Blast from the PAST!!! This blog post is courtesy Robynne Kingswood, former director of The Healing Arts Learning Organization. It is a fabulous article about why it's best to upsell rather than discount our services . These days you can find Robynne and her family in the beautiful province of British Columbia.
Don't degrade! UPSELL your Super Self
We’ve all seen it. It’s as common as a two for one pizza, or last season shoes. Why pay full price? Everyone likes a deal, right? Wag Jag, Groupon. Discounting is cool, everyone is doing it!
Actually, no, so please check that notion at the door. All is not fair in love and discounts.
Unlike pizza or shoes, a human is not discountable. You heard me. Your value, your worth, is not best represented by a reduced bottom line. There lies a dangerous boundary here, one that affects the very core of who we are…our self-esteem.
Additionally, marketing should involve our target audience. No one gets into health care and hones their skills in order to fulfill the needs of “Bargain Shopper” as a profile. Using our skills to symptomatically assist someone with cancer, diabetes, stress, pregnancy…this is how we target clients in fulfilling and meaningful ways; by need, not by pricing discount.
When we draw in a bargain shopper some of the problems can be:
What about clients in need? Those who can’t afford service but need it?
This refers to a clinic policy (in writing) that basically states “upon notification of financial need, assistance will be assessed, on an individual basis, by the practitioner”. Sliding scale empowers a therapist to award a seniors or students discount based on non-discriminatory criteria. Rather than age, it’s based on financial circumstance. A client out of work due to injury, or single parent going through a divorce where income is limited are no less worthy than an undergrad student or senior. Treating everyone equally and fairly is a key stone in professional health care. Age-ism, wither reverse or traditional is not how we write our clinic policies.
Sliding scale is different than promotional discounting in a few ways
We will address some areas to be cautions regarding susceptibility to manipulation in the next article in this series.
With discounting, the end result is often spending a great deal of time treating non clients and not making any money at it.
Therapist Joe worked at a clinic that was all about building business through Wag Jag. The manager prepared the agreement and when all was said and done, the therapist was paid approximately $10 pr treatment. The clinic launched this in November, just a week before the busiest time of year when the therapist would be swamped with regular prices treatments of $85 from open to close each business day. They did not think to put a cap on the sale of these discounts nor redemption date restrictions, and 300 bookings later the therapist was notified of the promotion the clinic was offering, recoiling in horror. Rather than benefit from the most profitable time of year, the therapist could not make rent, working $10 treatments all day long. The incident illustrated some key points about contract rights, control and plain old common sense. He ended up leaving over the incident.
Rather than discount, include “non you” extras. Epsom salts, home stretches, complementary charts, aromatherapy cotton balls, a draw for a relaxation CD once a month or season. Offer signature treatments with a wider skill set, specialty items like chocolate paraffin, or custom blend products increases value. This model, unlike the ½ price appetizers, works in health care.
If you walk away with one message from this article, let it be this:
YOU are not discountable.
You are FABULOUS.
Robynne Kingswood RMT, RRPr, C.Ac
Robynne is a Registered Therapist, Instructor for CCMH and HALO, lecturer for CMTO and author of Marketing Clinical Health Care. This text is being integrated into health care curriculum in public and private colleges throughout Ontario and is available at Know Your Body Best.
Tanya Goreing is the proud mother of one boy and the owner of Soul Treatments. The natural health of woman and children is her passion!