Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Welcome To The Practice
by Eric Brown
Director, BodyworkBiz

Welcome to the BodyworkBiz practice-building newsletter - designed to help you build the practice of your dreams.

Feel free to forward this newsletter to a friend.

If you have friends who want to build their massage or bodywork practices and would benefit from this information, please ask that person to subscribe to this newsletter by visiting us at:

http://www.bodyworkbiz.com

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We've had lots of requests for back issues of the Massage Marketing Tips newsletter? Click here to get your hands on them.

You'll find yourself referring to the information in these newsletters over and over again as you build your practice. Print out each email, pour yourself a beverage and grab a pen to highlight important concepts and to jot down some ideas. Are you on the sofa yet? Let's begin.

Welcome To The Practice

Here's an insightful little piece of research reported in the Wall Street Journal: An Australian physician took a group of 46 patients and randomly divided them into two groups. After an office procedure one group got a follow-up letter while the other group got none. These patients were then surveyed to find out how satisfied they were with the doctor's service.

Over half of the group who received the letter gave the doctor the highest mark possible. Only four in the no-letter group said they were completely satisfied.

Mind-boggling.

There was over 325% more satisfaction from patients who got a letter.

Let's figure this out. Both groups had exactly the same SERVICE, but one group - the one with the letter - had a very different EXPERIENCE. For the patients, the doctor's consultation with the letter was a very different experience than the consultation without the letter.

It's quite remarkable, that such a small gesture can have such a dramatic effect on the customer's experience with you. Given the impact of a welcome letter, I think we should put one together for your new clients.

In the letter, tell them who you are and what you're all about. Emphasize what makes you unique or special. Tell them or remind them of the advantageous results, benefits, outcomes and value they get from seeing you specifically.

Let them know how much you appreciate them choosing you and how you'll do your very best to give them the best possible results. Let them know you welcome referrals. Use the opportunity to explain the way your service works along with policies that they need to be aware of. Welcome any feedback they want to give you. Let them know you exist for one reason only: to be of service to them.

If you are debating about whether you should take the time to send out a letter like this, just take a minute to think about it. It will cost you only 50 cents to send a letter like this and the time invested is negligible. If you wanted to save time, you could photocopy your letter and prepare a few dozen so that all you'd have to do is slap the new client's address on the envelope as you wait for them to get dressed.

The payoff for you: a 325% increase in delighted customers and significant increases in repeat sales. It's a Return On Investment that can't be beat.

Are you wondering what a welcome letter should look like? I've critiqued a letter for one of the Fill Your Practice 101 participants. You'll find it below. It illustrates the kind of support you can get as a participant of the program.

If you are not already taking the Fill Your Practice 101 e-course, you may want to get it before the price goes up. It's just US$59 and will go up to $99 before the summer is over. You'll get emails like this filled with great practice building tips on a daily basis for about 5 months.

I know a lot of you are hesitating to purchase it. You may be thinking: "Is this really worth my time and money? How good can this be, really?!"

What I suggest you do is a cost-benefit analysis.

You know the cost is only $59. Now ask yourself what it would be worth to you over the course of the year to get even just one new client a month as a result of what you learn. What kind of impact would that have on your business?

Does your client spend $60 on average in their first year with you? Then that would mean an additional $720 in sales for the year. But it is more likely that your average customer is worth $300 to $500 in sales. That means an additional $3,600 to $6,000 in sales over the next year!

Is that worth a $59 investment?

My guess is that you could do even better than that. I believe that someone who really works the program and takes action on these low or no cost ideas could easily add ten new clients per month. How much would ten new clients a month increase your sales?

Next ask where your business is likely to go if you don't do anything to improve your marketing. Are you going to be happy with the progress of your business if you don't take some action to do something different and take it to the next level?

Next consider my guarantee. If you aren't happy with what you see, let me know and I'll issue an immediate refund. No questions asked. But I'm so confident that you'll like what you'll see and that the program will have a positive impact on your business that I'm really willing to put my money where my mouth is. If you don't see results after one year of using these principles and techniques, then I'll double your money back. I'll refund the cost of the course and pay you what you've invested in the course just as a reward for trying. It just doesn't get any better than that.

Based on this cost-benefit analysis, ask yourself if it makes sense to get the Fill Your Practice course. If it does, great. If it doesn't, that's fine too. But at least you'll have a sound foundation on which to choose.

I really wished that this kind of resource had been available when I first started my practice. I would have saved myself thousands of dollars and incredible amounts of frustration. So I feel I just wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't do everything within my power to help you appreciate the level of benefit you could experience by filling your practice and moving forward with the program.

I can offer this valuable information, but you have to take the next step. Click here to order the Fill Your Practice 101 program now.

Now let's look at an example of a "Welcome to the practice" letter. My comments are in blue type and are surrounded by [brackets] in the letter.

My critique may seem a little harsh simply because I've focused on what's wrong rather than what's right. But there are lots of constructive suggestions that will make this good welcome letter into a great one. Thanks for being humble enough to let me share this Geoff. Others are sure to benefit from your efforts.

Hello!

My name is Geoff Dakin. I am a massage therapist from Canada. [They've come to see you already. They know who you are and where you work.] I received my Physical Education degree from the University of British Columbia and my Massage Therapy diploma from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy (which is also in Vancouver). I worked as the massage therapist for the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League during the 1991-1992 season. I have been helping patients solve their pain-related problems for almost 14 years. [I'd put this later in the letter. Talk about them before talking about you. These are impressive credentials however. Make sure that you keep these in.]

There are many massage practitioners working in Los Cabos and I feel privileged that you have given me the opportunity to serve you. I also want to take this opportunity to commend you on taking care of yourself. Overall it seems as though muscle and joint problems are not taken as seriously as other physical problems. However, even though not life threatening, these types of problems can be serious enough to prevent you from enjoying your life, which is extremely serious. [Small tip: Break paragraphs up into two to five sentences for easy reading.] Everyday I see people who have needlessly suffered for years with headaches, or jaw pain, or shoulder pain, etc. without getting help. [For a more powerful effect, delineate the pain in terms they can understand. What impact have headaches, jaw or shoulder pain had on some of your clients and their ability to lead a normal life? Can you give some specific examples? How did that make them feel?] I believe that helping you take care of your body is a serious responsibility. Like your doctor or dentist, I assess your particular problem and suggest the best course of treatment. If necessary, I may refer you to other professionals for assessment or treatment. If I do not believe that I can help you resolve your particular problem I will let you know.

One of the most common questions I get is: "How many treatments is it going to take for my pain to disappear?" There are many different factors that come into play over and above how acutely irritated your condition is. Structural alignment (muscle balance), structural stability (muscle tone and connective tissue integrity) as well as other muscular and neurological factors (i.e. facilitated pathways and trigger points) will all help to determine whether or not you can reasonably expect to be pain-free at some point. [Oh my! You've lost them here. I can imagine their eyes glazing over. Rewrite in language a ten year old could understand or leave out entirely. If you answer this common question, then your answer should position you as an expert who cares for them and not someone who will talk circles around them.] And if it is possible, these factors will also largely predetermine whether it will require a short or long period of rehabilitation. What I can guarantee is that I will do everything possible to eliminate your pain. I will develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your specific problem in order to help you achieve the absolute best results as quickly and effectively as possible. [There's the real benefit that you need to emphasize: Customized assessment and treatment to get them better quickly so they can get on with enjoying their life. Also notice how just the phrase "enjoying your life" is much more concrete than a conceptual "achieve absolute best results". ]

If for some reason, however, you are not completely satisfied with anything to do with your experience, please be sure to tell me what you liked or didn't on your next visit. I want you to feel nothing less than great about the help I give you. For this reason I offer a complete money back satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you are not satisfied [how about "delighted" or "thrilled"] with your treatment simply let me know. [The guarantee is good, but continue with the thought: "Simply let me know and I'll ..." What exactly will you do if they let you know? It will be more reassuring if they know.] I need to be aware of any problems that arise as soon as possible so that I can rectify them. The most important thing is that your needs are met. Just remember that if you are voicing a constructive criticism or complaint you are really helping me to learn and improve my practice. [Focus on them again. They don't really care about you and your practice. The biggest benefit is that you can make sure that they are not only delighted, but that you meet their needs in the best way possible to help them feel their very best and get the best value out of every dollar they spend.]

I believe that my particular approach to solving muscle and joint pain problems is as effective as any alternative [If you use this phrase "as effective as any alternative", then you need to highlight why they should choose you as an alternative if you are only just as effective. If you can't answer "Why should I buy from you instead of someone else, then leave this phrase out entirely.] and much more effective than most. If you combine appropriate hands-on techniques and remedial exercise it is amazing what physical problems can be overcome. I hope that you will decide to incorporate my treatment into your personal health regime and pursue regular maintenance treatments after your initial complaint has been resolved. Even living in paradise is not much fun when you are in pain!" [Don't "hope". Speak with certainty. Give them advice. For example, "I know you'll feel so good with treatment, that you'll soon be preaching the benefits of regular massage to everyone you know."]

Sincerely,

Geoff Dakin

P.S. If I've helped you with your particular problem, I have a favor to ask of you. If you know anyone who is suffering with a painful condition, please send them in. [It's useful to give more specific examples, so they know exactly what you mean by painful condition. For example, "If you know anyone who is suffering from any kind of pain, including chronic neck pain, bad headaches, nagging back pain, or jaw pain (one of my specialties), then please send them in."] I'd like to help them. I'll do my absolute best to make sure that they get the same special care that you've received.

My fee is $65US per hour. An initial appointment requires one hour of assessment and treatment. However, if financial concerns may prevent you from receiving the care you need, please let me know. Shorter appointment times can be used to decrease your costs (i.e. 40 minutes cost you $45US). [Since this is a Welcome letter, they've already seen you. This is not the time to remind them of the pain of paying you. Instead in the body of the letter reinforce your caring nature: "I want to absolutely make sure that you get better and don't want your ability to afford my services get in the way of you feeling your best.. If finances are an issue for you, let me know. I'm sure that I can work with you to make this affordable no matter what your financial situation."]

OTHER THOUGHTS:
As a general comment, the basic letter is sound, but it needs a little bit of reworking so that it is more compelling to read and so it focuses their attention more on the benefits that they will receive by seeing you specifically. I'm being quite critical, but even as is, it does a good job as a Welcome letter.

It would definitely be useful to make this letter more conversational. You tend to slip into a dry academic style of writing. Pretend you are talking to your ideal client. Role play with someone, tape the conversation, and then transcribe what you've said.

For example, try starting off your letter off with, "Hi Bill! Geoff Dankin here!"

Or when talking about your credentials, "I received topnotch training from the renowned West Coast College of Massage Therapy. But that's not all. I also have a degree in Physical Education from the University of British Columbia. Of course, training is only half the picture. Rest assured that you've also got a very experienced therapist working for you. I've been helping patients get rid of their pain for over 13 years! Over that time I've developed a reputation for getting people better quickly. Even the Vancouver Canucks have entrusted me with their million dollar players. So you can be sure that you are in good hands."

Compare this to what you've written in the first paragraph of the letter. I think you'll agree that it's more conversational and more powerful.

Try a rewrite keeping some of these ideas in mind.

As always, a big Thank You for your support. This Marketing Tips newsletter has gone from 500 subscribers at the beginning of February to over 2,300 subscribers today. This has been due almost entirely to you spreading the word and referring others to the site since I have not yet started marketing the BodyworkBiz website. Keep up the great work.

Click here to refer your friends and receive a special gift from me.

All the best

Eric Brown, Director
BodyworkBiz


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