Talking to Clients After a Massage

For many massage therapists, conversations about payment and scheduling can be awkward. It can be tough to ask for money straight out when a client is mellow and woozy. And it's not always easy to strike the perfect tone that encourages a client to make another appointment but isn't overly aggressive and sales-y.

But there are a few tips and tricks that will turn a novice conversationalist into a pro at communication post-massage.

Get Your Gear

Have your payment and scheduling gear out in front of you when the client comes out from the massage room. (Or have it in hand and organized if you need to reenter the room to handle business after a treatment.)

Be ready with your credit card device, your date book or computer, a pen, and an appointment card. 

These are strong visual cues that business needs to be handled, and you can use them if the conversation goes off track. 

Create the Opening

Most of us ask a client about the treatment right away.

How are you feeling now?
How's that shoulder moving?
Did that headache let up?
This is good, but sometimes it leads to a longer conversation, and pulling it back to business is tough. My solution is to be direct.

I open my computer wider or snap my Square reader into my phone and say, "Alright, let's take care of business." Or you could phrase that in a way that emphasizes the client's needs, "Okay, let's handle the details so you can get back to your office/pick up the kids on time."

Asking for Payment

I'm at my most awkward when I'm asking for payment.  "It's $80 for today's treatment, are we doing cash, check or charge?" or "Today comes to $80, how did you want to pay for that?"

Bam. That's it. I promise it gets easier as you go. The client knows they're here for a paid service. You know they're here for a paid service. I don't know why this is awkward, but it is, huh?  Just dive in. The water warms up.

Asking for the Next Booking

"Do you want to make your next appointment?" I know. There are people who suggest you should ask differently, in a way that assumes the client is coming back. As in, "Do you want to make your next appointment for 2 or 3 weeks out?" (If that works for you, rock on. But as a consumer, I find it icky.)

When I think a client's condition merits frequent treatment, I prefer to respect their intelligence and time and just tell them that. No need for sneaky word games.

"So, I think this shoulder issue can be resolved with more frequent treatments for awhile. In a perfect world, I would see you for 30 minutes, once a week, for the next 3-4 weeks. Do you want to plan for that or something close to that?"

Showing Self Care

Giving self care tips is fantastic. It shows that you care about a client's wellness, even when they're not in your office. But if you have a strong relaxation component to your work, the client may not clearly remember what you've told them. Whenever possible, follow up with an email. Give your instructions in writing, and add a few links to online resources that can help.

Do you have tips for managing post-massage business and conversations with clients? Share in the comments!