I have been a sports massage therapist for 20+ years and have pretty much seen it all. A lot of new practitioners have mentioned they worry about losing clients. This happens to everyone and it’s not a bad thing, it’s how business works. Even after 20 years I still lose and always will lose clients.

Worries that go through your mind?

There are loads of reasons clients stop seeing you and its very rarely anything to do with you as a practitioner, from a negative perspective, that is. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t worry about losing clients, especially when you’re a new therapist. I remember (just about) when I started and anytime a client didn’t rebook or cancelled, I would worry. Am I in the right career? Have I done something wrong? Did I make it worse? Is my business going to survive? I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it. The training providers I used didn’t offer any support after training and the internet was not like it is today. Also, the professional bodies weren’t like they are today either.

Why you lose clients.

So firstly, let’s look at why you might lose clients. Well, the favourite is you have fixed them, and they don’t need your services any longer. Often, they just won’t tell you what a wonderful job you have done. Some clients will move over to a maintenance pattern, as they can see the benefit, but others will just disappear into the sunset. It could be that they don’t rebook at the time and then just forget, they keep meaning to do it but never remember at a convenient time. We’ve all been there. Often they cancel because something has come up and again they just don’t get around to rebooking. It could be a change in their personal circumstances, financial, health, moving. Can you see a picture developing here, it’s not you!

You made them leave!

There is also the possibility you have made them go somewhere else! One thing to remember if sports massage isn’t the right discipline at the time then you as a good therapist are going to be aware of this and therefore handle it appropriately. Talking to the client creating an action plan for them, i.e. physiotherapy, GP, chiropractor. In this instance you will be losing a client but you will know why and it will be for the right reasons. Meaning they are more likely to trust you and recommend you or come back when it’s more appropriate.

Shoulder massage
Massage Clients

You get the gist.

That’s some of the reasons covered, there are so many I could go on forever but you get the gist. This leads to what can you do as a therapist to minimise losing clients. Firstly, have an action plan for your client. Create this plan when you first do your consultation (remember it can change) that you discuss with them, if they feel involved and invested they are more likely to keep coming. This also builds faith in you and they are more likely to feel that you have their best interests in mind, meaning they are more likely to stick with you. Make sure you reinforce the benefits of regular treatment, this will often encourage them to move to a maintenance plan when you have sorted the original issues.

More you can do to prevent losing clients.

The next thing you can do is ask at the end of every session would you like to rebook now? You’ve had a massage you know what it’s like when you get of the massage couch your brain stays behind. It will slip their mind (be warned paying you can as well!). If they say they will call and book I just remind them they will need to give me plenty of notice as I’m usually booked a month in advance and I am, be truthful. Clients will cancel, offer to rebook them then, don’t leave it open if you can avoid it. Sometimes they can’t rebook at the time make sure they have your details and that you are easily contactable. I use every form of communication because people have a preferred method of communicating. I have clients that, phone, email, text, WhatsApp, use messenger all sorts so be flexible.

Remind them you’re there.

Another idea is to do things to stay in their memory, invite them to a Facebook page, business not your personal one where you post useful information even appointments that become free or a news letter with ideas and suggestions, just make sure you have the relevant permission. It’s important they find the information on your Facebook page or news letter useful and relevant. This can be difficult to keep up regularly.

Final thoughts.

As you can see there are many reasons clients disappear and also a great deal you can do to keep them coming back. The one thing to remember is don’t worry there are always new clients around the corner. I hope you have found the blog helpful and that it has helped to ease some of your fears. As I said I have been doing this 20 years and have gone through recessions, banking collapses and covid and I’m still here providing sports massage and still lose clients! It’s very rewarding running your own business but it can be trying and lonely at times. There are a lot of groups and information out there which can help support you through the early stages of your career.

Categories: BusinessEducation