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The Four Words That Transformed My Business

By Nicki Iskander RMT

Apologizing is part of our Canadian heritage.

Canadians are notoriously apologetic. Women, moreso. As a massage therapist with a women-only home practice in Toronto, the vast majority of my clients are Canadian women. This means I hear “sorry” approximately 372 times a day.

“I’m late, sorry!”

Hey, it’s your time.

“I’m early, sorry!”

Early is good.

“I didn’t shave my legs. Sorry!”

That’s ok. Neither did I.

Before every treatment, I ask my clients to please speak up if they’re experiencing any discomfort. That includes pain, pressure, temperature, music volume, you name it. I give these instructions so frequently that it’s easy for my words to feel like they’ve lost all meaning, but I do mean it. I want you to speak up, because your comfort is my utmost priority, and you are your own best advocate.

Asking Canadian women to stop apologizing is futile. Apologizing is part of our heritage. So, I’ve decided to respond with four simple but powerful words:

Thank you for asking.

“Sorry, can you turn the heat up?”

Absolutely. Thank you for asking.

“Sorry, can you spend more time on my feet?”

My pleasure. Thank you for asking.

“Can you turn the volume up? Sorry, I love this song.”

Yes, thank you for asking. I love it too.

“Sorry, your cat threw up in the bathroom.”

How embarrassing. Thank you for telling me.

Thanking my clients sends the message that not only am I not bothered by their request, I’m grateful! Because the truth is, I am grateful when you speak up. I want the temperature and music selection to be perfect. I want you to tell me when you’d like more or less pressure. I want to give you the best massage you’ve ever had, but sometimes I need your help to guide me.

The next time you’re experiencing any discomfort during your massage, I urge you to please say so. And I thank you in advance for telling me.


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