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Working on my online prerequisite course for becoming a Certified Injury Prevention Instructor threw me off my usual activities last week, so this blog is coming a few days late.

Over the weekend, I saw and subsequently participated in a discussion on LinkedIn. The topic was on following up with our clients. Many of the therapists that had replied before me said they really don't do much for follow up, and I was somewhat surprised, somewhat not.

I believe my follow-up with clients has helped me in my business, so I shared what I do, and here it is, taken directly from my post on LinkedIn:

"I send a thank you letter, addressing that I hope I've helped their X, Y, Z pains, encourage them to pass along my brochure/card to anyone they know that might also benefit from my services, and let them know of the discount I offer if they post a testimonial/review of their experience with me online--benefits us both, since a lot of my new clients comment on the reviews they read about me, and helps clients where the cost of massage is an issue to getting the care they need.

I still don't get massive referrals or testimonials, so I don't feel bad like I'm swaying my clients to post reviews online too much, but I can see that it certainly helps some clients stick around longer when they see that I genuinely appreciate their business.

In addition to the thank you letter to new clients, I then make some point of contact with them at 30 & 90 days, 6 & 9 months, annually from their first session, and send a birthday card (paper or e-). The annual and birthday points of contact will have some kind of special or discount in them also, but not the other times.

I find it's very helpful in establishing my reputation in the field, and in keeping my name and offering fresh in my clients' minds.

Also, when I don't see clients return within 3 months, I'll give them a call to check in and see how they're doing, in case they intended to get back in sooner and time got away from them, or if I oops-ed and didn't follow-up with them to make that appointment already. And again, that helps keep me fresh in their minds."

I was surprised and flattered by the response from another massage therapist in the group. Here's what Roy Alderman had to say:

"Rachel - WOW! You really go the extra mile & take professionalism to the next level. I wish you were MY massage therapist!"

And my reply:

"Thank you. I've had the idea of this plan in place for...a year, or maybe 2, but with my own time management issues, the actual follow-through of the plan didn't happen as consistently as I would've liked. I've now really cracked down on myself and am making this happen.

You mentioned a key word in your reply: professionalism. I love that. I don't want any of my clients having any doubt of what I do/don't do as a massage therapist, and by presenting myself with greater professionalism, I believe I make that clear. I also feel it is part of my duty to help educate my clients on how effective massage is--it's not just something to treat yourself to on your birthday, but if that's where they're at at this point in their lives, I start with them there, and hope with my continual contact, they will begin to hold a greater value and higher priority for getting massages more regularly also."

I hope this doesn't come off as an obnoxious toot of my own horn, but I admit, it feels really good to be acknowledged by the hard work I've put in outside of my massage room in building my business. My husband also gave me a fee-good compliment over the weekend when I told him about a friend of mine deciding to go to school to become a massage therapist, and my suggestion that she and I get together soon to chat. I would have loved to have a few more insights and resources made available to me before I started school. I do fully enjoy my career, but as I learned while in school, not everyone has a clear idea of the massage profession before starting school, and a few people in my class wound up wasting some time and money after learning the picture in their mind didn't really match up with real world possibilities.

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