Episode 307

Jul 31, 2020

What do you do when you know a client is lying about their COVID-19 risk behaviors?

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Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

  • What do you do when you know a client is lying about their COVID-19 risk behaviors?

Quick Tips



Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by The Jojoba Company. I believe that massage therapists should only be using the highest quality products because our clients deserve it and our own bodies deserve it. I've been using jojoba for years and here's why: Jojoba is nonallergenic; I can use it on any client and every client safely without a fear of allergic reaction. It won't clog pores, so I can use it on all my clients who are prone to acne breakouts. Jojoba does not go rancid; it makes jojoba a great carrier for essential oils. And it won't stain your 100% cotton sheets. The Jojoba Company is the only company in the world that carries 100% pure, first-pressed quality jojoba. And you, our listeners, can get 10% off orders of $35 or more when you shop through our link massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba, that's J-O-J-O-B-A, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines I'm Allissa Haines.

MR And we're your hosts. Welcome to our show today. We're glad you're with us. Allissa, what is going on with you?

AH You know, same old same old, "pandemic normal."

MR Yeah, there's that. Yeah.

AH "Pandemic fine" is what I caught somebody following it.

MR "Pandemic fine." [Laughing]

AH "Pandemic fine." And I made my very first spaghetti carbonara last week, so that was really exciting.

MR Spaghetti what?

AH Carbonara. It's like -- you take spaghetti, and then you make a sauce that's like -- I have already forgotten the things that go in the sauce. But it's not like a sauce the way you think of it. it's more like a glaze, and it's -- you use -- I guess some recipes use garlic and some don't, but -- oh, bacon. Okay, I'm sorry. I lost my train of thought. So you chop up some bacon -- or some prosciutto, or there's some other kind of Italian pork thing that you traditionally use. And you cook it, sauté it until it's crispy, and then you maybe put some onion or -- I think not all the recipes use garlic. But what you do is you end up putting the hot pasta into this big pan, and then you pour a mixture of egg and -- mostly egg yolk -- and parmesan cheese over it. And the hot pasta and the warm pan cook the egg sauce, but it becomes like a liquid-y glaze. But it sounds weird, but it actually does cook through; you're not eating raw egg. And it creates this wonderful, salty, parmesan, delicious pasta dish. Spaghetti carbonara, there you go.

Anyhow, we're supposed to stop bantering, and I just gave a whole recipe, which is like -- I need to do this Allissa Cooks podcast or video series now.

MR I'm thinking I really do feel a YouTube cooking show coming at some point.

AH Eventually. What've you been up to? You want to go right into -- do you have anything to share, banter-wise, or you want to launch into what you're reading? How're you doing?

MR Let's go into what we're reading. So -- well, it kind of relates to just general banter anyway because I'm just fed up with the whole mask thing. I'm just fed up with it. I'm done with it. [Laughing] I went on this rampage over the weekend of sharing all this stuff about like, stop being an idiot, and stop fighting against masks. It's not infringing on your freedom. Would you stop -- I just can't take it anymore. So I realize that our audience, our listenership, is fairly sophisticated and refined, and I don't think anyone listening is that type of person that's rabid, anti-masker or anything.

But I am reading a few articles on those subject, more than a few. And one I put in the show notes here is from Wall Street Journal. I've been using this one a lot because the Wall Street Journal is hard to criticize as being left-wing liberal propaganda. It's a fairly conservative publication. And this article says, "Face Masks Really Do Matter. The Scientific Evidence Is Growing." And it's just another walkthrough of the notion that there really is evidence that face masks help and that we should be wearing them to help curb the spread of COVID-19. And it's a very simple, non-invasive thing to do to really help the situation overall.

The director of the CDC basically said that if everyone wore masks -- even if like 80% of the country wore masks -- in a few weeks, we'd have this thing under control. It would be well under control. So that's what I've been reading. It's probably unhealthy how much I've been obsessing over this, so I'm kind of going to be done with it now. But that's what I've been reading. I just can't take this whole mask argument. It shouldn't be an argument. It shouldn't be political. It should be just common sense. So I'm a little rant-y about it right now.

AH I love when you get rant-y about stuff. It cracks me up. And I love that you posted the article about the -- well, they call it incivility, but it's really misogyny against women like AOC when she got called names by another congressperson.

Anyhow, I think it's hilarious how rant-y you've gotten. You're more -- you're becoming radicalized, and I really enjoy that.

MR [Laughing] Well, I'm inherently not, but sometimes, I just can't take it anymore.

AH I know. Cracks me up. I like it. So I -- let me tell you what I've been reading. I know we've talked about this before, but I listened to -- when I read stuff by Gretchen Rubin -- and that she's the creator of the Happiness podcast and some books about habits and happiness that I really like. And I've talked before about her framework of the Four Tendencies, which are kind of frameworks, personality profiles, about how people respond to expectations. And I'm finally reading the actual book, the full book about the four tendencies. It's not a long book.

But there's this concept that there are four personality types, and there's like -- I think I've talked about this before, but there's an Upholder who meets outer and inner expectations. And that's kind of a minority of the population. I think Michael's an Upholder with a hint of Questioner, but nonetheless.

There's Obligers, which is the largest part of the population, who meet outer expectations when they have a outer accountability, but they resist their own inner expectations, which is like, I'll show up for a client, but I won't -- give them a massage because there's accountability, but I won't necessarily keep my bookkeeping in order because that's an inner expectation, and like any of us, I'll wait until the last minute and I have to give my accountant all my information for tax prep.

There are Questioners who will resist outer expectations but meet their inner ones, so they have to know reasoning. They have to know why they should do or think something. They need to have all of their questions fulfilled and come to the conclusion that this is a worthy expectation or task on their own. And then there's Rebels who resist all expectations, and they're interesting to work with.

So I've been -- but it's -- I found it a lot like the StrengthsFinder books that I read a while back where you -- if you can just generally or loosely put someone into a category, it gives you really good ideas of how to deal with them better and also how to know yourself better. And this is something I've known about myself for a long time. I'm an Obliger. I will ignore my own inner dreams and expectations and desires, and I am more readily -- will fulfill things that hold me accountable. I'm not going to exercise on my own, but if I have an exercise buddy, I will do that. Massage Business Blueprint didn't turn into anything real until I partnered with Michael, and therefore, found myself accountable to a business partner. So I had to get my crap done. Although, he's been a little lax with me lately, which is -- my work has been a little slow. So Michael needs to start cracking the whip on me.

MR Oh, I can crack the whip some more if you want. All right.

AH Yeah, we need to do that. But -- so anyhow, I'm finally reading the book, and I'll link to it. There's also a quiz you can take that kind of loosely groups you into one. But the book is just -- I don't know why I hadn't read it earlier. I just hadn't gotten to it. It's so good, and it's giving me such a deeper idea of how to deal with people and even how to deal with the kids and your partner, and it's really great. I really -- I'm enjoying it. I thought I was going to kind of trudge through it just because I wanted to learn more, but it's more interesting and entertaining than I thought it would be initially diving into it. So that's what I'm reading.

MR Interesting. I'm taking the quiz right now, but I'm not quite done.

AH [Laughing]

MR So I'll let you know the results [indiscernible].

AH By the end of the episode, please.

MR Yeah. I'll see what I -- I think I'm on Question 7, so I think I can make that happen.

AH You should be able to do it.

MR Yeah. Yeah.

AH Who's our first sponsor, Michael?

MR All right, our friends at ABMP.

AH Yay. Thanks, ABMP.

Sponsor message All massage therapists and bodyworkers and can access free ABMP resources and information on the coronavirus and the massage profession at abmp.com/covid19. This includes sample release forms -- that I'm currently using -- PPE guides, and a special issue of Massage & Bodywork magazine that is all about this particular health crisis. And they have launched the ABMP podcast, and recent episodes feature conversations with Ruth Werner.

And side note, they just have a -- they just -- I can't even -- words are hard. They just published a new podcast episode that is a new series from Ruth Werner called "I Have a Client Who…" And she covers a particular pathology or topic related to a massage therapist question. And you know what? By the end of the episode, I will have the email address for you where you can send in your question. I sent in mine, and it will be covered in an upcoming podcast episode. See? I freestyled, and now my words are all messed up.

MR You're doing fine.

AH Anyhow, the new podcast is awesome.

And you can see it at abmp.com/podcasts or in all the places you prefer to listen to podcasts. You can expect more from ABMP.

MR Awesome. Thanks, ABMP. All right. Watcha got for us today?

AH All right. Let me start talking about our actual topic, and you can finish that personality quiz.

MR I just finished it actually.

AH [Laughing] That's great.

MR I don't know if it's accurate. I got Obliger. But I kind of -- I did it while I was half-listening to you as well, so I don't think I really gave it full attention. So I'll try it again next time when I can focus on it for five minutes.

AH You're an Upholder.

MR You think so? All right, I'll try again.

AH Yeah, because you can -- you studied for that whole CFP exam and all of that stuff on your own without anybody else holding you accountable. And you run a ton of businesses. You're absolutely -- I think you're an Upholder with a tendency to Questioner. But if you had a tendency towards Obliger, that wouldn't shock me.

MR Gotcha.

AH Anyhow.

MR Anyhow.

AH So what're you going to do, people, if you've gone back to work, and you have intake questions for clients, and you ask them things like, hey, have you traveled out of state in the last 14 days? and they lie to you? So what do we do when clients lie to us, and specifically, when we know clients lie to us because when we don't know, we don't know, and nothing changes? But there's a lot of new restrictions and intake questions. Some are state-required or locality-required, and some are just best practices that we are choosing to implement on our own. We're asking a lot of questions the day before a massage and when people walk in, and we're setting a lot of rules. And some clients do not care about these restrictions. Some clients -- like the anti-maskers Michael was ranting about -- don't care about these restrictions. They don't believe any of this. They think it's actually a hoax, and they may not answer truthfully.

So you might ask somebody, have you traveled out of state in the last 14 days? and they'll say, no, but you know from a Facebook post or from seeing their sister yesterday that they went to Miami last week or Austin, Texas, or Disneyland. So what do you do? What do you know when you know a client is lying to you, and they are lying to get in to get a massage when their behaviors have increased risk factors?

So let's start with the two polarizing options. The first thing you can do is ignore it. You can decide that you do not want to confront the issue, and you are going to ignore the fact that you know they're lying, and you're going to give them a massage anyway. You're comfortable with that increased risk of exposure. You're going to pretend you don't know the truth and treat the client.

This might be barring legal responsibilities here. There could be state, local, whatever, requirements that disallow you from working on that person. And at that point, you have to decide, do I want to pretend, perhaps, against these requirements, that I don't know better? Or what are my legal responsibilities here? In Massachusetts, we have a new thing where if you're traveling in from out of state -- and specifically, for many of the higher-risk states -- if you're not -- if it's not New England, New York, New Jersey -- you have to self-quarantine for 14 days or show proof of a very recent negative test. And it doesn't say that I'm required to report anyone I know who's quarantining and should be, but it doesn't -- they do have a citizens alert line, and they do have suggestions on what to do if you know of someone -- and how to drop a dime on somebody who is not doing the things they're supposed to do. So you may have a legal responsibility, or you may have an ethical or moral obligation to report people who are engaging in risky behavior and not following your state or local rules.

So anyhow, let's get back to the main point. You could ignore this. You could ignore their lie. You could be fine with their increased risk. And a lot of people are going to suggest that if -- we don't know if clients are lying to us half the time anyway, so why make an issue of this particular person just because you know they're lying? Okay. So that's one option. Ignore it.

The polar opposite is to fire the client immediately. So when you say, have you traveled out of state in the last 14 days? and they say, no, but you know they have, you say, you know what? I know that you were in Miami last week. I am going to cancel this appointment. I'm going to ask that you do not rebook. I am not comfortable working on a client that I can't trust to be honest with me. Thanks for your business in the past. I wish you all the best in the future. If you are going to feel resentful and angry and scared because a client has lied to you about their increased risk behavior, fire them because if they lie to you about this, what else are they going to lie to you about? Are they going to say it's allergies when they don't know? Are they going to lie about having had a fever yesterday? Are they going to lie about their athlete's foot or impetigo or blood thinners or whatever? What else are they going to lie about? So that's an option.

What if you confront them with this, and they are apologetic, and they say -- when you say, listen. I've got these rules in place because I'm immune-compromised or because a lot of my clients are immune-compromised, and I need to be extra vigilant about my safety and theirs. And what if they're apologetic, and they start to understand why those rules are in place, and they say, I'm sorry. I didn't realize how important this was. You get to decide. Do you forgive that and reschedule them for whatever 14 days from now? Are you going to be resentful and scared in the future whenever they come in because you don't know how genuine their epiphany has been? There you go.

So those are the polar opposite options, right? But what's the middle ground? How can we avoid this? How can we avoid honest confusion? And how can we avoid lying clients? Well, we really can't avoid lying clients. People are going to lie. It's just what people do. But we can avoid confusion, honest confusion, with really good protocols.

So what's honest confusion? Honest confusion is not "have you traveled out of the state?" and they lie and say no. Honest confusion is you saying something like, have you practiced good social distancing? Nobody knows what the heck good social distancing is. That's not a thing. Every state, every resource, every professional you talk to, and any health-related whatever has a different version of what they think good social distancing is. And it's the worst phrase ever. "Social distancing" -- you're not social distancing. You're "physical distancing."

And even within my state, we're still confused because the mask rules say you have to mask when you can't be six feet apart from someone. And you have to mask when you're in a public space. But what if you're in a public space like a park, and you are six feet apart? Do you still need masks or not? It's very unclear, and nobody's really answered this. And even when the governor was asked this in a press conference, he was kind of weird and cagey, and I couldn't figure out what the answer was.

So nobody has the same definition of all of these things, all of these rules and these regulations and these criterias and these protocols. So you've got to create your own with very clear, pre-written criteria. So consider what are the definitions of precautions to you. What are your state definitions? What are your interpretations? And you need to share that information with your clients before they even are allowed to book an appointment and the day before in your pre-screening and at the appointment in your verbal intake. And when you know for sure that someone is being dishonest, you know that it's not because of a lack of communication or confusion in any way.

So when you say, here is what -- I will not take clients -- or something -- and I'm actually doing this, so here's an actual real example. I am not going to see clients who have eaten indoors at a restaurant in the last 14 days. I will not do that. I do not want to see them. So there's no grey area there. And it's very clear in the pre-booking information. So if someone shows up at my appointment, and they're surprised -- at their appointment -- and they're surprised when I ask this, it means they didn't read my information. They didn't read it before they booked. They didn't read it before they checked in on the pre-screening stuff. And they didn't read it before they walked in the door for my appointment -- for that appointment. So they're fired. I'm not going to see clients who cannot be bothered to read important risk information in a pandemic. I do not want those clients. But it's pretty clear, right? That's not -- and if I know that they ate out because they, whatever, checked in on Facebook to a local restaurant and posted a picture of them eating inside, I know they're lying. This is nothing unclear about this. There's plenty of clients who are going to be eating indoors that may not tell me. I can't do anything about that. But I can do something about the things I know about.

So if someone is being dishonest, it's not because of a lack of communication. It's because they are liars, and you should fire them or be okay with that risk. You get to decide if you want long-term clients who you know lie to you. And apply these rules universally. You've got to be fair. You cannot make exceptions for one person because then it's an exception, and it's not a rule. So if you decide your rule is that you don't want to see anybody who has socialized indoors without a mask with people not of their household, and you know someone has, and you see them, then you need to see everyone who you know is violating that rule. I think -- I say "you need to." You don't. You get to make your own decisions. But I think that it's really important to apply these rules consistently to everyone universally. Otherwise, you're ultimately going to feel resentful because you're not holding your boundaries where you feel is safe. And you've determined -- you get to decide, if it's in excess of your state or local mandates, what you feel is your risk tolerance. You do.

And -- I lost my train of thought there when I got onto the rules and stuff. Oh, so if you don't enforce these and people know that you don't enforce these, you're going to become the therapist that everyone wants to go see even as they engage in very risky behavior. You don't want that rep. You just don't want that reputation.

And I kind of already side-noted into this, but I want to -- I'll wrap this up with this note. It is absolutely okay to have criteria that is much more strict than your required regulations and much more strict than the other practitioners around you. I do, and it has made me feel very good about going back to work. I will not see clients who have socialized indoors without a mask with people who are not of their household. I will not see clients who have dined indoors. I will not see clients -- there's a few other things, but yeah. I've kind of made those rules. I've put them out to the few clients I'm going to start seeing in August. And I had one -- I think I mentioned this last week. I had one couple who were like, yup, we do not meet that criteria. Let us know when you're back in action fully. And I was like, great. Thanks for letting me know. Here's the name of a colleague who is not being as strict as I am and is sticking to the state protocols versus my extra super-Allissa protocols. And they were really grateful for that. And that's fine. I lost two clients for now. I'm cool with that.

So that's it. Do what feels good for you. You don't have to tolerate people lying to you. Fire, fire their butts. Or decide you're cool with it, and just roll with it, and don't get stressed out. I'm done.

MR I like it. Well said.

AH I hope so. We'll see.

MR [Laughing] I thank you for that.

AH I feel like I might get some kickback on this, but we'll see.

MR Hey, it's your business. You get to decide.

AH And I do -- you know what? I have another thing to say. So in looking at a few different conversations about this in different places -- online and in office hours -- there are some people who feel like if you're not comfortable with any kind of risk, then you shouldn't just be -- you just shouldn't be back to work, and I think that's crap. I think when you run the kinds of businesses that we run, to say that someone is like, well, if you don't like that that client could lie to you, and you could have increased risk, you shouldn't be back at work. That's bull. You can be back to work and do your darndest to hold your boundaries and your criteria. People might get through because people are going to lie and you don't know. And that's just an inherent risk that we all have. And there's always a risk that a client's not going to tell you about something.

But it's worse now, so I think it's okay for you to go back to work and have your boundaries. And if someone says, well, if you don't want any risk, then you shouldn't be back to work. Just tell them to suck it. Tell them Allissa said to suck it. And yeah. And that's that.

MR [Laughing] "Allissa said to suck it." I'm going to use that over and over every chance I get.

AH We're going to have stickers made.

MR That sounds perfect. All right. Let's give some love to our favorite online scheduling tool, Acuity.

AH Acuity! And I spent a lot of time with them the last couple of weeks trying to figure out what's my business is going to look like in the upcoming months.

Sponsor message Acuity is the scheduling assistant that makes it easy for you to run your business and also for traditional brick and mortar businesses to become virtual businesses as many of us have done with some of our services. Acuity is the business suite that takes hours off of your plate and gives you the freedom to focus on the actual work of your business that you love. You -- let me just see. I'm going to scroll down and say things that I haven't said before. Okay. So you can -- never have to ask, what time works for you? again. Clients can quickly view your real-time availability and book their own appointments. You can handle your prescreening intake forms through Acuity. You can do all kinds of stuff and handle that non-contact payment online before the appointment. And you can do it all from that Acuity Scheduling features. Get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today. And you can check that out at massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.

MR All right. Quick tips. You got anything today?

AH You go first. You go first. I don't have one yet.

MR Okay. Okay. [Laughing] Well, you've got about 30 seconds. All right. So I've been getting into live streaming a little more, not -- through a different -- not through this business, through a different business -- my financial advisory practice. I've been getting more into kind of simulcasting my podcast episodes through a video live stream, as well just doing some general short live stream educational things.

The reason I've been doing that is, one, I just feel like it's something I should just get to know a little bit better because I like trying new things. But two, with the pandemic, podcasting is a little bit less popular, and video is getting more popular because people are driving less. Don't get me wrong; I'm still very bullish on podcasting. I think podcasting is awesome. It's got a lot of potential, a lot of longevity, so I'm very into podcasting still. But podcasting is great when people are commuting a lot and have that downtime in the car to listen. But now a lot of people are -- they're working from home a lot more if not just a dramatic amount more, and they're watching videos more as a result. They can focus. They can be in front of their computers more. And they can focus on videos more, whereas in the commuting context, driving, people can't watch videos while driving safely obviously. So I've been getting more into live streaming. I know a lot of our Community members, a lot of our audience, has been into live streaming as well, kind of getting into maybe doing educational or yoga sessions or mindfulness sessions or educational broadcast to kind of share health and wellness or self-massage techniques, things like that.

So a tool I've found that makes it easier is something I wanted to share. I want to share a tool called StreamYard. I've been using StreamYard for live streaming, and I really like it. It is web-based, so it is compatible with any platform you're going to be on, Mac or Windows. And there's a free version that lets you stream to one platform. For example, you can stream to Facebook Live or to YouTube. It does have a limit to only about six participants if you're -- people or guests are joining you or you have co-hosts or people that are joining you for the stream. Up to six people can join you. It does have the StreamYard branding on it. The paid plan is $25 a month, and it lets you have up to ten people in one stream that are hosting or co-hosting with you. You can put your logo in there. You can do a fancy overlay. It gets rid of the StreamYard branding. And you can stream with up to -- or to up to three destinations. So you can do, for example, a Facebook Live to a YouTube Live and let's say, a LinkedIn Live at the same time. So you can do one stream to all those platforms at once, which is really nice.

So I've been using the paid version, but the free version I used for a while for a few streams as well, and it works great. So I just wanted to share that tool. I think it's really user-friendly. It's really easy to use, really high quality. So if anyone's getting into live streaming to do some virtual stuff in your practice, I really like StreamYard.

AH Sorry. It took me a second to unmute.

MR Yeah.

AH That's great. Thank you. And you know what? It did remind me of a quick tip that I could share.

MR Yay.

AH If you are going to use video, and if you're going to stream your live video and then keep it up there for the world to see after the live portion, you got to add some captions. You need to have closed captions/subtitling, whatever you want to call it, available for people to watch later so that people can watch it if they can't have their volume up, and also hearing-impaired people or people with different learning issues. Some people need to hear and read it at the same time in order to truly digest information. This is really common among people with ADHD and people with autism and people with all kinds of different issues, learning issues and neurodiverse stuff.

You can caption your videos. There's a couple of free programs out there. I like one called Kapwing, K-A-P-W-I-N-G. We'll put the link in the podcast notes. It's a really nice program where you upload your video, and it creates these subtitles or captions, and you can customize them like -- because they always spell my name wrong, or sometimes they mash words together, so you can adjust them. And then you actually download something called an SRT file. And all the major video hosts have the option to upload an SRT file, which slaps those captions into the video. And it does it with all of the time markings and stuff. So it's a whole thing that works that you don't need to know how it works. But you can create, for free, an SRT file and upload that to wherever your video is being hosted and have captions. And it really doesn't take that long. In general, for me to just refine the captions on an hour video, it maybe takes me less than a half an hour to just skim through it, catch any weird words that don't adjust properly, that don't translate or transcript probably. And it's great. It's called Kapwing, and you should do it.

MR And you can upload that to Facebook and YouTube, right? It works on other platforms.

AH Yeah, and Vimeo. And any place that's hosting a video, they have -- I have not run into a place that does not have the option to upload that SRT file with the text.

MR Okay. Nice. Thanks for the tip. All right.

AH Well done.

MR Well, I think we're good for today. Let's wrap it up. So thanks, everyone, for joining us. As always, you can find us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com. Send us a note. Many of you have communicated with us through our website and send us messages from time to time, which we appreciate. And you can also just email us directly at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. Thanks for joining us today. Have a great day. We'll see you next time.

AH Bye. 

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