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The Art of Retailing

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: September 24, 2010, from the October 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

I hope you’ve noticed that in our September issue, we began providing you with Retail Tips in many of the articles. Through conversations with spa professionals, we were consistently hearing that retail sales were not where you felt they should be, but no one really could figure out that magic formula to improve them. These conversations were thought-provoking, and led us to try and help you delve into the nebulous area of retail sales by pulling out bits and pieces of useful and concrete retail information in nearly every article we publish.

Selling has a bit of a stigma in this industry. It does not necessarily mean hitting a client over the head with your product, or being pushy or intrusive; however, it does take a little bit of finesse and practice. So for July’s online Vocal Point survey, we asked our audience to share their tips for increasing retail sales. Charlene Keefe, owner of Skin by Char in Huntington Beach, California, offered 10 basic tips: “I have found these tips to really work in increasing my retail sales.

  1. Offer great customer service; smile; and introduce yourself. Be professional, and make sure you are presentable and ready for work.
  2. Listen to your clients’ needs.
  3. Supply your clients with the products they need—this shows that you are listening to them.
  4. Make sure you have appropriate products in stock.
  5. Apply the product to their skin and have them feel it.
  6. Give them the products they are coming to see you for, and then suggestive sell.
  7. Have clients fill out a card with their contact information.
  8. Book for a follow-up appointment in two or three weeks.
  9. Follow-up in three days with a phone call to make sure what you gave them is working.
  10. Send thank-you cards."

Brenda Griffin, owner of Faces Plus in Tucson, Arizona, reminds that confidence is key. “Confidence, confidence, confidence,” she stresses. “If you are confident in what you sell and have to offer, it comes across to your clients and potential clients. If they believe in you, they will want to purchase what works for them knowing that it will provide the most benefit for their skin. Sharing your knowledge is key. It is simple, easy and the best no-cost advertising you can do.”

Education also plays a strong role in the art of retailing. “First, you must remember that you are the professional,” emphasizes Angela Doss, an esthetician at Rare Accents Day Spa in Palm Harbor, Florida. “Always be yourself and don’t be afraid to tell your clients what they need. You must tell them the importance of a quality skin care regimen. This is vital to maintaining and enhancing their treatments. I feel this is as much a part of my job as using a cleanser or washing my hands. It must be done. Show them you do care for their skin health. They will appreciate you and be very loyal when they see the results.”

Jane Aransky, owner of La Residencia Spa in Newton, Massachusetts, also reminds that product knowledge is a must. “We tell our clients that facials are necessary and wonderful; however, the home products do the real work,” she shares. “And, the clients realize we are right when they see their skin looking amazing. So, I stress product knowledge, product knowledge and more product knowledge!”