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How to talk about what you do...

How we talk about what we do is essential to building a successful business.  It is reflected in advertising, marketing, websites, and how we present ourselves to potential clients on the phone or in person.

How do you answer the questions what do you do?  When you are on the phone with a new client how do you explain what you do in 3-4 sentences or less? You will only have a few minutes to get their attention. What do you say at a social event about what you do?  What would you say if someone bumped into you in the street that you hadn't seen in awhile and you told them you were now doing massage?  What do you want to say in your advertising and on your website about what you do?

Can you tell what you do in 4-5 sentences or less than 5 minutes?

We all know that there is no way to really describe what we do.  The therapeutic process is so complex and personal.  So much is technical, non-verbal and experiential.  How can you sum up what you do without losing the person's interest and keep the conversation going?  How are you going to let people know what you really do- what service do you provide?  Why would someone want to go to you for a massage?

Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

  1. Don't use any technical terms or other words that people may not understand. Reflexology, structural integration, cranio-sacral therapy or other modality names are usually unknown to most people.  They really don't know what that means.  People don't really care about increasing their circulation or reducing inflammation.  They want to know how it will benefit their situation.  Using the term stress also doesn't really mean anything.  Most everyone is under stress!  

    What is in it for them? 
    What solution will it provide for them?

    Some ideas are: 
    I work to help eliminate back pain.
    I assist people in getting in touch with their pain.
    I allow people to have time for themselves.

  2. How can what you do be of benefit to them???  I once worked in a health club and would see this one guy going out running every day.  I chatted with him and he would always say, "I have to get into see you someday".  I one day made told him that massage would help his running and he signed up right away for an appointment.  This isn't always obvious to people.  They don't really know what massage can do for them!  Assume they know nothing.

  3. Keep it short and to the point.  3-5 sentences should be enough for the person to respond and ask more questions if there is time or they are interested.

  4. If you have many different aspects to your work, try to narrow it down to the one most important aspect of your work.  

  5. Try to avoid making massage seem like the "end all answer" to everyone's problems. "Cures backpain in 3 sessions".  You will start sounding like a used car salesman. 

One way to get clear about what you do is to write or think about massage and how it has changed your life.  What has becoming a massage therapist meant to you?  What is your philosophy about massage? Here are some examples:

Hi, I am a massage therapist.  I specialize in a type of therapy that aligns your body.  You know how the tires on your car need to be aligned to keep them from wearing out.  The same is true for your body.

Hi, I am a massage therapist.  I work with athletes to enhance their performance to allow them to run faster, swim faster or bike faster.

Hi, I am a massage therapist.  I support people through their recovery from injuries and chronic pain.


 When you are talking with people on the phone or in a social situation, one of the easiest ways to open up a conversation about what you do is to start with the other person first.  This serves two purposes:  You find out more about them so you can find out what problems they have that you may be able to help provide solutions for.  It also allows the other person to feel more comfortable when they feel like they are being heard and seen.  When they have their need to be recognized fulfilled (which most people have) they are more likely to become interested in you.

  1. Ask questions to get them talking about themselves.  People always feel better when they know someone is interested in them!  Active/Reflective listening is essential.

  2. Find out what the person needs!  Often they don't know what they need, they just know what they don't need and that is pain or stiffness they are experiencing.  They don't know what massage can do for them.  They don't know it can be used for carpal tunnel, plantar fasciaitis, strained muscles or whatever.

  3. Acknowledge what they need by mirroring back to them what you have heard them say so they know they have been heard.

  4. Make it personal.  Phrases like increases circulation or relaxes tight muscles are very general benefits.  What has massage done for your life? How has it changed your life and assisted in your healing process?


When you start writing about what you do for advertising and marketing purposes, you can start writing about this aspect of your work.  Your website and brochures will clearly inform people as to what you do and who you are.  People need to feel like they can trust the person that they choose to be their massage therapist.  People often need to get information before they make an appointment.  They need to know why they should go to you rather than any of the other massage therapists out there.  What makes you different from everyone else will be reflected in your writing.

You can also create your personal mission statement or purpose statement from learning to talk about what you do.  


Writing Exercises:
What do you really do in a session?
Make a list of open ended questions to stimulate the potential client to share things about themselves.
What does doing massage mean to you?

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