We round up the ten mistakes many clients make before they even get on the massage table – and how to fix them.
They’re not in the moment
Being as receptive and open to the massage process as possible is important for a successful appointment.
Solution: A calm atmosphere helps clients drop their stress at the salon front door. Soothing music and the offer of tea or some water before they enter the treatment room will give your client the sense that you care, which will make them feel more receptive to what’s about to happen.
They’ve bolted down lunch
Eating just before a massage will cause discomfort on the massage table as the body tries to digest the food.
Solution: When you’re taking the booking, remind clients to eat at least an hour before they arrive to let food digest. This is especially important for a client trying to fit a 60-minute massage (and lunch) into their lunch break. Suggest something light, like a yogurt, to fill the gap, then lunch at their desk afterwards.
They’re running late
Everyone is busy, we get it, but if you have a client who is consistently running in the door on the dot or just a bit after, it’s time to try and address their time-management. Arriving frazzled and hot just means it takes longer for them to relax, which means they get less out of the session.
Solution: Have a policy that massage clients should arrive fifteen minutes before their appointment to get undressed and rewind. If you write “4.45pm for 5pm” on your appointment card, you’ll be surprised how clients conform.
Some clients just aren’t used to being semi-naked in front of other people. Or, they don’t mind getting their gear off, but they don’t know how much to take off.
Solution: Before you leave the room, always tell clients exactly what you expect to see when you return. It may seem obvious to you that when you say, “I’ll leave you to get ready” you actually mean “please remove
your shirt and your bra and your jeans, but you can leave your underpants on and here is a towel for draping”, but if they don’t know, they just don’t know. So be upfront and there will be no surprises.
They don’t tell you stuff
It’s so important for you as a professional to know exactly what you’re dealing with before you get started. Does your client have any health issues? Are they allergic to lavender oil? Do they have a phobia about having their feet touched?
Solution: Being open and honest yourself will help coax a shy person out of their shell. Also write up a questionnaire for new clients to help uncover any issues; it’s also a great record to keep and update for follow-up appointments.
They don’t give feedback
Do they like the music? Is the pressure too much? Is their nose being squished in the massage table? Many clients don’t speak up because they feel they should be acting a certain way and don’t want to make a fuss.
Solution: Ask them a few questions, particularly at the beginning of the massage, to make sure they are feeling comfortable. It’s also good practise to tell them that they can ask you a question or talk to you at any moment throughout the massage. Just because you’re not talking, doesn’t mean you can’t.
They don’t breathe
Ok, they breathe, but it’s shallow and limited. This could be for a number of reasons – they may feel anxious or stressed. They could even feel tense when a sensitive area is being worked on.
Solution: Remind them of their breathing at the start of a massage and perhaps breath in and out with them a few times to get the rhythm going.
Their mind is wandering
If you’re working away on tired, stressed-out muscles but your client’s thoughts are still at work, the stress-relieving effects of the massage just won’t be the same.
Solution: If you think a client’s mind might be elsewhere, try and get them to concentrate on your hand movements and ask them to focus on their breathing (not their emails).
They’re not hydrated
The body needs extra fluids to help flush away the toxins and stress released during and after a massage, so make sure your client knows to drink water or herbal tea before a massage and to take in fluids post massage too.
Solution: Offer herbal tea or water before and after a massage. It’s good for fluid levels and also gives your client a chance to get back their equilibrium, which can be a bit off for twenty minutes after a massage.
They’re expecting miracles
Massage has as cumulative effect and the benefits grow over time so clients shouldn’t think that every little niggle will be sorted out in one session. The fact is, the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond.
Solution: Educate your client that relaxation deepens as chronic stress in the body is released, so if the problem is a long-standing one or an injury, more than one session is usually needed.
Have your say: what are some other mistakes your massage clients have made?