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Studying Sales Skills

By: Ellen Clark
Posted: August 1, 2011, from the August 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

To sustain your facility’s growth and to ensure profitability, sales training must be an ongoing part of your management team’s effort. There is a tendency to assume that team members know more than they do, and that product knowledge offered by visiting supplier reps qualifies as sales training. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Polish your skills

Teaching your team how to become more skilled at selling is your job and can be a challenge if you or your facility’s manager lack the experience. Products typically do not sell themselves. Even if you are proud of your staff members’ retail numbers, you shouldn’t get too comfortable. For the remainder of 2011, be sure to budget time to find new ways to motivate and educate your team in order to increase sales.

Sometimes it is as simple as going back to the basics practiced when you started your business, and then polishing up your skills. Below are five essential sales skills that are necessary for your team members to practice. Cover each one in your next team meeting, even if it is just you and your receptionist.

  1. Pay attention. Help team members identify polite, smooth phrases that can be used to engage clients and bring their attention to new products or treatments. Practice role playing and help your team memorize the top phrases.
  2. Show interest. Spend ample time asking thoughtful questions that stimulate responses from clients in order to pinpoint their needs. Open-ended questions are necessary; practice these in your staff meetings. Even if team members believe they currently ask good questions, come up with more.
  3. Give your presentation. Once you listen to clients’ answers and understand their needs, be prepared to communicate recommendations with conviction. Remember, clients want to be listened to and understood. If product or service recommendations do not meet the clients’ needs, concerns and objectives, they may tune you out and determine that you do not really understand them. If you are still not sure what they need, ask more questions.
  4. Do not oversell. Some businesses tend to oversell their solutions, and this can lead to client skepticism. Do not oversell your facility’s offerings; instead, communicate the skin care solutions in a way that compels clients to want your upgrade, facial treatment series or retail products immediately.
  5. Learn the art of the close. This refers to gauging the client’s receptiveness to buying. Both trial closes, which consist of opinion-asking questions, and order closes, which seek a commitment from the client, are important to learn how to do.

Some skin care professionals have a tendency to invest too much time talking or visiting during Step 1, rather than establishing a good rapport for a smooth transition to identify the client’s needs. It is important to move from Step 1 to Step 2 quickly to best move on in the process.

A learned skill

Selling Power magazine reports that individuals can increase their selling proficiency 100% by working with a selling system, maintaining a positive mindset or attitude, and learning how to easily communicate the features and benefits of their products as they apply to the customer’s needs.