Yep, networking. I don't know what most MT's think, but networking just "ain't my bag". Don't get me wrong. It's not like I don't like people. If I didn't like people I wouldn't work in this field. But LARGE GROUPS of people? And getting up and speaking in front of those LARGE GROUPS of people in a way that is supposed to grab their attention? Well, let's just say, the prospect doesn't exactly fill me with joys of spring.
A client of mine who worked as a corporate trainer once told me that there are two types of people when it comes to handling groups. There are those people that love to be around groups of people and they get re-energized from them. Then there are the second group that get re-energized from being on their own. The first group are extroverts, the latter introverts. Introverts can relate to people on a one on one basis very well. Extroverts handle groups better. BUT you can have a job dealing with groups, but actually be an introvert. She trained hundreds of people in big groups, but at the end of the day she had to be on her own to re-energize. She said that learning to deal with groups is just a matter of exposure. The more you do it, the easier it gets. So I've just got to keep on doing it. Thing is, when you get out of the way of doing it, going back to it can be hard!
Networking groups are good for business. I know this and I'm sure most small business owners know it too. I've experienced it first hand and when I started my business I got to know the ins and outs of it. Consistency is a big thing. When I was consistent about going to one group and got to know people, I'd get clients. But over the past year or so I let it slip. My client base had got to where I didn't feel I needed to keep it up. It was a mistake to let it slip.
Last Saturday I ran into someone I knew from one of the networking groups I went to. I told her I was actually a member of the city's chamber of commerce, but didn't go to their meetings. She then said that she would start calling me on Friday mornings to make sure I was going. I like the lady since she has a good positive vibe about her and she speaks her mind about everything. She pointed out that I was wasting the membership dues if I wasn't going to the networking meetings. I had a good think. I had got some referrals from their website which basically paid for the dues, but I wasn't making the most of the membership. Basically this was like getting a gym membership and never going. And just like going back to the gym can lead to sore muscles, I needed to get back into going and just get over that initial discomfort. So I've made a mid-year resolution to start going.
I think my running into the lady was one of those weird "universey thingies" that happens. (As Einstein says "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous"). My reason for this is because I had made it my goal to sell twice as many Christmas gift certificates this year over last year. I had only written this goal down a few days before running into her and I think that going to the Chamber meetings is going to be one approach in hitting that goal. There were at least 100 people at the meeting this morning and NOT ONE MASSAGE THERAPIST was there. So my "cunning plan" (sorry - Black Adder fan) is to be consistent about going and by the time December runs around my face will be well enough known to where people will consider buying certificates off me. I'll also give a discount to Chamber members. The other thing that will work in my favor is the fact that the lady who told me I should go knows a lot of people there so I'll give her referral cards and tell her for every 5 she send me, I'll give her a massage. She has had a couple of massages from me, so she knows who/what/where she is referring to.
My theory is that sometimes we've to do things that put us out of our comfort zone just to know ourselves a bit better and to make progress in business. And sometimes we get a wee nudge from somewhere directing us into that situation. My hope is that when December comes around I'll be back into the "groove" and my palms WON'T be sweating when I stand for my 30 minute commercial.
Maybe it's because I'd actually love to have that many hands? But only if it wasn't viewed as freaky. But then if I was to worry about the freak factor, then what does that say about me? Just a conformist that worries about what people think?
That's enough ponderin' for now.....it's making my braincell hurt.
I definitely think the move was a good idea. My regulars seem to be re-energized and are booking more frequently and I'm starting to see more business come from just being in the new place. It was a LONG day today. I've another long one tomorrow - start at 8:30 am and finish at 9 p.m. I've a big break in the middle of the afternoon though, so I'll be OK, but it's still a loooonnnnggg day.
One other thing I've noticed is that the move has made me re-assess my workflow and processes and the like. It's a good thing - forced me to have a fresh eye on the way I do everything from documentation to preparing for a session.
Moving has added to the list, obviously, but when I take one thing off there seems to be more things added. One thing that has come to my attention is the number of listings for my business on the internet that I never entered. Some of them have the wrong address. So far I've found about 30 on sites that I knew nothing about - some of them have the business in 2 neighboring towns on streets I've never heard of. I think one of the reasons is because I have a registered DBA for the business so I'm going to have to go to the county court house and see about it. My theory is that their database is incorrect or has been copied and then stomped on by some other entity that sells business addresses. I think the location change involves re-registering the DBA. Hopefully it will propagate into the sites with the bad info.
Who else has pulled back the sheet and found this?
Ever had the experience of getting a "footy" smell in your nose and it stays with you all day? It doesn't matter how much lavender oil you throw around you, it's just there, and it's not leaving? I think there's been an invisible sock under my nose all day - with wings and a mission to annoy the crap outa me.
You know how I just moved into this new place that has about 8 or 9 rooms for MTs and aestheticians ?
Well, on Saturday I had something strange happen that made me wonder about the MT that used to be across the hallway from me. Apparently she moved out not so long ago. Her sign is still above her door. I never met her, so she has been gone at least 3 weeks since it was 3 weeks ago that I looked at rooms there and hers was one of the options shown to me. On Saturday my first appointment was leaving and I was waiting for her getting dressed in the little waiting area. There was a lady sitting in the area and we just started chatting about this and that. Then my client came out and we got her sorted for her next appointment etc. The waiting lady then said "Do you know if Kaye will be available soon?" And I said there was no one by the name of Kaye that worked here. I checked the sign above the door to see what the name was on there - sure enough, it was Kaye.
This lady had been calling her multiple times, wanting to know where she was at since she had an appointment with her that had been set up weeks ago. Apparently Kaye must have been even more disorganized than me! Anyway, at that time I had a wee break, so I offered to work on her and told her that I wasn't trying to "steal" her away. She had a hair appointment later in the main salon, so it worked out OK - we did 40 minutes work on her arms, neck and back. At first she was feeling bad about Kaye "maybe" waiting for her somewhere else, but from what I hear about the therapist, she didn't have that many clients. You'd think that she would have been able to answer her phone at least. I think it was pretty bad form not telling her booked clients where she had gone to. And there was no indication where Kaye went to at the salon- no one seems to know anything about her. Anyway, this new lady booked another appointment with me next Saturday. I've got a challenge on my hands since she was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, so I'm on a mission. I'm also curious as to whether or not her former MT will call her back at all during this week. My bet is that she doesn't.
Maybe the fact that Kaye is neglecting her clients might be a good thing for me in this instance since I think I've got a new client, but on the thought that any MT would just leave their clients out in the cold like that just annoys me. It's just uncool and it tends reflect the profession in a bad way. But then again, maybe this was just a one shot deal and there is an logical explanation for it. Maybe Kaye is the unflakiest MT on the planet and this was just one mistake. I hope my presumptions about her are all wrong.
I'll keep you posted on whether she calls her back.....
Gaelic lesson #67 "Ca bhfuil tu?" pronounced "Ka will too", meaning "Where are you?"
I'm sitting here in my wee massage room, having just been no-showed. The reason why is totally my fault and I shouldn't beat myself up about it, but hey, when you've lost $60 through being inefficient and disorganized, that's what happens!
Part of the reason was that I didn't remind the client that I would be here instead of my old place. I had told him after his last appointment (2 weeks ago) but I bet he forgot and was knocking on my door of the house. I sent his wife a reminder email this morning, but I bet she hasn't checked her email lately (I don't have his). Secondly, I forgot to put a note on that door (just in case). Thirdly, my client records haven't all been shifted over here, so I haven't got access to his phone number here - it's in a file on my desk by my computer AT HOME. I should have all my regular email and phone numbers plugged into my new fancy smancy phone, but I haven't got 'round to doing that yet.
The other weird thing is that this client is the only client that calls my home phone and I bet he was calling it - while sitting outside my home!
Sometimes not-so-great things happen for a reason. Organizing my client's information and getting all my stuff moved needs to be a priority, as is getting all their contact info into the iPhone.
One other thing I've noticed is that being no-showed here is totally different from being no-showed at the home office. I was twiddling my thumbs for quite a while. So the fact that there is not time wasting brought into the mix will be further motivation for me to get better organized......
We'll see how it goes!
gotta go here - at least I've 2 more clients to go. Just hope they show up!
I've encountered my first (and hopefully my only) odd thing at the new place. I'm in ABMP and as a wee perk that I get this wee free magazine twice a year that is specifically written and designed to put in waiting rooms of massage clinics/spas. It's more like a health magazine that has interesting articles, one of which is always gauged towards educating the waiting client on massage. It's a cool little magazine.
Anyway.......when I worked at home, I'd sometimes have couples wait on each other getting in my living room, and it was handy for that. Since the area that I'm working in now has it's own waiting area that is to serve the aestheticians and MTs only (the hair stylists and nail techs are all in a separate area), I decided to bring in the current magazine along with a couple of other generic mags. I put a stamp of my business (name, website, number) on the front of the mag - they have specifically designed it that way to do so.
I brought the Summer 2009 one in on Thursday. By Thursday lunchtime it was GONE. The other mags I'd brought in were still there (my stamp isn't on them). So I brought the Winter 2008 one in on Saturday. Again, today it is GONE.
So maybe I'm being paranoid here, but maybe someone doesn't like the fact that I've got my mag out there with my business name on them. It may also be that the clients took the mag home, but it was the speed at which they went that makes me a little paranoid. Plus the fact all but one of the other mags are still there ("Health" magazine also disappeared over the past couple of days). Or maybe it's just such a good mag that it was immediately snatched up?
Anyhoo, I checked with the manager (who is very good - that's one of the great things about this place - it has a great manager) to see if it was OK for me to put the mag around the whole place (they've got many magazine stands out in the hair/nail area), and she said it was fine, so I ordered half a dozen more (they're only a buck a piece to ABMP members). It'll be interesting to see how fast they disappear from the main area - I'll try another one in the little waiting room too.
Velllllly intellesting..... I've put WAY too many parenthesis in this post. Sorry about that!
Gaelic lesson #66: "feithealann", pronounced "feyalon", meaning "waiting room"