Are You An Order Taker?

Being An Advisor Requires Earning Their trust!

Being An Advisor Requires Earning Their trust!

Want More Clients?
More Appointments?
More Money and all the rest that goes along with a successful practice?

Then, I encourage you to become familiar with a concept I feel is so important that I teach it in ALL my business and clinical seminars and programs.

The concept is called “The Advisor vs The Order Taker” .

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that most of you are Order Takers.

It makes sense that you are an Order Taker, and it’s not a bad thing, by any means…
it’s just not a very effective way to run a business.

(Author’s Note: I apologize for not including this originally, but I realized I needed to make a distinction in the type of  massage you provide so I’m adding this statement on 1/31/14) – In an environment that caters to client’s desires and the focus is on providing service rather than clinical results, being an “Order Taker” is probably what you should be (and do). Ultimately, it comes down to the end goal of your service and your business model.)

3 “Order Taker  Therapist”  Scenario Samples:

#1- Client: “Can you spend most of the session on my back and shoulders and leave 5 minutes for my feet?”
(and the therapist does it)

#2- Client: “I’m so tired, I know we were gonna do some exercises today, but can I just have a massage instead? ”
(and the therapist does it)

#3- Client: “That was great, thanks, I’ll call you to re-book in about a month or so… ”
(and the therapist accepts it)

I understand why therapists are Order Takers and do the type of things I illustrated above … it makes sense.

Most of us became a therapist because we want to help people, and many of us are very gentle by nature, so sometimes when I suggest people take control of their business, and adopt more of an Advisor Role, it doesn’t feel natural. Also for some therapists, it is also because they are not confident in their ability to BE an Advisor in regards to clinical results, protocols and handling client expectations.

Is that you?

Another reason most therapists are Order Takers is because in massage school, most of us were taught to provide a massage, but not taught how to create therapy plans or taught about the business of running a successful therapy business.

Is that you?

The nuances are often subtle, and I could spend hours on just this concept,
but today, I’m going to give you a simple place to start so if you choose, you can begin to take on The Advisor Role”!

When you are an advisor to your clients, they appreciate your advice. Your clients will begin to see you as a higher- level service provider, and it will certainly help you separate yourself from all the other ‘regular therapists’ in your area.

Build Trust based on your expertise!

Let’s look at the same 3 scenarios, and I will change them so you can see what an Advisor Therapist would do instead. (These are exact scripts I and many other therapists use)

3 “Advisor Role Therapist” Scenario Samples:
#1 – Client: “Can you spend most of the session on my back and shoulders and leave 5 minutes for my feet?”
(and the therapist responds, “I understand you want me to work on your feet however, I know your original complaint was the knots in your back, so my therapy plan for today was to address that for you. We can always add on 15 minutes of extra time or schedule another session for your feet.” )

#2 – Client: “I’m so tired, I know we were gonna do some exercises today, but can I just have a massage instead? “
(and the therapist responds, “That’s correct! We scheduled that I was going to teach you some stretches and strengthening exercise today. If we don’t do that today, it will delay your progress, so I suggest we stay on the plan.” )

#3 – Client: “That was great, thanks, I’ll call you to re-book in about a month or so… “
(and the therapist responds, “Sure, I’ll wait to hear from you, but since you were saying that knot between your shoulder blades keeps coming back … I think it would be best for you to see me for 3 more sessions within the next 10 days so we can finally try our best to stop it from being a chronic problem for you. Does that sound good? … Great, let’s schedule you now in my calendar so you get the best times for you!)


Obviously, you’ll use words that feel appropriate for your own style, but as you can see here, as an advisor you honor what your clients are asking for, AND you are steering them to what is best for them, based on your training, your experience, and your scope of practice.

(For those of you who tell me you can’t do this because you want to give the client what they are asking for, my response to you is most of the time your client has no clue what’s going to get them the results they are seeking, so they are relying on you to be able to ‘call the shots’. If your client is very knowledgeable about their body, then by all means, work as partners to get them the results they want.)

Like I mentioned, responding in this confident manner is all part of being the Advisor for your client.

Remember, your clients are not experts in therapy, You are!

They want (and need) your advice on what is best for them. (Within your scope of practice).

When you take this Advisor Role approach, you will not only see happier client results, BUT, your practice will begin to be much more consistently filled!

Now, I’ll be the first to say, this approach will NOT be for everyone.

It only works if you are absolutely clear that you CAN be an advisor.
If you are still a little wishy-washy, just continue to do what you’ve been doing until you feel more confident in your skills and Knowledge.

But, I am sure, if you look closely at the therapists who are crushing it in their practices – you’ll see they are Advisors to their clients!

This is just scratching the surface, and to learn more strategies like this for therapy business success, you are invited to join me and the other therapists in my private Design Your Dream Practice event.


Post below if you are now an
Advisor to/for your clients
are you an Order Taker from your clients

Will you begin to make changes in your role? If so, tell us below How will you do it?

10 comments for “Are You An Order Taker?

  1. Deborah
    February 11, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Great information Irene!!…I am a bit of both, however, lean more towards being an advisor. I have learned and still learning the client really does respect and value you more when you take on that role.  I like to give them a combination of what they want and what I know they need to get results.

  2. January 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    I have found that when a customer comes in with the aggressive “Do this, that, and the other in Deep Tissue”, sometimes it takes a couple minutes to turn the conversation toward what they are feeling in their body.  Their stress is in “Deep Tissue” fast and hard.  

    Because I also do CranioSacral Therapy, I let them know that the faster the hand comes at the body, the stronger the body will defend itself, kinda like a car wreck.  By having that conversation at the first visit that it’s a gentle approach with the knowledge of what they are going through, and the goal of releasing the pain, tension, restrictions and stress from their body, they are fully prepared as they lay on the table to take it from a sensory experience (heavy Deep Tissue) to a therapeutic experience that leaves them changed.

  3. January 29, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    I need to also become more advisory. So I am both.

  4. January 29, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    I am both but I also propose treatment and see patients on regular basis.

  5. January 29, 2014 at 5:35 AM

    This is a very key concept.   Our “clients” are the experts on them but we are the experts on therapy.  It is sometimes a delicate dance because their input is essential.  At the same time we need to assert some leadership and advise as to what it is we believe they need to do.  They are more likely to refer to an advisor as opposed to an order taker.  There is certainly a lot in this concept that bears unpacking and discussion.  Thanks Irene!

  6. January 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    Felicia and Andre,
    Glad I could provide a spark or two…

    It is such a joy to work with clients who want your help and to be able to provide it for them.
    Practice makes perfect!

  7. January 28, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Steven, I have to agree with you on working smarter and making more, but disagree with you on the word to refer to the people we serve.Attorneys and Financial advisors have clients too.In some states the use of “Patient” implies practicing medicine, plus some clients don’t like being referred to as a patient as it makes them feel ill.

  8. January 28, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    I need to be more advisor like. The longer I do massage, the better I become at this.

  9. January 28, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    As of late I have definitely embraced my professional authority and have  begun to stand my ground as the bodywork professional. In time past it seemed to be more natural for me when working with clients who come to me for certain issues and a bit more reluctant with others who present “common” stress related issues. Thank you for lighting the coals under my feet to assert my professional and therapeutic knowledge when speaking with client.

  10. steven
    January 28, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    In my course, the goal for our Students is to work LESS and make MORE.One of the first thing we have to do to educate the masses is that we have PATIENTS not “Clients”. Massage Parlors and Hookers have Clients. This one word change alone will take them personally to the next level and begin to elivate their income …

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