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Do you sell products to your clients?  If so, how do you determine which products to recommend? Do you consider scope of practice when determining what products are appropriate to suggest to your clients?

I have always focused on promoting products that I have found to be of benefit to the client and that clearly fall within my area of expertise and licensing.  While I appreciate the extra income product sales offer my practice, I have never been good at “sales” for the sake of sales.

Fundamentally, massage therapists are service providers.  We are not there to just serve the clients “wants.” Our job is to serve the client’s needs.  Sometimes that means we have to say “No, sorry, I don’t think I should work deeper.” or have to explain why we are working on the anterior thoracic cage instead of that knot in their back. Finding that balance between meeting expectations and providing a therapy with lasting effects can be a hard line to hoe. The same goes for product sales.

There are a million products out there, but which ones have a lasting benefit for our clients, not just our bottom line? I recently received massage from two different therapists who offered me samples of products that promised better health, hydration and nutritional benefits. In each case the product was part of a multilevel marketing campaign.  They both pointed out that I could purchase without obligation or could have a monthly delivery.  They also let me know that I could become a “partner” and sell the products to my own clients.

Neither of these therapists had any credentials that made them qualified to promote nutritional supplements. Additionally, if, as a client, I signed up to be a “partner,” how would that effect our client/therapist relationship?  In both cases I found the entire experience disconcerting.  No matter how you slice it, I was being “pitched” and it didn’t feel like it was for my benefit! 

This experience reminded me how important it is to stay client focused in our practices.  Our clients expect us to have their best interest at heart, anything less is a violation of that trust.  It is also important to ensure we have the proper credentials to back up any recommendations offered we offer to clients.

Do you agree?