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Communicating Professional Value, Part 1

By: Celeste Hilling
Posted: April 28, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
three women in a boardroom

Know your competition. Whether you are playing a baseball game, building a business or trying to please your clients, knowing your competition is an essential key to success. In the spa industry, many owners, managers and professionals are spending too much time competing against each other. Instead, it’s time to join hands and marketing brains while banding together to take on the true competition—big-box stores selling over-the-counter skin care. Too many people in the industry are letting the mainstream media and marketing executives tell the story of professional skin care, and they are sending a misleading message that consumers can achieve the same or better results from an over-the-counter skin care product compared to a spa product.

Case in point, one over-the-counter line has recently introduced an expensive, high-end product to be sold in big-box stores, positioning it as an alternative to dermatologist-prescribed product offerings. However, it forgot to include one important value in the pricing: the guidance of a licensed, trained professional. This is where the spa industry can soar.

The opportunity is immense for spas to develop brand loyalty by fulfilling clients’ desires for long-lasting results through professional guidance. Spas already have a viable and loyal audience at their doorsteps. Statistics from the International SPA Association (ISPA) show one in four Americans have been to a spa, and there are more than 32 million active spa-goers. They are coming through your doors regularly. You are touching them, and yet allowing them to walk out the door empty-handed, leaving your clients to buy products elsewhere.

How do you educate and instill in clients’ minds that every time you touch them you are there as a professional to guide them through their important lifestyle and skin care choices? It’s all in the training. Give your staff a new vernacular, one unified message to send. And teach them to listen.

Share the knowledge

Spa owners, managers and estheticians have to tell the story and share the knowledge—it’s absolutely your responsibility as a spa professional. You are the people with the essential licenses, training and expertise. When consumers are provided with good information, they will make wise choices. This means, as a spa industry leader, you have the awesome responsibility of keeping your staff up to speed on the latest developments, products and their benefits, and in turn, the best ways to communicate this knowledge consistently and accurately to clients.