Editor’s note: This column is based on the author’s presentation at Face & Body® Northern California 2012 in October. For more information on the Face & Body events in 2013, log on to www.FaceandBody.com.
The idea of selling may send shivers up your spine, or bring visions of an overly aggressive car or cosmetics counter salesperson. If this is your perception, you’re not alone. You are reading this column because you are hopeful that it will offer the answers or some enlightenment on how to overcome your reservations and anxieties, and be the best ever. Don’t discount the lessons you have already learned about retailing. Past seminars, workshops and articles are very helpful, and there is always a take-away to add to what you already know.
However, take a step back and revisit what being in this branch of the service industry is all about. The initial motivation for anyone entering into the skin care industry is most likely to help others look and feel better about their skin. Upon entering and starting on your career path, you were amazed and captivated by how much there was to learn and how great an impact you made in helping your clients have healthier, more radiant skin. How magical is that? Of course you quickly learn that it takes more than magic to gain and keep your clients, and to build a clientele that makes you successful both professionally and financially. Therefore, the goal has to be that you must address the challenges that keep you from your overall success. Retailing is a big part of that equation. Retailing is not a challenge if it is simply viewed from a different perspective. Your passion is skin; your goal is to connect with and help your clients, and to have relationships that are built on mentoring and trust.
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It starts from the moment you see and touch the skin of a client, and determine that you can make a positive change or improvement that will delight both of you. That connection and dialogue has to happen at a point in your treatment that is the most natural and comfortable. Your job as the skin expert begins with—and is always focused on—your client. What are her concerns? Can you correct or improve the skin condition within this and future treatments? What will the client need to do, or take home, to make sure you are both on the same page, tracking the progress through return visits, and monitoring the outcomes on an ongoing basis during future visits. The terms “treatment series” and “client home-care program” now come into play.
Now, doesn’t that sound and feel better? Absolutely. Simply because it is what you already do. But the minute this is abandoned and you start “selling” only for the sake of increasing revenue or other necessities, you may lose yourself, your passion for helping clients and, eventually, clients will drift away.
What must you do to stay on course? Following are a few tips.
- Own your craft. You must absolutely master skin physiology and all of its intricacies.
- Stay energized and excited by always wanting to know more.
- Understand the impact advanced ingredients and machine technology have on getting results.
- Know the business aspects; it’s not just about the treatment. Be committed to mentor colleagues, as well
- Don’t take clients for granted. There are always changes in the skin—every visit should be just as exciting as the first.
- Create your own blog or e-newsletter; invite clients to share comments.
- Be clients’ go-to skin expert that they always seek out. Retailing becomes second nature because it is absolutely necessary to get the results that you and the client agree must happen.
Remember: It’s always all about the client!
Linda Burmeister is the undergraduate education manager for Dermalogica, and a licensed instructor with more than 35 years of industry experience. She previously taught and developed undergraduate programs and curricula at Pivot Point International in Chicago, and is a well-known guest speaker. She also serves on the Associated Skin Care Professionals School Council Committee and several school advisory boards in California.