First off, it is important to remember that a pleasant experience always begins with the skin care professional. If professionals are relaxed, happy, and smiling, the client will enjoy their presence. If they are pushy, profit-focused, and blatantly trying to get something out of the client, clients will feel it. Focus on relationship building with clients by being courteous and helpful. Skin care professionals should carry themselves with pride by knowing their value and the niche market that they fulfill. They should allow themselves to have fun and even have a sense of humor on the “sales floor.”
SLOW AND STEADY
Give clients time to acclimate to the environment. Do not rush them. Take a moment before approaching them. Do not talk about the products and services right away. Rather, say hello, ask them how they are doing, and then ask them if there is something specific they need help with. Watch the client’s body language and match their energy. If a client is shy and quiet, do not overwhelm them with too much conversation. Notice their tone of voice. If they speak quietly, do not begin talking loudly.
Do they startle when they are approached or do they look happy to have the help? Clients will go through different emotional stages during the purchasing process. It is up to the professional to be in-tune with their process, match it, and react to it gently and with prowess. They may go from removed to enthusiastic to hesitant at the end of the sale. When they are in that moment where they worry about spending money, gently encourage them by reminding them of the benefits that will specifically address the issue they want solved. Reiterate how they can buy the product. It is important to balance providing client information with giving them space to think. Professionals must realize that sales are not a quick process; focus on building long-term relationships with clients instead.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Always be honest with clients. Do not tell a client that they should use a product that is not good for their skin. If they ask about a product that is not good for their skin or want to choose a facial that is inappropriate to their skin type, it is the professional’s job to be honest about the mismatch. Also, the professional should be truthful about the benefits of the services and products being offered. Do not oversell to where it becomes unbelievable.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Use products that work, have beautiful packaging, smell pleasant, and are priced appropriately. Ensure that the products and services offered in the spa are catered to the target market. Professionals cannot cater to everyone, so it is important to have offerings that respond to the needs and wants of the spa’s demographic. It will be easier for the professional to sell products and services wholeheartedly if they create and choose them with the spa’s market in mind. If the professional is not choosing the products and services, they should find ones that they would and use and sell those. They should also know the benefits of the other services and products they offer, in case they come across clients with different needs who require a different regimen. Professionals should have their target market defined and their own niche clear so that they know what unique benefits they offer to their clients. If they know who their market is and what they have to offer them, it will be easier to communicate this to their clients.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Clients are seeking knowledge from the skin care professional. Therefore, the professional should be enthusiastic about their products and services and be prepared to answer questions about them. There is nothing worse than an uneducated sales person. When professionals are well-trained and knowledgeable, they naturally recommend products and it comes across as genuine. In fact, if professionals are very knowledgeable about their products and services, selling is quite natural. They will just share their knowledge and create customized solutions that create results. This will not only have clients coming back, but also referring their friends.
Talk to clients about benefits as opposed to features. Features are the physical properties of products and services, such as the ingredients or service steps. Benefits are actual outcomes that clients will receive from using the product or service. An example is, “your skin will be softer and brighter.” Explain to clients how the features benefit them specifically and address their individual concerns and problems. Teach clients that to have long-lasting results, they need to take advantage of both in-spa services and homecare regimens.
OFFER AN EXPERIENCE
People like to test products before purchasing them. Let clients smell and feel a product, offer to show them before and after pictures, and share testimonies from actual product users. Help clients enjoy the spa and their interactions at the spa with a fun demeanor and interesting facts or discussion. Do not be aggressive. Use the client’s name and get to know them without being intrusive. Give clients a genuine compliment to create intimacy.
BE THE CLIENT’S PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR
What problems do clients need solved? Are they happy with their skin? Asking good open-ended questions will help professionals answer these questions. They may not even know they have a problem until the professional starts speaking to them about their routine. The professional should make their intention to help and inform the client rather than trying to sell to them. Pick up on client cues, including body language and questions. Professionals should see themselves as a detective trying to get to the root of the problem and then offer solutions to their problems. Professionals can build trust by listening more than they talk. Find out if clients are happy with the products and services they currently use. Stand behind the products at the spa. Let clients know that if they are not satisfied, they can return the product.
BUILD OFF THE CLIENT’S CURRENT REGIMEN
Clients appreciate when a sales associate tries to work with them and add value to their existing routine without talking them out of everything they are currently using. By doing so, professionals can learn about their preferences and find out what is currently working or not working for them. It will also be easier and more credible to begin with services and products that complement their existing routine or switching out individual products or services that have no benefits.
THE ART OF FOLLOW-UP
Make clients feel like they are receiving more from the spa then they are expending at the spa. Follow up after the sale with a call, thank you card, and/or e-mail. Ask if they have additional questions and find out how the regimen is working for them or if they enjoyed their service. The follow-up is an opportunity to find out if they have additional needs or if any changes need to be made in their existing regimen. If they are happy with their services and products, they may also ask about additional services and products. If so, that time is a great time to make even more recommendations and provide additional support.
GET TECHY WITH SALES TACTICS
In the age of technology, professionals should maximize clients’ exposure to their products by using all the means of communication available. Social media, blog posts, and e-mail newsletters informing clients about the beneficial products and services the professional offers in a unique way is critical to a successful skin care business. The professionals should attend tradeshows, feature products at local events, send samples to known beauty bloggers, or throw product parties in the spa to keep the informational dialogue open between themselves and their clients about the spa’s offerings. Incentivize clients with special offers on new products or services on the spa’s Facebook page or the customized e-mail list with informative copy and detailed pictures. Include before and after shots, research data or specifics about the spa’s offerings. Professionals should see their sales efforts as an-ongoing relationship with the intention of supporting all their clients’ beauty needs.
HAVE A STORY
With such heavy competition in the marketplace today, professionals must have their own story. What is the professional selling, why are they selling it, and who are they selling it to? How are their products and services better than the place down the road? Why are their offerings worth spending money on? Do they have research or case studies? When the professional, as a sales person, is convinced that product and service recommendations will improve the condition the client is dealing with, the professional will easily be able to convince clients of the same thing. At the end of the day, that is the art of selling without being pushy!
Bella Schneider, P.M.E., leads a team of more than 200 aesthetic professionals at three premier spas. For more than 35 years, Schneider has traveled the world to bring service providers the best in aesthetic science; as a groundbreaking formulator, successful retailer, and respected educator, her mission is to help professionals enhance their practice and grow their business. Winner of the Nouvelles Esthetiques lifetime achievement Crystal Award for contributions to beauty science, Schneider hosts beginning-to-advanced training in clinical and spa skin care as well as ethnic skin care, peels, and other new techniques at Bella Schneider Beauty’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based training center.