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A Powerful Partnership, Part 2

By: Sarah Burns
Posted: June 13, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 3 of 5

If a client is reluctant to purchase a product, or you would like to add another item to their home-care routine, then a sample should be positioned. They also can be used to promote new merchandise. For all the previously stated reasons, samples are very well utilized. Treat them as though they are worth their weight in gold, and the client will feel the same way. If they are given away all the time, however, a client never will need to purchase them. If a sample is provided, make a note of it in your records, and follow up as if it were a product. Clients should understand that a sample provides a small representation of what a product actually can do. Minimal or no results will be obtained from a sample because, at most, it lasts for only a couple of days. The client’s experience with it is limited to evaluating the consistency, texture, scent and any negative reactions that may occur.

This is a fast-paced, busy world. If a client really needs a product, then a sample just won’t suffice. Once it is gone, the person has to make an extra trip to purchase the item. This is why many clients buy skin care products from department stores—because of the convenience. Make it as easy as possible for them to obtain products from you—samples are not necessarily the best way to do it.

The other reason why samples are used frequently is because you aren’t sure whether a client can afford the product but you know that they really need it, so you offer a sample. You believe that it’s your right to decide if the client should purchase the product or not. Well, who put you in charge of your clients’ finances? It is their decision what they can purchase, not yours. That needs to be focused on, because too many professionals in the skin care industry—due to the fact that, as a group, they are giving people by nature—want to give product away too often. Put an end to prejudging clients’ spending capabilities right now. Say goodbye, bury it—end of story.

Samples potentially can cannibalize your retail business. Keep a record of the amount distributed that leads directly to products being purchased. These statistics can reveal whether samples are beneficial and increase retail sales, or whether they sabotage them. Position samples to be a small value in supporting your clients’ ultimate skin care goals.

Return policy

Review a supplier’s return policy prior to opening an account. If you don’t obtain this information, it could become a problem at a later date. Usually in the spa industry, companies will back their products if a client has an adverse reaction to it or if it is damaged.