Podcast

Episode 406

Mar 18, 2022

Getting through a lull in business can be tough, Allissa and Michael discuss how fill the time in a useful way.

Listen to "E406: Getting Through a Lull in Business (LIVE EPISODE)" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 406

Weekly Roundup


Discussion Topic

  • Getting through a lull in business (pandemic edition) -or- How to Fill the Time in a Useful Way

Quick Tips

  • Quit something
  • Focus on one thing at a time

Sponsors


Transcript:

Sponsor message:

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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.

Michael Reynolds:

And we're your host. Welcome to our episode today. So we're doing something slightly different today. We realized that the vast majority of you will be listening via your favorite podcast app. So we want to make sure you know what's going on. We are broadcasting this recording via Facebook live. So we're trying something new. We might fail spectacularly at it, or it may be great we may have a lot of fun. So we'll see either way. It's an experiment. So throughout the episode, we are going into three different spots, we're going to take potential comments if we have anybody commenting on Facebook live. So after each segment, we'll check the comments. And if you want to ask a question or post a comment, if you're on Facebook live, go ahead and do that. We'll bring them up during the end of each segment. And we'll talk about any potential comments or answer any questions. So if you're listening via the podcast, just be aware that's what's going on today. So we're doing that via Facebook live, so it should be fun. So what's going on, Allissa? What are you reading?

Allissa Haines:

I'm reading a little bit of depressing stuff, which is that wastewater reports, which is measuring levels of, I think COVID RNA in our poop. They're indicating another surge on the way. So-

Michael Reynolds:

Of course they are.

Allissa Haines:

They are... It's really super exciting. So there is a bunch of places across the United States that measure these. And in... I'm trying to get the exact numbers up between February 24th and March 10th, 37% of wastewater sites that are monitored, have seen an increase of 100% or more in the presence of the virus. And about 30% of the sites have seen an increase of a thousand percent or more. So it's a pretty steep and fast increase in the amounts that they're finding in our poop, which this is usually... So Massachusetts and specifically Boston has been doing a wastewater thing for quite a while since the beginning. And it is reliably about 10 to 14 days ahead of what we see in doctor's offices.

Allissa Haines:

That said, I was also reading somewhere. It was totally on Twitter, but it was a handful of medical billing experts chatting about how they're seeing an increase in doctor's visits for COVID and medical billing. People... that's like they're seeing things within five days of when they're happening in doctor's offices, they're getting those records and doing the billing. So also a reliable source. So the hope is that this next variant won't hit the US so bad because we had a really big first surge of the first Omicron variant, but who the heck knows? So it all falls into place with today's topic, which we'll get to shortly because these things impact the up and down and the flow of our business.

Michael Reynolds:

Yay. For the eternal America round of COVID. Thanks for sharing that.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. Sorry.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, my... What you're reading is not much more positive, although it's on the tech side of things. So I am listening to... or I have listened to an episode of The Journal from The Wall Street Journal on Facebook. And the title is Facebook's 10 Billion Advertising Exodus, and it's just an overview of what's happening with Facebook advertising and what business owners are doing about it. So as many of us might be aware Facebook or rather Apple has changed how they track information on iPhones. And what happened was Apple allowed people to start saying, "Hey, please don't track my activity on various apps, including Facebook." And so of course, when this pops up, most of us, including me are saying, "Hey, don't track me." Obviously we want to do that, and that's the default response.

Michael Reynolds:

And that is severely limiting Facebook's ability to provide the same level of advertising detail and targeting for people. And so people, as a result are doing less and less Facebook advertising, some are leaving Facebook altogether for other reasons too, but this is one more thing that's causing businesses to diversify more. And what I like about this particular discussion, and I like bringing it back in the spotlight again, because for a long time, Allissa and I have both cautioned people, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to advertising. Don't put all of your advertising efforts into Facebook advertising or into any particular one thing, because you don't own that property. You don't have control over that property or what happens." So it's really important to make sure your website is up to date. Your website is where you're storing information, that's your home base.

Michael Reynolds:

You want to put effort into properties that you own. You don't own Facebook. You don't own Google or TikTok or Twitter or other properties. And so it's really important to make sure that you're not relying on platforms that can change on a whim, or when technology or even legislation changes, those things can disrupt your advertising and disrupt your ability to reach your clients. So I like that discussion. I think it's a good reminder to make sure that we really put most of our efforts into properties that we own like again, your website, your blog, your podcast, your own videos, your own content, your own platforms, because you can control those platforms and not... you don't control the other platforms out there that are... You're at their mercy. So, all right. We got some comments coming at the end of this segment here.

Michael Reynolds:

First of all, I'm going to... So Leslie's excited about livestream. Leslie says, "Yay. Livestream." We'll share that comment. Sakina says, "Poop don't lie or poop can't lie," I guess. Thanks, Sakina, I... Yeah. That is what it is. All right. So Leslie is asking, I'm going to pop that question on screen for those watching live, so where should we spend ad dollars? Is there an NBB poster class on how to do Google Ads as well? Is that still relevant? All right. So the question is, where should we spend the ad dollars now? It's a great question. So there's not a right or wrong, or a one size fits all rule, obviously for everybody. But I would say if you're spending lot of money in advertising, for now let's say on Facebook, not saying you should stop doing that.

Michael Reynolds:

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I would say put more effort into your own content first. Your own insights. I'm trying to say insights more than content these days because it just sounds more thoughtful. Content feels like you're just pumping out content like a factory. So, I'd just say, insights are more thoughtful things to teach people. So things like your blog, resources on your website, resource pages, videos, educational material, do that first. That's always been my thought anyways to do that stuff first. And then as far as where to spend ad dollars, Google can be very helpful, I think to massage therapists because Google helps you with intent. So when you're advertising on Facebook, you're basically just pushing out stuff to people and hoping that it hits them when they're going to pay attention and they may or may not.

Michael Reynolds:

But with Google advertising, you're finding people that are searching for you. So people that are searching for massage services, there's a little more intent there. And Google is not as affected as much as Facebook has been when it comes to advertising. Google doesn't rely as much on that kind of tracking. So if you have a chunk of ad dollars you're spending on Facebook and you want to shift it, I would look at Google Ads first and then potentially expand into other platforms. But that would be my first step is to maybe get more into Google Ads because that intent is great, and they aren't affected as much by tracking.

Michael Reynolds:

So great question, Leslie. Appreciate it. All right. Anything you want to add Allissa? Oh, Allissa's sound is off. Cannot hear Allissa. So, just maybe a tech experiment here. So we will give Allissa a moment here. So while we're waiting for Allissa's sound, any other questions or comments from anybody watching? Feel free to pop those in. I'll just vamp and ramble here while we're waiting. I love these experiments. They're fun. We'll work out the kings here on our first or second episode or so, but...

Michael Reynolds:

All right, Allissa is still working on it. All right. She's going to come back and join us shortly. So luckily we're among friends, Leslie and Sakina here. So thanks for being here. Any other thoughts? I'll ramble and hang out here waiting for Allissa to come back, because she's got the main topic, so we got to have her here, but... All right there she is.

Allissa Haines:

So can you hear me now?

Michael Reynolds:

Sure can. Allissa is back. We are good to go.

Allissa Haines:

Did that same thing that it did in our test, where it was all set and then I just had to log out and in again. Okay. So, sorry about all the tech issues-

Michael Reynolds:

No worries. Sakina, popped in with one more comment while you're out.

Allissa Haines:

There could be more because I'm on a low battery and now my charging cord is out in my shed. So, do we want to try to tackle our topic before my battery dies?

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah, sure. Let's do it. So, thanks Sakina for the comment, if we have time, we'll come back around to you. So all right. Go for it. Let's get our first sponsor and jump in, our next sponsor and jump in rather.

Allissa Haines:

Oh, our next sponsor we're already there. Goodness me. Okay. Let me just switch my screens here. There we go. So yeah, ABMP, they might not be as proud about sponsoring today's ridiculousness of an episode, but typically they're pretty proud to sponsor us. Let's talk today about the ABMP education center because I just used it the other day. You can find it at abmp.com/learn, 600 hours of continuing education courses included with the ABMP membership are available for purchase to non-members at a ridiculously affordable price, all kinds of topics, hands on techniques, ethics, self-care, cultural competency, courses for massage educators as well. It is a great way to meet CE requirements, to try out new presenters and to save your big CE budget for other courses. And again, you can learn more at abmp.com/learn.

Michael Reynolds:

Just have a few Leslie's comment on screen. Leslie says, Allissa's frustration is chef's kiss. All right, go for it.

Allissa Haines:

Oh, let's see how my battery's doing. All right. We'll probably make it. So today's topic, which is equally as annoying as tech issues, which is getting through the lull in business, and this is the pandemic version of this. Affectionately it's subtitled, how out to fill the time in a useful way and just holy moly, the ups and downs of trying to run a service based business that has us in a small room individually with people for an hour or more at a time. It's been a lot, there have been lots of people who have been really successfully back to work full-time or part-time or whatever time amount they want it to be. So I feel like we know that it's possible, but how to keep yourself busy in a productive way during these lulls. So, for example, when that over the holiday surge hit, how to be productive when I have tens clients scheduled in a week, which is what I want for that week.

Allissa Haines:

And then four of them have to cancel because either they have the sniffles or a kid in the house is sick. It's really defeating. Long term it's exhausting. We've all had those ups and downs, but so I put together a list of my tips, things that have worked well for me, things that I've talked to colleagues about, we're going to run through them. First and foremost, keep your work hours, keep your hours for work available for work as if you were working. And this is good in general all the time, but it becomes really easy when you have lots of cancellations or all of a sudden you have these... you expected clients and you don't have them to fill that time with non business stuff. And that only prevents us from building our business for the next low. So as much as possible and if it's possible.

Allissa Haines:

And I know that sometimes it's not, especially if you're paying for childcare while you massage clients, if you're not massaging clients, you're not making the money to be able to pay childcare. So I understand this is not universal, but as much as possible, keep your work hours as your work hours and do not let them get filled with non-business stuff. So in those times where you should have clients but you don't, do all the things to increase and improve your retention efforts. So reach out to clients who have fallen off the schedule, maybe people that you haven't seen in two plus years, maybe people that you saw at some point over the last two years, but for whatever reason fell off the schedule, it's so much easier for people, even regular clients to fall off the schedule nowadays, because if they get sick and they cancel, they don't want to reschedule right away because they don't know how long they're going to be sick or what this is going to look like.

Allissa Haines:

They're waiting for a test to come back from someone else to know if they even need to test themself or whatever, but there's so many more and different reasons that people are canceling now and not rescheduling right away. It's just super easy for people to just fall off the schedule. So reach out to the long lost clients you haven't seen since pre pandemic. Reach out to the people you just haven't seen in several months. Maybe a good idea is to get back to a last minute appointment emails. And this is something a lot of us did earlier in our careers when our schedules were less stable, we would send out an email at the beginning of our work week or on a certain day every week and say, "I have a handful of open appointments available for... in the next week, click here to schedule."

Allissa Haines:

You could even list the appointment times, but with the caveat that click here to schedule, but whoever gets the appointment online gets it first. They were really effective back in the day and it... because everybody's schedule's so wacky and spontaneous right now, it could be a really good tool again for you, there's that. If you are comfortable taking new clients, and I know many of us are only just now becoming comfortable taking new clients, now is a good time to boost your recruitment efforts.

Allissa Haines:

So be sure that your website is really clear and welcoming to new clients and the right kind of clients. I am not saying that you should just be accepting people willy-nilly. I am not accepting people with certain... whatever, who want deep tissue work or whatever, because I don't do that. So I'm only accepting clients that are appropriate within my niche, but I am accepting new clients again. And I needed to make some changes in my website to make that really clear and really welcoming, and make sure that people knew what kind of work I do, and what kinds of clients I'm taking. Also super simple, absurdly simple, tell your current clients that you're accepting new clients.

Allissa Haines:

I love my clients. I want more people like them. People are... the average of the five people to hang out with the most, so my clients know people who are like them. So I put all sign just said accepting new clients, had a little bullet points of what I'm accepting new clients for. Anxiety, cancer and caregivers of people with cancer and I put general aches and pains, which I might take off, because I don't want to be in acute pain care. Anyhow, put the sign on my desk and put a big old stack of cards. And as I'm checking clients out, I hand them a couple of cards, "Hey, I'm taking new clients for these things, if you know of anybody toss them a card. Thank you." That's it. It has resulted in one referral already. I've only been doing it for like three weeks. Social posts and emails saying that you are accepting new clients, all of the same information can be put in a social post and can be put in an email to your current client base.

Allissa Haines:

Think back if you've been around for a little while, what has worked really well for you in the past as far as recruiting new clients? Can you duplicate that? Can you do more of that? Can you do that again? How can you adjust that to be appropriate for today's climate, but there could have been things that worked really well for you back in the day, think about how you can adjust and adapt them to work for you now. Keep your work hours. Yeah, I'm saying it again because it is the biggest issue for a lot of us. We let non-work stuff take over and that's okay. Your schedule might need to adjust and it's okay to do that, but make sure it's really, really intentional. It needs to be intentional because if you just let stuff creep in, it'll take over and two years from now you'll be wondering why you're still not making any money.

Allissa Haines:

Okay. Set your appointment goals and revisit them weekly. Sometimes that can be a motivator, so if on a Monday I'm looking at my next week of appointments and I don't have as many as I want, that's going to remind me to send that last minute appointment email, that's going to remind me to reach out to a few clients who haven't been in a while. Look ahead, if those goals aren't being met do something to help them be met and you might not make it every week. I might not always make it to my 10 or 12 clients every week, but at least I'm putting some effort in and I'm laying a found to be able to meet those goals in future weeks. Mix it up. It is absolutely okay to procrast to clean your office. I do that a lot.

Allissa Haines:

If you have a plan and a stop time for that activity that is purposefully taking you away from whatever retention recruitment efforts you're making. It's okay. It's good to mix up the thinking stuff and the physical work. So if you can spend a half an hour at your computer or an hour working on sending that email, awesome. It's okay to give yourself permission to spend 30 minutes away doing something physical like I never a thought in my life that taking the trash out would be an exciting reward for completing some computer work, but it really is in my office sometimes I'm like, "Woohoo, I made it to the half hour. I get to go take the trash out now." Go for a walk, do what you got to do, but make it intentional and have a really good stop time. So again, you don't let all these other non-work things creep into your work time. That's it. Michael, we're going to you.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Awesome, good stuff. Really, really helpful. And one thing I would add is just maybe also work on your systems. And I say that because I find that if my business is not running very smoothly and there's just stuff slowing it down or not working very efficiently, I'm not very confident. I'm less prone to take on new clients. I don't really attract business the same way because I just feel stuck. But if my business is running really well, if my systems are tight, if I feel completely confident by taking on a client and serving that client, everything's running smoothly. I'm much more confident and inclined to take on business. And then things just flow better and I find myself attracting more business. So it's also I think, a good time to work on your system. So really good stuff. Thanks for sharing that, Allissa.

Allissa Haines:

I could only agree. What do we got in the chat?

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Yeah, I'm going to go back to Sakina because she had a great comment. So regarding advertising, Sakina said, a steady stream of incoming Google reviews has been beneficial for my practice. I send a message asking for reviews after every appointment, post every appointment. So that's a great tip Sakina. Thank you.

Allissa Haines:

And it's good too, because that's like a really nice warm retention thing, which doesn't seem like it at first because you're asking a client to do something, but when you ask a client to leave you a review, you're inviting them into your club. You're saying, "I appreciate you. Your thoughts matter to me. Welcome." And so it's a nice retention thing because it's making a client feel more involved in you and your practice. And it's obviously good for recruitment because more reviews mean better search engine optimization and action coming off of your Google business profile.

Michael Reynolds:

And Leslie posted a comment regarding ABMP after the spa, she said note on the education center of ABMP, I wasn't sure if they would do the extra step of Florida CE broker reporting and they do quickly and efficiently. So good feedback. Thanks Leslie. We love ABMP. They are pretty darn great. Meg dropped in to say Hi. Leslie said doesn't like to go in the office because it's too peopley, but having a to-do list from home helps so much. Marcy popped in to say hello. Meg said hello as well. And then Leslie also popped in to say, I tried restarting my networking. It didn't work at all. Standing in a room full of people saying I'm the COVID cautious therapist because I don't do things like these typical critical and Derby. So Leslie shared that.

Allissa Haines:

Yep. Absolutely. And that's... A lot of people who had so much success within person networking. And I know Leslie's been all over that with the chamber and BNI for years, this is a hard time. It has been like you got to reach out and find other ways now. And that's really, really tricky. But I think there is a place certainly for marketing, the safe massage therapist for people, for high risk people because people in high risk categories still can't really move freely about the world, especially not in Florida. And so finding some online marketing options to really reach out to high risk people could be really, really beneficial.

Michael Reynolds:

Our last comment for now from Becky. Becky says, I love the idea of using our network hours for... I'm sorry, work hours for work if we're booked with clients. I tend to do other things rather than things that will bring in more clients, word of mouth has been my best referral source. So I'm being more conscious of... I got cut off there, so I'm going to read it in rest my notes here, of letting people know I am accepting new clients. And then Meg also says, our chamber is doing hybrid meetings, but I think that's because of where I am. Okay. Thanks Meg. Thanks Becky. Thanks Leslie. All those comments are awesome. Thanks for sharing. All right.

Allissa Haines:

What's next, Michael?

Michael Reynolds:

Happy Face.

Allissa Haines:

Yay. This episode is indeed sponsored by Happy Face. Face criticals can be super uncomfortable for a client and that pressure and stuffiness can ruin the whole massage experience. And I am going to roll actually to a little review that our friend Marcy who's listening now left in our premium group and she said, here's my Happy Face review. Most clients have no clue. There's a new headrest in town, which is a good thing. My observation is that clients are way less fidgety and seem to zone out faster than with my old Carme headrest, face covers fit just fine too, the velcro is mucho strong, so the Happy Face stays in place. I love that and it's worth the money. So thanks Marcy for writing that ad for us and you can get 20% off your entire purchase at massagebusinessblueprint.com/happyface, using code, massage BB at checkout, that's massagebusinessblueprint.com/happyface.

Michael Reynolds:

And Becky popped in to say, my clients are loving my Happy Face cushion. So there is a real live person on air spontaneously sharing their satisfaction with Happy Face. Thanks Becky.

Allissa Haines:

Another little fun fact about this live episode is that because I had to emergency move inside my house. I am near my window with plants. Unfortunately, we've got some little like fly living in the soil, almost like a fruit fly and it's... I've had a few like dive bombing my head during this episode. So I'm really loving this live experience.

Michael Reynolds:

It's so good.

Allissa Haines:

So, when I'm going... I'm trying literally, I'm trying to catch the flies while we're recording because they're dive bombing and they keep trying to fly in my mouth.

Michael Reynolds:

I love saying that too. It's so much fun to watch. And while you were doing that-

Allissa Haines:

This is a really great idea. We had to do this live.

Michael Reynolds:

So good. We're so smart. And Sakina popped in to say also the Happy Face cradle has been amazing. People with sinus issues and allergies have been so much more comfortable. Thanks, Sakina. Great feedback. All right. Quick tip time.

Allissa Haines:

You go first. I need a moment.

Michael Reynolds:

Okay. So my quick tip is focus on one thing at a time. This has come up a lot recently because Allissa and I both work with people one on one, or in group settings about helping them with business and overcoming getting stuck and things like that and working on business challenges. And I've noticed that so much of the time, all of us get overwhelmed with these big to-do list, all the stuff we want to accomplish. And so I've been really trying to encourage both myself and people, I'm working with to focus on one thing at a time. You may have a big to-do list, but take one thing.

Michael Reynolds:

And that month maybe focus on getting the one thing done and then push the due date for the next thing out, far enough that it feels like it's not crowding your view of productivity. So try to break everything down that you're trying to accomplish into these single things and focus on one thing and get that done at one time. And I find sometimes that makes it easier to accomplish all those things because you're not trying to do everything at once.

Allissa Haines:

Brilliant. I just want to add a quick tip that Sakina just put in the chat, which is I should be using food grade diatomaceous. I know I'm saying that wrong. All right. Whatever Walter Chemist, he'll find it. Earth for the plant nets. Yeah. It's like a fungal net thing. Yeah. Thank you for that. Thanks for the quick tips, Sakina, because I'm really living my best life right now. My quick tip, quit something, quit something, quit something that is not bringing you joy. Quit the book that you started that is not going the way you really want it to go. That's fine. Just quit it. If your kid wants to quit gymnastics because they're no longer having fun, let them quit. I have different feelings about different kinds of team sports, where the whole team would suffer if someone left mid-season. That said, when I was like six, seven, probably about seven. I played baseball in little league and I played because my brother played and I wanted to be just like him.

Allissa Haines:

So my parents let me join a team and they let me play. And in the first practice I got hit in the eye with the ball. And in a couple of games in, I got hit with a pitch and one other game... And after this first practice I wanted to quit and my parents wouldn't let me because the rule was that you had to finish out the season, which I used to appreciate as a parent and now I don't anymore. I think it was a wrong decision, because in four, five games in, I pretty much wet my pants at a game because there were no outhouses. And by the way, I was the only girl in the league.

Allissa Haines:

And I couldn't pee in the woods the way the boys could. At that point, I didn't have the skills for that. Now I can go camping and I'm good. But my parents wouldn't let me quit, even though all of these things happen and I'm clearly still a little bitter about it. So you know what? If your kid wants to quit something, let them quit. If they don't like the art classes, let them quit. If you don't like something that you're doing, if you're not having fun serving on committee that you accidentally volunteered for, quit. You can quit gracefully. You can say, "You know what, this isn't working out for me. So I'm going to stop doing this volunteer work as of, and give a date and stick with it." If you don't like something you're doing, if you don't like your new meal plan, if you don't like whatever, quit it. Quit something. Let it go. Move along with your life. That's my quick tip.

Michael Reynolds:

I love that so much. A few episodes ago, I talked about how I quit my networking group and I've never been happier. Yeah. It's so good to quit things when it's time. So I love that. Thank you for sharing. All right. Sakina popped in with another comment here, Sakina says always great to tighten up business financials when there's a lull, many of us didn't have our books all the way in order when the pandemic struck. Good to be prepared for the unexpected. I love that. Yes, business financials.

Allissa Haines:

That was huge because people who had not been properly tracking their business money, they had a hard time getting things together to get unemployment, to get PPP loans, to get grants, all of these things. And not just financials, but there are a lot of people who should have been getting DBA business certificates, doing business certificates with their towns and they just never bothered to do that. So they weren't a properly registered business and they weren't eligible to get grants. I know personally a handful of people who just couldn't apply for a 10K grant and didn't get it. Everybody else who applied got it. And didn't... just lost 10K because they had never taken a trip to the city hall. So yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

Great advice.

Allissa Haines:

That was a really good time.

Michael Reynolds:

And Marcy says, I've quit a quite a few books that jumped into my weird thoughts.

Allissa Haines:

I'm going to go with that. Yeah, I've had books that I've started to read, they were like, Ugh. Also... Okay. So I've been telling Michael this off air on our regular communications that I started watching Star Trek: Discovery finally. Oh, I wanted to tell Sakina that too. I'm really excited. But there's so much cling on that I'm already having cling on nightmares. So I was thinking about quitting it, but I'm going to hang on because I really like this particular Star Trek, even with the cling on. So there's that. Sorry, I'm done now.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Well, Hey, I want to thank everybody who stopped by in Facebook live. Your comments really added a lot of great value to this episode. So we really appreciate that. So... And Leslie also has a comment there saying thumbs up the comment if you want more live episodes. So if you're listening after the fact on the podcast, feel free to go find the episode and thumbs up if you like the dynamic of this. So we appreciate that. So...

Allissa Haines:

I'll get my tech issues figured out.

Michael Reynolds:

Hey, it was a great start. It was an experiment. So...

Allissa Haines:

And Sakina, I won't quit Star Trek.

Michael Reynolds:

Beautiful. All right. Thanks everyone for joining us today. We appreciate you being a listener. You can find us as always on the web at massagebusinessblueprint.com. And you can email us at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com if you'd like to send us a question or a suggestion for a topic or hate mail, love notes, anything you want to share. So we appreciate that. Again, thanks. Have a great day. We'll see you next time.

Allissa Haines:

I'm going to dance this out.

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