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Networking and massage: Good for therapists, good for clients

Today we hear about "networking" a lot, whether it's "networking events," "business networking," "or social networking."  Even stay at home moms have networking events!  The world of massage is no different.  Networking amongst massage therapists and their clients is vital in this day and age, both for the success of a therapist's practice and for the overall care of a client.

Networking for Therapists

Say you are a massage therapist specializing in Swedish relaxation massage, but you have a client who is having severe shoulder pain from pitching on her company softball league. Her injuries are a little out of your scope of knowledge, so what do you suggest she do?  You could attempt to address the problem, or you could refer her out to another therapist.

Building referrals, such as a referral to a therapist specializing in sports massage, is a way to show your clients that you are looking out for their best interests.  Clients appreciate and respect a therapist who knows their limitations. Sometimes admitting you do not have expertise in a certain modality is the best way to show your wisdom.  When this is the case, having plenty of cards or an easy website to give out is essential. However, make sure when setting up referrals, ensure that you have experienced the person's work yourself, since your own credibility is on the line.

Networking can also help your bottom line. If you go to a networking event or trade cards with another massage therapist, hold on to their information. You never know when a brief verbal encounter can turn into teaming up for an event or partnering in business! 

Janet Smithe, a southeast Michigan massage therapist practicing in Southfield, says, "I took a card from a man that I met at a small business networking event. Not only do we now cross-refer each other, but we also team up for in-home parties."

Networking for Massage Clients

Massage networking doesn't stop at massage therapists.  If you are a potential massage client and you are in the market for a massage therapists, begin by asking around!  Word of mouth is a great way to find the right therapist for your needs.

Mary T., a Ferndale, Michigan resident who requested we not use her last name, said, "I have Fibromyalgia and belong to a local Fibromyalgia support group. I needed someone who could help me work through the pain I experience. Thanks to a friend, I found a therapist who specialize in the condition and I now see her once a week."

If you attend a natural health fair, ask for cards and pick up brochures or other promotional materials. Visit websites or Facebook pages to get a feel for the therapists' skills and business practices. For instance, if you are uncomfortable getting massage outside of your home, you will need to ensure you find someone willing to do outcall massage therapy.

Lastly, if you are a potential massage client and you have a specific skill such as home repair, decorating, or web design (to name just a few), massage therapists will sometimes barter for your services. If you attend a networking event and a massage therapist is present, suggest that you barter an hour of your services for an hour of their services!  Exchanging cards with massage therapists is also a good way to build your own business!

Networking can seem overwhelming at first, but it is really a simple encounter with another person. You can network at a formal event or in line at the grocery store.  Two cards and a few pleasantries are exchanged and a great partnership form, whether you are the therapist or the client!

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