What’s on the mind of first time clients when they book a massage at your spa or massage practice? During the booking, you’ll have the opportunity to find out if your new client is seeking relief from pain or discomfort or if the problem is stress or anxiety. But once the appointment is set, there may be more on a client’s mind than results from the massage. For starters, the prospect of taking off one’s clothing to receive a touch-based therapy from someone is understandably intimidating.

Your goal with first time clients is to put them at ease as soon as they walk through the door. Greet them with a smile (though that goes for even long-term clients) and a handshake. Point out features of your spa or massage practice – changing room, bathrooms, where they can get coffee or tea and retail product

After that, check in with first-time massage clients to help them overcome any concerns they have about what’s going to happen and what they need to do during the session. Provide information on the client’s chosen massage and what kind of results they can expect. Address how much and what clothing will need to come off based on the type of massage.

There are other things may need to be addressed to put a client at ease through this first session. Nicole Cutler explores what may be on the mind of a new client in In “Five Common Concerns of a First Time Massage Client.” A new client may want to know, but be shy about asking,

Should I Assist?

Clients may wonder if they need to assist when you move or lift part of their body. You’ll want to explain that unless you request help, they should leave it all to you.

Should I Speak up?

Encourage clients to speak up if they are uncomfortable about pressure you are applying or room temperature or if they don’t like the background music. Tell them to let you know if they are experiencing any pain. You want to periodically check in to make sure clients are comfortable.

Should I Chit-chat?

Is it okay to talk during the session - may be a question that clients have? Since your goal is for clients to relax and unwind, you should encourage them to close their eyes and forget about their day-to-day worries and “to do” lists during the session. As Cutler points out, some clients may talk to mask their insecurities or nervousness. Encourage them to concentrate on their breathing or direct them to focus on some image to relax.

About the Tip

First time clients may not know if tipping is appropriate or expected. It will be up to you to inform clients about your expectations or policy on tipping. If they don’t ask, find a time when you feel it’s appropriate to raise the issue.

Clients are in your hands – literally. It’s up to you to make clients at ease. Otherwise, no matter how effectiveness the treatment first time clients may be reluctant to return to what was an uncomfortable situation for them.