Massage Therapy Canada

3 key foundations to practice growth

Grow your business consistently without stress and overwhelm

October 21, 2022  By Brad Cote, RMT

A retention system is a way to keep your current patients engaged and using your services. Photo: Nelson / Adobe Stock

 To be successful at generating new patients and growing your practice, you need just three foundational systems: attraction, conversion, and retention. 

Attraction system. To recognize and connect with a specifically targeted group of prospects (ex. a group of men and women aged 40+ with chronic low back pain that keeps them awake all night), and generate enough value and interest with that group that they will want to take action and contact you for help.

Conversion system. A way to turn the group of specially targeted prospects, from interested in your services to dedicated paying patients. This may happen on a phone call, walk-in, or through your automated follow-up system to connect the benefit and value of your services concerning their pain points and desired outcomes. Essentially this process allows the prospect to conclude that your services are the best and only option to resolve these issues.

Retention system. This is a way to keep your current patients engaged and using your services. Through your “patient success journey” (visit, you build tremendous value, creating raving fans and advocates for your business. The advantage is that you are re-selling to your current patient base, building more value and getting better results all while not having to reinvest in advertising spending.


Now that you understand the three key elements all successful health care businesses have, let’s look a little more closely at precisely what’s involved.

#1 Attraction
The majority of business owners, and not just in healthcare, believe that the key to attracting new clients is to “market their services.” This means running ads announcing that they offer premium quality services, friendly staff, a list of conditions they treat, stock photos, a beautiful logo, their website and phone number. All tied together with a message to “book your appointment now.”  The issue with this advertising is that it is best saved for big brands who can afford millions on top-of-mind awareness campaigns. The reality is in health care businesses the majority of people have no real understanding of what someone like us can do to help them. So how would they ever respond to an ad that states “book your appointment now”?

The other common mistake I see in this type of “advertising of services” is to show, or list (bullet style), just about every possible “condition” or injury that the clinic claims to be able to help with (ex. low back pain, shoulder tension, ankle sprain, digestive issues, arthritis, sports injury, neck pain, etc.).

If you want success from your advertising, you must know that every time you list more than one specific problem, you effectively dilute the power of your messaging and reduce the effectiveness of your ad and in return the likelihood of the right people responding. Prospects and patients are more likely to respond to your marketing if you do these two simple steps: 1: Connect the value of your services to their specific problem in your message – ideally fast, and 2: Start the relationship before they commit to your services

When you connect what you do with how you can solve their problem (most likely a problem they have had for a while), then you stand out amongst the other businesses who are simply doing big business advertising. Starting the relationship before commitment can be done as simply as sending a free self-help report – one that offers a solution to end a specific problem such as neck pain (or whatever target audience you’re speaking to in your marketing).

Another great way for those prospects who are more compelled to get help is offering a “discovery” appointment (whether that is in person or on a call) where you can help them and provide value before they deal with the perceived inconvenience of contacting insurance or purchasing a plan of care. When you give prospects and patients “little wins,” even something simple such as a free back pain tip report, this will help them see you as a trusted advisor and a valuable resource in overcoming their problems and in return happy to invest their time and money with your services.

#2 Conversions
Assume you have run your first ad on Facebook or in a local newspaper (advertising your solution). From this ad, people begin to call or visit your business. The next thing you need to do is have a system in place that can convert these prospects into paying patients. This can happen by having an inquiry sales script in place that your front desk or sales staff follow when a prospect inquires about a solution to their issues. 

The script should be less about what type of insurance they have or when they want to visit and more focused on a conversation about what capacity you can help the patient, and get a deeper understanding of their expectations and next steps with how your service can help them. The goal here is to provide the patient certainty and clear next steps in their treatment options. This allows the prospects contacting you to know that you can solve their problems and can solve them faster if they schedule a visit with a practitioner rather than taking the self-help free reports, video etc.

Most people choose not to book because they don’t know enough about what you do and how you can best help them. 

By having a conversion system in place, there’s a massive chance that once you have clearly articulated how your services can help them get over the problem and towards their desired outcome (even a free first visit), the prospects will schedule within the next few days.

#3 Reactivation
What do we do with the people who call or inquire but don’t yet book an appointment? Maybe they downloaded a free report or inquired through an ad about your services? Well, what most businesses do is nothing, essentially throwing money out the window.

The reality is that most of the return on investment from successful ad campaigns is made in the follow-up, the people who opted in for information but didn’t schedule in yet. Either they claimed to be busy, unsure of their schedule, uncertain about your process or even if you can help them, etc.

In most cases, they just don’t know you or how you can help them well enough to commit. The secret is that you need to have a specific target follow-up system in place, which helps to nurture the relationship and show them how your services can solve their problem and help them get their desired outcome quickly. Only 15% on average of prospects are ready to buy now, that leaves 85% of people searching for solutions or doing nothing at all.  On average it takes between eight to 12 communication points for the average person to say yes and purchase. Using phone, email, direct mail, etc., combined with a CRM system will help ensure this process is executed automatically.

Now that you have had success from your advertising, and you have new patients, we want to ensure that we retain those new patients and have them become advocates for your business. By becoming advocates they will be likely to refer other similar people to your business. Despite what most people think, the key to successfully getting referrals from your clients is not to wait until the end of their treatment. It is asking right away. 

Patients are excited to have just made this decision to come and see you. And you want to give them a chance to share that excitement with other people – so the best time to do it is within 24 hours of the first appointment being booked.

The key is to have this happen automatically so that all of your new patients immediately get given the chance to become advocates of your clinic – and refer others, just like them.

Often, all you have to do is ask and when you do, your return on ad spend is multiplied many times over.

BRAD COTE is the founder of Link Performance Therapy, a successful cash pay private practice with a focus on athletes. He has grown his clinic from zero to 7-figures revenue within 18 months of operation using a combination of proven structures, systems and strategies that he now shares with healthcare business owners across North America who are looking to gain new patients and grow their business.

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