Trade Up Tips for Referrals

Let's start with 2 facts about massage therapists:

  1. In my experience, massage therapists are terrible at asking for referrals. They are such nice, caring, humble people and they seem to feel bad about asking for more business.
  2. Most massage therapists I know would love to be seen as health care providers, rather than a luxury service. Massage can help treat pain and a number of other ailments yet the massage community still struggles with this gray area between health care and personal luxury services.

There has been some great discussion in the massage community about tips vs no tips and it sparked an idea in my head. How about exchanging tips for referrals?

Try this in your massage office:

Place a nice, tastefully-designed, clear sign at your front desk that says something like this: "I appreciate the opportunity to play a part in your health care plan. I do not accept tips, but instead would ask that you take one of my cards after each session and give it to someone you know who could use my help. Thank you!"

Obviously, be sure to have a business card holder next to the sign. The wording is important here, as is the use of bold formatting. Notice it says "health care plan". This creates an understanding that you are a health care provider. The phrase "after each session" is also important. This trains your clients to get into a routine of referring you after each session. This ensures a steady stream of new referrals.

Notice that you also don't have to say a word about it! This addresses both problems mentioned at the beginning: the desire to be seen as a health care provider and the reluctance to ask for more referrals.

If massage therapists want to be seen as health care providers, they must start acting like it. Doctors don't take tips, nor do chiropractors or dentists. Eliminating tips from your practice helps place you closer on the spectrum to the health care community.

It also has the added bonus of relieving your clients of the stress of worrying about how much to tip.

Finally, this message sets an expectation of continuous referrals. Isn't this one of the most significant lead sources in your practice?