This is one of the most common questions I hear from customers. It’s an important question and the response needs to be considered carefully because the answer will set the character and tone of all future interactions with that customer. I am going to offer a response that I have found creates the healthiest relationships with my customers.
The real question
Any question containing the words “should I” is always directed toward someone the inquisitor thinks is an “expert,” that is to say, someone more qualified then himself or herself to offer an answer. And, while some of my egocentric, “Dear Abby” parts just love it when people ask my advice and treat me as an expert, the truth is, in this case I am not.
I actually feel totally unqualified to tell someone else what his or her needs are in the way of massage or touch.
Perhaps I would feel differently if I were a massage “therapist” treating a particular problem or condition and could guarantee that a fixed number of sessions would result in the problem being resolved. But I am not a therapist. I am a simple massage practitioner providing structured touch to people who are seated in a chair or laying on a table and want to feel better.
From that perspective there is only one, quite definitive way to respond to the question, “How often should I get a massage?” and that is by asking for more information.
“If time and money weren’t considerations,” I query the customer, “how often would you like to feel this way?”
While this reply often engenders momentary confusion, the reply, often accompanied by a little laugh, is most often something along the lines of, “Why, every day, of course.”
Thus, the customer arrives at the best answer to their original, literal question, but we are not quite done yet. We still have to find the answer to the underlying question that they were also asking. “So now we know how often you should get a massage.” I say. “Now factor in time and money and you can figure out how often you can get a massage.”
Don’t miss the moment
Since skilled touch practitioners are primarily educators, let’s not miss this significant “teachable moment.” By not answering their question directly, we teach people some important lessons:
- They are the ones in charge of their bodies, not some perceived expert.
- For better or for worse, they are in charge of the feelings inside their bodies.
- They can change how they feel for the better at any time utilizing a simple tool called “massage.”
Realizing that, to a great extent, how one feels physically and mentally is a choice can be transformative. The pace of change in the external world is so fast that literally no one can keep up with the flow of information and innovation that surrounds us leaving most of us feeling powerless and out of control.
But, what we do have control over is our internal, subjective world. Massage is an effective tool for managing our inner experience in a way that almost always effects our external world for the better. Structured touch reduces stress, induces the relaxation response and allows us access to states of awareness that enhance our coping, caring and problem-solving abilities.
Don’t tell your customers how much massage they need. Let them tell you and you will probably end up with more frequent visits from people who understand the true, personal value of massage.