Give them what they want or need? That’s a pretty safe formula to keep clients coming back. But what do you do with clients who have difficulty articulating their problem or attribute their pain to something other than what it really is? In these situations, you may not be able to give clients what they need because you don’t have the right information.
That’s why the intake session is so critical in setting up a winning proposition for you and the client. The success of the intake session depends on your ability to dig deep to get at the heart of a client’s problem so you can offer the right treatment.
Asking the right questions of clients isn’t limited to finding how what ails them. A client may have an issue with your spa or massage practice not related to the treatment. Maybe they feel they wait too long before their treatment, your charges are too high or you don’t carry the retail at-home products they want.
Getting at the heart of the issue requires asking the questions that yield the information necessary to make change. Asking great questions is actually a skill you’ll want to work on to get at what you need to know. Here are some suggestions to improve how to ask questions:
Don’t ask yes or no questions: Yes or no questions often don’t produce complete information and you may find that you do most of the talking. Ask open-ended questions that start with what, when, how or even where so that clients provide more information and also to help you understand client expectations. Questions might be: what brings you in for a massage, how do you think a massage will help your problem or what have your tried to deal with the problem up till now?
Keep questions short and focused: Craft questions so they cover a single point. Don’t try to incorporate too many issues into one question.
Dig deep: Be prepared with follow-up questions. For example, if a client says, “My lower back hurts,” ask “how so” or “when” to understand the cause of the problem. Find out if the pain is constant or intermittent. Lower back pain could be caused by strenuous activity, improper use when lifting, even too much weight. The answer may affect your recommended treatment as well as suggestions for lifestyle changes.
Don’t interrupt: Listen attentively to the full answer to the question. Your attentiveness conveys to the client that you truly want the information they are providing.
Keep transitions natural: Leverage off a client’s answer to frame your next question. Even if the answer takes you off your planned question track, clients will know you are listening when you respond to their input with a follow-up question.
Follow these tips to help you get the right input to best meet the needs of clients.