Is Your Business a Safe Container for Your Clients?
In this series, we’re taking a look at the pieces that are often missing when a massage or bodywork therapist is struggling to fill her practice. By now you know that you need to be both what I call a Pro and a CEO, in order for your practice to thrive.
Last week, I shared the simple framework I created for bodyworkers to help you discover the areas you need to focus on as you build a successful practice.
And what I see so many talented, wonderful therapists struggle with is creating a safe container for the business side of their practices.
Creating a safe container means that people know what to expect from you and your business. Once that container is solid, your clients are in a better space to release their pain and to heal.
Today we’ll jump into what it means to COMMUNICATE like a Pro so that you can be sure you’re creating that safe container.
You absolutely, without-a-doubt need to get back to people immediately.
Whether someone emails you to set up an appointment, or is calling you to find out more about your work, the single most important thing you can do to create a professional impression is to get back to people asap.
Now this may seem so simple and intuitive to you that it hardly needs to be mentioned. But I have been flabbergasted during my years of coaching and mentoring therapists by the slack attitudes I’ve seen.
As a matter of fact, one of the things that I hear over and over again from potential clients is, “Oh! Thank you so much for returning my call!” It’s almost like they are surprised I even bothered because so many therapists don’t.
Even now, when my practice is full, and I’m not currently taking any new clients, I’ll still return inquiries as soon as I’m able. I want people to know that I respect them and their time, not only as clients, but as people.
(And if you use an automated scheduler, I recommend following up on your own, too. In today’s world, people are tired of all the automation, and are longing for personal connection — perhaps one of the reasons they are contacting you in the first place.)
Through the years, I’ve seen lots of therapists shy away from having policies in place. Somehow it feels too corporate, or bossy, or mean.
Actually, simple, solid policies create more kindness and clarity in your practice because your clients know exactly what to expect from you and what is expected from them.
We spend some time going into creating personalized policies in The Bodywork Project, but for now, know that you don’t have to go Full-on Monk and have a huge binder filled with policies for every possible scenario — a few well thought out policies will put you in good shape. You can start with these:
Cancellation Policy: What constitutes a cancellation? What happens if someone cancels?
Payment Policy: What types of payments do you accept?
Tipping Policy: Do you accept tips?
Tardiness Policy: What happens if someone is late?
If you don’t have these few policies in place, or it makes you uncomfortable even thinking about them, it’s time to reach out to a mentor or coach for support in shoring up your boundaries
Recommendations for Going Forward.
As a professional, your clients look to you for guidance about their treatment. If you’re a true Pro, you’ll use your knowledge, expertise, and wisdom to give feedback to your clients.
It took me so long to learn this important concept!
I used to think (because that’s what I was taught) that I shouldn’t make any recommendations about treatment. After a session, a client would ask, “How many more times do you think I need to come in for CST?” And I would say something ambiguous like, “Trust your body. It will let you know when you need to return.”
Now, I believe 100% in the wisdom each of us holds in our bodies, but so, SO many of our clients have no idea that wisdom even exists, let alone whether they are in tune with it.
So, when I gave an answer like that, it hurt the therapeutic relationship in 2 ways: First, it didn’t answer the client’s question about when or if to return, and second, I didn’t step into my power as a professional bodyworker.
Giving a recommendation for going forward is not pushy, slimy, or salesy if it comes from the heart. You’re the professional, you simply give your professional opinion.
You can say something like, “We had about a 25% release at your occiput today. In my experience, it will take 2-3 more sessions to get a 90-100% release, and by then you should see improvement with your headaches. Would you like to set up those sessions now?”
It’s easy, it’s direct, and it comes from a place of honesty, integrity, and a desire to serve.
It does require you to sharpen your skills and know your stuff. And then you detach from outcomes. If the client doesn’t want to rebook or return, that’s fine. Wish her well. Your ideal clients will respond to your professional guidance and support.
Creating a safe container for your business allows both you and your clients to have the optimum experience possible. Start today with these 3 steps, and you’ll be on your way. Remember what Brene Brown says: “Clear is Kind.”
If you’re not sure that you can implement these steps on your own, take my free Bodyworker Clarity Quiz to help you find your way.
Simply click here and answer a few short questions to discover your Bodyworker Brilliance and receive a custom Quickstart Guide with key insights and ideas to design your dream bodywork career and grow your business with ease.
You don’t have to take as long as I did to figure it all out. Once you know which stage of the journey you’re on, you can take the best next steps for you and your practice.
You’re not alone — I’m holding you in my heart and cheering you on. You can do this!