Thursday, 11 July 2013

BUSINESS ADVICE: Is Free Advertising the Answer

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Is free Advertising the Answer?
A discussion on product demonstrations as a method of gaining new clients.

So my last (and actually first ever) blog considered how Carol can find new clients for her massage therapy business, given that she had little funds available for advertising. My feelings were that her existing clients would be a great source of leads to help her generate new business and I suggested she considered a technique known as leverage referrals. Basically your existing clients each suggest three new people whom you can contact and sell your service.

But lets assume that Carol still needs more clients. Is free advertising the answer? Well I would have to confess to being on the fence, given that she has a relatively niche product/service, that is not mainstream. Whilst advertising will help, I think it needs to be more rifle shot than buck shot and needs to be targeted specifically at her potential clients rather than thrown to the world at large.

With this in mind, lets consider an alternative way of addressing her target market on a direct, almost intimate basis. I am talking about massage demonstrations parties. The idea is that you ask one of your satisfied clients to hold a massage demonstration party for you in their home. You know the sort of thing. Tupperware and Ann Summers have been doing it for years. The number of people you invite is critical. Too few and it wont be worth the time you are investing. Too many and you will not be able to mingle effectively. I would suggest for Carols product, no more than six people plus the hostess.

The theme of the evening is that you will teach your selected attendees how to give a good massage. I guess it doesn’t matter which part you demonstrate but lets assume it’s the back. You then demonstrate on your hostess how to give a great back massage and should take about thirty mins max. Then get the guests to practice on each other (a few glasses of wine might help) under your expert tuition.

An hour or so later you will have a group of people who are appreciative of your advise. A little more wine or nibbles whilst you mingle with the guests giving each a five min mini demo of a different technique. For example a head massage for one, a foot massage for another , a hand massage etc etc. Make a careful note of what each guest asked for.

After your mini massage, they will hopefully be longing for more and this is your chance to try and take a booking. Explain that it isn’t really the right environment for them to get the most from it and that really you would love them to come to your therapy room and try a full session. Explain that you are have a special offer for any sessions booked tonight but remember to never , ever , ever discount the price. Always give away something instead, such as a 15 min foot massage with all back massages booked. You get the idea. If you drive the price down you will never get it back up.

Hopefully you will get the booking you need. If they say no, this is possibly to be expected. Welcomed even. No is simply a request for more information. It says that based on what you have told them, they don't have enough information to make a decision. Its ok to ask them why. Something like……..”No problem. I fully understand. Not everyone likes massage. Is that the case or is it something else. Just probe gently saying is it this or is it that. They will then hopefully explain why they don’t want to do it which you can then either accept or discuss. Having discussed it, if its still a no, all is not lost.

If you have been very gentle throughout this process and they loved your mini massage, they are psychologically feeling possibly a tad guilty or at the very least, would like to help you in some way. So play your ace. Ask them if they would help you by hosting and event like tonight and inviting six of their pals round…different pals though. Joke that they get to enjoy the 30 minute demo massage, so they have nothing to loose.

If they say no, well what have you lost. Nothing! But lets now leave with something. Say you fully understand and are so grateful for their time. But if they cant host an event ,can they at least give you three people whom you can contact etc. And you are back to the leverage referral route I mentioned in my last blog.

Two things before you leave. Get the names, telephone numbers, email address’s and birthdays of everyone in the room before you go. Something as simple as passing around a pre-printed sheet for them to complete. Add this to your data base and book the birthday reminders in outlook two weeks before the big day, so you can send them an e card and birthday treat special offer. Later you will be emailing them Xmas offers, Valentines specials and anything else you can creatively think of. Don’t forget to email everyone the next day thanking them for coming and re confirming any bookings made.

And if all else fails……..take a few bottles (at least six) of some of MotherNatures Goodies pre-blended massage oils to the evening with you, and mention that these are available to purchase on the night . Of course during your demo you sing its praises. At the very least the profit will cover your fuel costs. We supply an enormous variety of massage oils, but maybe check out our suggestively titles Tease n Please range , where you will find, Heat, Lust, His, hers, Passion and Tingle just waiting to be noticed.

Have any of you tried this method of winning new clients? Did it work for you?
How comfortable did you feel using it (as its not for everyone I guess).
Let me know what you think.
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