The Paradox Pitch

I hate being sold to… almost as much as I hate selling.

But it’s true… we’re all in sales. The experts tell us to just talk to people and tell them how much massage therapy can help their pain, their anxiety, their headaches.

Sorry, I can’t do it. The most I managed was to introduce myself to other business owners, as a new neighbor. Just a courtesy call, not a sales pitch. If my acquaintances mention aches and pains, I will not be the one who says “Why don’t you make an appointment with me?”

I despise sales techniques, and if anybody uses them on me, I immediately lose respect for them. Isn’t it enough to tell me what you do? Do you have to add how much what you do can help my business / my body / my soul?

It’s icky, and seems desperate. Or you believe so much in what you do that it sounds preachy. Sorry, I’ve heard sales pitches for all kinds of holistic methods for the last 20 years. I’m sick of it, and your faith won’t sway me… even testimonials don’t. Give me a placebo-controlled double-blind study, but only if I ask for it.

And keep those videos out of my inbox!

I’m a bit extreme in my opinion, but I know how uncomfortable it makes me to be pitched to–I won’t do it to others.

Inbound Marketing

I prefer it when people come to me. Having a good website makes it easy for people to find us, and doing a lot of networking ensures that others are the ones who pitch me–I don’t have to do it myself.

If I keep the doors clearly labeled and open, prospective clients walk through. Part of that is having the phone answered by real people 24/7, making online scheduling easy, and having a lot of information easily available via social media and our website.

New clients often tell me how they see our logo “everywhere” and how different keywords always lead them to our website.


No, we don’t do Groupon (or all the others). We don’t want to attract bargain-hunters, and anyway–I pay my therapists so much, we’d lose a lot of money on Groupon.

What we do is bring our own, professionally printed coupons to businesses, fitness studios, doctor’s offices and upscale retail stores. We don’t push them on people–we kindly ask whether they’d like a few to be shared with their employees and favorite clients. This way we don’t need to come in with a pitch–we come in with a gift.

Consultation & Tryout

If people want to try us, we make it easy. They can get a sample treatment and a consultation for just $45.

If somebody talks about a friend who can’t afford our treatments, I offer a free consultation. By now we have a paper we hand to people that lists massage schools and other places where they can get bodywork at a low cost, and affordable yoga classes (they’re excellent, taught at a community center). Some of those people who just came in for a freebie have referred a lot of valuable clients.

I do a short evaluation and give people advice based on my experience (16 years of working on pain clients).

Depending on what’s going on with them, I might say “your posture and movement are fine… of course I could nitpick and find something to work on, but you should be ok with just getting a few short treatments”.
If I find REAL structural problems where things are clearly out of line, I show them how they can correct themselves, and I follow up with an email with yoga-based exercises

I have business cards for nutrition experts, PTs, pain med specialists etc that I can recommend… but I always give some advice in regards to what people should watch out for with each practitioner.

For the ones who booked the tryout treatment, I target their main problem, and usually provide relief.

I say “this is a tryout for me, to see how your body responds… and it’s a tryout for you, so you have an idea about how my work feels like”. I encourage them to expect results. Their main problem SHOULD get better right away or in the next two days. If it doesn’t change at all, I’m probably not the right person to help them.

That’s what I’m calling “the paradox pitch”. I recommend free options, I give information about cheaper solutions, I had out cards for other bodyworkers. And the reaction is, in most cases, that these clients immediately make another appointment. Some buy a whole package right away.

Because I didn’t pitch them.

Of course, this is just my experience. Yours might be much different.

Tell me about it!


1 thought on “The Paradox Pitch

  1. Some great advice, thank you Lu.
    I work in much the same way and often get comments that one of the reasons people keep coming back is because I don’t push them too return.
    I don’t currently offer taster sessions, perhaps that’s something I should consider introducing for 2014, I like that idea.
    I do list other local massage therapists within my area on my website in my “Friends and Colleagues” page. I know I’m not the right therapist for everyone and I want each and every client to be working with the best therapist for them. This has often meant recommending a different therapist and giving clients alternative options. I personally have found that rather than dwindle your client base it builds a healthy respect for your professionalism which in turn increases your client base.

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