In the Summer of 1989, the three of us in Rolfing Associates, Inc. of South Burlington, Vermont (Thom Walker, Iginia Boccalandra and I), experimented with a one-time “Gift Certificate Program” as a practice-building strategy. The program worked wed and led to an interesting next step. A description follows:
The gift certificate was given to clients then being Rolfed by us and was also mailed to a group of former clients. We distributed a total of 385 certificates, along with an explanatory cover letter. The letter said that we appreciated our clients talking about their experience of Rolfing with others and that many of our new clients came as a result of such sharing. To encourage this process, we said we were giving them a gift certificate which was good for a free first Rolfing session for anyone to whom they gave the certificate, as long as that person had not already been Rolfed. A deadline two and a half months away was set for use of the certificate.
The certificate itself was postcard-sized with the Rolfing logo, our name and address and this text: As a gift to _____________ who was Rolfed by us, and now passed on to you, Rolfing Associates is pleased to offer you an introductory Rolfing session to acquaint you with our work. There is NO CHARGE for this session, and NO OBLIGATION to complete the ten session series. However, you must take advantage of this offer by September 30, 1989, and you must bring this card with you to your session. Call us to make an appointment.”
A copy of the cover letter and card are available on request. Send a SASE to and ask for them.
Sixty-one new people who received these cards from our clients came to us for a first appointment. As expected, more people came as the expiration date approached. This represented a 16% return on our initial distribution. We encouraged the process through some conversations with our existing clients about whether they had given away their gift certificate, but we did not do this systematically. For the most part, we let this part of the process take care of itself.
Of the 61 people who came for a free first session, forty-six, or 75 %, went on to continue the series. We helped to assure this relatively high “conversion” rate. When these sixty-one people called to make an appointment, we explained that they were welcome to have that session regardless of their intentions regarding the rest of the series. However, we explained a single session was unlikely to produce very long lasting results and was unlikely to leave a very strong impression what the lasting results of Rolfing can be. In explaining that the Rolfing process is a linked series of ten sessions, we helped crated a predisposition to use the free first session as a stepping stone to the entire series.
We were pleased by the program which generated a fair number of new clients and a fair amount of Rolfing conversation m the community, even when the cards were not used. Precisely assessing the cost effectiveness of the program is difficult. The largest cost of the program, of course, was nearly $5,000 of Rolfing service we gave away. This is or is not a large cost depending on whether these no-&e sessions displaced full-fee sessions, which it did for some of us and not for others of us. A full cost effectiveness reckoning would also need to take into account some assessment of new clients generated as a result of our work with the clients who came in under this program. We felt it was worth our while. I leave it to you to assess for yourself its cost effectiveness in your practice.
A next step suggested itself as a result of this experiment. We are just getting it under way, so I have no results to report. Our current clients, during a lengthy experimental period, will receive a gift certificate, also to be given to someone they know who has not been Rolfed. The wording and design are somewhat different form the previous gift certificate. It is good for a fifty percent discount on the cost of a first session, also carries no obligation to continue with the whole series. When the card is given to the cheat, the expiration date six to eight weeks later is entered by the Rolfer
Copies of this card are also available to Institute members upon request.
We will distribute these cards to our clients in the middle of the series—far enough along for most clients to be very enthusiastic, yet early enough to allow us to follow up as to the cards’ distribution.
Of course, we will use our professional discretion with clients for whom such involvement may be inappropriate, and the program will be conducted with no pressure on clients to participate.
I would be interested to know if any of you have experimented with similar programs, ways in which your efforts differed from these, and your results. As we gather data on our on-going gift certificate program, I will report results.
Fonte: ROLF LINES, 1989