Have you ever looked at your ever-growing list of things to do during November and thought, ‘you know what? This can wait until the new year.’ Well, this is what your prospective clients are thinking too.
In our society, it’s all too easy to let Christmas take over our lives in late autumn and turn productivity to mush. But there’s no reason to endure the pre-Christmas slowdown in client enquiries. This is a perfect time to capture their attention with great offers.
The Black Friday Phenomenon
Black Friday is an occasion we’ve inherited from the USA where it’s a holiday shopping day immediately following Thanksgiving. Over the last ten years, it’s grown in the UK to become the immense shopping extravaganza it is today. Of course, this year we might not be hitting the shops on the high street, we’ll be hitting the online shops instead.
Traditionally held on just one day (with a follow up on Cyber Monday), Black Friday now sometimes seeps over into the surrounding weeks, even creating Black November.
So, what does this mean for private therapists worrying about a slow pre-Christmas period?
It means prospective clients are geared up for discounts.
Ideas for Offering Pre-Christmas Discounts
Service businesses like physical and complementary therapies are well-positioned for discounts and offers because it’s likely that a client will see you multiple times. As the challenge is acquiring the client in the first place, offers are perfect for encouraging them to try out your services.
1# Straight-Up Discount
Offering a plain old discount is a great way to tempt potential clients to take a chance on your business and encourage them to do it sooner rather than later. You could offer a percentage off their first visit or offer a monetary amount off, depending on what suits your pricing structure best.
The important part of offering these types of discounts is to make it time-limited. This creates a sense of urgency and encourages those interested to make a booking before Christmas. If you’re booked up or think you will be, you can change the terms to enable people to get this discount if they book now, even if their booking is for after Christmas. This provides you with a strong start to the new year and a bargain for new clients.
2# Buy-One-Get-One-Free (or thereabouts)
While a BOGOF isn’t particularly financially beneficial in the service industry, you can certainly offer a variation of it. For instance, you could offer, ‘Buy 4 sessions and get the 5th free’.
This offer is the same as 20% off but, crucially, only if the client stays for 5 sessions, guaranteeing you full payment for 4. This is the type of offer that works in everybody’s benefit; the client gets a good discount and you get a good string of bookings and a chance to develop a great working relationship with your new client.
3# Gift Vouchers
Whilst not an offer in itself (although it could be paired with one), a gift voucher is a fantastic Christmas gift and costs you next to nothing to offer. Many types of therapy, like massage and acupuncture, make for wonderful gifts for friends and family, particularly if they’re tricky to buy for or have had a tough year.
Offering gift vouchers doesn’t have to be complicated. Business cards are cheap to produce and are a good size for a gift card (not to mention recyclable) with your branding and a couple of dotted lines for you to write on the amount and the unique reference code. Keeping a spreadsheet of these codes is vital, so cards cannot be forged or used twice and you can simply mark on the spreadsheet when the card is used.
The other benefit of offering gift vouchers is that you receive the money immediately and there’s no possibility of cancellation to worry about. This can help you manage your cash flow over the Christmas period.
4# Payment Against Future Appointments
Free consultations can be problematic for therapists as they take up a considerable amount of time and can often lead to nothing. However, if you offer a paid-for consultation, you can offer a like-for-like reduction against the first appointment.
This means that if you charge £30 for an initial consultation, you’ll offer a £30 discount on the first session if the prospective client decides to go ahead with treatment. This works well for the client (they’d end up getting the consultation for free) and works well for you, as you won’t waste time on free consultations and you’ll encourage new clients to take their treatment further.
Kiss Goodbye to the Pre-Christmas Slowdown
Discounts, offers and gift vouchers work well for everybody involved and can help keep your business going strong over the Christmas period and into the new year.
If you’re looking for any therapy or clinic supplies to see you through this time of year, check out our range and order in good time for pre-Christmas delivery.