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By Michelle Gonzales
Posted: September 19, 2007, from the October 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
What does your business offer to your clientele? A medical esthetics facility might offer services such as injectable fillers, laser hair removal, intense pulsed light treatments, photo rejuvenation and more. A day spa may offer facials, body treatments, waxing, makeup services and a list of further options. So why aren’t more clients booking your superb services and purchasing your results-oriented skin care products?
The answer is likely that you need help increasing your sales. Sales are comprised of multiple factors for every business. In the professional skin care industry, it is most often made up of the same components—customer service, quality of service, results, confidence during consultation, education, staff experience and training, effective products, and, most importantly, knowing what your client wants and delivering the goods. One of the most difficult assessments for a business owner or manager to make is the assessment of whether the staff is meeting, or preferably exceeding, these components that lead to client satisfaction. After all, client satisfaction leads to increased sales.
Delivering the goods
One thing most people can agree on is the concept “Build it and they will come.” However, this is no longer enough to guarantee clients will come to your spa for services or that they will maintain client loyalty and satisfaction. Ten or 20 years ago, the professional skin care industry was not so dependent on excellent services, leading-edge technology, experienced staff, advertising, and more, as there were significantly fewer spas. In 2007, there seem to be 10 skin care clinics in any given mile radius in most major metropolitan cities.
So it is not enough to just open your doors and anticipate instant client interest. You have to know the savvy client does her homework and knows about the latest treatments. She seeks out the most advantageous products and is able to readily access information on every service available in the professional skin care market. At the end of the day, you need to decide what message you are sending to your potential client and how to effectively deliver this message with confidence.
The benefits of good education
Another concept that is often agreed on is that of selling through education. In essence, the more you educate your staff on the services and products you offer, the more the staff is able to appropriately identify the ideal products and services for your clients. This results in client satisfaction due to the fact that the staff can confidently recommend a regimen that surpasses the client’s expectations. A thoroughly trained staff typically trickles down to a thoroughly satisfactory client experience.
But what does a staff usually consist of—estheticians, nurses, physicians, managers and so on? Not what one may think of as a team of sales people. On the contrary, though, clients are the captured audience of the staff, as they are going to the medical spa, day spa or skin care clinic to receive the best possible advice on their desired skin care regimen. This regimen does not only consist of professional treatments in the practice, but also what is taken home to continue the experience. At home, clients use the products your staff suggests, prolonging the excellent experience from your spa. Your professional service has now entered your clients’ homes and is creating an ongoing extension of your facility.
Capitalizing on expertise
While on the subject of clients, are you paying attention to where these customers are purchasing their home care products? The top answers are department stores, spas, physicians’ offices and over-the-counter facilities. Given that the vast majority of clients purchase some type of home care product, why is it that many skin care clinics only achieve 10% of their total sales in retail?
It has been known to happen that a client will leave the spa after receiving a $400 IPL photo facial, drive to the nearest department store and purchase a $300 moisturizer. In a case such as this, why does a staff member feel insecure about suggesting a professional skin care product that only a spa can offer? These professional products typically have a higher concentration of active ingredients, resulting in continued visible results for the client.
The answer is quite simple. Oftentimes the staff member is concerned the client will be unwilling to spend $400 for an IPL photo facial or $200 for a chemical peel, then turn around and also purchase an additional $300 in skin care regimen products. Unfortunately, this is translated to the client as your spa being a service-only business, lacking full benefits for complete skin care needs.
A professional skin care facility, regardless of whether it is a medical spa, day spa or physician’s practice, should be the solution to the client’s home care regimen as well. The client should know undoubtedly the esthetician, nurse or physician utilizes and offers not only the best skin care products and treatments available, but also that their knowledge exceeds what is available at the nearest pharmacy, department store or beauty boutique. Once these clients enter your spa and are lying on your treatment beds, you have an uninterrupted chance to capture their attention, wants and needs, and the opportunity to educate them on their best treatment and product choices, with the ability to concentrate on their specific concerns.
Strategy for success
Capturing the mentality of your clientele and recognizing what drives it to seek treatments that help create healthy skin is the fundamental drive to increasing your sales. Enabling your staff to facilitate these answers to the clients is the execution that will seal your success. Know your clients, know your answers.