Running a business is difficult work, with lots of risks and challenges. Running a massage business is no exception. Doing massage is the easy part. The hard part? Selling massage. Getting people in the door and getting them to spend their money on your business is difficult to do and challenging to do well. However it is the key to running a successful business, so people have come up with plenty of tricks to get it done.
You've probably experienced many of these tactics, as a consumer, but may not have given them much thought. Whether they work or not is not the topic of this blog entry. I mean to speak of the reasons NOT to use some of the most common sales tactics in the massage industry - and more specifically, why you can expect to be free of these tactics when you deal with Warrior Massage.
1. The Odd-Number Price
Have you ever noticed that nothing every costs $50 or $100? It's always $49 or $99, or worse: $99.99? That 1% (or 0.01%) price drop is not because merchants have found a way to fine-tune prices to the exact price point where your WTP (Willingness to Pay) meets their WTS (Willingness to Sell). It is there because merchants think they can trick you (or at least part of you) into thinking you are paying less than you actually are. Because when you pay $49.99 for something, you are ACTUALLY paying $50 but somewhere in the stupid part of your brain which controls basic survival instincts like resource rationing, you think you're paying "$40-something."
Essentially, the merchant is LYING to you about the price. And they're not even being honest about lying, because they're lying to a part of your brain that doesn't understand deception.
Also, it makes book-keeping all that more difficult.
2. The Must-Act-Now Deal
The more time you have to think about a purchase, the less likely you are to spend your money. Or so the thinking goes, except maybe when it is something essential like a new water heater, or heart surgery.
The trick to get around this is to offer you a good deal but make it contingent upon deciding right away: walk out that door (or take time to think about it) and the offer goes away. You may be familiar with this trick from car salesmen. It uses fear to manipulate you into making a hasty decision.
I believe that all relationships built on fear are unhealthy for everyone involved.
3. The Add-On
At many spas and massage businesses, it is common to offer "add-ons" to your massage: a foot-bath, steam towels, aromatherapy, et cetera. These can be nice if luxuriation is what you're in for, but as far as value they are designed to get you to pay more for the same amount of service: usually, they don't add time to your session, so you are actually paying MORE for LESS massage, because every minute your therapist is spending preparing a foot bath or steam towel is a minute she's not spending massaging you.
4. The "Massage-Drunk"
It's well-known amongst massage therapists and massage enthusiasts that, immediately following a massage, people often have a feeling of relaxed euphoria, probably due to the flood of oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, and other happy hormones and neurotransmitters unleashed during a massage. This state is colloquially known as "Massage drunkenness," and it's commonly accepted amongst massage therapists that this is the best time to press a client to sign up for another massage, or buy a package or membership.
While I certainly don't turn away someone who immediately wants to book another massage after their massage, I prefer not to apply too much pressure to someone (especially to commit to a large purchase like a package or membership), because it feels like taking advantage of someone, and I don't want any customers to regret having made the decision to pay for my services.
If it wasn't clear, I don't approve of any of these sales tactics, so I strive to not let them creep into the business plan at Warrior Massage. However I do not condemn everybody who uses them because, like most consumers, it's likely that most business owners don't really give any thought to the tactics they use. They were probably taken in by some shyster who used unscrupulous techniques to sell them on the idea.
This area of the blog is for discussion on topics specific to massage, wellness, and the massage industry. If there is a topic you'd like to see discussed here, please ask!