You are not in the business of commodities, you don’t have to follow the trends that big consumers put on their products, you are a service based business.
Do you see joiners, bricklayers, private healthcare professionals put a discount on there services for black Friday?
You’re probably self-employed a sole trader or small business and planning on taking some time off over Christmas and new year. This is precisely why you need to capitalise on Christmas trade so you can get more fun coupons (cash) and have a truly magical festive holiday.
Things to think about when planning offers.
What’s your quiet time, do you have a quiet time, is it worthwhile putting on any discounts at all if you’re already in a fortunate position where you’re busy with clients do you actually need to discount?
Yes, we all want to give our clients a reward for being a loyal customer but that doesn’t mean discounting a full treatment.
How many clients do you have? Let’s say 100
If you’re charging £40 an hour, there’s £4,000 lost just for discounting and giving away 1 free treatment per year.
Here’s another scenario.
Let’s say you have 50 clients on a loyalty scheme.
How many free treatments did they get per year ? Let’s say 3 but at a rate of £35 an hour.
That’s £105 per client for 50 clients that equals £5,250 lost.
Can you afford to lose that?, especially if you’re giving it away for free and don’t need to, those clients are coming to you regardless of the loyalty scheme they’re coming to you because you’re a skilled therapist.
It’s your nature to be kind and want to give back, I know exactly where you’re coming from I used to do the same to until I did the maths.
When it’s right there in front of you it’s shocking isn’t it!
Here’s one last sum, you may not be as passionate about mathematics as I am.
If you’re one of those businesses that discounts £10 off a treatment for the whole month, let’s say you have 25 clients a week, then you’re losing £250 per week that’s £1,000 per month, and if you consistently take £10 off a treatment each month as a special offer that means you’re losing £12,000 a year.
Can you afford that?
Who says you have to come up with discounts and offers every month!
You don’t, in fact experience tells me that if your clients are only coming for the discounts, they’re not the loyal clients that you want. You want the clients who come regardless of discounts they come for you, they come for your skill.
If you have a real hard think about the clients that you have that are “tricky” shall we say, the ones that give us more grief and hassle, the no-shows, the rearranging appointments at the last minute, coming in late for the appointment etc. etc. you know the clients that get you a bit frustrated.
I’m guessing these are the clients that come for the special offers, they’re asking what are your next special offers, I’ll book back in when you put them on?
Now you’re going to have to get over the fear, thinking clients are only coming to you because of your creative special offers. You are awesome, you’ve invested 100’s even 1000’s of hours training and perfecting your skill. They are getting a damn fine treatment, you are worth it!!
Value yourself and start marketing your business to get more of your ideal customer.
Who is your ideal customer?
So for instance my ideal customer is someone who books in regularly, re-books after the appointment or has their bookings in for a few months in advance turns up on time never cancelled and as an absolute joy.
Pareto’s law, the 80/20 principle.
Here it is again, me with the numbers, but it can’t be denied that this works.
Applying the 80/20 principle or could be 70/30 to your business.
How many ideal customers do you have in your business, hopefully you’ve got about 80% but you might only have 20.
The aim is to get more of your ideal customers, and that starts with you first of all valuing yourself.
That means putting a stop to those crazy discounts and filtering out the clients that just come because you’ve got a discounted offer.
I’m not suggesting that you stop doing offers altogether, on the contrary if you are starting out in business it’s good to have a little offer, but not for a whole month.
Think about your quiet time, that could be a certain time of the day or it could be a particular day.
If you’re already busy on evenings and Saturday’s, why run a special offer on these days when you’re already getting full paying customers. Just some things to think about.
Most complementary therapy or beauty therapy schools don’t really prepare you for business and the majority of therapists are self-employed.
Let’s face it, we haven’t got a clue. It’s tough, it’s lonely and you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing, who can you turn to for advice?
I’m constantly talking to therapists, when working teaching and on our amazing Holistic Therapists Tribe.
Whenever we have a discussion about special offers I often hear, “that this offer went really well”.
So the question I’m asking is how do you know?
Reply, “I was busy”.
Yeah but how much money did you lose from regular full paying customers by discounting that week or that month.
If you were to add what you lost from the full paying customers I’m guessing it’s going to hit a few 100 pound at least.
What’s a successful way to put a special offer on?
If you’re already busy why do a special offer, what is your reason behind discounting your amazing therapies?
If it’s just to reward your clients for being loyal, buy them a gift.
Everyone loves a freebie and a gift is going to be something different from a free massage. They’re probably going to forget about that free massage, but they won’t forget about that special gift you gave them.
And they’ll probably tell others you gave them a special gift, and go on to talk about your generosity and what an amazing therapist you are, instead of telling friends you give away treatments for free.
You need more clients if you’re building your business, and I’m guessing you’ve probably got some loyal clients who are receiving treatments and paying full price?
If you haven’t already got to that point and you’re constantly discounting then;
- STOP running offers for a whole month every day!
You will be losing money on the full paying loyal customers and probably working hours that eat into time away from your family or friends.
- What’s your ideal working hours?
If you don’t have any clients coming at this time encourage them to book in then using offers. But don’t over discount! Start discounting at times where you would like more clients, maybe that’s during the day, you’ll know it’s your business but these are things you have to think about before you put a special offer on.
- What’s the purpose of the special offer?
Are you just putting an offer on because you think you should, gosh it’s exhausting trying to be that creative every month. You don’t always have to discount, try giving away information for free about a treatment, explaining how it can help them. Use your testimonials, or if you haven’t got any ask your clients to write one.
- DON’T BE SCARED
Yes you may lose some clients, the ones that only come for the offers, but you’ll be making the same amount in less time- so you can afford to lose some. Now you have your plan and strategy, you can get to work encouraging your ideal clients to recommend you to their friends and family. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so reward your client with a £5 off for referrals for them and their friend.
- Add a freebie.
If you want to give something to your clients as a reward for being loyal or run a special offer at times throughout the year,add a freebie like a gift pack. Or create fusion treatments based on what you offer.
Most important thing last, analyse your sales performance. Numbers don’t lie. Only then can you say “it went really well”, and if it did then run it again next time but only if you need to.
If you starting to see the big picture of how you can grow your business and finding this information valuable, please comment below and share your ideas.
Have you planned for weather?
Last year the UK was snowed in and the country came to halt, it affected many businesses, schools etc it’s not just us therapists that couldn’t work.
How do you recoup from that loss, well you plan for it!
Snow an extreme weather conditions are definitely a threat to your business, which can happen every winter.
You save and plan for the time off at Christmas, but it’s wise to plan for the what if’s that can easily become reality.
I remember last year on the tribe we had some creative ideas to recoup lost revenue. Therapists were heading out in their local community, venturing outside with their wellies on carrying their massage couch visiting home to home.
This is a genius idea!
“I mean who wouldn’t want a massage”, neighbours were home off work snowed in like the rest of us.
If my neighbour was a massage therapist and said “hey fancy a massage I can home visit, I’d be like, hell yeah pop over I’d loved one”.
Always think from a client’s point of view, and get creative with meeting their needs. Why do they need you, what pain point can you solve for them?
Or maybe they could pop round to yours and get a treatment. Turn your spare room, living room, whatever into a spa and invite the neighbours and any of your clients who may stay nearby, who want to stick the wellies on and pop round.
It’s time to start planning for other dates like January too, people tend to have New year’s resolutions.
Detox is the buzzword, try promoting treatments around this. Promoting doesn’t mean discount, information is enough.
Do you offer aromatherapy? you could promote the use of detoxifying aromatherapy oils to kickstart that detox, maybe you do manual lymphatic drainage massage or any type of massage actually is detoxifying.
You’re giving your clients exactly the same massage, you’re just marketing it in a different way to think about your clients different pain points and solve them.
P.S.If you’ve found this helpful or want to share anything that you’ve tried please comment below.
P.P.S. Head over and join the Holistic Therapists Tribe, I’d love to see you in there.