I have had the conversation sooo many times. I am at a networking event or a conference and when asked where I work I say:
“Oh, I run a mobile massage business”.
Then I see their eyes glaze over and a sort of grimace presents itself. Inevitably some form of the following comes out:
“Oh, I have always wanted to do that but I am just too afraid of the creeps.” or
“Isn’t it weird going into people’s houses?” or
“Aren’t you scared going into people’s houses?”
My answer? No, not weird. No, I enjoy going to people’s houses. Yes, creeps exist and I avoid them. Yadda yadda yadda.
The truth is, aside from dissuading the creeps (not as hard as you think) the hardest part of my job is convincing perfectly normal people that they can trust me, and feel comfortable with me in their homes.(Ok, and yes, lugging the table) Having had locations before, I can tell you firsthand that converting an incall client to an outcall client is akin to alchemy. So if you figure out that magic formula, puh-lease contact me.
Here are 10 tips, aside from your nurturing and healing skills, that can help you help them to have a comfortable session.
- Call it a “mobile massage” and your business a “mobile massage” or “mobile spa” business. In many parts of the country the word “outcall” is closely associated with the adult entertainment industry; specifically strippers, escorts and prostitutes. While not imperative, using different terminology is an easy way to distance yourself from that industry.
- Have a clear, concise website. Provide as much detail as you can about individual services and have a long list of Frequently Asked Questions about how the service will unfold.
What can I expect during my first session?
How do I book an appointment?
and even the dreaded
Does your service come with a happy ending?
Saying it on your website may seem cheap…but it is worth it for every phone call you don’t get. It gives some of your clientele something to laugh at and functions as an icebreaker. It may put off a few people, but it will put even more people at ease. You must become comfortable with this language to help make them comfortable with it.
- Be sure to lead the phone conversation, and allow them to tell a little bit of their story. There is plenty of time to get to know them before and during your session of course, but people like to get a sense of you before you come into their home. Don’t be afraid to laugh a little. I have noticed that initial calls for outcall appointments in general last a little longer than phone calls for incall appointments. Establishing your new client as a “warm contact” before going to their home helps to calm their jitters.
- When they answer the door, this is your golden moment. Put down your equipment, take a deep breath, and then ring the bell. Make sure to greet them with a warm smile, great eye contact and a firm, friendly handshake. Use their name and let them know it is nice to meet them.
- Make sure to have them fill out a health intake form, even if they only want relaxation massage. I feel 1 page, front and back (at most) is sufficient without making the client feel overly burdened with paperwork. Have it on a clipboard for them to fill it out with, just in case they don’t have a hard surface handy in the room you set up in. This further establishes you as a wellness professional and gives them something to occupy their hands while you are setting up.
- Presentation is very important. Your equipment should of course be clean and in good repair – but ideally everything should also be very visually appealing. I work with all black equipment and electronics, that way everything matches. Anything you aren’t using should be folded or stored neatly and set aside all together in a non obtrusive manner. I usually store my table case and anything else I am not using folded on top of my table cart. Set up your table first, and then place your neatly folded sheets on the table. Proceed to set up anything else (for instance music, an essential oil kit, or hot stone warmer) while conversing with your client. After everything else is ready, the last thing you do is dress the table before excusing yourself to wash your hands. This curbs those instances when the client is nervous and/or eager to get on the table and starts undressing in front of you. Folding back the sheet is a sort of signal that it is time to undress, in addition to your verbal cue.
- This one is especially important if you and the client are the only ones in the house, and if this is your first time seeing the client. We all know that we should avoid breaking contact with our clients as much as possible. For those instances when you can’t help it, make sure they can still hear you. This is a personal opinion of mine, I am not sure how many will agree. When I have someone on the table and I have to break contact, to pick up some hot stones or to retrieve an essential oil, I always rub my hands or the stones together to make a quiet sound. Not the rapid, squishy lotion sound we are all familiar with from massage school…just a light, slow sound to remind them of where I am around the table. I also may ask a question or two on the way back from the restroom as I approach the table…so they can hear where I am around the table before that initial touch.
- When you are in people’s homes, you may encounter their families, roommates or pets. Always acknowledge their presence and introduce yourself. If they come in after the session has started, simply smile and nod. Don’t ignore them.
- As you finish up – thank your client and excuse yourself to wash up. Don’t linger in the bathroom too long on either wash up. At the initial wash up, be sure to leave the door open so that you don’t have to touch the handle with oily hands to get back in.
- Be sure to have your things packed in an organized manner to facilitate a quick set up, and more importantly, a quick breakdown. You want things to be compact – ideally in one bag. I use a big black laptop bag – the over the shoulder kind that you see at conferences. Carrying too many bags looks messy and cumbersome – and you don’t want your client feeling sorry for you…the idea is to make this look effortless…even though we all know lugging the equipment in can sometimes be a pain.
- Bonus…always remember this: Radiate comfort. If you are comfortable and at ease, your client will be too.