One of the things that massage therapist seem to get caught up in is doing massage for free at various community events or at fairs and open houses to promote their business.
I did it when I first started in 1987 but quickly found out that people who want free sample massages are very unlikely to want to pay for massage. Some people just don’t value massage yet and want to put their money down to receive it.
What other health care professional will give away their services for free? Do you see your Dentist out there or your foot doctor giving free exams in order to get new clients? There is also a difference in that those two professions are also more involved in insurance reimbursement plans and get most of their clients from their contracted provider status.
If you are going to work for free do it with the intention of getting every single person to sign up for a paid massage session. If you are working at a free event, take your appointment book and ask them right then and there if they want and appointment. Start with saying that you could work more on a specific area and give them more relief or help. Do an intake form and get their address, email address and phone number. Do follow up mailings after the event.
Be sure you have business cards with your website on it where they can get more information. Be sure you have flyers, brochures, handouts with stretches or other health tips with your name and contact information.
Basically you have to engage people in a conversation and find out what their needs are so that you can address their needs and educate them more about what massage can do for them. Assume that they don’t know anything about massage at all.
If someone asks right out what do you charge first ask them what kind of massage are they looking for – do they have pain or stress that they would like help with. Explain how massage can help and then tell them your fees.
Many massage therapists when they are working at free events can have all sorts of feelings come up that can get in your way of connecting with people. Let’s face it – it feels uncomfortable to put yourself out there so much and it can bring up feelings of embarrassment, feelings of worthlessness and even bring up feeling jealous if other tables are getting visitors and yours is not. These feelings are a great way to really look at the underlying issues because it really isn’t about the event or what is happening there. Clearing up these old feelings is usually a process of working through and feeling your feelings enough so that you can find the source of the belief and finally see that things are working for you and that they just aren’t true. You can do that by participating in ongoing supervision and peer supervision groups.