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Posted by: Kathryn Kemp, 6 Feb 2012 9:12PM
Please do not use the forums to advertise courses.

Can we warn each other about odd callers...

I've received a couple of 'odd' calls over the last couple of months from males wanting 'extras' and one guy who, having been turned down following a couple of rather strange phone calls, turned up on my doorstep late in the evening wanting to know why I wouldn't treat him. Is there somewhere or somehow we can warn each other about these people.? Kathy


Catherine Hunt
6 Feb 2012 9:28PM

Hi Kathy I've had many calls, but luckily just calls, no visits. If they talk about extras just say you aren't that kind of masseur, maybe find out where your local 'massage parlour' is, direct them there. don't shy away from it, be as blunt as they are. If you get the sense that is what they are getting at, say 'oh you mean, do I do extras?'. Mostly they put the phone down at this point. And don't assume that just because you get a text message at 2.00am that it's similar. A client of mine contacted me on his way home as he remembered because he saw my sign on the way home late from work!! He was a lovely guy and had been meaning to book in for months. Maybe ask your local coordinator, there may be a way you could contact other practitioners in your area. When I lived in Bristol, after getting a Yellow Pages advert, a fellow practitioner, with a very matter of fact manner said, 'oh, watch out, you'll get loads of phone calls'!!! She was right. And she was also right about them doing to rounds, if you've had a call, someone else is bound to too. And if in doubt, get them to give me a ring all the best Cat
Sue Hannaford
6 Feb 2012 9:44PM

Yes! If I get even slightly dodgy calls I let others around know. If you work from home, don't publish your address - when I used to work from, I only gave it out to those who had a booking. Thomson Local and Yellow Pages (including and perhaps especially online) are a problem because our listings often appear on the same pages as another sort of personal service. I wouldn't recommend putting that you DON'T offer a sexual service etc on your website or any other online directory - because search engines don't differentiate and these people will find you because the words are on your site. I rarely get odd calls now as I found that these people often seek out those newly advertising - I think they get a kick out of calling, or even booking normally and then perhaps misbehaving - perhaps the kick is trying to make us feel uncomfortable. Bear in mind that this is YOUR business and you can choose how you respond. My last call like that was last November - I just told him to get lost and hung up. If you think about it, there are ads all over the place that are clearly offering a sexual service - our ads, websites etc are clearly not - and yet they still ring. Pathetic really.
Sue Hannaford
6 Feb 2012 9:46PM

PS Cat! I just read the last bit of your post about getting them to ring you! Brilliant! Oh to be a fly on the wall!
Amanda Clegg
6 Feb 2012 10:55PM

Not much to add to Cat and Sue's comments, only that I thought of it like the Frog Princess - wade thru the murk and the odd gem appears. I've got a few male clients from early advertising that are still with me 10 years on. I found that half terms and Easter (shorter) holidays seem to be prime times for the saddo-s, and also, oddly, full moon. and yes, they always try the newbies first. You'll get dropped off their list eventually. I'm sure it's partly trying their luck and partly gettign a kick out of your reaction. Stay cool. Absolutely no point in adding anything like 'no withehld numbers' or 'genuine calls only'. Makes diddly squat difference. If it's any consolation (not much!) a male therapist once told me years ago he gets propostioned too - and by both sexes!
Ashling Cullen
6 Feb 2012 11:36PM

I too have received these types of calls. The last one was in November 2011, where a man (using a withheld number of course!) called me on a Saturday night at 8:30pm approximately. I let the call go to voice mail, he then immediately called back and this time I rejected it straight to voice mail. No messages were left. Then after 9:30pm he called again. Well, that was not a good idea. I read him the riot act and he was left in no uncertain terms that he was never to call me again and that if he continued I would report him to the Police. At the time the only place he could of got my number was from the Embody web site, so I think these men are just trying it on (or they are complete idiots). I think the way to act with them is to, not let them know that you are rattled by them (even if you are) and tell them (don't be afraid to be rude if you have to) that you don't offer that type of service. Also, if they think that by hiding behind a 'withheld' number they can't be traced; oh yes they can! Kathy, I have to say that in your case, that's an incident that should be reported to the Police as it's harassment.
Hetty Scott-Denness
7 Feb 2012 5:16AM

yes i am a very new therapist and i have been trying hard to advertise for the pass 4 months i have only been getting odd calls as of dont you do extras i am getting put off by this as i am spending a lot of money advertizing and getting nasty calls.
Catherine Hunt
7 Feb 2012 9:04AM

Well Hetty, don't give up. Monthly meetings will keep you in touch with other members and read about effective marketing. Be specific and also choose who you d like as clients, they are sure to start visiting. On another issue, but related, has anyone had any experience with dodgy practitioners, saying they do one thing when either they work outside their qualifications or they get a bit close! The reputation of our profession has been mentioned and it concerns me when I hear some of my clients stories of how they have been treated.
Kathryn Kemp
7 Feb 2012 9:34AM

Thank you for your replies. I called a friend and fellow therapist who lives near by (and happens to be a blackbelt!) as I was on my own at the time he arrived and tried to gain access to my house. We consulted the Police non-emergency line and were advised to be careful about not advertising addresses - she did say however if he came back that evening not to open the door and call 999. However I had initially agreed to treat him, hence he had my address. It was only after he kept calling and asking odd questions that I decided not to treat him. After speaking to another policeman we were advised to see the crime prevention officer with a view to possibly setting up some kind of alert system whereby we inform each other. I've not heard of any dodgy practitioners, although I had one myself once: she massaged my back with one hand while texting with the other, whilst listening to radio 1, plus the couch was against the wall, and I had to move over so she could sit on the edge.! Shocking...
Amanda Clegg
7 Feb 2012 2:01PM

I think that you have to be icy cold and polite, as my experience is that many of these blokes get their rocks off by provoking a reaction from you, especially an angry or rude one. If you don't react and just stay very calm, keeping the conversation very brief, they soon get the message and stop calling. Hetty I had a quick look at your website - I'll contact you via that email with some ideas about your wording which might help.
Kristina Watts
7 Feb 2012 4:41PM

The last dodgy caller I had must just have caught me at the right time. I already had my doubts while I was speaking to him, but when he asked if I would "give any extras at the end" I replied in my best, calm, professional voice: "no, you need a prostitute for that". He hung up then! Afterwards I couldn't believe I'd said that, but at the end of the day (1) I wasn't speaking impolitely to him and (2) it's actually the truth! I was very alarmed to find that a website called "Up Your Street" (or is it "Down Your Street"?) had published not only my telephone numbers but my full address to their site - I didn't even know about it as they never asked me for any payment for this listing but it was one of these "dodgy" callers who said he'd got my name from there! I immediately checked it out and yes, there I was, all my details. I'm not sure even where they got my details from. I emailed them and told them in no uncertain terms to take me off their listing. I'm not sure but I don't think that website exists anymore ....
Kristina Watts
7 Feb 2012 4:44PM

Sorry, just as an add-on: to all you lovely newly qualified therapists, I remember I bit of sage advice my tutor gave to me many years ago, and that is, never use the phrase "stress relief" in your brochures, website, etc. Although what we do does, in effect, relieve stress (we hope!), the words "stress relief" can have a whole different meaning to certain people. There's probably lots of other phrases that we shouldn't use, but that's the one that springs to mind right now.
Kathryn Kemp
7 Feb 2012 5:03PM

Good idea, I've stopped using the words 'full body' too, as in full body massage. Had a couple of male callers ask if it meant 'full body'...
Ashling Cullen
7 Feb 2012 5:29PM

Kathy, Please could you let us know what terms you use instead of 'full body' massage then? Thank you Ashling
Kathryn Kemp
7 Feb 2012 5:54PM

Hi Simply, I don't - I advertise treatment times now: 30 min or 60 minute treatments. If someone calls enquiring about 'full body' I ask a few questions and judge each call separately ie what they hope to gain from the treatment, do they have a particular problem they are looking to get treated, etc. Kathy
Amanda Clegg
7 Feb 2012 6:13PM

Nice one Kristina - that's pretty much my standard reply too!
Angela Rawlins
22 Feb 2012 6:14PM

Well, I found your experience very alarming that 'he' actually turned up on your doorstep! I assume you all do massage? I must say that I only had one caller who I was warned about by my friend, but he claimed to be agrophobic and wanted a visit I'm not sure what he wanted, I think someone to listen to him. I did say I couldn't help. Only rang twice. YOU must make sure you have a chain on your door to stop anyone forcing an entrance. I am a co-ordinator and I would warn members to watch out for problem callers.
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