“When Massage Therapy graduates decide to begin their own solo-business, it’s natural that they will attempt to get anyone and everyone to be their client”, says Harmony Curtiss, Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (Healing Hands). “This kind of unfocused approach, however, can leave one feeling scattered, and their marketing efforts overwhelming yet unproductive. That’s why we’ve added classes like: “Clinical Massage”, “Massage As a Business”, and “Community Service Internship & Externship” that help students explore and evaluate working with a variety of clientele”, she added.
The unfortunate truth is, that when a Practitioner works on someone who they perceive to be un-cooperative, un-appreciative, argumentative, or otherwise un-pleasant or draining, they risk the biggest causes of burnout in the massage profession. While initially one may have to work on people who are less than ideal, over time, the Practitioner ends up feeling frustrated or resentful and inadvertently does less than their very best.
To ensure longevity of practice, Healing Hands helps you to identify your ‘ideal clients’ so you can target those you enjoy working with and ensure you’ll remain true to your sense of purpose. Identifying the various ‘demographic’ groups you resonate with will ultimately save you a lot of wasted time, expense, and effort. It also helps you recognize and take advantage of opportunities to recruit the right potential clients when you meet them through everyday interactions.
The definition of demographics is: Specific factors which identify and/or distinguish a target population or market, ie: the age or age range of your ideal client; their activity level, their sex, their interests, their income, motivation level, location, and attitude toward Therapeutic Touch and the Holistic Healing Arts.
For example, this Blogger’s ‘Ideal massage clients’ are: Self-empowered young mothers or working women between the ages of 25 and 55 who are financially secure, health conscious and interested in holistic health. These women have full, busy lives and seek balance in Mind/Body/Spirit. They are committed to engaging in regular exercise, healthy eating, Meditation and Massage as parts of their personal wellness plan. As holistic health enthusiasts, these clients appreciate me and my services and happily refer friends and family.
Other Practitioners may consider their ideal clients to be Male Athletes, or Sports Enthusiast, while some prefer working with the Elderly, Handicapped, or those with chronic illness or Cancer. The types of clients practitioners choose can be extremely varied, depending on their professional strengths, life experiences and personal interests. While deciding on the ideal client may take some time for a Practitioner to discern, the ‘less than ideal’ client can usually be identified fairly quickly.
‘Less than ideal’ clients are those who come to their appointment late, cancel at the last minute or forget their appointments altogether, with no regard for the Practitioner. They are the clients who like to complain about their pain, but refuse to take any responsibility for their health or wellbeing. Unfortunately, less than ideal clients can sometimes be extremely demanding, rude or unrealistic in their expectations. Some come in with a sense of entitlement or superiority, speaking down to the Practitioner or demeaning the work done with a meager tip or lack of gratitude or appreciation.
Keep in mind, Practitioners can always customize promotional materials to target a few select types of clients simultaneously, while still meeting the criteria for the ‘ideal client’. When determining who will be your target markets, the following are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Does this client demonstrate that they respect and value my time?
- Does this person display Psychological/emotional issues that have them sharing inappropriate details (TMI) about their life?
- Does this person behave inappropriately or speak about inappropriate topics behind closed doors?
- Does this customer have good hygiene?
- Do I feel energized or drained after working with this customer?
- Does this client make me feel needed, appreciated, and understood?
- Does working with this client reconnect me with my sense of purpose?
- Does this client happily pay for my services?
- Does this client refer friends or family to me?
- Does this client acknowledge and appreciate the changes being achieved through therapy?
If you are an aspiring Massage Therapist, or a Professional Massage Therapist eager to begin a solo career, consider enhancing your probability of success with an education at Healing Hands. Regardless of your desired specialty, Healing Hands can empower you with the valuable knowledge and skills to create a meaningful career you can take anywhere! Call us at (858) 505-1100 in San Diego, (760) 746-9364 in Escondido, or (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills.