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Are You Selling or Educating?

Callie Lushina September 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Most clients know the drill. When they come in for a skin care service, they are savvy enough to expect the standard product promotions, gift-with-purchase offers or discounts. But over time, these sales tactics can become background noise, blending in to the everyday sales they’ve been programmed to expect.

So how can you promote retail sales while differentiating yourself from the pack? Clients expect you to sell to them, but when you educate them, you’ll open a whole new world of opportunities to grow your retail sales by strengthening client loyalty. Here are four easy ways to increase retail through education.

1. Maximize your built-in resources

In this day and age of 24/7 media messages, your clients are constantly hit with information from countless sources about skin care, wellness and beauty. But one person is face to face with them—their esthetician. Your staff is an invaluable team of built-in resources that clients can trust for accurate advice and information.

Get them out of the treatment room so they can educate clients in a whole new light. Host events where estheticians can talk about how the skin functions and ages, and how specific products and ingredients will target individual skin concerns. For example, during an age-coaching event, an esthetician can sit one-on-one with a client in a personalized and private consultation, learn about her lifestyle habits, attitudes toward aging and goals for looking younger. The skin care pro can develop a plan that includes products, treatments and lifestyle changes that empower her to have a positive attitude toward aging, and give her the answers she’s seeking. Retail products are purchased, treatments are booked and your customer loyalty soars. Other events that showcase an esthetician’s vast knowledge include topics such as winter skin changes, acne answers, sun awareness and seasonal sensitivities.

2. Use social media to add value, not hype

Your spa’s Facebook and Twitter pages are the perfect opportunity to connect with and educate clients. Use them to add value, not just hype your service menu or current specials. Clients want to share, discuss and influence others with knowledge. Every time you share a post, think first: Are you truly adding value? Are you giving them content that they feel compelled to share with their friends? You need to think beyond your fans “liking” you—they need to love you! Share your knowledge, ask them questions and engage them. Only posting specials will become white noise over time. You want your fans to recognize that you have something to say and expertise to offer.

This same principal applies to your e-mail marketing efforts. Are you just selling them something or are you bundling that offer with some skin care tips or insider knowledge that educate them on why they need that service or product?

3. Build your team of experts

Create a team of experts. Do you have an esthetician who has practiced with you for an extended number of years? Make her your figurehead and pitch her to the local media as a go-to contact for skin care expertise. Let the press know that she is an invaluable expert source for any story about skin, aging, beauty or wellness. Assemble the rest of your staff as your town’s leading experts on skin care. “Friend” your local news outlets and reporters on your social media pages.

4. Flaunt your knowledge

Clients are obsessed with experiencing services from the best of the best, and then sharing those experiences with others. Highlight your team’s résumé and education. Did someone just come back from a manufacturer training event about a new technique? Let your clients know. Tout it on Facebook and Twitter, and promote the service. Did your team just learn how to perform a new peel or use a new machine? Get the word out. These are accomplishments that highlight knowledge and experience.

As the vice president of marketing for Bioelements, Callie Lushina has been leading promotions, marketing and social media initiatives for the professional skin care company since 1998. She oversees a staff of dedicated marketing, creative and communications experts at Bioelements’ Office of Strategy and Support in Chicago.

 

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