Episode 136

Jan 12, 2018

What do we do with the bunches of short questions we get that can’t fill a whole episode? Lightning round!

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What do we do with the bunches of short questions we get that can’t fill a whole episode? Lightning round!

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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I’m Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines And I’m Allissa Haines.

MR And we’re your hosts. Glad you’ve joined us today for this episode. Allissa, how are you?

AH I am well. I am wintering in New England.

MR Beautiful. That sounds amazing. [laughs]

AH How are you doing?

MR Wintering in Indianapolis, which is pretty much the same as New England right now.

AH I’m thinking about the, hopefully, not too distant future where we relocate Massage Business Blueprint headquarters to somewhere warm.

MR It’s good to have goals. I’m excited about today’s episode; it’s a little bit different today. What we’ve done is we’re going to try something new. We have collected questions from our listeners over the last — I don’t know, for a while now, I’ll just say. And, Allissa, you kind of felt like these didn’t add up to — or individual questions didn’t warrant an entire episode, but individually, they can make a great kind of rapid-fire Q&A for this episode. So I think we’ve outlined a handful of questions we’re going to go through quickly and hit each one. Is that right?

AH That is correct. Let’s do it.

MR Awesome. All right. Let’s do it.

First question: Does anyone have a method of how to keep track of what articles they share online so they don’t really share the same stuff or content from a few years ago?

AH No. And here’s why: If you’re only posting a couple of times a week and the content’s good, it doesn’t matter if you re-share something over again. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to share the same thing every week for weeks at a time or every single month for 12 months in a row. But social media should be an extension of how you interact with people, and it doesn’t need to be so totally structured that you need to worry about that. If you have a great YouTube video that you like or somebody else’s video that you like — upper body stretches for people who sit at their desk — that’s the kind of thing you want to be sharing a couple of times a year. You really don’t need to stress too much about it. Also, you can also just look back on your page and see what you’ve shared. I would suggest that your memory is not so terrible that you’re going to share the same thing over and over again. And even if you do share the same — let’s say you share five particular posts that you like at least once a year, that’s totally fine, because, in theory, your page is going to show posts to different people at different times, and your audience is going to keep growing and changing anyway. So don’t stress out that much about it.

MR Yeah.

AH What do you think, Michael?

MR I agree. And often people need to see things over and over sometimes; so it doesn’t hurt to repeat things. If it’s an article or a marketing message or something, people need to see things over and over sometimes to react or digest it, too; so I agree completely.

Next question: A client died or a client is dealing with a death and had to cancel or reschedule. Wait a minute, let me back up here. A client died or a client is dealing [laughs] that doesn’t read quite right.

AH I know. I know. People type these things off in the spur of the moment, and we’re going to be cool with random sentence structure. But go through what it says there, and let me cover it.

MR [laughs] All right. A client is dealing with a death, and had to cancel or reschedule. What are the options of addressing it with sympathy and being professional to the client or client’s family?

AH Okay. So let’s say it’s not that your client died. Let’s say that your client —

MR Right.

AH — which is Part 2 of this.

MR Oh, is it?

AH Yeah. So let’s say that your client is dealing with a very sick family member or a death in the family, and they have to cancel and reschedule. First of all, I don’t charge my cancellation policy in that situation. My cancellation policy is super liberal anyway, but I would totally not charge for the missed appointment, because that would be lame. And then I — typically if someone is calling me and I’m speaking to them, and they say — and I’ve had this exact thing happen in the last six months –a client called and said, “I’m so sorry. I won’t be able to make my appointment tomorrow. My mother’s really at the end in hospice here, and things are just in flux.” And I’ve said, “I’m so sorry to hear about that. Don’t worry about missing tomorrow’s appointment, and I’m going to check in with you in a couple of weeks and see how you’re doing and get you on the schedule again.” So when I verbally do that, it makes it easy to then call them in a few weeks or to send an email or whatever is an appropriate mode of communication for that particular client. Also, I will keep an eye on the local obituaries so that I do know when their loved one has, in fact, passed away, if I don’t know that they had for certain, and I would absolutely send a notecard. A very simple sympathy card or even a blank notecard that says Dear Jane, Hope you’re doing okay. I’m thinking of you often. It doesn’t have to to be a whole — you can say So sorry for your loss; you certainly can. Do whatever feels right for you. Choose the kind of sympathy card that you feel is right for you and that client. You can keep it secular if you are religious, and you know that they are. You could keep it involving God. It is entirely whatever is appropriate. A card is a lovely, lovely gesture, and I think whenever you know that a client’s loved one has passed away, you should do it. So there’s that.

If your client dies, that’s a whole different thing, and it’s very strange and probably deserves its own podcast, but I think we need a special guest for that; so I’m working on it. If you knew other people related to or friends with the client, you should certainly extend your sympathy. I have had clients pass away, and I have gone to wakes, and I have gone to funerals, and it’s very weird, because I might kind of know people. Maybe I’ve seen one or two of their family or friends that they may have referred or something, but I don’t really know people there, and the people there aren’t going to know me, and it becomes a little bit of an awkward situation to be like I was Jane’s massage therapist. It’s a very strange place to be in. But if you feel so inclined, and you feel that, for you, it’s appropriate, it is absolutely okay for you to go to a wake or go to a funeral, and you don’t need to have an extensive conversation about how you knew the client. You could say I’m a massage therapist. I was so-and-so’s massage therapist and leave it at that. Don’t divulge any other information than that; you still want to respect someone’s confidentiality. It’s okay for you to say goodbye via a structured ceremonial thing like a wake or a funeral. That’s totally okay. It is also okay for you to send a card to that person’s loved one. And it’s okay to say I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that I’ll be missing my visits with Jane. All the best or Thinking of you often or whatever is appropriate. I always have to look up from a guide what to write in a sympathy card. It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to say I’m sorry for your loss. I knew this person and I will miss them as well. And that’s how I feel about that. And I think a bunch of people are probably going to pop in and disagree with me and say that you shouldn’t say that so-and-so was a client even if they’ve passed away; that’s got a lot of grey area. But I wanted to answer this question kind of fast and hard and that’s how I’m doing it.

MR All right.

AH I’m done.

MR Got it. Next question: How to apply to harsh online reviews. Oh, that’s a good one.

AH Mmm. How to apply to harsh online reviews. Carefully and with patience and not immediately. So the very first thing I would say is do not reply to a lousy review quickly, as in, in the moment when you’re angry and ticked off. Set some time aside in the next day or two; write a draft; have a calm-minded friend, family, colleague, whatever read it through for you; and be as brief as possible. If someone is making an accusation that your services were unfair or your charging them was unfair or whatever, you want to address it, but super briefly. You want to say I’m sorry that you had this experience. I did, in fact, share my cancellation policy with you several times prior to the appointment, and you still missed your appointment, so, yes, your card was charged. I’m sorry you feel that’s unfair, but that is our policy. Or I’m sorry you feel you didn’t get the massage that you were looking for. I wish we had been able to communicate that during your session or right after. If you contact me privately, I would love to make up for this in one way or another. So you want to reply appropriately without necessarily sucking up to the person who left the bad review. But mostly you want — if you feel that the situation is unfair — one, if you feel like the review is fair because something lousy did happen, you want to state that, and you want to state your commitment to making that never happen again. And if you feel like the review is unfair, you want to state that, but you want to do that very calmly and kindly without getting piffy about it, and you want to write that in a way that anyone reading that review and your response is going to say Oh. Oh yeah. That was clearly a difficult client who was looking to get something more out of that treatment or looking to make a buck off of this small business, I’m not going to worry about that bad review. What do you think, Michael?

MR Yeah, I agree. Especially about the part of don’t reply right away. [laughs] That’s a recipe for getting down in the mud.

AH Yeah.

MR I do agree with applying to all reviews, and there’s a really elegant art to replying in such a way that you come out looking better. Because you’ve taken the high road, and you are very mature and respectful, and no matter how ugly or unreasonable someone writes a review, you can always come out looking better by taking that approach; so I agree.

AH Excellent. Who’s our halftime sponsor today, Michael?

MR Our halftime sponsor is our friends at ABMP.

AH Woohoo! So we’re sponsored by ABMP, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. They are supporting the largest community — oh, I said that all wrong. Let me try again. Ugh. Good grief.

MR Take two. No worries.

AH Okay. Here we go.

Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by ABMP, the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. Supporting the largest community in massage and bodywork, ABMP goes above and beyond great liability insurance to make it easier for you to succeed at what you love. ABMP membership combines the insurance you need, the free CE you want, and the advocacy and personalized customer service you deserve. Join the ABMP family and learn why more massage therapists and bodyworkers choose ABMP membership than any other association. Expect more at abmp.com.

MR Awesome.

AH What’s next, Michael?

MR This is fun. Let’s do some more.

AH Okay. Bring it.

MR All right. So next: How to share someone else’s blog on your blog with proper citations and segue, etc.

AH Segue, etc. —

MR Segue, etc.

AH You don’t know how to say the word “segue” Ha ha ha.

MR That’s not how you spell “segue”.

AH I think it is, dude.

MR No.

AH That’s not how you spell the — okay. It’s in here as S-E-G-U-E. Note, I think Segway, S-E-G-W-A-Y, is that 2-wheeled thing that was supposed to get really popular but never did.

MR No, there’s no U in that.

AH Really?

MR No, there’s no U or E.

AH Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. S-E-G-W-A-Y is the 2-wheeled thing. Anyhow Michael’s going to look up the proper spelling and tell me how wrong I am.

MR I am. I’m Googling it right now.

AH Well, no, you’re highlighting “segue.” We’re sharing a Google doc right now and Michael’s getting it all wrong, and I’m enjoying this.

So how do you share someone else’s blog on your own blog with proper citations? So what you want to do is if you have been inspired by someone else’s blog post or you want to refer to it, you might want to quote a very, very small section — like one or two sentences that are appropriate — paste them into your blog, and you want to refer to them. So you want to say As I read in this post by, and name the author and have that all linked to that blog post page, you can quote their couple of sentences and then move on with your own thing. But the important part here is you want to name their blog, ideally name the author if you can, and then put a link to that direct blog post. And that’s it. You don’t want to be copying and pasting several sentences at a time. If it’s that important for someone to go read that blog post, you want to send them to go read that full blog post. Michael, what do you have to say here since this is your thing?

MR I have nothing to add, because I was looking up “segue” and I was completely wrong; you are correct. [laughs]

AH I was totally right!

MR I never realized that segue was spelled like this.

AH S-E-G-U-E, as in when you are moving from one topic to another and that whatever in between. Yes. Yes.

MR Yeah. Wow. I feel dumb.

AH Let’s just take a moment to — no, you’re not dumb. You’re just limited in your knowledge, Michael.

MR [laughs] Somehow that doesn’t sound —

AH Also it’s one of those things that I got wrong so many times that I finally remembered it and got it right.

MR Fair enough. All right. Let’s move onto the next one. How do you calculate if you’re priced for your market?

AH I say you kind of don’t except that this is probably one of those things where someone is overthinking pricing. So you can look around and see what other people are charging in your area, and then you can look at their businesses and see if they’ve done a good job of niching to a target clientele. And I can tell you right now that 99.99% of massage businesses are terrible and are not niched to a specific clientele; so you can pretty much guarantee that they’re pricing a little too low. You can look around and see what other people are charging, but then you can also think about your target market and their general income. If your — you need to think through who your ideal client is. You also need to think through your area. I would suggest that extremely rural agricultural areas, you don’t want to have a target clientele of high-level corporate desk jockeys. You really need to be reasonable, which I’m guessing you already know. So think through the other services and providers that are in your area. Look at their pricing. Look at what makes your business different and/or better and probably go up a little bit. Michael, what do you think?

MR Yeah. I agree. I agree with the sentiment of don’t overthink it. I wouldn’t necessarily always base your pricing on the market. I think you can base it on other factors, just like you said, like specialization. I would agree.

AH Okay. There you go. What’s next?

MR All right. We have one more. The last one is How to address injured or overtreated clients, adverse reactions, product reactions, etc., when you follow up with them, or they call you after their appointment and tell you they are worse.

AH Ugh. This is the worst thing ever. I’m a big advocate, especially after people’s first appointment, checking in with in one mechanism, like by phone or text or email or whatever’s appropriate, a couple of days after to see how they’re feeling, especially if they haven’t booked another appointment yet. So what do you do if when you follow up with them it turns out they’re worse or if they just call you to say they’re worse? First of all, you validate their experience. You don’t want to be like I’m sure the massage had nothing to do with that. You want to say Oh no. I’m so sorry you’re having that reaction. And then you want to think it through: Did I overwork their shoulder? Could the excessive massage — could the massage I did to their shoulder have been too much and that’s why they feel like they can’t move their shoulder? And if that’s the case, you want to say You know what? It’s possible that I did too much work to your shoulder. Let’s talk about the pain that you’re in now and see what the most appropriate action is. It could just be that some ice and some Biofreeze or a day of rest does the trick. It could be that there’s underlying condition and massage exacerbated it, and you really need to refer them to their GP. It’s okay to say There could be some underlying condition here and massage exacerbated it; so this could actually be a useful diagnostic tool. I’d really like for you to get seen by your GP. This happened to me. I worked on a woman who was 3 or 4 — probably 4 or 5 months pregnant, and she was having a lot of shoulder and clavicle pain, and I did a whole bunch of shoulder work on her, and the next day she was a million times worse and felt like she couldn’t breathe. Turns out she had costochondritis, which is an inflammatory condition, and the massage just exacerbated it. The good news is she was able to go to her doctor, who was able to diagnose it quickly based on that series of events. Oh, so heat and rubbing it was a bad idea, it’s probably this and ran a few other tests to confirm that. So it’s not always the worst thing in the world if someone has a bad reaction to massage.

If they have a product reaction, you want to check in with the product manufacturer immediately to find out what is the best situation. A lot of times if someone has an allergic reaction, it’s just a bumpy red rash, in which case they want to get — make sure all of the remaining product is off of them; so soap and water. Then they can check in with their physician or dermatologist or whoever is available to them or do a little Dr. Googling and probably find that there’s an over-the-counter– or talk to their pharmacist and find there’s an over-the-counter cream that they can put on it to minimize that contact dermatitis. But you want to be clear. You want to be okay saying Oh no. Yes, it’s possible that the massage did that. You also want to be okay to say I don’t know that massage would have that kind of reaction. I think this might be more of a coincidence, but here’s how I think you should handle it. And that might be, depending on your state and your scope, recommending heat or ice or some gentle motion or have them come back in for a half an hour — you could offer it to them complimentary — to do a little stretching or motion or assess the situation and then properly refer out. But don’t be afraid of that. I think being really honest, being really validating their experience, and being comfortable saying Yeah. Sometimes massage can have a bad effect. Because sometimes it can. If you believe that massage can help, you need to accept that sometimes massage can hurt and also that we don’t always know enough to know how or why, but to be really validating and not be afraid to refer them out to a more qualified provider who can diagnose. That’s what I got, Michael.

MR This was fun.

AH It was fun. It was nice. All of these little things I felt like they didn’t add up to a whole episode on their own, but it was fun to rapid-fire blast our way through them.

MR Yeah. I like it. We should probably do this again sometime.

AH We will.

MR All right. On that note, that’s so much for joining us, everybody. A reminder our website, as always, is massagebusinessblueprint.com. A lot of great content there as well as previous podcast episodes, blog posts, articles, and of course our premium member community, which we would love for you to check out. If you have any questions or comments or questions like these we discussed today, send them to us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. You can just email them over and we will keep track of them and bring them up later. So thanks again for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.

AH Bye.

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