Because your particular chosen profession requires you:
to meet with your clients in person,
to engage in face to face conversations with them,
to have them come to your brick-and-mortar location, and
to physically touch them
Your professional image plays thee leading role in the success (or failure) of your massage therapy practice. If they’re greeted at your building’s entranceway by the ever-texting teen-aged receptionist you hired, if you’re sporting the same shirt you wore when you first accidentally dripped some BBQ sauce on it three days ago, if your fingernails are still filled with dirt from the gardening you did over the weekend, if your breath smells like an ashtray, if your massage therapy room looks like it hasn’t been cleaned ~ ever, or if you are nowhere to be found when your client arrives for his/her scheduled massage therapy appointment ~ you can rest assured knowing that the professional image you chose to share with the world just cost you your reputation, your future clients, and your career.
Here’s a look at specific actions you can take to create a truly stellar, shining, and impressive professional image:
If you plan to schedule appointments and be available from 7:30 AM through 8 PM four days a week, then your practice must open during those times. If the weather sometimes gets scary and the weatherman recommends everyone stay home, make sure you have your clients’ contact information so that you can let them know that, due to the potentially-dangerous weather, your practice won’t be open today.
If you always welcome walk-ins (along with scheduled appointments), make sure you have the staff available to handle those unexpected clients. A woman who wants to bring her sister from out of town to visit you on a Tuesday night at 7PM, must be able to do that knowing that you are always open at 7 PM on Tuesday nights and that you welcome walk-ins.
If the first Monday of every month you offer a free workshop in your building’s conference room on Top Ways to Reduce Stress, you must ensure that you are there every first Monday to present an engaging and informative talk ~ whether one person shows up or 50.
If you charge $75 to one client, don’t charge her brother $25; give them both a special deal, charge them the same, or reward her for the referral.
Be consistent across the board with how you look, how you present yourself, how you run your business, and what you offer your clients. They’ll appreciate, respect, and count on you to be the ever-available life raft amid life’s stressful and stormy days.
Ever walk into a doctor’s, lawyer’s, or accountant’s office and think that it looks as if they’ve rented the space for the day because it lacks personality? Don’t make your practice like that. Be creative in all you do and in every way you present yourself to your clients and the world. From your website design and the engaging blogs on it to your building’s landscape design, your waiting room, the scent of your practice, the music you play, and the pictures on the wall ~ each and every component of your brand should never be cookie cutter, but always creative.
People gravitate toward creative professionals. They like to listen to their ideas, opinions, and suggestions. Be that creative massage therapist that your clients, your colleagues, your neighbors, your associates, and everyone on your life’s path gravitates toward. Join professional groups so that you can brainstorm with others, publish creative and inspiring newsletters, associate with other creative individuals who inspire, uplift, and motivate you.
Think of your favorite bakery, sandwich shop, or shoe store. Think of the pizza delivery person, the dog groomer, the mailman. Throughout any given day you meet and are greeted by individuals that just seem to have a ray of sunshine following them; they’re memorable. They’re kind, patient, thoughtful. They look you in the eyes when you talk to them, they have a firm handshake; they make you feel like the most important person in the whole universe – even if it’s just for the moment, the hour, or the day you are with them. Be that memorable person, naturally. Your clients will rave about you; they’ll refer their family and friends to you, and they’ll look forward to the next time they’re in your company.
Be the face in a professional headshot.
Part of your brand is your image. Whether you put your photo on your business card, your newsletters, your LinkedIn profile, or your website, it must be an amazingly-awesome headshot that is 100% professional but doesn’t necessarily look like it is! A professional “headshot whisperer” can capture a photo of you as you are, as you see yourself, and as you want others to see you. That’s a hard feat to accomplish. Considering that pic of yourself at the restaurant with your friends? Or the one with you standing on the stairs with 7 other people? Or the selfie you took this morning on your deck? Fugettaboutit! You need a creative and professional photo. Period.
Be ever-present in your online presence.
From your website to your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook page, your email blasts, your signature, and everything in-between that is online, think before you post and proofread before you post. If you have a Facebook page, make it a business page. (If you have a personal Facebook page, keep it “private” and only accessible to family and close friends – no clients!) Don’t post pictures of yourself in bathing suits, drinking, smoking, or acting in some way you wouldn’t be happy to have your great-grandma see. For every blog you post, make it engaging, interesting, and informative; proofread it over and over. Post regularly, but professionally and creatively. You can hire a professional writer to do this for you if you want to be sure it’s perfect!
Your professional image does matter; plan accordingly!
- Author: Mark Volkmann
- Published: October 13, 2014