New Ways To Deal With Inappropriate Clients In Your Massage Business
Unfortunately, even in this day and age, there are people who still link massage to sex. I have come up with some great ways to handle these people and prevent this problem from occurring in your practice all together. The techniques that I discuss below have completely eliminated these problems from my practice.
Website and ads . Place a notice on your website and in your ads that states, “This is for therapeutic, non-sexual massage only.”
Be direct . If you receive a call from someone who has not been referred to you, don't hesitate to say, “I sometimes have problems with people calling me from ads or the internet, so I have to be clear with everyone. I just want to make sure that you understand that this is for therapeutic, non-sexual massage only. Is that what you are looking for?” If you have a bad feeling about a client, simply tell them that you don't think they are a good fit for your practice and that they should call someone else.
Intake form . I place a statement on my intake form that says, “I understand that this is strictly for non-sexual massage only. If a sexual advance is made towards the therapist, the massage will be terminated immediately and payment will be due in full. In order to be in compliance with professional and ethical guidelines, and city regulations, draping is used in all massages.” The client has to fill this out and sign it when they come in before they get their massage.
Don't answer blocked calls . This has worked great for me, and has put an end to problem callers for me. I have found that if someone has bad intentions, they will usually call on a blocked number. Once, I stopped answering these, I have not had a single problem in the past year. Other therapists I know felt that this was causing them to lose business; a lot of legitimate people were calling them on blocked numbers. You will have to try it for yourself.
Only schedule new clients when other people are in the office . It is best to only see new clients when other people are in the office; however, sometimes working alone cannot be avoided. Once I had a client come in after 7:00. Normally there is a maintenance guy in the office until 11:00 but he called in sick that day. I had a really bad feeling about this client so I pretended that the maintenance guy was in the office. I told him that the maintenance guy often vacuums during this time, and that if it became really noisy, he should not worry, I would go out and talk to him. The client thought someone else was in the office and did not cause a problem.
Intuition . Over time, most therapists will build up strong intuition. After a while, you will just know if a caller has bad intentions. At this point in my career, by the time the caller says hello, I just know whether or not they will be a problem.
Always make sure your cell phone is in reach . You should always have your cell phone close to you, and it should be charged up. Make sure you always have a clear path to the door.
Working from home . If you work out of your home, focus on marketing techniques that involve getting referrals from others such as referrals from clients, hotels, friends and family, doctors and other alternative health professionals. Advertising in newspapers and on the internet probably is not the best marketing choice for you.
Outcalls . As stated above, if you are primarily doing outcalls, you should really focus on marketing techniques that are referral based. If you are seeing a client that has not been referred to you, when you reach your destination, call a friend or loved one and let them know where you are, when you will be done, and that you will call them as soon as you finish. Make sure the client hears you make the call. You can do this while you are setting up. The client is less likely to cause a problem if they know that other people know where you are and are expecting a call from you when you are done.
Mace. It wouldn't hurt to have this in your office or put it on your keychain so it is always with you. I don't keep this in my office, but I know other therapists who do.
Susanne Runion is very passionate about alternative health and has been involved with it her whole life. It is her mission to help alternative health professionals to be as successful and prosperous as possible. She is the author of the online course, “Marketing Secrets for Alternative Health Professionals