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Navigating the Obstacles Between Services, Sales and Self

By: Anne Martin
Posted: June 1, 2012, from the June 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
a skin care professional nurturing a client

page 4 of 5

Interestingly, the poet Samuel Coleridge believed that the coming together of two opposites birthed a third and different force, which psychiatrist Carl Jung named when writing about polar opposites: “The eventual integration of the two creates Wholeness.” Imagining the connection between service and sales creates that place of wholeness, which sings with integrity and imagination.

Matters of the heart. What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Well, you would probably speak your truth. You’d set ground rules for clients, and consider sales in this distinct way—sales are an offering of help. Whether or not clients want it in that moment doesn’t change the fact that it is help.

Just magic. It’s the magic that happens when you wholeheartedly dare to be yourself, someone who leans into uncomfortable feelings to make the ask. Skin care professionals who find this courage fully experience the electrifying truth that what you do and offer—or what you don’t do and don’t offer—deeply affects clients and their well-being. And yes, sometimes that means making mistakes, but that’s why pencils have erasers on the other end; you are meant to choose action instead of ambivalence.

Enforcing client boundaries

Client behaviors are another obstacle to realizing the control you crave. If you’re bending over backward to accommodate bad behavior because you’re afraid clients will leave, then it always turns out badly, because what you’re unconsciously doing is working to be liked, and that becomes the commitment, not true service or a sustainable life.

In essence, your commitment to the client deserves the reciprocity of respect. Canceling without 24-to-48 hours notice isn’t respectful. No-shows? Downgrading the facial to a brow wax upon arrival? Asking what products you’d recommend in the drugstore? Bouncing checks? Not respectful. Personally understanding that you, your work and your time deserve respect is a game-changer. It emboldens you to speak for yourself and to train the client in being a client. This is not easy, and it requires courage. But better this than the story a friend once told me about the client who, following her upstairs to the treatment room, said: “My, you have a fat behind.” Speechless and hurt, my friend didn’t respond or know how to let her go as a client; how would you have handled it?