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Cancellations happen, and normally they are for financial, or scheduling reasons, but today was my first cancellation by a potential new client who was worried that "something embarrassing" might happen.
I've been good at screening clients for legitimacy, but really wasnt sure how to handle this one.
He just kept saying he didn't want anything to happen that would embarrass me, or him.

In the end you can't force a client to come to their appointment if they don't want to, but despite re-assuring the client of our professionalism, and understanding, I wasnt able to turn this cancellation back around to a sale.

Any advice/recommendations on events like this?
Up-selling, and turn-around are definitely not one of my strong points, I'm a massage therapist, not a sales person ;)

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This is an interesting phenomenon. I have had several people call, spend 10-20 minutes telling their story, book the appointment, and then call and cancel. I wonder if they are just needing some attention and to be listened to, nothing else. I have just accepted this as part of the business. I don't like to force people to do things, a bit different to suggesting more sessions, longer time, etc. It's also possible that some men are stuck, they are embarrassed to have a female MT and would never have a male MT-I'm a guy and I know this one.

Another scenario I've seen on the increase in the last year is this one; client comes in, referred by someone they know, rave about the session, discuss frequency, leave a nice tip, and then call and cancel their visits and disappear. Hmmm. The only advice I could give is not to take these too seriously, people do things based on their history, beliefs, etc. Good luck.
jh
This was about the client not you. At Massage Envy we have a cancelation policy and if they do not give a 24 hour notice they are charged for the amount the therapist gets paid, as a therapist has to be available for the session. Something to think about. Also have to book with a credit card for this very reason otherwise appointment is not set.
I anticipate a percentage of appointments to be cancelled -- illness, scheduling, second thoughts, weather conditions, etc -- I figure it's my job to provide information and to answer questions, not to 'convince' folks to participate.

I would simply attempt to accept the cancellation in the most gracious way possible and remind the person we will be here should they wish to make a appointment. Sometimes, it is that simple acceptance and acknowledgement that will give them the reassurance they need to make a future appointment with confidence.

I am grateful that they call to cancel -- they could simply be a no-show.

Potential clients (for me) are not viewed as making 'a sale' but the start of a possible relationship.
Exactly the same happened with my uncle and they really get very nervous and they dont want to go again there. Some people really get stuck and they have some sessions and they dont want to go beyond it.


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Darcy, What would you cancellation policy will be for someone that doesn't takes credit cards, like me?
Hi Maria,

Massage Envy does not book appointments without a credit card. The only way a cash client can book is as a walk in only, and only if there is a therapist available. Clients can come in and pay cash in advance as well. If they call over the phone or try to book through the internet then they have to have a credit card. Hope this helps.
It's a little hard to reassure someone in regards to this...you don't want them to get the impression that ejaculating on the sheets is an acceptable outcome. However, I decided long ago that erections are a part of it....My attitude, when that happens, is if they don't acknowledge it at all, or they acknowledge it as if they are embarrassed about it, or they are snoring like a pack mule at the time, then I don't get upset. And it takes me about a half a second to straighten them out if they think something sexual is going to happen.

I have a cancellation policy and it's enforced. I would get on the credit card bandwagon if I were you so it will be easier for you to do that. It will also increase your business. A lot of people use debit cards these days and don't even carry cash or checks. It's almost expected that a business will accept cards.
I am just now getting back in the business again after a shoulder injury but a few years back when I was working full time as a MT in a thriving business when I had a new client that was nervous I offered them a 1/2 hour session that pretty much just dealt with the Back, Neck and Scalp, once they felt comfortable with what to expect most people returned and recommended me to their friends and family.

One such client that ended up being a regular said to me "I just hate this part of the session", I was suprised because this was my favorite part of the massage as most everyone really enjoys a good scalp massage so I asked her why and she said "because it means the session is almost over". Best compliment I ever received.
In the past I have suggested to men who have asked me about the "something embarrassing" happening during a massage that they ask to have a massage face down only. Then if that goes well and they are more comfortable, then they can turn face up in future session if they so choose. Seems to help with the nervousness some men feel - when they know they have control of the situation.

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