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Part 2 of 3
By Alexia Monroe

Twenty-three years ago, when I was a young massage therapist, I received business advice from a successful entrepreneur. He was an older man and an inspiring human being. I proudly showed him my first-ever business card, which listed Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue, Reiki, and Rayid Iris Interpretation. He said, “The impression I get from your card is that you have studied many things, so therefore must be a master of none. Consider your focus: a specialist is always more respected than a generalist.”

I was shocked! But I came to realize this is true. When I say to people, “I have done nothing but Bowenwork for 15 years”, their eyes widen. My passion about it imbues the work with value. My credibility goes up immediately.

I suggest that you make a separate business card to give to new contacts, even if you are not yet Accredited. It can be a “contact card” at this point. Its purpose is to draw new people to you for pure Bowen so you can practice your new work.

You do not want this card to say "Massage and Bowenwork". If it does, then people who love massage will call you for massage. And the people who do not love massage will toss it; massage is already a “no” in their minds, while Bowen probably draws a blank.

So your new card has to offer information that gets them past “the blank” from the start, and gets them to tune in. If you are not yet Accredited, it could read as follows:

"Soft Tissue Release for Lasting Relief"
Prescott, AZ

The byline above is just one of many possibilities. Others: "Holistic Pain Relief", "Accelerated Healing", "Gentle Touch, Deep Results." You want to communicate something about this work from the start.

The card indicates your affiliation with the Academy. Even before you are Accredited, you are registered. As long as you pay your registration fee each year, you retain the right to use the term Bowenwork or Bowtech with the Registered mark. Identify clearly the web address of Bowtech, so people do not do an open search for “Bowen Technique” and end up on dozens of other groups’ sites. Once you are Accredited, it is even more important, as you want potential clients to find you on our directory straightaway. If they search “Bowen Therapy”, it is likely they’ll never find you.

It is also important to give people something besides a card, since our work is unfamiliar to most. Advertising research shows that people take action to buy a product or service only once they feel familiar with it, and that this takes multiple exposures. You can help people get there by attaching your card to an article about Bowtech. I find that a published article is more persuasive than a brochure; it adds credibility to see public recognition of the work beyond your own raving about it. Place a label with your name and number on the article before you make copies of it.

Use only your new card when you meet new people. Your current clients who love your massage may continue on for now, but if you want to transition your practice, do not even mention massage with anyone new. Carry your brochures, articles and cards in your car. You never know where you will meet and talk to new people. Focus on building Bowen-only clients, and their number will grow.

Practice delivering a short description of Bowenwork. It is important not to be vague or “airy” – why would anyone be drawn if you cannot describe simply and clearly your own work? You might say, “It is a fascinating new approach – we stretch and release muscles and tissues. Each move sends a message to the brain. Your brain responds to each signal, delivering messages back to reset the tension patterns all through your body.”

Give them a chance to respond before you continue, and hope they ask a question. If so, great! Then you can address whatever interests them first, which gets them involved from the beginning. Highlight details of how Bowen differs from other bodywork, such as “We perform it over light clothing, in a series of gentle, specific moves. Pauses are required, to allow your body to respond. Your responses guide us in just how much to do; each session is unique to the individual.”

Many will perk up when you mention these details. Believe me, there are potentially dozens of them for every potential massage client! Countless people living with pain would love to hear that they might find relief without taking their clothes off and getting smeared with oil for an hour. You will find them in churches, schools, community centers, senior centers, farming communities, women’s business groups, service organizations, hospitals, and even within your own family.

You can advertise that you offer the best bodywork in the world, and that “Every Body is Better with Bowen”, but if no one knows what Bowen is, then no one will respond. Until Bowen is well known in your area, do not bother with a print ad. Instead, focus on two methods known to promote it successfully:

1) An Article
Arrange for an article to be written about you and Bowenwork/Bowtech by your local paper. Papers are often looking for new businesses to highlight in the local news section. One of your clients who loves the work might call for you, to suggest that they do a story about you and this new, amazing work from Australia.

Being a massage therapist isn’t news. But Bowtech is new and interesting! You could print out descriptions of the work from web sites on the internet, to help you answer questions posed by a reporter. You might write up a “question and answer” page ahead of time, to give to the reporter to refer to later.

Include a photo to go along with it, if possible; that is always to your advantage. Show yourself dressed in business clothes, and performing back moves on a clothed client. It communicates visually that you are not a massage therapist in gym or yoga clothes, but another level of professional. The client’s clothing communicates that this is another kind of bodywork entirely, and a respectful one. I dress for my office appointments in loose, comfortable business clothes routinely. I believe it makes a difference in how my work is perceived.

My local paper did an article on me after one of my clients called and suggested it. I did no writing, but simply answered questions posed by the reporter. It included a photo as described. In the next two weeks, I received 150 phone calls, which infused my practice with dozens of new clients who are still with me years later.

2) Talks/Demos
Talk to any little group that will have you. You do not have to be adept at talking. Bring along a client or friend who is willing to talk, too. They can cue you with questions you have outlined on an index card. You can even bring printed pages of descriptions from the internet, and use them to refer to for giving information during pauses in your demos. If you are enthused, your audience will most likely be intrigued, no matter how “polished” you are.

Ask if anyone has a sore shoulder, back, neck, knee, or elbow. Invite them to receive a few moves sitting in a chair. Assess their ROM's and pain scales in front of the group. Work on two or three people at once to accommodate the pauses. Consider Low Back 1-4 and Hit the Lat on the ones with low back pain. Consider Upper Back 1-8 alone for those with upper back pain, or add North for the painful necks, ideally on one side only. You could do just UB 1-8 and Shoulders, or UB 1-4 and Elbow, as per symptoms. Do nothing more than one Knee on someone, just the sore side. Hit the Lat alone on others. Give the bodies 5-10 minutes to respond, and then assess the ROM’s and pain scales again.

It is likely that some will respond right away, and that is persuasive to the rest. Even though you may feel you cannot possibly speak in front of people, I guarantee that you will find your own flow, if you simply dare to show up.

For Articles: Large circulations are not necessary; small town newspapers are often the most interested. Other possibilities: the newsletter of your local hospital, YMCA, school, church, or knitters’ guild. Some towns contain small health directories that include articles.

For Talks/Demos: Business breakfast clubs, professional women's clubs, Red Hat Society, Lions / Rotary and all the other service organizations, pain support groups, retirement homes, YMCA meeting rooms, grand openings of a store. Don’t pass up even a group of 6 friends at a house. Ever-widening circles of interest can generate from one person who follows up.

An excellent venue for talks/demos is to set up a booth at a fair. But ironically, the place I am LEAST likely to set up is at a holistic health fair! If you are one of many practitioners promoting bodywork there, you will not stand out. Folks often go from booth to booth receiving demos, and can negate your effect in the mix. I find it more effective to target a different type of fair:
-- Hospital health fair, amidst booths for blood tests and the like. Our local Bowenworkers have had a booth at the Veteran's Administration Hospital fair for three years now, very successfully.
-- Mother/baby expo, or senior living expo.
-- Sports-oriented gathering of any kind ~~ golf, tennis, swimmers, rodeo. Note that marathons have been targeted strongly by massage already, so that may not be your best choice to stand out.
-- Fair targeting computer workers, the postal service, hairdressers.
-- Home improvement or construction trade fair.
-- Back-to-school fair. You could promote that your practice offers work on a child free with any paying adult, for example.

In any case, when you have a booth or give a talk, do not only give out literature. Include demos, and always give people a coupon of some sort to follow up on. I suggest “Two people for Two sessions for the price of One!” When the person you’ve met finds that second person for you, you have just doubled the impact from your efforts.

Next issue, part 3: taking the notes of a scientist, pricing and scheduling, dissolving competition, medical networking, evolving successfully.