Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Ashkahn is gallivanting across Europe (probably), so Graham has Juliet on the podcast today.
The two of them talk about how to talk about floating, from the float center perspective, and the floater perspective, how much information is enough, and how much is too much. This is a spiel that every person in the float industry will have tons of practice on, so it’s important to have a good one.
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Graham: All right. Hello, everybody.
Graham: I am my Graham.
Juliet: I am my Juliet.
Graham: That’s our new thing. That’s how we introduce ourselves. In case you didn’t catch yesterday’s episode, Juliet is joining us once again, standing in for Ashkahn, who’s still off. Juliet’s one of our team here at Float Tank Solutions, and does a lot of the content, a lot of float research that I’ve gotten her all entwined with, and in addition to that is an avid floater, so we’re going to be tackling some questions more around just the floater side of things. Today’s is “how do you describe floating to someone who has never heard of it?”
Juliet: Right, which is something that has been broached on this podcast before.
Graham: By the way, Juliet handles a lot of the transcriptions and the actual posts of this podcast slash show notes, so-
Juliet: I’ve never actually listened to the show before
Graham: So she has a limitless knowledge of everything we’ve covered so far.
Juliet: Right, I’m …
Graham: It’s basically like having, yeah, a second, much more feminine Ashkahn involved.
Juliet: Only slightly more feminine Ashkahn. For context, why don’t we start with, Graham, what you would say is the float on response to somebody who hasn’t floated before. How would you describe it?
Graham: I’d say I only use this about 100 times a week, every single week of my life. I’ve just got a little spiel down. I think I might have even said it at some other point on the podcast, but repetition never hurt anyone, so if someone comes up to me and they’re like, “What do you do for a living?” for example, I’m like, “Floating, have you heard of that?” and they’re like, “No,” I say, “Okay, well, float tanks are a perfect bath tub.”
They’re about eight feet long, five feet wide, so about the size of a queen size bed or a big king size bed. It’s only about a foot of water inside, but then there’s 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved in that water. That alone is amazing. When you get in, you relax in the water and your spine decompresses, your muscles relax. It’s a lot like getting a massage without being touched. Then all the water is at skin temperature, so you just lose track of where your body ends and where the water begins, and the room’s really soundproof and lightproof, so there’s no light, no sound, no sense of touch, and almost no gravity on your body, and you just float there. It ends up being like a condensed vacation for your brain and your body.
Then after that, I start asking them what they’re interested in and do the whole cold-reading kind of thing where I talk about the relationship they just got out of and how float tanks will heal them and really just switch into salesman mode.
Juliet: Lay your palms upon them.
Graham: Yeah, exactly.
Juliet: Yeah, and over the years of floating more and more often, I’ve incorporated a lot of your pitch to floating. I’ve taken some stuff out and I’ve added some stuff for myself. The things that I like to emphasize, especially with people who sound wary about it, is I point out that the room that they’re floating in is a completely private room that has a door that locks, and describing the layout, so saying that there’s a shower, then there’s the tank itself, and you’re in complete control of the environment.
Because the first thing that I always hear about is people worried about claustrophobia or being enclosed in a space, and reminding them or letting them know exactly what the space is like.
Graham: For sure. Yeah, it’s amazing the percentage of the population who at least thinks that they’re claustrophobic. I’m constantly amazed when I’m talking to people. Yeah, I guess it just never comes up in conversation, like, “Hey, do you want to climb into this really tiny, narrow space with me or something?” But yeah, anyway, that is a huge concern, for sure.
Juliet: And the other thing that I tell people is I’ll say, “You should take a look at the space, because once you see it, a lot of your worries will be dismissed.” Because I think that people assume something when they hear about a float tank or a sensory deprivation tank or whatever, and it comes with all these preconceived notions that aren’t accurate to reality.
I like to invite the comparison without telling them exactly why they’re wrong or why they’re mistaken in that, and instead just prompt them to take in more information, which I think is pretty helpful. If I have my phone, if they’re really curious, sometimes we’ll pull up pictures and show them stuff.
Graham: Nice. Yeah, visually it’s really nice. What if people are too excited? Like, they’re actually too amped up, and they’re like, “I’m going to go in there and hallucinate, just like I’ve heard about from my favorite podcasters.”
Juliet: Right, because we talk about hallucinating on this podcast? No. It’s not people’s favorite podcast, is what you’re saying?
Graham: Oh, I see. Yeah. No, that was not the joke that I was making in this case.
Juliet: Right, I know.
Graham: Although, it should be.
Juliet: It should be. It’s my favorite podcast.
Graham: Go subscribe on iTunes.
Juliet: Yeah, or Player FM if you have Android instead of …
Graham: Anyway, so if someone’s actually just too amped up about their experience …
Juliet: Right. I remind them that every float experience is different and that they should go in without any expectations. To that end, I typically try to keep descriptions of the actual float itself really, really short and non-specific because yeah, I think that expectation can be an absolute killer for a lot of people.
We see all the time with Yelp reviews or Facebook page stuff or even on forums, where people try floating and then talk about how disappointed they were later, because it did not live up to the hype. I think keeping people away from that mindset should be a float center owner’s main focus, is making sure people go in with an open mind when it’s their first time.
Graham: Yeah, “Expect nothing” is always good advice. Yeah, I find, too, that just relating my own float experiences, because I’m not one of those people who goes in and has a vision quest every time that I’m in the tank, or even really significant audio and visual hallucinations … They definitely come in waves sometimes, even with the floats that I’m doing, but largely, for me, and a lot of the benefit I get even floating, on average about once a week or more, is physical. I just really start … I’m standing right now, the conference swept through and I didn’t get to float as much as I usually do. I can feel it in my body right now.
Graham: That is such a benefit that I see. I like to remind people of that. I’m just like, “Hey, I’m an owner and I’ve floated hundreds of times, and I don’t really see stuff, so don’t go in expecting that,” has, at least for me, been a really good tactic. And I still think it’s awesome. They’re like, “Oh, cool, yeah, I guess there’s more to it than that.”
Juliet: For sure.
Graham: Like your stupid customers always say.
Juliet: Yeah. The other thing is, if people do start wondering about benefits, my go-to is typically relying on the research and the established benefits that we do know about. I’ll start from the most common, most well-researched benefits, to what’s still being studied and discovered.
Graham: The most fringe benefits? Talking with aliens and …
Juliet: Yeah, yeah.
Graham: I mean, yeah. I guess this question is really good from the perspective of this is something you’ll be doing day in and day out as a float tank center owner.
Juliet: Right, you’ll get a lot of practice.
Graham: Or even just as an enthusiast. It’s amazing the amount of members who have come up to us and they’re just like, “How do you explain floating to people, because I have to explain it to all of my friends. This is one of the things I do with my time, and I feel like I do a terrible job.”
Juliet: The burdens of having an industry based on word of mouth.
Graham: Yeah. You’ll honestly figure out the tactics or the verbiage that makes it easy for you to explain to people, but I really find explaining the things that are most non-threatening about it first is really good, so I explain the lack of gravity, that it’s the same temperature, well before I get into the fact that it’s pitch-black and often covered.
I like using analogies, so saying that it’s like a massage, that it’s the size of a queen size bed, things that people are familiar with, I think really makes it appealing to them as well. Then, yeah, just really trying to get the relaxation bit in there. You don’t need to explain that people are going to be flying through star fields on occasion, or talking to their dead grandma or something like that.
It’s just enough that we live in a stressful world and it’s really good to have relief and rest and some reprieve from that, and yeah, that tends to be, as far as benefits, the main thing that I really emphasize, is just that, man, take a vacation from all of these blinking lights and hurtling metal objects that are cars trying to mow you down, and rest a little bit. And if you do it well, then you can totally take people from not being enthusiastic about it at all and being nervous, to actually being really excited to go hop in the tank.
Juliet: Yeah, and it is a lot of fun to flip people from that, “Oh, I could never do it,” into the, “Okay, I’ve got to try it. If you say so.” It’s like, “Figure it out for yourself.”
Graham: Have fun with it. Also, learn to describe it in an entertaining way to you, because you will probably be using this speech, no joke, hundreds of times per week, at different points. Make sure that it’s fun for you to say as well. Okay, I think that’s it for now. If you have your own questions, head on down to FloatTankSolutions.com/podcast.
And we will talk to you tomorrow. Bye, everyone.
Recent Podcast Episodes
Graham and Ashkahn kick off the New Year by discussing the things to consider when adding a float tank to an existing business. This is a fantastic episode to start with if you’ve already got a service-based business or are a practitioner looking to start up on your own and looking for ideas.
The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
The holidays are a busy time for float centers and it often means lots of new customers asking questions. This means it can be a really great time to brush up on the facts about floating. Fortunately we’ve formed a folio of fantastic studies for you to fancy. Feliz Navidad!
In every service business, there’s a running joke that someone likes that’s usually somehting along the lines of “this job would be great if it weren’t for all the customers!” (*cue laugh track and uproarious applause*), well, the boys have not shied away from talking about the difficult sides of running a shop like ours. We’ve got episodes about handling negative Yelp reviews, customers too intoxicated to float, and even what to do when it’s time to 86 a problematic client.
You can tell this episode was recorded a little while ago, really close to after we all got back from the Conference. The boys are a little tired today, but they still have lots to talk about.
Grashkahmn share their initial reactions to the Conference now that it’s being run by the industry as a non-profit. This is a nice episode especially if you’re looking for some insights on their behind-the-scenes perspective on this big industry event and how it has changed this year.
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