In 2005, my Australian agent started to pay attention to my idea of taking professional esthetics public. He organized a “five cities in five days” lecture tour that encompassed Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. Each venue was a famous building such as a Royal Opera House, a $38 million night club and an exclusive country club. We arrived in limos, confronted by attractive male and female waiters holding trays of champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Photo opportunities were provided by local paparazzi against sponsor step and repeats while local journalists interviewed me and industry icons.
The venues were packed with men and women of all ages dressed smartly, and 80% of them were the public coming to what they felt was an exciting event. The skin clinics and salons that participated in this exhausting (for me, in my 60s) tour were booking skin revision and other services for months ahead. All the planning, expense and energy paid off and set a brand forever after.
The point to all this is we seem to focus a great deal of time in our industry going to exhibitions, skin competitions, workshops and seminars. There is nothing wrong with that, but we must bring our skills and services to the the people paying our bills—the public.
Launching with Formal Lectures
When I first started getting distributors in Europe decades ago, I would ask them to launch my concepts with a formal lecture and invite not only estheticians but local doctors and the public as potential accounts. “Really?” my agents would exclaim in worried disbelief, but I assured them that these interactions will happen at some point anyway. Why not let them experience it first hand? It worked. Now, I am not suggesting everyone go to the expense of that major five city tour; even though I felt like an aging rock star, it was exhausting.
Showcasing at In-House Events
You can have incredibly successful in-clinic or in-house events where you invite your current clientele and give them something free if they invite one or more friends who have not had your services. The simplest way is to highlight a new treatment, provide some refreshments, put out a small online ad with a good photo of before and after pictures and show off your most attractive treatment room with you and a client in it while captioning it as “new and revolutionary” or “for the first time in this area.”
After you get your feet wet with this small public offering, consider a consult day where all of your clients will get a free treatment if they book one or more friends or relatives for an in-depth consultation. Allow time and staff for this, as many people will want a treatment right away.
When you consult these new clients, include the home prescriptive products (i.e. I will put you on X, Y, Z), and have a staff member get these together the moment the treatment begins. Time is money here. Have refreshments in the reception, soft drinks, snacks, coffee and tea but no alcohol, and have the staff review all the treatment options while people are waiting. A good video of services on-a -loop is great background as well.
Hosting a Wellness Seminar
This third option is the big gun and must be carefully planned and pre-advertised weeks, even months in advance. Engage the appearance of someone in the related wellness field but not skin care. Some examples would include: a fitness guru, hormone specialist, affirmation guru, dietician or Pilates and yoga teacher who wrote a book. You can, and should, allow them to sell their books, or DVDs, on site during the seminar as well. Think of anybody who is in a related wellness field who would see the advantage of a free stage, free advertising and free buffet including alcohol.
Recap your presentation with an invitation to book a treatment consultation with a special for booking in that month only. Making it sound like a special deal gets people motivated to book. Have a small break for refreshments and announce the next speaker, giving a little background to their subject to lock in the fact that you organized this treat. At the end of their presentation, thank everyone, remind them of the deal you previously offered and indicate that your wonderful guest speaker has their book (signed) and or DVD for sale on the premises.
Keep control of your event and stick to the schedule. Many people may ask questions, so allocate time for this in the schedule. Trust me, you will be in the middle of a crowd talking to one person, but you need to project your voice so everyone can hear you; this is called subliminal selling. These programs are effective, and people start looking forward to them. If you do it right, the crowds will get bigger and you will have to book larger venues and add more guest speakers.
Mastering Your Speech
A PowerPoint can help when you are speaking to a large group of people, but use it only for bulleted points (mostly the name and subject of your treatments) and a few before and after photos. Nothing loses your contact with the audience more than everyone, including yourself, straining their heads to read a lot of wordy text on a slideshow.
For decades, I traveled the world with a few slides that went into a clattery projector and a flip chart. This was 40 years ago, but the message was carried to thousands of people, many who remember it to this day. I still use the flip chart to draw examples of cells and skin activity, and I find the audience remembers those live illustrations more than any PowerPoint, with some people even wanting to take the sheets home.
I always talk about the science behind the treatments first, explaining to the public how everything works at the cell level and symbiotic to the body. I do use a few scientific terms to gain credibility but explain them in laymen’s terms using analogies people understand. For example, I will explain how a skin cell is like a walled city with little doors around it that are specific for the entry of certain vitamins and nutrients. The city is ruled by King DNA and his two Queens RNA. The castle is the nucleus. The power plant of the city is the mitochondria, and the post office and shipping center is the Golgi apparatus. The food for the castle (the nucleus) is stored in the close-by warehouse, the ribosome. People are fascinated by this, and it gives them a better understanding of their skin.
Get People Talking
Do not forget to invite local plastic surgeons to your events rather than dermatologists; dermatologists will grab your potential clients for injections and their products. Surgeons become a great point of referral if they are impressed with your knowledge and scar revision techniques that make their work look even better.
Hosting events that become the talk to the town comes down to one thing—preparation. The more time you have allocated to securing appointments, presentations, refreshments and entertainment the better the event will go. Think big, execute small and cheers to your next event being the talk of the town!