy another package of sessions.This practice is very common during the holidays and your clients will most likely not be upset by the question. Think about your last visit to McDonald’s. Were you upset when they asked you if you wanted fries with your burger or if you wanted a combo meal? This is really no different and a much better gift than a Big Mac.

Here’s a sample script to use as a guide:

You: “How did you enjoy your massage today, Jennifer?”

Client: “My massage was great.”

You: “Well I am so glad! Would you like to schedule another appointment while you’re here?”

Client: “Sure. Can I get a 90 Minute Hot Stone Massage next Friday at 2 pm?”

You: Absolutely. I’ve got you down. Do you need any gift certificates today?”

Client: “Now that you mention it, I do want to give something to my daughter’s soccer coach for the holidays. Let me get a $50 gift certificate.

You: “Here is your certificate, Jennifer. Let me also give you a flyer with all of our holiday specials on it.

Client: “Wow that looks great. I’m definitely going to tell my husband about the Three  Session Massage package so that he can get it for me this year.”

When clients are unable to decide on their purchase or aren’t ready to buy a certificate at the time of checkout, let them know if they can purchase them online 24/7 or about other arrangements you can make their purchase easy such as free delivery. You can also direct clients who call about gift certificates to your web site for a complete listing of all services and packages available as well as to purchase online gift certificates.

Ho ho ho!

How to Use Reviews and Testimonials

typing-smallRecently I’ve been very fortunate to receive some glowing reviews and testimonials about me as a massage therapist and author. (See past column) Besides making me smile big, feel like I’m in the right field and believe what I do actually makes a difference in other people’s lives, getting reviews also helps other people make the decision to purchase my books, get on my massage table, or schedule a coaching session. As I mentioned in a recent column, reviews also give past clients confidence that they too have made the right choice in choosing to work with me or my business.

But will they ever see the reviews?

In my world, YES! When I see a positive review, I look for ways to spread the news and impact. Here are a few ways you can use/re-use the reviews you get.

  1. Post on Facebook and other social media sites. Be sure to include a picture of your facility, yourself or that illustrates what a special experience you provide
  2. Add to your website. This can be on a special “testimonials” page or intermixed around your services, bio or other information.
  3. Include in a newsletter or blog. Include links to review sites where you’d like the reader to post their own reviews.
  4. Post in your business. Reviews can make for an interesting read in a guest book or “brag board” in your waiting area.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback about what you do. Even a negative review here and there can give you helpful feedback and insights into how to make your business better.
3D-(LR)Some recent reviews about my book Free & Easy Ways to Promote Your Massage, Spa & Wellness Business on Amazon

“This book offers simple but great advice. Gave me some great resources for social media and marketing. Can’t wait to start implementing them.”

“I have been called to venture out on my own and I needed some tips on marketing, getting and maintaining clients, and referrals. Felicia covers all that information in this book as well as offering additional useful information like networking, growing your business, and helping you get a visual on goal setting and achieving! Within the first few days of reading this book, I begin to apply the information I read and ta-dah! A client purchased a package from me and now she comes in on a weekly basis. I applied her referral program and ta-dah! I now have consistent clientele! I am so excited and encourage anyone who is looking to expand themselves to check out Felicia’s book!!”

“This is a must have and you must follow her suggestions! I have been in the wellness business for over 14 years, full-time and successful. Her suggestions are spot on and clearly outlined for implementation. As a result of reading her book, I had new to do’s for my business…about 8 to get started with today!”

Read them all or leave your own. You can also get a FREE copy of the book’s Online Resources by clicking here.

I Just Got a 5 Star Review – Why You Need to Share the Good News

yelpI just got a 5 Star Review on Yelp:-)

It’s from a brand new massage client that I met at my last triathlon. You can read about that here and I’ll share more in a future article on how I used that event to market my wellness center/spa.

For now, here’s the review:

“Felicia helped me recover from driving aches and pains. one hour made all the difference in my life. She gave me active stretches to do for homework. I feel 100% better after my massage. Thank you!”  ~ Jane

As soon as I saw it, I shared it on Facebook. Besides the fact that seeing this first thing made my day, I wanted to share this review because I have two open appointments tomorrow I’d like to fill. Reading a review like this is likely to help possible new clients to try me as well as to remind current clients why they like me. If also affirms in people’s minds that I am good at what I do and that even if today’s not the day, I am the person they’ll call when they need a massage.

Tooting your own horn is a great way to promote yourself and is one more way of “showing up” when others won’t. Don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments, big and small. Your clients and friends will be proud of you and often both you and your bank account will feel good when you do it.

Follow-Up or Fail. It’s your choice!

letterOne of the biggest secrets to being successful is simply following up. That’s right…just getting back in touch with someone after an initial meeting, conversation or consultation. Yet the idea scares the crap out of a lot of people including the person in the letter below.

Check out a recent reader’s concerns, and read my response to see if it can help you with your own follow up issues.

Dear Felicia –

My employer just gave me a list of past clients who haven’t been in for facials in a while.  I am supposed to be calling them to invite them back at a reduced rate, but I am having a hard time doing that.  I get so nervous talking on the phone that I get tongue-tied or talk too fast and have no confidence at all.  

Any suggestions on getting my calls made with more confidence and better results? 

Fast Talker

Dear FT –

Why not write down a script or checklist of what you plan to say. Then practice your dialogue before the call. When you finally get up the nerve to call the first person. take a deep breath, relax and remind yourself that your intention is to let clients you miss and care about them, as well as to share an offer that will help them save money and take care of themselves.Here’s a quick example of what I might say:

Hi _______________. It’s Jennifer from Spa Di Da.  It’s been a while since you were last in and we miss seeing you here. How’ve you been? 

I’d like to give you a special offer to come in this week/month for another facial. The welcome back offer is your choice of a Deluxe facial for the price of an Standard Facial session OR a 15% off an any service. Which would you prefer?

Make sure to have a list of times ready that might appeal to those you call based on past visits and your availability. Put a friendly tone in your voice and smile while you are talking. And…remind yourself that even if they don’t book, you are in no worse shape business-wise then you were before you made the call. But if you don’t follow up with those who have expressed an interest in working with you – past, present or future – , they may never call (again) on their own. And that’s a sure way to fail in any business.

What tools do you use to make follow up easy? Share them below so we can all succeed:-)

Whose responsibility is marketing? The people who want to succeed.

Recently I was involved in an online discussion about marketing. A service provider was complaining she was being forced to call past clients of the business on her own time and persuade them to come in for free introductory services with her. She was especially unhappy with this since she was only compensated when she saw paying clients.

I don’t think anyone should be forced to do unpaid marketing or work of any kind by his or her employer; it’s possibly unlawful and most definitely unproductive if the one doing the marketing is not a willing participant or feels like s/he is being taken advantage of .

However, I believe the service provider was actually failing to see the bigger picture and opportunity she was being given.

raised handsSo what’s the bigger picture? As a longtime massage therapist and former spa owner, I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to market the business they work in, particularly if they will be on the receiving end of the revenue when clients come in. It helps to provide job security for the individual as well as revenue generation (hopefully) for both the employee and the business, which is good for everyone. As a business and marketing coach, I share this idea often and especially with those who say they want to be busy or successful but then complain about how the business owner doesn’t do enough to bring in new business or how hard it is to grow a clientele.

As an independent contractor and new massage therapist, I did tons of free marketing at the suggestion of my first boss, including cold calling his database of old clients and inviting them to come try me out for a discounted price. I was not paid for this (nor was I forced to do it), but I did reap the benefits when the clients booked with me and sometimes became my regulars.

I also worked many free events doing chair massage and promoted myself all over the place, all at no cost to the businesses where I worked. However, I gained many new and regular clients and increased my overall income from being a part of these unpaid endeavors. Learning to do this kind of promotion through someone else’s business is probably what helped me to have confidence to do it on my own when I later opened my own practice and day spa.

The bottom line and question to ask yourself: Do you really want to see more clients and to succeed? Are you willing to do what it takes to make that happen and to give of your time and gifts in order to have the success you say you want?

If so, then find a way to look at requests like this as an opportunity instead of an obligation and find other ways to promote yourself and the business. If not, then consider other employment options or learn to be happy with the amount of clients and income you get from where you presently work.

Either way, I also suggest discussing your concerns about requests like this with your employer and/or manager, who may not be aware of your viewpoint or feelings. By working together, you will all be more likely to succeed with every touch.

What is marketing, really?

If you asked a group of random people what marketing is you would probably get a variety of answers from them. Some would say that marketing is doing advertising such as print ads, direct mail and television commercials to get new clients or business. Others would say that marketing is going to networking meetings, passing out business cards or offering special promotions through their website or email newsletters. And still others would say that marketing is just what you do to get sales.

And while none of these definitions is wrong per se, through my many years in business as a massage therapist, spa owner and business/marketing coach and consultant, I’ve come to see things differently. In my mind, these definitions – alone or combined – along with other traditional descriptions of marketing, are too narrow and incomplete. In fact, over the years, the way I think about, describe and teach marketing has evolved and expanded tremendously. Would you like to know more?

Drum roll please…

goal setting cover imageI believe that marketing is much more than the things you do to promote yourself or your business to your clients and prospects. It is literally made up of EVERYTHING that “touches” your clients or prospects and causes them to want to business with you for the first time, the next time or the LAST time. And in some cases your marketing will cause people to not want to do business with you at all. This is what I call anti-marketing or being “closed for business.”

The initial and ongoing marketing touches or impressions that reach clients can make your business and balance sheet wildly successful if delivered well. But when they aren’t, the time, money and energy spent on traditional marketing and advertising efforts can be completely wasted. I don’t know anyone who would be happy with that outcome, do you?

Some quick examples of basic marketing touches that can really sway a prospect to try your business or return to it:

  • An easy to find, open and navigate website
  • A receptionist who seems unrushed or distracted while taking calls
  • Clean, well-stocked bathrooms or locker rooms
  • An invitation to reschedule

These may not seem like marketing vehicles at first glance, but as far as I am concerned, anything that makes a client happy or comfortable enough to spend money with a business is definitely a part of marketing. And believe me when I say there are plenty of prospective clients who will decide not to patronize you if one of the “touches” that matters most to them is out of whack.

To summarize, if marketing is about getting and keeping more clients, appointments or sales, then anything and everything that increases the number of clients, appointments or sales in your business should be considered part of your marketing. Simply put, I call it Every Touch Marketing and encourage you to make “every touch” positive.

I hope what you learn in this blog is positive and helpful in growing your business.