If your spa is like most, you may have difficulty motivating some staff members to consistently sell retail products. You may even have some technicians who simply refuse to engage in any aspect of product sales. Other employees may feel that promoting home care is unprofessional and unrelated to their work as healers. Yet others may be shy and reluctant to approach clients with product information and maintenance care for the treatments that they have experienced while being serviced at the spa.

SALES PILLARS

Some components of selling are like the foundation of a building: they are paramount to the overall soundness of the structure. In fact, many of the standard steps to selling a product are so crucial that many would agree the sale is lost without following each of these steps.

  • Relate

    Without establishing some sort of bond with the client, any attempt to promote a product seems pushy and will probably be unwelcome. Relating is establishing even the most minute common interests with a customer. Even a superficial discussion of the weather or a brief compliment paid to the client's clothing can create the grounds for a productive repertoire that can lead to a more in-depth interaction.

    On a deeper level, relating also begins to convey trust. Without some peripheral level of trust, there is no sale. Make sure your staff has some stand-bys for relating with their clients, such as quick greeting phrases. These types of quick relating attempts must be sincere and non-threatening. Some examples include empathizing with why the client is at the spa to begin with. Stress, skin condition, overdue pampering and good ‘ole bonding are all appropriate stand-bys. As your staff becomes more comfortable with relating, unplanned phrases will pop out like any other natural habit.

  • Know thy customer

    Knowing pertinent details about each client, like income, occupation, marital/familial status, age and reason for coming to the spa, before the actual appointment serves as great preliminary information to help prepare staff for the meeting. Other factors such as personality type, purchasing style and interactive preferences are traits that staff will have to assess once the client is at the appointment. The goal is to uncover the four Ws.

    1. Why is the client at the spa?
    2. Who is this consumer?
    3. What is the client expecting to achieve from the visit?
    4. Where (demographically) did this client come from?

    All of this may sound like a lot of information gathering but it is much simpler to do than it sounds. Moreover, the more your staff member knows about the client, the more that he or she can relate, consult, assist and meet that customer's needs.

  • Listen

    This is the hardest thing to do well, particularly when you are nervous. However, listening is key. Why? The customer wants to be heard. People by nature are creatures who want to be understood. Speaking is the way that most of us try to communicate our needs to others.

    Additionally, clients are at your facility because they have a need that they want filled: the female client may want to be pampered; her skin is blotchy; her thighs need toning, etc. The male client may want a facial or executive manicure or a massage. If the client is at the spa to fulfill a need and your staff isn't listening to him or her, how will that need ever be fulfilled?

    Most of all, listening to clients will give your staff clues to the situation at hand. Most people reveal a vast amount of information about themselves in even the most trivial statements. The pace, tone and inflection of a sentence leaves clues, as well as the semantic flavor of the words chosen, gesturing, body positioning and even eye contact.

  • Encourage objections and agree

    Sounds crazy, doesn't it? By finding out the customer's primary reasons not to purchase, you are really lifting a fog and getting to the truth. For example, the client feels that the product is too expensive. Your staff's job is to establish value in the product. “Yes, this moisturizer is $54. I understand where you might be cautious to spend that much money on a single item. However, a dab will do and the entire pot will last you eight months. Moreover, this one product will serve as an eye cream, throat and neck hydrator, and will diminish fine lines and wrinkles.”

Chipping away at objections is the only way to get to the sale. Agreeing with the objection eliminates the client's natural defensive attitude, and allows them to consider your product or view.

Melinda Minton is a spa consultant and health and beauty expert in Ft. Collins, CO. She is the founder of the Spa Association, an organization dedicated to enriching the professional beauty industry through self-regulation, education and sound business practices.