How to Create a Recommendation Programme Training
It’s kind of a cliché in the massage therapy/complementary therapy world that people rely on word-of-mouth marketing for building their client base.
While in the My Massage Mentor Programme, you’re going to learn how to do all kinds of different marketing, not just word-of-mouth (because it can be really slow), a recommendation program is really important because it helps you take advantage of word-of-mouth from your clients.
What’s Covered In This Training
First, I’m going to explain the basics of a recommendation program and then how you can choose what you want to offer in your clinic (because there are a couple of ways to do it) and then how you want to market it or spread the word.
The worksheet that goes along with this essentially asks you these questions so you can decide your program or your policy and how you want to set it up for yourself.
What Incentive to Offer
You’ve probably seen recommendation programs in other businesses where they’ll say something like “refer a friend and get a £10 gift voucher” or “refer a friend and be entered into a draw to win like a pair of shoes” or “a month free membership at a gym”.
I personally don’t love the idea of giving a monetary voucher because I think if you’re on the receiving end of recommendation and you find that that person if they recommend they get £10, you might be a little bit more suspicious about the recommendation.
Whereas if the discount or the incentive is money off a massage with you, with the person they’re recommending, they think “okay, well they wouldn’t recommend this person if they didn’t want more massage”. It makes it feel a little bit more authentic.
It’s okay if you want to do something like enter people into a draw (for a massage with you) when they recommend you versus giving an incentive.
Another thing to consider is if you want to give a discount to the person who recommends and the person who’s being recommended, or just one or the other.
The questions that you want to ask yourself are:
How much of an incentive do I want to offer?
Do you want to offer £5 off? Do you want to offer £10 off? Do you want to offer 50 percent off? Do you want to say if someone recommends you, you get your second appointment half price? There are a lot of different choices.
One thing I would strongly recommend is to not have your incentive be too generous.
Let’s say that your normal price is £60 for an hour massage.
Don’t say “first appointment if you’re recommended by someone is £20.” The reason I don’t recommend such a big incentive is when you set it up like that, somebody might be perfectly happy to pay £20 for an hour massage but then balk at the idea of paying £60.
If your incentive is £5 off or £10 off, that’s not a huge jump to go up, you know, to pay an extra £5 or an extra £10 for their next session and it might just be enough for them to come and try you.
The other thing is that you don’t have to have a monetary incentive, you don’t have to say it’s £5 off a session or £10 off a session.
You could say “get 10 minutes free” or get a” 60 minute session for the price of 45″.
Obviously, in real terms it translates to basically the same thing.
If you give somebody 10 minutes free, they’re getting a certain amount of money off for the session but it might feel more generous if you put it one way or the other, depending on your prices for massage, or like 10 percent off.
Do you want it to be a percentage?
Ten percent sounds like a good discount but if it’s say 10 percent off a half an hour session that’s £30 or £25. That’s only £2.50 or £3 off. Actually, in that case it sounds a lot better to say “10 percent off” versus “£2.50 off or £3 off.”
The other thing you want to think of for the person recommending.
Let’s say you have somebody who recommends five people to you, five new clients and let’s say you’re saying that they can get 10 percent off each time they recommend someone.
Is it cumulative? So can they get 50% off if they’ve referred five clients to you?
Or, is it just redeemable one per session? That again is really up to what feels good for you.
I personally generally limit to one per session, because I don’t want people to wait to come back until they have a free one. At the same time, if I have someone whose schedule is to see me once every three months, and they send me five people, that’s going to take a couple of years to get all of those £5 off, so I might group them together for somebody like that.
The next question is, what do they have to do to redeem the discount?
Is there a card or a flyer or some sort of voucher that they have to bring in?
Do they need to know the name of the person (like if they don’t need to have a voucher or a card, then they can just come in and redeem it)?
Maybe they still need the name of the person who’s referred them.
How will you advertise it?
How are you going to let people know that if they recommend someone, that person gets a discount and/or the person recommending gets a discount.
You could put it in the emails that you send.
You can put it on your social media, like if you have a social media post that says if you are my client and you recommend someone, they can get 10 percent off and you can get 10 percent off.
Or will you only tell them about it in person in the session? Maybe you give them something when they come and see you, or you can put it on your website.
One thing to be aware of when you’re putting it out to the general public that it does make it possible that someone might say oh, I was recommended by someone and they weren’t actually, they just want to get the discount.
Then it’s kind of up to you if you want to be advertising it on your website because if somebody sees oh, I can get 10 percent off if I say someone recommends me and they could make it up.
Personally I don’t advertise our recommendation program on our website.
I tell it to clients in the session.
I also say that if they put their name, if they are in a local recommendation group if they could recommend us in the group and if they say their name, anybody who comes in with that person’s name can have the discount.
There are a few ways that you can do it but these are all the questions that you need to ask yourself and these are all in the worksheet that goes along with this training module, so you can design your own.
With aspects like the incentive and how you advertise it, that can change over time.
When you’re just starting out and you really want clients, maybe it’s £10 off a session and £10 off for recommending and you can say just for a limited time only for the next six months (and then extend it if you want to and then normally it’s £5 off.
Or you can increase it during certain times of the year, so maybe during a slow period you can say in August, if you recommend someone they can have £10 off and they can have £10 off, but the rest of the year it’s £5 off.
It is okay to be flexible, and also on the worksheet there’s a section to say if you want to make it so that at certain times it’s higher or now it’s higher and later it’s going to be lower.
Now that you have the answers to what your recommendation programme is going to be, the next thing is to just do it.
One of the easiest ways I think is to get business cards printed up, so they’re cards business card size that say X recommended you, here’s how to book, and that says they can get £5 off or you can just tell people verbally.
You can send it out in your newsletter if you have a newsletter, and if you send out booking confirmations or reminders, you can send it in your email signature.
Record Your Recommendation Policy
I also recommend that once you’ve answered all these questions, that you type it up somewhere and save it for reference.
This is helpful so if you ever want to change it you can change it. Just generally it’s better not to rely on your memory for stuff.
If you can have it recorded somewhere, then if you need to double check “what did I decide to do for my recommendation program?” you can find it on your computer saved versus you having to go back and trying to remember what you’ve decided.
That is the How to Create a Recommendation Programme Training.
To sum up, you need to decide how much of incentive you want, who gets the discount;
if you want it to be monetary or in kind, or percentage;
if they can build it up or if it’s only redeemable one per session and;
how you’re going to advertise it;
and if there are periods when it’s higher or lower.
Your next step is, if you haven’t already been filling this in as you went through the training, go through the worksheet, answer these questions for yourself, and then type up your recommendation programme.
Once you’ve decided, start advertising it to your clients.
Just a note to remember: even with the recommendation programme it can be very difficult to get people to come in through recommendation because people are busy and, you know, they mean to do it but then it’s not really a priority until it’s an emergency.
While a recommendation programme will definitely increase the number of new clients you get through word-of- mouth, it is still a little bit of a long process.
Bear in mind that sometimes it can take a while for a recommendation to go from that person being recommended to coming to see you.
One example, the brother/brother-in-law of one of my regular clients had a really bad problem in his foot.
They were badgering him for six months to come and see me, and then he finally did and now he’s a regular client of mine. But it took a really long time and this was somebody with chronic pain. Bear that in mind when you’re working on recommendation.
As always, if you have any questions about this training you can head over to the forum and ask.
If you’d like to share what you’re going to do with your recommendation programme you can always let us know.
Good luck with your new recommendation programme!